With Bakery Square in full swing and Bakery Square II to get underway soon, I've been thinking about the strip mall in between Bakery Square and the bus-rapid transit line. The only things worth saving there are the Trader Joes and the other historic-looking structure at the other end of the shopping center at the corner of Penn Avenue and Liberty Blvd. The rest of it just screams anywhere suburbia. This use, in my opinion, has no purpose in a central urban area, especially in one like the East Liberty neighborhood. Especially with construction of the East Liberty Transit Center only a block away, demand for this land will skyrocket.
I envision something that should connect seamlessly with Bakery Square One and Two. Generally, I foresee a mix of residential, office, and retail in this phase comprised of a series of buildings roughly 4 to 6 stories tall. Initially I considered a hotel, but I swapped it out in favor of more residential space. I have structured parking along with ground-level retail in the rear of this building. I have a public square in between the Trader Joe's and the proposed residential building.
The street grid I have in place will essentially provide a continuous traffic flow to other parts of the area. Proximity to the new transit center will make this development especially viable. Other overall goals and objectives this will accomplish include:
- Improving pedestrian activity through a mixture of uses
- Improving utilization of the East Busway due to its proximity to the East Liberty Transit Center.
- Increasing and promoting transit use
- Expansion of East Liberty's "downtown."
The above image was created using Google Earth. Bakery Square One is in the lower right corner of this image, and the new two-story Target is in the upper left corner, with the Norfolk Southern Line and East Busway top center, providing a boundary to my proposal/suggestion.