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why does seemingly every development insist on building a central courtyard that ends up just being wasted space?

Posted by donte | June 5, 2008 4:32 PM

I work right there - I once walked out the front door into the middle of a police standoff with guns drawn surrounding a car parked in the middle of Madison. Good times. I'll miss the Twilight though.

Posted by blank12357 | June 5, 2008 4:41 PM

Courtyards mostly suck ass. That one looks like a great place for dealers to dip into to make a quick transaction, and zip out one of the other exits if necessary.

Posted by Fnarf | June 5, 2008 4:43 PM

fnarf, i guess the drug deals are part of the "vibrant urban living" that's sure to be the selling point for these apartments when they're done.

Posted by donte | June 5, 2008 4:54 PM

That corner has been sketchy as far back as I remember it in the Party Hall days (but obviously, has a history older than that), probably '91ish-'92ish. It'd almost be weird to see that sidewalk empty.

Ah well. I'm not applauding that building design either, but there is some great trees on that strip. Keep them intact, and you could do a decent enough job of hiding that building. Probably some sweet views from the top floors as well.

Posted by Dougsf | June 5, 2008 4:56 PM

That sidewalks been empty for over 6 months now. You gotta go south to at least Union for your crack these days.

They've already knocked down the two crack houses on the back (north) side of that block, it's been interesting/cathartic to watch, you can kinda feel the evil floating away.

Anything is an improvement, and I understand that the Twilight has a pretty good provision in their lease to ensure their presence in the immediate area for the long term, possibly in the new building across the street.

Posted by Styles | June 5, 2008 5:10 PM

I'm pretty sure two parallel construction sites on either side of a giant causeway constitutes no improvement for the year-plus it'll take to get built.

Posted by Nat | June 5, 2008 5:14 PM

Those rooflines (one set gabled, one set mansard) are good.

I'd assume court yards are part of the open space requirements of our codes.

Would it be better to have more density filling up the building envelope?

Posted by PC | June 5, 2008 5:22 PM

Thanks for shutting that place down, now all the crackheads moved closer to my house. They're all down the block and across the street at Thompson's Point of View (23rs & Union).

Meanwhile the big drug deals still go down on the neighborhood streets. They drug runners walk up and down my street and do the big deals while the big bosses sit in their fancy black Cadillac SUV's in front of my house. Thanks a fucking lot!!

Posted by Dingo Rossi | June 5, 2008 5:32 PM

So happy about this but sad for Twilight Exit. Where should they move?

Posted by me | June 5, 2008 5:32 PM

I heard Twilight's moving to somewhere on Union. Anyone know more?

Posted by jonglix | June 5, 2008 5:51 PM

Yeah, everything really did change after chocolate city closed. This massive project whatever its other faults or effects does not seem to be what pushed things down to Union.

Posted by ben | June 5, 2008 6:36 PM


As a long time opponent of the war on drugs, where would you rather see the "crackheads" go? To jail? The south end? What are any of these people, including Andrew Taylor, doing to advocate for anything other than gentrification and incarceration?

Posted by Trevor | June 5, 2008 6:41 PM

I've only lived in the neighborhood for almost 3 years, but when we moved here it was still sketchy. Dealers and hookers hanging around, 13 year old boys smoking crack on our porch, crackheads hacking at bushes with machetes trying to find lost rocks. After a few months the guys that hung out a Chocolate City realized that we were locals and began to respect our boundaries. I realized that while some people don't want drug dealers around their homes, strong-arming them out of the neighborhood doesn't get rid of the problem, it just moves it down the street. I, for one, am disappointed in the "white-washing" of this neighborhood. If one more douche-bag yuppie with a popped collar shows up at the Twilight Exit, I'm moving. At least the drug dealers gave us some diversity. And of course closing Chocolate city moved all the activity. When your neighborhood bar closes, you move on to the one down the street.

Posted by beth | June 5, 2008 6:46 PM


You asked where I would like the crackheads to go. My post doesn't say that I want the crackheads to go, only that it looks like they have left and probably won't come back.

After Chocolate City closed, many of those crackheads and dealers moved up to my corner--21st and Union. My parking strip is literally an open-air drug market. On the rare occasion the scene gets unruly (most of them don't want any trouble), I will call the cops. But I never call the police on them for sitting on my steps or selling crack, because that wouldn't make the crack dealers go away. It would just send more young black men to prison. I refuse to be a part of that.

However, as long as the drug war continues, open air-drug markets will be part of America's urban fabric. People who think more buy-busts can make them evaporate--I'm not naming any names here, but...--are attached to delusion. Or, more likely, they just want to push the open air drug market away from their home. Sometimes that's just NIMBYism. But sometimes that might also be for the best. The open-air drug market by my house is, at least, in a fairly active neighborhood that keeps an eye out to temper violence, which is better than the market on Madison where nobody was keeping an eye on the street.

Safety is first and foremost established by communities that can see each other, know each other, call for help and believe people will respond. The very layout of our cities, neighborhoods, and, ultimately, the designs of our buildings are the among the greatest contributors to achieving a neighborhood like that. It has nothing to do with gentrification (a sad reality of city life) or drug abuse (a sad reality of the human conduction). Nor are those two related: even if drugs were regulated, we'd still have gentrification.

Posted by Dominic Holden | June 5, 2008 7:24 PM

OMG more condos!!!! with shopping below? I cant wait!!!! we dont have enough condos yet!!!

Posted by condo lover!!! | June 5, 2008 7:26 PM

beth, I respectfully disagree that crack dealers and druggies do not contribute to "diversity". They contribute to violence, murder, decreased property values, gang activity, and a whole hell of a lot of crack vials, pipes and used syringes all over the sidewalk (I used to walk by Deano's on daily basis). There are plenty of places to go in the city for diversity without the threat of getting popped by a dealer 'cuz you stepped on his turf.

Posted by rb | June 5, 2008 8:48 PM

sorry, rephrase: I respectfully disagree that crack dealers *contribute* to diversity. One too many vodka tonics.

Posted by rb | June 5, 2008 8:50 PM

I also live close to TPoV - 23rd and Marion. I moved to the CD with a live and let live mentality. I accepted that people would be running their "enterprises" near my house but that if I didn't fuck with them, they wouldn't fuck with me. What I was too naive to consider was that the drug dealers wouldn't stay on the sidewalks. Yeah, I know. I'm a moron. It bothered me that people sat on my porch and in front of my house and did their deals in my driveway. Right after Deanos closed, this activity hit a fevered pitch. What crossed the line was when someone threatened me through my mail slot. I called the cops, but since I was too scared to look out the window, I couldn't give a description. I was terrified to sit in my own living room. After a year, I finally started to move past the fear. Recently, through one of my neighbors, I found out that some guy stood glaring at my front door for 15 minutes or so. I don't understand why this happens because I generally keep to myself. My problem is not the presence of the dealers, although it would be nice if they stopped hanging out specifically at my house. However, if we don't force out the dealers, anyone have any ideas concerning how to peacefully coexist?

Posted by SC | June 5, 2008 10:24 PM

@ condo lover


I hope they get wise and put an Urban Outfitters in there, isn't anything I love in the fucking world more than throw pillows and leggings.

Posted by ILUVCONDOS2 | June 5, 2008 11:08 PM

I wonder how many homeless people could use that paper model to make a home with ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 6, 2008 12:43 AM

What I'm saying is that drug dealing is invoked to justify both a police clamp down and redevelopment. The eyes on the street you advocate are for people to dial 911, not to get to know their neighbors. The worries about open space being used by drug dealers inform the privatization of new developments. Andrew Taylor leads marches of neighbors to the open air drug markets in his neighborhood which hurt his property values more than they probably hurt him, but how involved is he in saving human services from budget cuts? If you think that condo owners on 22nd and Madison will only call the cops only if they see violence, and are just looking out for their new black neighbors, you're kidding yourself. Drug abuse may not be related to gentrification, but the war on drugs is.

Posted by Trevor | June 6, 2008 2:01 AM

Dear Slater Architects: a Mansard roof? really? It's the 21st century, you know.

The DRB didn't demand something better?

I could poop a better facade.

Posted by max solomon | June 6, 2008 9:43 AM

1)those rooflines ARE great; I have high hopes for this building. Even if it doesn't live up to promise, it still should be better than the ugly ass Safeway development across the street.
2)dear nitwits: read the fuckin' POST. It says APARTMENTS not condos, which is a good thing. (Of course, these units are probably going to be ridiculously over-priced like the Safeway ones, but you can't have everything...)
3)WTF? People are crying boo-hoo that crack and meth dealers have been displaced? These guys are scum, preying and enslaving people in their own neighborhood to a life of addiction and degradation to some very nasty drugs. Pot is harmless and the 'war' on it is futile and idiotic but the shit those fuckers sell is bad news. Ideally, they get caught and reformed instead of relocated to the bar 6 blocks away but at least the dense concentration of problems at 22nd and Madison has been dispersed in more than one direction. I'm not a fan of mindless gentrification, but I'm also not a fan of being afraid to walk around at night or having to witness people o.ding in my alley or shooting or stabbing one another in the middle of Madison.

Posted by michael strangeways | June 6, 2008 9:59 AM

@24 What the hell is wrong with referencing classic styles? Would you rather have another goddamned flat roof, metal sided, juliet balconied monstrosity? That is apparently the look of the 21st century, and it's fucking ugly and tired.

Posted by michael strangeways | June 6, 2008 10:03 AM

Good riddance. A friend of mine got mugged outside Dean's grocery store just for being white. I blame the cops for not cleaning up the area rather than the people who live in the neighborhood. The dealers will leave because people who will be able to live in the new building don't waste their money on crack.

Posted by elswinger | June 6, 2008 10:15 AM


If that's true that would be soooo great! Five less blocks for me to stumble home from!

As to the general situation, yeah, I've lived just off 23rd & E Union for about 3 1/2 years now, and in that time I've seen the problem ebb-and-flow. Sometimes it gets really shitty, as for example the tragic shooting of the sandwich shop owner a couple of months ago, and the periodic drive-bys that occur in the vicinity of Thompsons.

But as for the neighborhood itself, there's been a definite change in the climate off the intersection; more families with kids moving in, more day-to-day contact with neighbors both new and old, and an increasing sense of empowerment among residents that, while they may not be able to make the problems go away completely, they can at least exercise more control over their immediate surroundings.

The proposed development for the empty lot on the SW corner of 23rd & E Union would help to that end, just as these new developments at 22nd & E Madison should have some positive impact on what has traditionally been one of the most problematic blocks in the CD.

Call it "gentrification" if you want, but ANYTHING that improves the quality of life for the people who live in these areas is a good idea in my book.

Posted by COMTE | June 6, 2008 10:21 AM

@ 23

Andrew Taylor's involvement in helping to get the GOTS (get off the streets) program started has been well-documented. I believe it's now moved from Madison to 23rd/Union, but the same basic idea -- providing useful, realistic resources for drug dealers/users to take another course in life.

Posted by dave | June 6, 2008 11:28 AM

I remember walking by that place to get to my grandma's house. I would always cross the street to avoid the crackheads, but one still followed me to the bus stop. Good riddance, Deano's/Chocolate City!

Posted by Miss Mo Green | June 6, 2008 1:49 PM

It blows my mind to hear vaporous commentary void of any hands-on point of reference. Sad that these cesspools masquerading as legitimate businesses are demolished? Sad that the predators who ran them and kept people enslaved are off to prison? You must be kidding. Andrew Taylor has done more for this neighborhood than any of us combined-practical, meaningful steps designed to help residents no matter what step of the socioeconomic ladder on which they're resting. We never intended to make it comfortable for those passing through, those who had no vested interest in making this multi-cultural neighborhood better. They came to buy and sell drugs, solicit hookers, harass passersby, break into cars and homes, and make life hell. We worked many hours to get to this moment and set the stage for a much brighter future. You'll enjoy it, for sure, and we'll never hear another peep out of you.

Posted by van | June 9, 2008 1:24 PM

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