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Real Estate Buzz

Brian Miller
Real Estate Editor
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August 3, 2023

On the Block: From American Apparel to chicken fingers?

Because the city still can't decide how or when or by how much to upzone the Ave (aka University Way Northeast), that narrow strip — surrounded by much higher zoning enacted years ago — remains frozen in time. Though a few savvy investors are steadily buying up low-rise properties, then collecting small rents while waiting for city action, that strip is becoming a peculiar kind of retail desert.

Cheap eats, bubble tea shops and fast food abound. For almost any other kind of consumer spending, however, there are increasingly few options. Serious dollars are dropped down at University Village. Historically, the Ave has always catered to university students — who, like the rest of us, now do much of their non-food shopping online. University Book Store is a shadow of its former self. Brick and mortar retail makes less and less sense on today's Ave.

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