Some Construction Finished, Some More Now Happening on the 1700 Block of Cecil B

A few months ago, we told you about two “mixed-use” buildings under construction on the 1700 block of Cecil B. Revisiting the location last week, we saw that these two buildings have apparently been finished.

In August
Current view

As can can possibly see in the photo above, the three vacant lots in between the now-completed buildings recently became construction sites themselves. Foundations have been poured here, and framing has begun. Looking at the L&I Map, it seems that the buildings that will rise here will resemble the westernmost new structure, rising four stories and containing four apartments and a “commercial space.”

Framing recently got started

You may have noticed, we’ve referred to the mixed-use nature of the buildings in quotes and did the same when speaking of the commercial spaces included in these buildings. Though both buildings purport to have first floor commercial, you can see pretty clearly that neither one offers a legitimate retail space. We don’t know the sizes of the commercial spaces in these buildings, nor do we know exactly what they’ll look like in the buildings to come, but it’s clear that the existing spaces at least are not set up for viable retail businesses.

Obviously, location is key for the success of any business in the city, but street frontage is also crucial. And these buildings offer tiny windows in the front rather than legitimate storefronts that could entice customers to come in. Offices offer the best possible use in this kind of space, but that doesn’t really keep with the traditional retail nature of Cecil B. Moore Avenue. Unfortunately, retail on this stretch seems to be a really tough sell, and most developers in the area aren’t looking to take on that kind of risk. Hopefully, at least the corners of Cecil B. will be able to maintain retail spaces moving forward, though some have unfortunately already been converted to 100% residential.

For example, 19th and Cecil B