Scoops is exactly the kind of business you wish you had around the corner from your house. It's got delicious ice cream and snacks, low prices, and the owners have been in the neighborhood forever. With their building at 812 E. Thompson St. selling last year though, it could be the end of the line for this neighborhood business.
The building sold because it's got a larger footprint than you might expect, with five parking garages located on the other side of the property. Though Scoops has become an important place in the neighborhood, it's easy to argue that the building is significantly underused and a three story structure would make much more sense here.
The new owners agree that the property is underused and as such they're looking to demolish the existing building and replace it with a mixed-use building with five apartments and retail on the first floor. This proposal led to several refusals, including for open space and density, according to a story from the Star. Predictably, at the community meeting, the project faced backlash because of a lack of parking. And to a certain extent, we can appreciate the community concerns about five units at this location- maybe four would have been enough density? Worth mentioning though, the developer has promised to allow whatever tenant takes over the retail space to have it rent-free. The owners of Scoops are considering the possibility, but according to Fishtown.us, they're leaning toward retirement.
The community narrowly came out in support of the project, by a vote of 27-26, with near neighbors opposing by a vote of 14-12. Despite the slim margin, the ZBA approved the variance earlier this week and we would expect that construction will started within the next few months. We suspect that Scoops will get one more spring to serve their wares but might be closed by the summer, if construction proceeds without any delays. Assuming that the owners of Scoops indeed wish to retire, what kind of business would you like to see here? Another ice cream shop, perhaps? Or something different?