A few years back one of our partners approached us about buying a building with him. At the time, this single level retail building at the southwest corner of University Way and Northeast 42nd was totally dilapidated — original 50 year + photography tenant, a sort of quasi-pornographic comic book/gothy guy, and Johnny’s Flowers, which had a great business in a bit of a quirky space. This is what it looked in 1937 (above), and when we closed in 2003:
This was at a time when Starbucks was still expanding, and their only “Ave” store was mid-block, up between 47th and 50th. Not a great spot and they wanted something more prominent. Starbucks likes the corners, and this corner at 42nd is a block from the main pedestrian entrance to the University of Washington. One problem was that Johnny’s had a lease on the corner, but it was coming up for renewal. We managed to get them to move one space south, on the Ave but not on the corner, by rebuilding their space and putting in a fancy new flower refrigerator:
Now with the corner cleared, we had room for our anchor tenant, Starbucks. With that high draw retailer in place, Taco Del Mar was willing to take the side street frontage, knowing that there would be plenty of traffic drawn to the building by Starbucks!
So here it is after the remodeling (which was far more extensive than we’d predicted). And now, four years later, all three tenants are thriving:
If you haven’t been to the Ave lately, visit this south section! After coffee and a wrap at TDM, you can try the Thai place a few doors south, plus the Big Time Brewery for microbrews and pub fare, or across the street, Schultze’s Sausage — where you can also tip one back.