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St. Louis’ Cherokee Street developing organically

February 23, 2010 Cherokee Business District, Retail, South City 41 Comments
ABOVE: STYLEhouse (STL-Style), Fort Gondo & Tower Taco.

I recently attended an evening open house on Cherokee Street.  Not the blocks immediately East or West of Jefferson, but on the block East of Compton (aerial of Cherokee & Compton).  Slowly and organically storefronts along Cherokee Street have been filled by various businesses.

Pictured above is local garment company STYLEhouse (advertiser STL-Style), gallery Fort Gondo (compound for the arts) and restaurant Tower Tacos.   Across the street snowflake/citystock was hosting an event as well. To the West is a new independent bookstore,  The Archive.  See Dotage St. Louis for a list of independent bookstores in the City of St. Louis. All Along Press was on this block but they recently moved East on Cherokee Street.

What is great about Cherokee is that the rebirth is very organic.  There was no grandiose plan, no multi-block project.   Building by building the area is coming back.  Collaboration among the individuals and entities has been important but that is different than a big physical project.  In places where you have strong urban context intact all you need are measures to ensure the urban/walkable building fabric remains — no razing a block for a drive-thru.  In those parts of the city what the urban fabric has already been lost you need good form-based codes to guide new construction so you eventually end up with good walls along the streets.  With good zoning in place, the infill can also happen organically over time.

Whenever you have the transformation of a street or neighborhood one word often comes up: gentrification.   As it happens, gentrification is the discussion topic for the March 4th City Affair to be held at STYLEhouse (STL-Style) on Cherokee:  CITY AFFAIR XIV: GENTRIFICATION.

– Steve Patterson


Currently there are "41 comments" on this Article:

  1. evad says:

    Hi Steve. All Along Press is still on the block, they just moved next door in the old Tin Ceiling Theater space.
    Also, that area is currently being dubbed (tongue firmly planted in cheek) WEMO – Cherokee West of Minnesota. WHich is funny and all, until one realizes that then you have to call east of Minnesota, EMO, which is indeed gentrifying.

    • rvstl says:

      ^All Along Press moved very briefly to the old Tin Ceiling space, but have since moved yet again, this time to the old Proper Shoe space in the 2700 block of Cherokee.

      Great post! This is a very exciting time for Cherokee. It is quickly becoming a popular place to hang out, yet it retains its gritty flavor and doesn't feel sanitiized for the masses.

  2. Double J says:

    I walked along Cherokee Street on Saturday afternoon and it was such a great experience. Nothing like getting a strawberry empanada and a lime soda from Diana's Bakery and taking in the great weather and this great street. While not in the area you discussed, Foam is a great coffee shop that sells beer on draft too at the corner of Cherokee and Jefferson.

    • The diversity of businesses is impressive, much better than having a theme such as antiques on the East side of Jefferson. Thankfully that stretch of Cherokee is getting away from that theme.

  3. I appreciate the recent diversity of Cherokee Street, but I cannot stress the importance of keeping Latino business owners on this street and actually getting more of them to reside in the neighborhood. In truth Latinos do not comprise a significant enough population in the neighborhoods surrounding Cherokee Street. Projections indicate that whites will be the minority by 2050. Beyond the need to position our City competitively for population growth, we must do everything to promote minority business expansion given they make the initial investments in these areas largely before whites. Through the International Institute, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Cherokee Street Incubator, and the Business Association, the City should take every effort at promoting Latino business and residential growth on and around this street. I think it's an injustice to see them move out for whatever reason, especially when they provided the groundwork for the progress we see today. Anecdotally I was very upset when the African American barber shop closed in the Loop at the corner of Skinker and Delmar. In 10 years I don't want to see Latino business owners leaving this commercial district. While more investment is needed on Cherokee Street, we need to keep it more brown than white. We can only look at the Hill for an example of how ethnic neighborhoods contribute to our City's unique identity. I only wish we still had Hop Alley, instead of “Chinatown” being located in strip malls on Olive that white people abandoned. In reality we have plenty of vacant buildings in the City to accommodate everyone. As such we must be sensitive to issues of ownership and not exclude entrepreneurs that made Cherokee Street the favorite for many.

    In 2004, before I lived in the City, one of my ex-girlfriends, now living in Wentzville, was outright scared by simply driving down this street during broad daylight. Obviously due to the number of Latinos walking around. I would be horrified to find, in 10 years, Cherokee Street's sidewalks populated with West County white ex-pats with a diminished Latino presence. Existing businesses of all backgrounds should reinforce partnerships ensuring this remains a haven for minority opportunity especially ensuring the exclusion of chains, which only devalue the Cherokee Street's unique sense of place.

    Lets ensure the area remains “unattractive” to certain people and let them patronize former Streetside Record's Chipotle in the Loop rather than change Cherokee Street from what makes it one of the most distinctive and important areas in our region: the only walkable Latino commercial district I can reference in our City.

    • jeff says:

      I agree with Doug – change is bad.

    • If you look at Cherokee from Broadway on the East to Gravois on the West there is plenty of room for all. I agree it would be great if the concentration of Latino businesses on a few blocks of the total length stay put. Hopefully they have a strong ownership interest on property on the street.

    • Bryan Walsh says:

      I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Duckworth. The diversity of people and businesses on and around Cherokee is exactly why I love it!

    • jeff says:

      If you force diversity, that's not very organic, now is it? Is Doug's horror at seeing an all-white street any less reactionary than his friend's horror at seeing a latino street? Both are pretty immature and naive reactions. But I've read Doug's histrionics for long enough to not be shocked at his one-note tune.

      Doug implies that the latino owners or the latino businesses on Cheroke do not live in the area. We may want to ask why? It's certainly not because they have been forced out by gentrification (the are is not close to being credibily accused of being gentrified). Maybe it's the poor housing stock? Maybe it's a perception of high crime? I don't know.

      Wouldn't it be great if that stretch got so popular – orgainically – that every empty storefront was filled? And then competition for the best corners increased rents? So that those that couldn't afford those prime corners moved to other abandoned streets and buildings and filled them? Regardless of the race of the business owners.

      According to Doug, that would be the worst outcome.

      To ensure that there are not more white-owned businesses than latino-owned businesses on Cherokee, we should say “no” to the next randy or jeff vines that wants to open a t-shirt shop or the next galen gondolfi that wants to open a gallery in a previously neglected building.

      • I don't think this is such a controversial position. Historically in our City ethnic groups had their own areas and the ones which remain largely in tact are highly valued. It's because they're scarce. It's because we can enjoy a different culture with minimal physical effort. This is what makes a City superior to most suburban areas.

        I didn't say I don't want the Vines brothers or Galen, with his 110 yards of wonderful chaos, investing on Cherokee Street. I very much enjoy what they do, their spaces, and their irreplaceable contributions to our City. I am not arguing that we “force” diversity. I said I want to retain this street as a predominately Latino commercial district. This means that politically efforts should be made at incorporating Latino business owners — bringing them to neighborhood association meetings, encouraging them to participate in our elections, encouraging those without citizenship to attain it, promoting more of them to live in the neighborhood (which crime does pose a barrier), while making every effort to convey that we support their investment in our City and want them to remain. I don't need to bring up the fact that Latinos today are the target of anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric which rival those espoused by nativists of the past such as the “Know Nothings.” Though as Henry Louis Gates, Jr. points out in his latest research “Faces of America,” that Eva Longoria, for example, has heritage claims on this continent which predate the Mayflower. Latinos, as with historically other immigrant groups, have every right to the benefits which we inherently enjoy, especially in this City, by simply being white. Ignoring economic concerns like increasing rent, take the reality of being excluded from the benefits of political incorporation, by being considered nearly as bad as a foreign terrorist, combine this with past actions on Cherokee Street, then potential changes down the road, and it's not hard to understand why Latinos might desire a place they are comfortable in and might define as being their own.

        I find this troubling they were the first group to invest on this street. Did the City take actions against the first downtown rehabbers when they invested absent everyone else (at least until some, Heller/McGowan, directly conflicted with Mayor Slay's Century Building Agenda)?

        I also find this inherently contradicting the historic role of Democratic political machine in our cities. Given projected population trends, they need to redefine their roles beyond serving what they define as their “base” if they wish to remain relevant. Or they could promote practices which stymie Latino investment and thus the City could lose out on potential future population increases.

        It seems that the current Business Association works together, however if you do some research, as I have, then it's apparent that practices occurred in the not too distant past which targeted Latinos specifically. Moving forward this should not occur. If every storefront was filled on Cherokee then I want a large amount of them to be Latino business owners. Maybe, to some, its not diverse for whites to be in the minority? I don't understand why promoting Latino empowerment comes at the exclusion of whites, especially those whites who call themselves “progressive” — who enjoy membership within the group which really controls everything in this City, State, and our United States. Progressives must acknowledge the need to preserve places in our City for minorities to flourish.

        While we no longer have practices like urban renewal, independent of McKee and McRee Town, this district could be subject to the slower forces of gentrification. If the majority of new investment comes not from Latinos then the likelihood of this outcome increases. I hope that we see more investment from those like the Vines brothers. Cherokee Street should define itself as the place to purchase or view indie art, cool St. Louis Themed T-Shirts, books, records, coffee, beer, baked goods, along with various Latino goods and services. But I personally will lose my affection for Cherokee Street if it progresses eventually into losing its identity as our only fledgling Latino commercial district. The day that West County transplants occupy the majority of the sidewalk I won't consider it the Cherokee Street which I instantly loved, that revealed to me what I was missing in the suburbs, and caught my interest enough to become the subject of my 40+ page undergraduate thesis. If this makes me I'm a communist, nazi, or nutjob then I'll enjoy that insanity along with my chorizo and the fact that I can't understand every pedestrian on the sidewalk.

        • Living nowhere near Doug says:

          If that's what you learned from college, I'd be asking for my money back.

        • Alissa Nelson says:

          The reason why ethnic enclaves in American cities were the norm through the 1960s is due to the onerous practice of redlining, by which immigrants and people of color were systematically excluded from other, more affluent, stable neighborhoods. While people do tend to live in neighborhoods where people like them live, to suggest that this should be actively encouraged makes me incredibly uncomfortable.

          I wholly believe in minority empowerment and engagement. The CSBA of today is the product of a whole lot of community organizing and agitation in the Latino community. However, I think that this means that people have the choice of where to locate their business and where to live, not government incentives for racial homogeneity.

          Incidentally, crime is far from the only problem with keeping people in the neighborhood. We have an utterly failing school system, and many young families are choosing to live in the county for the sake of a reasonable public education.

          • What? By the 1960s the Irish, Italians, and Germans were not excluded from anything? They held higher office like the Presidency.

            I'm not saying we should segregate Latinos on Cherokee Street. I'm saying they should be able to establish their own commercial district, strengthen their community, and if we promote this growth we will see even more future population growth for the City as the message spreads through their social networks that St. Louis is a pro-Latino City. Chicago, and the entire State of Illinois, has a pro-immigration policy. In Chicago the neighborhood of Pilsen became largely Mexican from displacement due to the construction of UIC by Richard J. Daley. Recently gentrification is changing that neighborhood. Many there are pressuring aldermen to keep its cultural identity.

            In this area whites left and Mexicans decided to move in on their own accord. They came here from other cities due to its affordability. I want that investment expanded. We can do this with policy. Latino contribution must remain an integral part of Cherokee's cultural fabric.

          • Alissa Nelson says:

            If you look at some of the original FHA redlining documents in the 1930s, any immigrant communities WERE seen as less desirable. And redlining was not formally outlawed until the Fair Housing Act of 1968, if I remember correctly.

            I still don't understand how you propose policy initiatives specifically targeting ethnic groups, which is illegal even if it is positive, rather than approaching things from an affordable housing angle. This is a problem in every single community facing gentrification, from Pilsen to Bedford-Stuyvesant to Silver Lake.

            I agree that the Latino community has made a very important contribution to the stabilization and appeal of Cherokee, and that engagement and cooperation is absolutely key to continued success. There is every incentive to move to Cherokee right now, business-wise: it's cheap, there is established success, and a spirit of cooperation. I fail to see how one can legislate any better.

          • Yes, but you didn't say the 1930's initially otherwise I would agree.

            How is it illegal for neighborhood associations or aldermen to take a pro-Latino stance and encourage their investment? It's most certainly not and this was the traditional role of political machines and later unions.

          • AmberDover says:

            Why not just take a pro-growth and community stance? Why focus on one group, and not all? I don't get it. No one is shutting anyone out, why not welcome all?

          • I'm not saying the City should shut out people like those who currently invest in Cherokee.

            To some degree this was occurring in the past with the Liquor ban and anti-Latino actions.

            I indicate why we should attract more Latino investment in my responses below.

          • the other jeff says:

            Doug, your comments are almost always race-based. You are certianly keenly aware of the differences amongst the races aren't you?

          • brickshire2000 says:

            Alissa is right about the 1968 Act. Twenty years after the Shelley v. Kraemer decision, which ruled that courts could not legally enforce race restrictive covenants in real estate transfers, the 1968 Act said that prohibited the discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, or country of origin.

            To clarify some confusion about chronology — the Home Owners Loan Corporation was the most influential housing agency in the country during the New Deal. Its racially defined real estate valuations left a legacy of racial segregation, popularly and scholarly referred to as de facto segregation.

            The HOLC was a New Deal era public-private partnership that sought to stem the collapse of the real estate market following the Depression. THe HOLC aimed to rescue both individual homeowners and support the largest banks that had vested interests in real estate. HOLC remade the standard of the home mortgage loan, which expanded home-ownership nationwide:
            – 30 year low interest loans
            – self-amortizing loans
            – fixed interest rates
            It was the property assessments following the first round of loans that contributed to the “de facto” pattern of segregation. Real-estate appraisers toured neighborhoods where loans had been issued and made property evaluations based not on the individual characteristics of the home or the credit of the buyer, but on the characteristics of the neighborhood. They measured property not only based on its undesirable proximity to industry, pollution, or railroads, and its desirable proximity to open space, clean air, pleasant topography, etc., but on its proximity to people of color. In essence, they asked “where is a 30 year loan going to be safe?”

            The HOLC determined that loans were not safe in neighborhoods that had any “infiltration of undesirables,” which mainly meant African Americans but also included Jewish and many eastern European groups. The FHA used these measurements of the HOLC and inserted them into the federal home-loaning policies. From my recollection, between 1934 and 1959, the FHA issued over 10 million home loans (about 1/3 of all home loans in the nation) and only 2% of those loans went to people of color. This was essentially a federally insured, federally funded movement of whites to the suburbs.

            Historian Kenneth Jackson exposed this in his seminal Crabgrass Frontier, 1985. A whole body of subsequent scholarship has emerged from it. The University of Chicago Press has a whole series – Historical Studies of Urban America – that helps explain many of our modern urban issues.

    • AmberDover says:

      As a resident of this area, as well as a new business owner on Cherokee I am not sure how I feel about this comment. I do know that it has been a topic of discussion that many of the Hispanic population that own businesses on Cherokee do not live in the neighborhood. I also know that a fair amount of the white business owners that have more recently opened do in fact live in the neighborhood, many of them in the same building as their business.
      What does this say? Well, I've been a resident longer than a business owner and I've been happy to see new business coming to Cherokee. I love the diversity as well, and I love the new shops opening. As a business owner, it can only help to have people wanting to be on the street for more than just a meal, but also browsing and taking in the whole atmosphere. It seems that a lot of the people concerned with gentrification in this area are not actually involved, or am I wrong? Are there commenting people on here that live and/or work in or around Cherokee Street? You can't force people to live near their place of business just for the sake of having “we need to keep it more brown than white” and for whatever reason business owners from some of the Hispanic stores do not live in the neighborhood, we can only speculate on shy this is, unless they are part of the discussion….it seems silly to turn it into some kind of academic discussion without input from parties that are involved…
      Also, if you want to go back a few years, we could go even a few more years and say that this neighborhood primarily was started by German Immigrants, which most likely were white. Where is the relevance?

      • I have spoken with some business owners and crime provides a barrier to residency. Besides addressing crime we could take pro-Latino policies. Not necessarily things like tax abatement downtown which disproportionally targets upper class whites. Some can be done in the bureaucracy while others can be done at neighborhood association level. Apparently the PD are doing a good job with immigrants, but I have not talked to anyone to get independent feedback.

        Whites left and Latinos move in. They provide one of the key reasons that newly arrived progressive whites decided to locate on Cherokee. Let's not lose that important attribute as the street develops.

    • JasonDeem says:

      Doug, I appreciate the work you do and your dedication to the city but I have to agree with Amber. This area was predominately German before it was hispanic. Would it have been appropriate to provide incentives that favor Germans over Bosnians or Latinos from moving in? Who says we can't all coexist? Look at some of the successful Latino businesses on the street and you'll see they are doing better than ever. Hector Medina has opened a restaurant in his grocery store and improved his storefront, Carlos Dominguez renovated his facade, added a patio, and is considering an additional expansion, Jose Garduno of Garduno's now operates a second business on the street, and La Vallesana (the taco stand) also added a second location in recent years.

      I love these businesses and patronize them multiple times a week but I don't think it's possible or appropriate for government to try and steer the cultural composition of an area. They have enough trouble keeping the street lights on. I believe a successful community should evolve and adapt organically to meet the needs of it's residents. Not the desires of someone who thinks a cultural destination should be mandated or created through incentives simply because it fits their idea of what city life should be. That approach will inevitably fail much like an attempt to brand an “antique district”. By embracing Latino businesses with our patronage, we can ensure they remain a vibrant part of the Cherokee community.

      Can you expand on your comment that “It seems that the current Business Association works together, however if you do some research, as I have, then it's apparent that practices occurred in the not too distant past which targeted Latinos specifically.” As someone who is intimately familiar with the CSBA (current treasurer and past president), I'd like to know more about what you're referring to. What specifically are these practices? I think you may have come across some biased information in your research.

      I would also be horrified to find the streets of Cherokee populated with West County ex-pats in 10 years but I think binge and purge, a few homeless people, and a strong community of unlike-minded people are enough to prevent that.

      • I don't think you or any members of the CSBA would support practices like these:


        And that's what the election was about.

        But I'm worried that eventually, a decade or so from now, that the preferences of some future newly arriving white business owners (not those who have recently chosen to invest), might not value the contributions of Latino business owners. Whether this be a chain or simply land owners who believe their property could attract higher dollar tenants, there's a serious chance of this occurring eventually. I realize this change is many years down the road, due to yes those like the homeless woman that keeps asking me for change to take the bus to Wentzville (no bus goes there), but if we take neutral or anti-Latino stances then the likelihood of this remaining a Latino enclave decreases. I think we should make every effort at promoting immigrants since our region and city have only seen population growth through immigrants. Ethnic neighborhoods and accompanying social networks are a part of that process. The bus was an important example of how the word can spread that St. Louis has a great Latino neighborhood and were friendly. Yet it's gone due to outright cultural bias. I don't want that to occur in the future.

        • JasonDeem says:

          Sorry I misread what you wrote and thought you were referring to the current CSBA. I agree, the opposition to the bus stopping on Cherokee was pretty ridiculous.

      • moorlander says:

        “I would also be horrified to find the streets of Cherokee populated with West County ex-pats in 10 years but I think binge and purge, a few homeless people, and a strong community of unlike-minded people are enough to prevent that.”

        I'm from west county visited Cherokee street twice last week.

        I took a group of out of towners to the Stable and then ate lunch at La Vellasana on Saturday and enjoyed the beautiful weather and beautiful view.

        I apologize for the roughly $200 we spent in your neighborhood.

        Prepare to be horrified because the entire family will be back next weekend for a birthday dinner at the Lemp Mansion.

    • I agree with you too.

  4. the other guy says:

    I am pro-gentrification. It encourages people to put money into their property as there is a chance they will get it back when it is sold.

    I live in Soulard, but I wouldn't live there if it weren't gentrified. By the stories I have heard, in the 70s, the buildings were in disrepair and run down. Rehabbers (gentrifiers) went in a fixed up the neighborhood and made it a better place to live. While some have an innate? pioneering spirit, others looked at it from an economic perspective, buy low and sell high.

    Gentrification does push out renters as the landlords can get higher rents than before, but I prefer it to the alternative.

  5. rvstl says:

    Looks like a vibrant conversation is in store for City Affair on March 4!


  6. aaronlevi says:

    my wife and I live in Marine Villa, and on warm saturday afternoons we enjoy walking along Cherokee all the way from lemp to Gravois-we enjoy the antique shops, the latin american shops, art gallery's, cafe's, restaraunts…ALL OF IT (i'm pretty sure my wife is single handedly keeping binge and purge in business). It reminds me a lot of the u-city loop up until about 10 years ago when it became over run by yuppies and spoiled college kids. I hope that Cherokee can maintain it's diversity (from antique shops to tattoo shops), as well as avoid being taken over by wealthy businesspeople who simply see profit opportunities.

    • KeepingItReal says:

      FYI. “Spoiled college kids” and “Yuppies” built the loop. Who do you think owns Blueberry Hill, Cicero's, and other early business? Who do you think patrons these establishments? Have you every walked south or north of the Loop before? It's all college housing owned by Washinton University. And by the way, I've known of “spoiled college students” who have had their cars stolen and had their homes robbed at gun point for the sake of that neighborhood, so maybe you should think a little before you speak.

      • aaronlevi says:

        sorry, i just remember the days of the loop being punk/subculture kids, artists, skaters, hip-hoppers, etc… not bros looking for cheap beers and cheaper tail. and those businesses are owned by the likes of joe edwards, a very wise, hard working businessman, not spoiled kids. no need to get so touchy, unpop the collar on your lacoste polo, it's gonna be okay.

        • the other guy says:

          I am 40 and I remember the day where you could buy liquor behind bullet proof glass at City Limits Liquor, about where Good Works is now. The romantic period of the Loop didn't last that long.

        • KeepingItReal says:

          @Aaronlevi No doubt that I have infinite respect for Joe Edwards, but I'm pretty sure many would have classified Joe Edwards as a yuppie (young, upwardly-mobile professional) during the early days of Blueberry Hill –a hippie who experienced a business-centric “enlightenment.” After all, after decades as a business owner, he now spends his days and evenings rubbing shoulders with celebrities and buying moon rocks for new hotel he just built. Apologies for the tone of the reply. I tend to champion the cause of the underdog, whoever it happens to be –whether they're wearing a polo or a vintage t-shirt.

          I personally think, if you're going to advocate urban spaces, urban infill, etc., why criticize the people who end up moving in/or using the space when the venture is successful? Livable cities are for everyone, not just tattoo artists and skaters. Property owners _should_ be rewarded for investing in and building neighborhoods –otherwise there's not a whole lot of incentive for land ownership.

    • The other jeff says:

      Aren't the Latinos looking for “profit opportunities”? Anyone who has ever opened a business on Cherokee Street EVER was looking for “profit opportunties”. At least enough to stay open and eat and with a rent they could afford. It's really that simple. If they aren't looking for “profit opportunities” then are you implying they are simply doing it for fun and because it's a cool place to be and maybe they could be getting propped up by mommy and daddy somewhere? Well, that could be true.

  7. john w. says:

    I'd also add that there seems an implicit attempt by the post to contrast the type of rich, urban life along Cherokee with the grassy plains and other areas in McKee's NorthSide by the use of the term 'organic'. The degree of intactness along this great street obviously allows for such organic growth, where this sort of germination and graduation is not really plausible in the grassy plains where some real, vigorous capital infusion will be needed at the block scale for sure. This is not a defense of Paul McKee in any way, but instead just a statement of fact.

  8. tpekren says:

    Actually, a part of McKee's plan is something that I believe Steve advocated for and agree whole heartedly with (Steve, obviously you can and will correct me if I mistated). That part is the removal of the existing 22nd street interchange that ripped up a portion of the street grid in a failed, fortunately, attempt to build an inner belt way on the west side of downtown. In the case of the 22nd street interchange it will truly take a major block by block project to rebuild a portion of the city. Unfortunately, I think a lot of people look at Soulard, CWE, Grove, etc. and think that it will magically happen organically to every single neighborhood in a relatively short time, within one or two decades, in the city. Simply put, the regions demographics and population density don't support that pipe dream.

  9. JZ71 says:

    Are you saying that “all you need are measures to ensure the urban/walkable building fabric remains” to ensure total success? And what defines success? A consistent urban, historic sameness? Thriving businesses, irrespective of the owners' ethnicity, ages or sexual orientation? Or ethnic enclaves? By definition, thriving neighborhoods and business districts ARE organic. They're not frozen in time, they're not declining. They continue to evolve as individual property owners invest and reinvest in their properties. Some have the same occupants for decades, othere see a series of tenants or owners.

    Gentrification is (or should be) a whole separate discussion – a lot always depends on the eye of the beholder. If you're the one benefitting from your own sweat equity, then gentrification is “good'. If you're a tenant that's getting priced out of the area, then the same gentrification is “bad”.

    Finally, I really don't care where a business owner lives, as long they're investing in the 'hood. Sure, it could be great if all the owners lived above te store, but that a rare reality. Again, I measure success by one big marker – are the doors still open for business?

  10. KeepingItReal says:

    To some extent, there may be a little reinventing history here. There are a lot of businesses, or at least some that have been in this neighborhood as long as I can remember –although I'm only in my late twenties. For example, Globe Drug and Jasper's Radio Museum –which also sells fruit baskets. My grandfather was a friend of Jasper's and repaired radios for him on occasion. And there's many businesses that have come and gone, as well. I bought my bed frame and dresser from an antique dealer there three or four years ago that is no longer in business.

    And of course, as many have mentioned, the Latino population has been in the neighborhood for a long time as well.

    In my opinion, using the word “rebirth” here might be a little strong. There may be people of a younger generation moving in.

    As is usually the case, I think the new residents owe what they're building now to those who came before them. That's to say nothing of policy or politics, which are less interesting to me personally –though sometimes historically important to consider. The important thing to me personally is early residents had a commitment to the street and their neighborhood at a time when it was probably unpopular to do so. If only we all were so bold.


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