The 18th & Vine Jazz Distric is set to celebrate more than $3 million in completed and planned improvements to the area tomorrow morning. The planned and finished improvements consist of:
1) A surface parking lot at the corner of 18th and Paseo that is already complete. It is a wonderful parking lot and all, but I am fearful when we are celebrating the "construction" of surface parking.
2) A new patio at the corner of 18th and The Paseo. I'm not sure if this is a separate use for the surface parking lot or a different use of concrete. My guess would be that this is going in next to the now vacant former home of the Peach Tree Restaurant.
3) A rooftop billboard, er sign, to distinguish the Jazz District.
4) $1.6 million in retail space renovations.
Hey, I will say I'm one of the biggest champions of the Jazz District there is, but one of the biggest things holding the area back is maintaining the businesses and retail that are already there. Outside of the Blue Room, which has some of the best Jazz played in the city, most of the other places have either failed or moved on to greener pastures. The Red Vine restaurant was great, but suffered from high rents for the amount of traffic they were getting and eventually folded. The Peach Tree did wonderfully, but is in the process of moving to the Power & Light District. I'm hopeful that Harpers and the Jazz Haus will hold on and do well.
Many of the developers here would do well to lower some of the rents in order to fill up the retail/restaurant spaces....or make the rents available on a commission of sales basis. When the Red Vine closed, they were getting charged $5,000 a month rent on the space they occupied. The district is struggling to bring in a mass number of visitors to make the retail/restaurants more viable. However, many people shy away from the area because the few number of places to go makes the area seem less viable. Lowering some of the rents to keep places in business would be great for the area -- and a lower amount of rent is still more than the $0 they made off of the space for 2 years while the space sat empty.
Let's use some common sense when redeveloping some of these east-side locations...and not let the greedy developers charge such astronomical rents that the places can't succeed. Successful businesses in the 18th & Vine District would be something to get excited about...much more so than surface parking lots and illegal billboards. Maybe the refurbished retail space will get some businesses going...let's hope.