Monday, August 1, 2011

Uwajimaya using the economy loophole ends Old Town store

There is nothing surprising about this decision. A good indication that it was a project in jeopardy is that it appeared that the project would end had PDC moved its headquarters out of Old Town. Fortunately, the state of the economy provided a convenient exit strategy.

One wonders how they came to considering such a project in the first place. A store of this quality locating in Old town - fish out of water. Grocery stores of any size don't build new stores in areas where residents are nearly non-existent. See my post on South Waterfront grocery store.

By all accounts Uwajimaya is a relatively high end Asian grocery store. Despite the Chinatown designation - Old Town has virtually no Asian population. And, the extant Old Town population is nearly all low income, many zero. Few have anything more than disposable income and almost none with discretionary income.

See my post that originated March 2008. There I provided some history of Uwajimaya and questioned its viability in Old Town.

The fact that the project included high end apartments did not make the project anymore viable. There would not have been enough residents to support the store. And, of course we would be remiss not to mention that the project was to sit in the middle of the Old Town drug market.

This was another project where the developers attempt to avoid financial risk by having the public assume it. This full block property is owned by David Gold. He and his associates also own nearly all of the adjacent block containing the Grove Hotel. Think youth hostel.

'Private development at your expense' ought to be the PDC motto. It fits - don't you think?