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Bringing Life to a Suburban Corner

October 24, 2005 Local Business, Planning & Design, Travel 1 Comment


This weekend I was reviewing pictures from previous trips to Seattle and ran across images of a project I spotted on a 2002 visit. I found it quite interesting at the time and think we could do well to employ such thinking on more than a few corners in our region.

This Tully’s Coffee location is located in suburban Seattle (map). From this view you can see how it conforms to the sidewalk which includes right turn lanes typical of suburban streets. But pedestrians do exist in the area.


From the main street you can see the building is not very large but is well detailed. It creates a sense of place at the corner of an intersection that needed it. Street trees and outdoor seating make this a pleasant place.

You’ll never guess what it is in front of.



Yes, this small Tully’s Coffee location is in front of a typical corner Walgreen’s store. It includes entrances facing the corner as well as the Walgreen’s. I can envision people stopping at Walgreen’s to pick up something and deciding to run in for a latte. Conversely someone might stop for a coffee and realize they needed a few things they can pick up at Walgreen’s. It is a win-win for both retailers and the community.

I’m not a fan of Walgreen’s — they seem to procreate more quickly than rabbits. Throughout our region we have many stores identical to this one in Seattle. With so many existing and likely more on the way we should give serious consideration to such a concept.

It doesn’t have to be a coffeehouse at the corner. Could be a small restaurant like a Subway (or a locally owned equivalent). The idea is to begin placing buildings at the sidewalk line to make our cities more pedestrian friendly.

– Steve


Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. Michael says:

    The wicked thing about little buildings like this one is that their proliferation would clearly upstage the big boxes next to which they sit. This Tully’s wonderful siting and scale make the Walgreens look like a heap of garbage.

    [REPLY – Michael you’d be surprised, my reaction was slightly different. The Tully’s does upstage with the Walgreen’s without hiding it entirely – they’d never allow it otherwise. I found that the Tully’s actually improved my perspective of the Walgreen’s, not focusing on its garbage architecture. – SLP]


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