Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Whither our empty storefronts?

Neighborhood's retail vibrancy takes some hits

Those who care about the longterm health of Madison Park's business district no doubt shudder when contemplating the possibility that any more retail spaces might go the sad way of our community's notorious Black Hole---that tumble-down, two-out-of-three-shops-empty building at the very heart of what old-timers here term "The Village:"

The departure of Tully's, Best Buds, and Mad Pizza have each resulted in unfilled spaces that are definite detractors to neighborhood ambiance. Meanwhile, the recent exit of the Aegis sales office in the Villa Marina building on 43rd creates another retail space that could (but we understand won't) go begging.

As previously reported, a HomeStreet Bank branch will ultimately be replacing Tully's; and however one might feel about Madison Park as a banking hub, having another bank inserted into our midst at least gives us the advantage of swapping a boarded-up, hangdog building  for a newly refurbished one.

But the former Mad Pizza location (shown at the top) and original Best Buds site (above) are certainly looking a bit forlorn these days (or even perhaps vandalized, in the case of the latter).  The Mad Pizza space is in the building that also houses Marshall's Cleaners, whose owners, we understand, are also the landlords.  If the newly empty space is being marketed, however, it is not evidenced by any "for lease" signs; and the former fast-food store's interior is something less than market ready.  Our attempts to get a comment from the building's owners was not met with immediate success.

Down the street, Best Buds moved out of its one-time-travel-office location on E. Blaine and into the basement of Cafe Parco last summer. Though several parties have apparently expressed interest in the old space, no deal has apparently been struck. The most recent rumor we heard involved a taco stand.  (Cafe Parco, incidentally, reclaimed its downstairs space for use as a dining room when Best Buds closed shop last month.)

That leaves us with the former Aegis office space, where we can report some good news. We've learned that coming soon to this location will be an infrared sauna and deep massage therapy center (or something along those lines).  More on this later.


  1. If your comment about vandalism is about the phone booth fear not. The door is being repaired.

    Jim Haagan

  2. Though the empty storefronts are disconcerting, I have faith that they will be occupied sooner rather than later given the overall attractiveness the neighborhood still retains and its heavy constant foot traffic.

    PS:Thanks for the poignant post as always Mr Tagas!

  3. Ummm..."the Village" is not a term used by old-time residents. It is a silly marketing term coined by one of the many decidedly non old-timer real estate agents who realize that Madison Park is rapidly losing any actual charm.

  4. Neighborhoods cannot be sustained by banks, spas and upscale restaurants alone. The Madison Park business area does indeed look worse than it has in years. One clear great improvement however: best set of draft beers in the area at Bings!

  5. Mad PIzza is trying to sell their entire business as well as trying to sell their remaining 2.5 year lease on Madison can check it out on craigslist


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