The John Court apartments are mostly full. Retail space on the hill is in fairly high demand, and E John Ct and 15th Ave E has good bus access and a lot of foot traffic from the Safeway and Group Health buildings across the street. So why have most of the building’s retail spaces stood empty for years?
“Most is the fact that we don’t have any parking,” said Adam Greenberg of First Western Properties, which leases the retail space. “But that’s kind of indicative of that area.”
But on transit-oriented Capitol Hill, surely there must be a progressive business owner who will take a risk on people walking and biking to their business. And there is a giant Safeway parking lot and non-metered street parking only steps away.
It seems John Court’s retail must suffer from a double whammy. Aside from the lack of parking, the John Court spaces are also large, which can be intimidating to businesses during tough financial times.
“People who previously were not afraid to take on 2,700 square feet now don’t want to,” Greenberg said, referring to the size of the main corner lot, which has never been filled.
Make that a triple whammy. The space is also not set up well for restaurants.
“That building was not constructed to be able to vent for a restaurant,” said Greenberg. It could handle a coffee or sandwich shop, but installing a class one or two hood is not possible.
Meanwhile, coming soon from 19th and Madison to Pine and Belmont is a new wave of mixed-use retail space. A quadruple whammy?
John Court is currently home to Green Clean dry cleaners and an Edward Jones office. Greenberg said parties have been expressing interested, from financial firms to yoga studios.
“We’re getting more phone calls,” he said.