Dayton isn’t the only anti-business city

While Mike Ervin’s art galleries look nice and are better than empty storefronts, other than First Friday (tonight, btw) they mostly sit empty or closed- not drawing people or jobs to the “entertainment district” now known by some as the “Boregon” district.

However, stupid zoning and regulations of old buildings aren’t unique to Dayton- as this article about the $13 million Apple spent for a 24 year old building in the middle of the Georgetown Historic District- and can’t seem to build what they want:

A revised design proposal for a Georgetown Apple Store in DC has been rejected, writes the Washington Post. In spite of hints that final approval was imminent, the three members of the Old Georgetown Board are said to have ruled against Apple’s latest redesign, which was altered to conform the proposed store to the aesthetics of the neighborhood. Instead of its typical full-sized glass storefront, Apple is said to have scaled down to a first-floor pane of glass, measuring some 35 feet long with double doors in the center.

The board insists that it has told Apple repeatedly that a store must conform with the detailing and bay windows of nearby shops. “We’re frustrated a little bit because we haven’t gotten a response to our fairly consistent request,” board member David Cox is reported to have told Apple architect Karl Backus.

via MacNN | Georgetown store rejected for fourth time.

In the Oregon District, besides having legislated buildings to be worthless because of lack of parking (the three story, former Morris Furniture building to the left of Newcome’s tavern), the “limit” on liquor permits, the restriction on motorcycle parking etc. we still don’t have any kind of common sense when talking to people who WANT to put businesses in the district.

How hot would an Apple store be in the Oregon District? How hard would it be to make it happen? Guaranteed, it will end up in the Greene- just like all the restaurants that could have been in the district had liquor licenses been available.

It’s time for change in Dayton.

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18 Responses

  1. Skeptic February 7, 2009 / 2:29 pm
    David, are you suggesting we take Oregon, one of the few unique and marketable places in Dayton, and turn it into suburban style retail? The City can’t compete in retail with the malls.

    Art and liquor works, but we don’t have the density to support something like the Apple store. It would be foolish to give up a long-term asset for a short term gain, especially right now when retail is closing up shop in cities and suburbs alike.

    Just curious – can you point us toward any of your blog posts where you commented on the new zoning code BEFORE it was adopted in 2006?

  2. David Esrati February 8, 2009 / 12:14 am

    @skeptic-the city can compete with the malls on retail, if it has unique, destination retailers in a unique atmosphere. Unfortunately, the city has zoned and code enforced an exodus of both retail and business out of the city for years.
    You can do a search of this site- and find comments about the failings of the zoning czars going back before the code was adopted.
    Unfortunately, we have failed to establish any kind of exceptions for reuse, making white box greenfields look like the only option.
    If you think the Oregon is “marketable”- you are on drugs, skeptic-art galleries aren’t going to pay the bills.

  3. Drexel Dave Sparks February 8, 2009 / 8:36 am
    You’ll get no traction on the garbage issue. The waste collection department is about the most popular in the city, and they:

    – pick your trash up on time
    – collect bulk items for free

    Plus, if you made them work another three hours, they’d just slow things down so that they collected the same amount.

    I would say that busting your ass like a mule on meth for five hours slinging garbage from the back of a truck in heat, rain or snow is a lot more honest work in a day than most Americans perform in a month.

  4. Jeff February 8, 2009 / 11:44 am
    “If you think the Oregon is “marketable”- you are on drugs, skeptic-art galleries aren’t going to pay the bills.”

    The only one who has called Oregon “Boregon” was Gene, and after he got over his rant his real issue was that the OD didnt do a good promotion for New Years Eve, which is a valid point.

    Some sort of happening nightclub district with places close enough together to do a pub crawl and a lot of live bands playing different kinds of music plus a dance club or two or three plus some restaurants plus street vendors plus a handful of art galleries plus a record and/or book store (like Shake It in Cincy or Ear X Stacy in Louisville) might work in a city like Columbus, Louisville, or Cincinnati, but wont work in Dayton because people here aren’t interested in that kind of thing..or not enough of them… and if they are they leave town to find it.

    So no, the Oregon isn’t marketable. Not in Dayton.

  5. Gene February 8, 2009 / 3:19 pm
    FYI – I did not term “Boregon” – I am not that clever. I picked it up from someone else. I have heard “Snoregon” as well.

    David, I remember you saying that the big wig who lives in the old Southern Belle remodel was going to change a lot of the OD into art galleries and I seem to remember you were in favor of it – I may be wrong and I searched for the topic/post segment but was unable to track it down.

    OD needs leadership under one tent, like DM, The Greene, etc. and do a better job of promoting itself as an original destination place. i was down there Friday – again, real slow for an area that has been deemed Dayton’s entertainment hub.

    An anchor is needed………….

  6. Drexel Dave Sparks February 8, 2009 / 3:28 pm
    Why isn’t anyone asking why all of the OD galleries have art that looks the same? It’s all sofa art for the most part. People showing that they can match colors. Nothing personal against any of the gallery owners or artists, but for gawd’s sake, when an OD hair salon has the best and best attended art shows in the district filled with art galleries, there’s something wrong.
  7. David Esrati February 8, 2009 / 4:59 pm

    I agree the OD needs an anchor. And Gene- I never thought art galleries were the answer- but they are better than vacant space.
    We need to make changes to encourage business- instead of chasing it away.

  8. Jeff February 8, 2009 / 6:49 pm
    “but for gawd’s sake, when an OD hair salon has the best and best attended art shows in the district ”

    I think DD was refering to that Postertastic show at Derailed.

    Other than you, Drexel Dave, is anyone doing other kinds of art here?

    Maybe we see what local artists are doing, and that kind of abstract painting is what artists do here? Maybe not because that gallery over in The Cannery shows other kinds of things.

    It would be neat to see something more “outsider”, or young artists (not K-12), or somehow more “urban” (vague concept but I know it when I see it). I think the only place that shows that is that 3C place in Front Street, aside from the odd show in a nightclub (like Ohio Love in the old Therapy and that skateboard show at Pearl).

  9. Drexel Dave Sparks February 8, 2009 / 7:18 pm
    No, not just the Posterific show (which was a fantastic display of locally created underground rock and roll poster art BTW). Derailed has hosted more art exhibits than I can think or bother to name. They are a grand addition to the Gem City Mothership.
  10. Jeff February 8, 2009 / 7:32 pm
    They must not promote that much since average Joes like me dont pick up on that…im not sure how I found out about that rock poster show..Glad girl on WSYO I think?

    Which brings up another issue.

    I know I posted up there about Oregon as a nightclub thing, but what I was really thinking, underneath that, is music…people doing live original music and jam and open mike stuff. A performance venue that is sort of a “gallery” for another kind or orginal art…songs and tunes and muscianship.

    One thing Ive noticed when going out (if you go out enough) is that members of one or more bands going to a show to check another band out. So there is sort of this creative community thing going on of shared audiences (and maybe influences)?

    I just get this gut feeling that this local music scene isn’t valued that much, that, in fact, people who live in the Oregon and maybe others, too) either wish it would go away, or that its not their vision of what Dayton could be about or offer. That it’s a buzz, a faint one true, that ‘Dayton’ wants to either kill or dismiss as unimportant or not worth bothering about.

  11. Gene February 8, 2009 / 8:24 pm
    Local music used to be good and worth while (actually, today it is probably both of these as well) but it seemed to me there was a time 10, maybe more like 20, years ago musicians were compensated a little more/different/better and it was a track to a second income/maybe first. Today it seems more of a hobby mainly bc the compensation is not there (bc maybe the demand is not there,) Of all the things I think the OD should be it would first involve music – different places host different stuff different nights, be more of a community rather than competing against each other. I know it is a hard thing to do, but that would be cool and work best in my opinion.
  12. J.R. Locke February 9, 2009 / 9:28 pm
    My exodus from Dayton was directly tied to the terribly non-centric placing of things to do in Dayton region. It is a commuter suburb place.

    I moved to Columbus and within one week I have found high street is essentially everything Dayton in one nice convenient area.

    Granted Columbus is bigger but the Oregon District and Downtown Dayton were boring and were entrenched with the same people weekend to weekend, which isn’t a bad thing if you are in those groups. But the lack of a center in the Dayton region drove me crazy because I don’t like to drive, especially if food and booze are involved. I can’t believe last year I was thinking about buying a house there….

  13. Gene February 9, 2009 / 9:57 pm
    “I had an interesting talk with Dr. Mike Ervin this afternoon. For those of you who don’t know Dr. Ervin, he’s been the chair of many task forces (including the Electric Trolley one now in action) and made quite a bit of money running a medical insurance business that built the “Wright Health Associates” building right across the street from the doomed NCR building 26. He now lives in an amazing modern home in the former Southern Belle in the heart of the Oregon District- and is going to transform all the empty retail spaces down 5th street in the District into arts galleries. Watch him.”

    this is what I was talking about – i guess you did not endorse it, but you did not exactly oppose it either. It was a wait and see situation, which i say art galleries should be located in an art gallery district. Change OD into that and you have art and an empty bowl of soup. Ooooooo! that sounds like fun.

  14. Jeff February 10, 2009 / 9:47 am
    “Today it seems more of a hobby mainly bc the compensation is not there (bc maybe the demand is not there,)”

    Yeah, there is a steady decline in the younger crowd that goes out to listen to stuff. The population is both dropping and getting older, so a double whammy on the market for this kind of entertainment.

    “Of all the things I think the OD should be it would first involve music – different places host different stuff different nights, be more of a community rather than competing against each other. I know it is a hard thing to do, but that would be cool and work best in my opinion.”

    This is pretty good..I think you are talking about coordinating booking and scheduling? Yeah that is a good idea.

  15. David Esrati February 10, 2009 / 9:54 am

    It’s not quite coordinated booking and scheduling- but this site was supposed to solve some of their promotion issues: http://www.oregonartsdistrict.com/
    Unfortunately- it was developed by someone who had no idea how to get things working easily.

  16. Jeff February 10, 2009 / 10:35 am
    “I moved to Columbus and within one week I have found high street is essentially everything Dayton in one nice convenient area.”

    You’ll love Columbus. Check out CommFest (or is it ComFest?) in June in Goodale Park, which is a block off high. One of the great summer events of Ohio.

  17. Skeptic February 12, 2009 / 12:46 am
    5th Street in Dayton, High Street in Columbus, Beale Street in Memphis, French Quarter in Na’leans…. to me they are all basically the same except the number of blocks they entail. They all have Art, food, music, and a few curio shops mixed in. They all have rich and poor folks rubbing elbows on the sidewalk.

    The real difference is that most people in the greater Dayton region have chosen to bypass a unique place and stick to the mall instead. It’s the chicken and egg syndrome… not enough people, so people don’t come. If we had more people, more people would come. To quote a favorite song, “Nothin’ attracts a crowd like a crowd.”

    And no, it’s not parking. I find parking on High and Beale Streets to be very difficult. It cost me $10 to park and walk down Beale Street for an hour last year because every surface spot was full. I’ve never had to pay for parking in Oregon and the new parking lot should make it even easier.

    So let’s make a crowd. Or to quote another song, “[It’s] just another crowd, we need a gathering instead.”

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