Does this building facade look familiar? Kinda looks like the Christmas eve facade makeover that recently occurred at 500 Elmwood, doesn’t it? The new storefront seen here is located next to the Showplace Theater on Grant Street. You can see an eerily familiar trend, as the old inset entranceway, transom windows and twin fronts was replaced with what looks to be an off-the-shelf, store bought, do-it-yourself system. I had hoped that the Elmwood ‘pop-up storefront’ was going to be a unique scenario – little did I know that just a few weeks later I would run into a second example of this sort of Acme-style facade replacement.
Can you imagine what a city would look like if this style rehab was allowed to take place over and over? Gone is the character of the neighborhood as historic storefronts give way to cheap replacements. I’m not saying that property owners should not be able to alter doors and windows to accommodate tenants… I’m just pointing out that these alterations are as cookie cutter as it gets. There has to be some give and take. Of course if you look at the Google ‘street view’ image (below) of the original storefront, it looks like it may have been in rough shape (unlike 500 Elmwood). The new addition is certainly ‘cleaner’ than the original version, but the historic character is gone.