No Steps Forward, One Step Back for Washington Avenue

Okay, we promise. This is our last post on Washington Avenue for awhile.

We keep telling you about possible game changing projects for the west side of Washington Avenue. Mixed-use buildings are planned for 16th & Washington and 24th & Washington. MSC Retail is touting the possibilities of an entertainment venue at 23rd & Washington. We've even heard rumblings about the northwest corner of Broad & Washington. These plans dovetail with the smaller bits of good news that have actually come to pass, like Kermit's Bake Shoppe, a crossfit gym, and NextFab Studios.

But it's not all peaches and cream for Washington Avenue. One particularly unfortunate item is the storage facility on the horizon for 23rd & Washington. It seems it's definitely coming, but it hasn't happened yet so there's at least some hope it won't. No such luck for two new businesses that have already opened on the 1900 block.

1900 block of Washington Ave.

In the last couple of weeks, an auto shop and a beauty supply store have opened their doors. This is possible, of course, because Washington Avenue is still zoned for industrial uses.

New auto place

The place to go to stock your beauty salon

Neither of these businesses are disastrous for Washington Avenue but they're definitely more in line with its recent history and less in sync with our vision for its future. Unfortunately, the mixed-use plans for various parcels are still just plans, and haven't come to fruition as of yet. We'd have to imagine that once any of those projects actually get built, the commercial atmosphere on Washington Avenue will take a turn. Of course, plans for restriping the entire stretch from river to river to make it friendlier for pedestrians and cyclists should help too. It's true that Washington Avenue has a bright future, but its present is still a mixed bag- at least until one or more of the big projects on the boards start making hay.