Friday, May 17, 2013

What happened to the "B market" along the arena's Atlantic Avenue facade? Not a word; the area instead seems needed for egress, not commerce

Yesterday's post showing the arena as approved in the November 2006 Final Environmental Impact Statement includes a curious mention that has likely been forgotten by most arena-watchers: a "B market" along Atlantic Avenue at the north-center of the arena block. See emphasis on graphic.


What's a "B market" (or, as I've described it, a "b-market")?

It came up once, as far as I know, in a 9/25/06 City Planning Commission hearing, which I covered the next day.

Reflecting commission Chair Amanda Burden’s micromanaging concern that there be storefronts along Atlantic Avenue near the planned arena, the Department of City Planning's Regina Myer described a “b-market,” a narrow strip of retail to accommodate smaller shops.

The New York Observer had reported 11/22/05:
“City Planning is really on this one,” [then-arena architect Frank] Gehry said. “Amanda Burden is really working us and we believe in what they want but the idea of creating storefronts on Atlantic Avenue–there’s not much depth to deal with.”
What happened?

The B market never materialized--and maybe it wouldn't have, even if the arena had not been redesigned to present a narrower east-west facade. (No one's mentioned it at any meeting, as far as I can recall.)

Today, a good stretch of the Atlantic Avenue arena facade is apparently needed for egress. Note six sets of doors--in the foreground and background--in the photo at left.

Perhaps once towers emerge along Atlantic Avenue there will be more foot traffic, and the existing businesses built into the Atlantic Avenue facade--Metro PCS and Elbow Room--will benefit. Right now, they've appeared quiet when I've walked by during non-event times.

But there's no room for a B market. Could there be some food carts or other vendors? Maybe, but the strip of sidewalk is already pretty narrow.

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