Mark and Charlie Goldman, owners of Allen Street Hardware, are now the proud owners of 249 Allen Street, formerly home to Licata Plumbing.
A tour through the space earlier today was eye-opening. I don’t think that many people realize how big the interior is, as it looks small from the street. But beyond the low-profile brick facade lies 3000 square feet of opportunity.
I asked Mark what his thoughts were, to attract a tenant, and he told me that he’s hoping to get some art-related institution, and/or a café possibly. While he’s open to all sorts of creative ideas, there is no way to get a liquor license for the location, which is fine with Mark because he’s hoping that people walk next door to Hardware when they want an alcoholic beverage. Also, Hardware is in the process of remodeling, transitioning into an establishment with an art nouveau vibe – one that will cater to Allentown residents (a classic bar and restaurant recipe) instead of catering to the late night crowd (stay tuned for more on that front).
That’s why the Goldmans are looking for a business that has some sort of synergy with Hardware, and the rest of Allen Street, which Mark admitted is in a constant state of flux. That said, it’s always going to have that artsy Bohemian element that people have come to love. And that’s what he and Charlie want to capitalize upon.
As for the building itself, the 3000 square feet is composed of three unique spaces – one large space in back, and two side-by-side spaces up front. Mark told me that there are lots of potential configurations. One business could take everything. Or take the two front spots, with raw storage in the back (saving on buildout). Or two businesses could be located up front, with dedicated entranceways (while being adjoined by a doorway or windows on the inside). The back space has tall ceilings, which could be great for a gallery, or a gathering space, or a coffee-fueled music club.
Mark is anticipating that he and Charlie will be the recipients of a matching grant program that will allow them to move forward with a facade improvement project. At that time, people will see the true potential of the building, and the interior spaces.
One thing is for sure – no matter what this space(s) becomes, it’s going to be a huge boost for the street, by infilling a sharp new facade that adds to the street’s sweet architectural aesthetics. As it stands, there’s a lot to improve upon.
My biggest hope is that some of the new businesses that pop up on Allen – moving forward – have daytime hours. It would be great to see a more vibrant district during the day, not just at night.