Thursday, March 14, 2013

The right kind of sidewalk clutter.

My latest post--a short one (for me at least)--is now up at Urban Indy.  It focuses on the Mozzo, a newly completed multifamily residential development in the Sacred Heart neighborhood, fronting the increasingly active Virginia Avenue commercial corridor.

By and large it's a satisfactory building, with a massing that befits the old neighborhood just a mile southeast of Indy's Monument Circle.  While in the long run, I wish it had more retail, the fact remains that the density downtown is probably not yet there to support it--several other recently completed developments have also struggled to find first-floor retail tenants.

My focus, however, is on the one 1,700 sf pocket of retail in the corner of the Mozzo's first floor.
It does not yet have a tenant, but the promotional screen in the window claims to offer outdoor seating.  After looking around the area, I can only help but ask, "How?"  The sidewalk to the left of the above photo (fronting local road Merrill Street) is conventional width for this neighborhood, and has a big utility pole sticking out of it.  The sidewalk to the right in that photo is the much more generous Cultural Trail, hosting both a pedestrian and bicycle component.  Generous as it may be, the Cultural Trail is not wide in order to host cafe-style seating.  The sign in the window is misleading, and my blog explores the broader implications of what this is saying about private sector perceptions of public space embodied by the Cultural Trail.  Comments as always are welcome.