Comment 39077

By seancb (registered) - website | Posted March 24, 2010 at 08:58:27

This statement is sad:

For Chichakian, it was a property speculation in a nascent artsy neighbourhood and its attendant coolness factor.

Also, I am a bit fearful of this:

Chichakian's grand scheme is to help create a new bar district in town.

Not that one person can single-handedly create a "bar district" (well, not without a LOT of money), but I just hope the underlying push is not for a string of bars side by side akin to Hess Village. That's OK for a place like Hess or even Augusta, where we aren't talking about street level retail space. James needs to continue moving toward becoming a mixed-use extravaganza. It's close but not there yet. What's great about the gallery "scene" is that they are scattered along the street, not all clumped into a single-use destination, and they co exist with all sorts of other businesses and residential units.

Unfortunately, prematurely inflating the property values (by hyping them as in this article) will only prevent the mixed uses from moving into the area, meaning the spaces will only ever be filled either by those who have been there forever, or those who can turn a higher profit in the short term - such as nightclubs. If a "bar district" and "property speculation" put James north onto this path, the ma's & pa's, young entrepreneurs, and smaller profit small businesses will be shut out, and James will no longer be an interesting destination...

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