Friday, January 8, 2010

Hawthorne update

Drove by the now empty lot on Hawthorne where the Daily Grind used to be. I'm happy to report that it will not be a condo tower. There is some signage on the chain link fencing indicating that New Seasons will build a grocery store there.

OK, this is kinda crazy. It was an independent hippie grocery store and it's being replaced by a chain hippie grocery store. Hmmm.... AND, it's just a few blocks from a Fred Meyer. I guess I don't need to know how these things work. At least it's New Seasons, which is a pretty good small chain. They treat their employees well and the prices are not as astronomical as that other chain ~ Whole Foods, also called Whole Paycheck because that's how much you can spend if you shop there.

Oh, and speaking of Whole Foods, I just had a thought. It might be built on the model of the Whole Foods that is going in on Sandy Boulevard in the Hollywood District. Massive, upscale, expensive grocery store on the bottom (and a bank), with condos above.

We shall see!


  1. e - i have been thinking about this article for a day now. i remember being in holland, one of the most densely populated european countries and traveling by train through acres of farmland. how did the dutch manage it, i wondered?

    well, they made all of their small towns and villages vertical. there were no suburbs and every town or city was hopin', because were enough people living closely together to maintain things like libraries, restaurants and the like in very close proximity to where people live. and you could always hope on a train (station centrally located, of course) and be in amsterdam in less than a half an hour (or a bike on their own bike freeway system!).

    so, i don't think i would mind a whole foods on the bottom of a condo if it meant less suburbs, and more green space.

    i also just read an article about the owner of whole foods. he is whack, but in an interesting way. he is a vegan (but needs to sell meat and poultry to stay in business and is doing his best to make sure the animals he sells have lived a somewhat descent life). he is anti-union, but provides some of the highest wages and benefits in the food biz. i am not really defending him, but he seemed to have a bit of a heart (usually unknown in the capitalist biz scene).

  2. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for increased density in the city. Absolutely. The urban growth boundary is a wonderful thing and should rarely be pushed further out. I would much rather see condos stacked on top of grocery stores than ugly mcmansions in former farmland.

    My objection is more aesthetic. The last condo project on upper Hawthorne is... uninspired, at least. The Whole Foods in Hollywood is much more interesting visually. Also, look at the Hollywood branch library ~ four floors of apartments sitting on top. These are good ideas. *As I am writing this, T just called. She is driving past Whole Foods and there is a line around the block for their grand opening. It's 8:25am. Synchronicity!*

    Also, as your friend Hannah the architect, commented on your blog, there is an unwillingness to incorporate the natural world with the constructed. Even here in the 'State of Nature', as my brother used to call Oregon, we don't have any examples of vertical parks, or even very many roof gardens. Oddly (to me) the exception is parking garages. They often include planting beds and frames for vines. Look at the airport parking structure, and there are several downtown. I know you haven't been to the waterfront offices of your former employer, but the tunnel into the parking garage is covered with live plants. Is the purpose to capture fouled air and trap it in plant cells? Or do they intend to soften the face of automotive enslavement? Who knows.

    I have written about the rush to condo-ize in a previous blog... the real estate crash has, at least, slowed down the wholesale conversion of apartments to condos. But, that's a whole 'nother post! Thanks for the commentary!