It was a typical February/March day this morning; cool and grey — pretty good for walking! There were very few changes this month.
South of First, there were no changes that I could see, except that The Drive Smoke Shop at 2064 is now open.
2277 (1 month), 2240 (19 months), 1801 (1 month), 1740 (5 months), and 1735 Commercial (1 month) are all still vacant.
1706 Commercial is also still vacant (3 months) with the Bubble Tea shop still not yet open. Around the corner at 1706 E. 1st, that too is vacant as the cupcake store has not yet re-opened there.
North of First, in Il Mercato Mall, the former Strawberry Bakery site is still vacant after 26 months. There are still offices for rent upstairs, too.
Nothing much has changed at 1608, the Libra Room. The place is still papered over and the Opening Soon signs are still there, but the fact is it has been closed now for 7 months. However, upstairs, some of the apartments look like they are now tenanted. The Roma at 1510 is also still closed, after 4 months, with Opening Soon signs garlanding the windows but no other signs of life.
The Charlatan bar at 1447 Commercial is closed, too, but this is for renovations and they will be back open “in the spring”.
Across the street, there is a lot of activity. The former Bikes On the Drive double storefront at 1376 (vacant 2 months) is being completely rebuilt inside.
So too is the Pagoda at 1408: after sitting idle for 7 months, workman are hammering away inside and I saw new appliances being delivered today — a hopeful sign.
The small store next to Renzo’s Cafe at 1303 Commercial is vacant (5 months).
Having only opened in August, the ramen restaurant at 1179 is closed once again, but signs are hopeful they will “open soon” (seems to be this month’s refrain!)
The REACH rebuild in the 1100-block is moving ahead steadily. They had the back lane closed off this morning for some heavy-duty work.
At the northern end of the Drive, 1104 (34 months), 952 (6 months), and 902 Commercial (22 months) are all still vacant. With regard to 1104, I called the agent and he tells me they are looking for $4,000 a month for that tiny store. When I suggested that might be why it had been vacant so long, he gave me the telephone equivalent of a shrug.
Finally — after all these vacant notices — I want to say that at least five businesses have “Help Wanted” signs in their windows which must be good news.
Previous Changes on the Drive editions are here.