In urban design and commercial real estate, there's this idea of the "one-hundred-percent corner". The most prominent spot in a neighborhood center.
In Columbia City, I think that's the Toby Building (this isn't its most flattering picture, but you know it).
It has a storied history as a neighborhood anchor. It has all the stature, solidity and permanence of the landmark district. Its assertive corner bay is a focal point, as if to say, "Here you are, welcome to our crossroads".
Thing is, I've never thought the ground floor space lived up to its 100% calling. For years, it's been home to the Technology Access Foundation, a well-recognized local nonprofit focused on students of color. TAF seems like a great program — I just think this institution would have been better located in a second story or on a side street. In any case, TAF has now moved a few blocks north to Genesee.
The building is owned by Pioneer Human Services, and they provide 27 units of affordable, transitional apartments in the two floors above. Pioneer believes that "every individual has untapped potential and, given the chance for change, can become a contributing member of our community." I sure hope they apply this same thinking to this drowsy storefront.
TAF gave its notice ages ago, and the space is vacant now. So I'm hoping there are some active proposals in the works. Apart from Jesse's CCCC/LLL idea, what other options are out there?