About a year and a half ago, we wondered about all the retail vacancies on the first floor of Abbott's Square, ultimately learning about a plan for a 20K sqft Garden of Eden grocery store at the corner 2nd & South. Garden of Eden is a small New York based gourmet grocery chain and would have consolidated about half a dozen retail spaces into one while providing the neighborhood with a great new amenity. But we've heard rumors for months that the deal is off. Currently, the space that was slated to become Garden of Eden is just raw space.
We're holding out hope that the Garden of Eden is just delayed and will still happen, but we're not too optimistic. While it waits for the market or some other new tenant, Abbott's Square still has a ton of retail vacancy. To perhaps soften the blow, the building is participating in something called the Window Mural Project, with funding from the Knight Foundation. Artists Buck & Eagle have painted wintery images onto the windows of the empty commercial spaces, distracting passersby from the fact that almost all the active retail on the block is happening on the south side of the street. Check it out.
We're all about this new street art, and it's certainly better than brown paper covering all the windows. But it really only works if it's a temporary placeholder, covering the windows until one or several tenants start construction here. These snowy scenes are gonna look really weird if they're still in place in July. Let's hope that, by then, we have some more clarity on the future for these commercial spaces.