North Halsted Home Depot

November 11, 2015 Featured No Comments

Big box retailers long had a standard formula: cheap building surrounded by acres of surface parking. More than a decade ago they began to experiment with new designs as they entered urban locations where land prices & population density meant acres of surface parking wasn’t possible. I recall seeing the Home Depot on N. Halsted under construction — I just can’t recall when. I do know it was open by March 2005:

The company has eight stores in the city, including a unique two-story, storefront-style location at 2665 N. Halsted St.

Like Target, Home Depot knows the value of a flexible footprint. That gives it more options in working its way closer to the urbanite customers it craves. The Halsted store doesn’t sell much lumber; it focuses on the tools and interior design products that North Side condo owners shop for.

A lot of city neighborhoods fit Home Depot’s demographic, which is neither wealthy nor poor. The main thing: plenty of homeowners. “Home Depot is looking for bungalow city,” says Mr. Kirsch of Baum Realty. (Crain’s Chicago Business)

Though I’d been past it numerous times since it opened, I never went inside. Last month my husband and I needed something from a hardware store. He called a couple of local places near the Streeterville condo where we stay while in Chicago but they didn’t have what we needed. Looking at transit to the various locations we decided the N. Halsted location would be the easiest.

The Home Depot on N. Halsted in Lincoln Park was built more than a decade ago.
The Home Depot on N. Halsted in Lincoln Park was built more than a decade ago.
The garage entry/exit is recessed from the sidewalk
The garage entry/exit is recessed from the sidewalk
The store has two interior levels
The store has two interior levels
Rooftop garden on 4
Rooftop garden on 4
The front of the 2-story store is mostly glass, the is on the 2nd floor
The front of the 2-story store is mostly glass, the is on the 2nd floor
The rooftop garden on 4. Parking is on 3 and the balance of 4
The rooftop garden on 4. Parking is on 3 and the balance of 4

The question is how do we get urban retail to take more urban form in areas where land isn’t so expensive? Can a city, like St. Louis, through zoning or incentives, create an atmosphere where retailers are willing to invest in more expensive buildings with structured parking?

 

— Steve Patterson

 

Abundance of MV-1 Accessible Taxicabs

November 4, 2015 Featured No Comments

One of the things we love when we’re in Chicago is the wide variety of vehicles used for taxicab service. In St. Louis most are old Ford Crown Vics. St. Louis has three accessible vans for wheelchairs — not three types, but three total! Last year this was down to just two.

The ramp manually of the MV-1 slides out from under the floor.
The ramp manually of the MV-1 slides out from under the floor.

In Chicago we often see the MV-1 on the streets. This vehicle was built to be accessible:

In the past, if you needed a wheelchair-accessible vehicle you had to start with a completed minivan, cut it apart, put it back together and hope for the best.  The result was an after-market vehicle with questionable durability and passenger safety concerns. Enter the MV-1, a completely new concept that has been a long time coming: build a wheelchair accessible vehicle from the ground up that is designed for commercial fleet use. Take a tour of the Mobility Ventures MV-1 and see how we’re revolutionizing passenger safety in accessible fleet transportation.

I’ve yet to ride in one — with or without my wheelchair. We see them often, will need to hail or schedule one on a future visit.

— Steve Patterson