Back in 2007, you may remember that the short nondescript building that stands at the corner of 4th and Broadway (NE corner) caught on fire in the wee hours of the night. For over 5 years since the fire, the tattered structure has stood empty surrounded by scaffolds waiting for the right time to be redeveloped. Could we be close to seeing some development activity as momentum is gaining on Broadway after both Umamicatessen and Famima have recently opened?
I spoke to a rep at Sassony Group (the owners of the building) who informed me of some exciting changes that are coming soon. Within a year, Sassony Group plans to demolish the building that’s currently there at 4th/Broadway and replace it with a new one, dubbed simply The Broadway Mall, that will be aimed at bringing back “upscale shopping and dining” to Broadway. The shopping center will “feature 42,000 square feet of retail space” and a “25,000 square foot Rooftop Entertainment Sky Park featuring a pedestrian friendly Passage, Artwork Display & Kiosks.”
The plans are still in their preliminary stages and with a build-to-suit option of up to 30,000 square feet, you could theoretically have a grocery store on the ground floor. A Fresh & Easy would seem like the most likely possibility if that were to happen today.
Although the design of the Broadway Mall is preliminary, I am still concerned about its design based on the rendering provided. It just seems like the design is trying too hard to “match” historic aesthetics on Broadway that make it look contrived and fake (like The Grove, etc). I understand that Broadway is a historic street, but modern designs can be executed well and respectful of their neighbors. Design for today instead of mocking the old. Cities like New York, Chicago, London, or Montreal all do fantastic jobs incorporating new buildings with old buildings harmoniously, giving the cities a sense of “living evolution” that could not happen if they all pretended to be stuck in the past.