by Michael R. Allen
Residents of the Georgian Condominiums at City Hospital report that Koman Properties unveiled plans for the new Walgreens on Lafayette Avenuye last Thursday night at the residents’ meeting. The store will come up to sidewalk on Lafayette, with a corner entrance at the northeast leading both to the street and a parking lot to the east. The front of the building will be designed to appear as a two-story Georgian Revival commercial building. Walgreens won’t release plans for “unique” stores like this one, so we don’t have any images of the store.
The store’s parking lot will connect to an access road leading eastward to 14th Street. There are no immediate plans to build out the rest of the proposed retail development on Bohemian Hill. While the Walgreens will be fairly urban, Gilded Age says that they can find no grocery store willing to locate in a store built up to the sidewalk line on Lafayette. The developers should keep looking and wait for the credit crisis to diminish — there are plenty of chains, including Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, that have built urban stores without parking in front. If Walgreens can do it, so can others.
The Bohemian Hill retail development remains a great case for a form-based zoning code. There would be no doubt that the site plan would be appropriate for the location if the zoning mandated urban placement. Retailers wouldn’t be able to drive a hard bargain for parking in front if they were constrained by zoning laws.