Thursday, May 1, 2008

Sad story from Portland: long-time Hawthorne business closes to be replaced by...condo parking. Ugh.

There have been rumors for a while, but now it looks like it's official: long time Hawthorne resident Bowers Bakery is closing because the landlord wants to tear down the building and turn it into a parking lot for fancy condos he's building above Noah's bagels. As you can see below, the building also houses FuJin restaurant and Chez Machin, a decent crepe place. Presumably they would get the heave as well.

None of these three are among Portland's elite restaurants, but they are familiar and welcome faces to residents of the neighborhood: my wife and I ate our first meal in Portland at FuJin, wolfing down a plate of their legendary crispy eggplant as we took a moment's rest from our hectic apartment hunting.

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How distasteful is the idea that something like this could be torn down to provide parking for idiots who will move into fancy condos above a bagel store? It's such a typical sequence of events: the dedicated businesspeople who toil for years and make an area "hip" are pushed out by landlords willing to ruin the entire feel of an area just so they can make a quick buck. Lame.

It also creates an interesting conflict between the city's desire for walkable neighborhoods with the city's desire for increased density. Of course, the apartments now above Noah's will be converted into condos, so it's not like the area is going to become more dense. So, will the city just let a building be razed to build parking? I certainly hope not.