Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Is Antique Row a thing of the past?

I saw a "closing sale" sign in the window of Beauty & The Beast Antiques today at 747 Market St., in Tacoma's Antique Row. I don't know the rhyme or the reason, but it got me thinking ...

How long will Antique Row still house antique stores?

I'm guessing -- mind you, guessing -- that a big reason behind the row's original formation was low overhead. And as condos crop up and Tacoma land prices skyrocket, especially in a downtown that is emerging from rampant disuse ... well, as demand increases, so do the prices. And often the businesses that helped create the neighborhood's up-and-coming identity are pushed to the wayside.

Whether it's sellout, displacing or not enough business -- is it just one business, or is the row about to go?

It's not surprising when I think about it. And I'm not sure if it's good or bad. I have no idea if this antique store or others will simply head elsewhere and form another Antique Row in a place that, like downtown once did, offers low overhead in a location that's easy to access and will attract bargain-hunters and treasure seekers.

But no matter why or where or how or any of that, I wonder: What's next?

When the antiques are gone, will it still be Antique Row? Or will that soon become some outdated phrase of the once hip?

So, what's next? An expansion of the Theater District? Condo row? Restaurant row? Boutique row?

Empty row? Well, doubtfully, at least not for long.

I just hope it doesn't become Cookie Cutter and/or Big Box Row.


Elle said...

Although I don't frequent the row for my fear of antique shops I wonder if it could evolve into a quasi antique/boutique row. Locally owned of course.

Andre said...

Areas with high concentrations of antique shops usually indicate environments with weak retail demand and low rents, with few exceptions. The "loss" of antique stores downtown should be seen as a sign of the reawakening of that part of town as a retail destination--populated by locally-owned small businesses, of course.