Project submitted by ERW Design
Project designed for Elysian Valley
Project Summary and Scale
This project re-visions the existing mixed use character of Blake Avenue, from Newell Street to Eads Street, into a neighborhood-scaled, walkable retail and market district supporting local business opportunities.
Why are you committed to this project?
The development of a needed retail district in the heart of Elysian Valley supports neighborhood stability and economic growth while maintaining the neighborhood scale, flavor, and identity.
What are the most relevant characteristics of project site and scale?
The small town character of Elysian Valley will be enhanced by introducing an eight block retail zone along the industrial, east side of Blake Avenue. This area is well suited for locally based economic growth. The area is easily accessible from Riverside Drive, and zoned for industrial/commercial use. We propose designating a retail zone for a depth of 50 feet on the east side the avenue, leasing retail spaces to small businesses and community programs.
Describe how this project will reinforce a sense of place or enhance the built environment.
Retail projects in the Blake Avenue Market District will enhance Elysian Valley's small town feel, promote local businesses, and provide direct community benefit. Proposed design guidelines would outline opportunities to modify the existing facades and street scapes, while maintaining needed industrial activities and services. Design guidelines might include increased window areas, canopies and awnings, and increased fence setbacks. Street amenities might include widened sidewalks, tree plantings, limited street parking, and neighborhood signage.
Provide a description of the project's necessary planning activities.
Adaptive reuse of the street frontage properties will require active buy-in of the economic development NELA partners, as well as community support. A pro forma outline of the financial benefits of the Blake Street Market district needs to be developed. Low-interest rate loans should be made available to start-up neighborhood businesses that can demonstrate their benefit to the built environment and social character of the neighborhood.
What is a rough estimate of your project budget?
A tax incentive program will encourage property owners to seek retail opportunities. The primary costs of the development will be staff support to develop the program. NELA should budget approximately 20 hours per week of staff time for implementation and administration of the Market District.
How does this project leverage existing resources and efforts?
This project leverages current Blake Avenue real estate. A new Market District will increase current property owner's assets by opening up the possibility for more diverse leasing opportunities, while maintaining the much needed Elysian Valley businesses.
What community need is your project serving?
The Blake Avenue Market District will create an economic anchor for the Elysian Valley community. New job opportunities in the Market Street District give priority to economically disadvantaged community members. Retail opportunity projects are geared to promote equity and local opportunity, reflect community goals, and provide direct community benefit. Market District projects and activities are designed as incentive programs supporting local businesses and services. Promote the retention of local businesses and services. Support the procurement of goods and services from locally-based businesses and organizations.
If your project is realized, what does success look like?
This project will be successful when small, locally owned stores are thriving. This project will be successful when trees are planted, and casual gathering pockets are developed. This project will be successful when Elysian Valley residents say "This is our Main Street."