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What Should Go Here at SE 27th and 78th Ave?

Do you have a vision for this vacancy?

What do you think should — or what would you like to see — fill this empty storefront at one of Mercer Island's busiest intersections in the Town Center business district?

The 77Central building, located at 2650 77th Ave. SE, is owned by SECO Development, Inc., was completed in 2009 and since then businesses have come and go. But as of August 2012, property management company Wallace Properties says this corner space of SE 27th Street and 78th Avenue SE is one of two vacancies left. The corner space is 2,375 square feet and "can accomodate restaurant use."

As far as we know, the corner — across the street from and — has never been occupied.

If you could bring new business into this space, what type of establishment would you like to see?

Post your suggestions in the comments section below.

Neal September 01, 2012 at 05:04 PM
A basic, non-pretentious diner for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Eggs, pancakes, coffee, burgers, fries, shakes, malts, cherry coke. Absolutely!
Sarah September 01, 2012 at 06:01 PM
I'm with Neal! we need a good down- home diner!
Shari Ruvkun September 01, 2012 at 06:01 PM
I absolutely agree...MI really needs better grocery stores
Kelly Casey September 01, 2012 at 08:29 PM
How about a Trader Joe's? Or, if it's a restaurant - a breakfast/lunch place. We need a greasy spoon to stroll down to holding a cop of coffee.
Mitch Odom September 01, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Trader Joes.
Margaret Santjer September 01, 2012 at 11:20 PM
Trader Joe's has a "Location Request" form on its website, so maybe all the fans should drop them a note and tell them why this would be a great location: http://www.traderjoes.com/about/location-requests-form.asp
sarah waller September 01, 2012 at 11:45 PM
Trader Joe's will not open here as per past conversations. It does not fit their business model which is dependent on high volume. I am concerned about NOT having a hardware store where you can actually park in front to load your car, buy nails, paint and toilet guts. Small business owners have a difficult time making a profit in themixed use locations because of the rental rates and parking challenges.
Matt McCauley September 02, 2012 at 12:23 AM
It strikes me that many of the types of businesses mentioned, supra, were all a part of 'The Center' back in my late-1960s - early-1980s childhood. I think its current state of development has caused it to degrade and makes one really miss its older incarnations of prior decades, back when it had a much more 'home town' feel to it. Clearly, not all change is good....
Muffie Cohen September 02, 2012 at 01:56 AM
How about a Mediterranean falafel gyros mom and pop type place? MI seriously needs such a place. Friendly, yummy, healthy, authentic and affordable. I aso agree that we seriously need a PCC type grocery but even more so we need to keep our beloved hardware store. I would love to see our business district function better for all of us.
Tom Smith, Jr September 02, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Movie theater?
Tracy Holt Davis September 02, 2012 at 03:19 PM
A breakfast diner, Like the old Tangerine! The island lost two breakfast places!
Bryan September 03, 2012 at 05:38 PM
A great, family friendly brewpub!!!
Stephen September 03, 2012 at 08:57 PM
A Trader Joe's or Met Market will bring a lot of shoppers over from Bellevue and Seattle. Do we really want that?
Jerry Gropp Architect AIA September 04, 2012 at 02:40 PM
. An on-island Trader Joe's would be great. It's a long way to the two closest ones. It will be Capitol Hill for me today after my morning Virginia Mason appointment. J-
Kathryn Lerner September 04, 2012 at 04:34 PM
We would love a Trader Joes, but the parking constraints will likely keep them away. So, our vote is for a classic diner. We really need a great breakfast spot on the island! And we really hope the True Value can find a new home on the island.....they are a great asset to our community.
Islander Fan September 05, 2012 at 04:34 PM
With all the hot air generated by commentators here on Patch, I suggest a balloon store. The balloon store can gather the gas generated in the Patch's Comments sections.
Kendall Watson September 05, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Nice metaphor, Islander Fan. Actually, a very similar type of editorial opinion story ran many years ago in the Mercer Island Reporter while Jane Meyer Brahm was editor. She asked the readership what sort of business, if Islanders had their druthers, would local residents like to see and actually use in Town Center. A majority of letter writers and readers responded that they'd like to see a car wash. Lo and behold, a few years later, Mercer Island Auto Spa opened up. So, I disagree with your "hot air" complaint find real value in these comments. I'm certain that developers and entrepreneurs — looking to fill those empty storefronts on Mercer Island — are reading these comments as well (in fact I've confirmed that in several conversations) and looking for ideas on what will succeed there.
AsItIs September 05, 2012 at 07:53 PM
A high end store featuring donated items when sold would benefit the Thrift Shop and therefore MI Youth and Family Services.
Ira B. Appelman September 06, 2012 at 02:36 PM
I believe all the uses mentioned so far, retail and restaurants, are consistent with the original Town Center concept SOLD to Islanders. Landowners were given gratis huge profits by being allowed to go from the previous two-story limit to five-stories, making land worth millions of dollars more. In return, Islanders were SUPPOSED to get a vibrant, retail-restaurant, pedestrian-friendly locale. Landowners got their huge windfall profits, but Islanders didn't get what they were promised. Landowner-imposed parking restrictions discourage pedestrians who must move their cars every time they visit a new shop. Just this week, the City Council decided it would discourage retail-restaurant uses by encouraging uses, such as doctor's offices, that bring more profits to landowners. Doctor's offices are dead zones because patients rush to get there on time, experience endless waiting, and then leave quickly because they are late for their next appointment. A dermatologists office is slated to move in across the street at the 78th Plaza Building, if the Council changes the rules, because it can pay the high Town Center rents (see Kendall's blog of the Council meeting: http://mercerisland.patch.com/articles/town-center-zoning-changes-city-financials-for-q2-2012-public-records-act-and-more-at-mercer-island-city-council-live-blog). As I've said many times, OUR City Council is owned by wealthy development interests and couldn't care less about the wishes of average Islanders.
Jerry Gropp Architect AIA September 06, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Kendall- As to your (above): " Actually, a very similar type of editorial opinion story ran many years ago in the Mercer Island Reporter while Jane Meyer Brahm was editor. She asked the readership what sort of business, if Islanders had their druthers, would local residents like to see and actually use in Town Center. A majority of letter writers and readers responded that they'd like to see a car wash. Lo and behold, a few years later, Mercer Island Auto Spa opened up." Jane Meyer Brahm was/is one of my favorite custom home clients. A terrific person with great powers of persuasion, she should be put in charge of the whole downtown. Jerry-
Kendall Watson September 06, 2012 at 05:04 PM
She is certainly taking a leadership role in this — and nearly all the other members of the council are willing to support efforts like amending zoning to allow more uses in the Town Center. While that may bring more tenants, there may be some down sides, as Ira suggests. There could be some unintended side effects here as well. While councilman Grausz put the kibosh on a "giant pinball arcade" (one of the highlights of the evening's comments that I neglected to include in the council live blog, http://patch.com/A-x4dD) as an "amusement service" the council's made it easier for "healthcare" services to locate into these buildings. So to stir the pot here, could these changes bring Mercer Island it's first "alternative medicine" (i.e. marijuana dispensary) storefront? The definition of "healthcare service" does not currently exclude that use.
Jerry Gropp Architect AIA September 06, 2012 at 05:33 PM
Kendall- Today's Seattle Times has a "Pot Dispensary" story (below) that would quickly and certainly un"stir your pot". "Seattle pot dispensaries finding business climate no longer sunny Amid increased federal resistance to dispensaries, the gilt is suddenly off Seattle's medical marijuana's "green rush." Many storefronts quickly closed after the federal Drug Enforcement Agency mailed shutdown letters last month". By Jonathan Martin Seattle Times staff reporter
Kendall Watson September 06, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Link?
Jerry Gropp Architect AIA September 06, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Sorry Kendall- Here's a link to the Seattle Times "Pot Dispensary" Story. J- http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2019077879_dispensaries06m.html
Kendall Watson September 06, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Good story. It seems unlikely that a "pot dispensary" will locate to Mercer Island, but there is a legal gray area as the story describes, and a large portion of Mercer Island's town center is 1000 feet away from the nearest school (Early World) or playground (Mercerdale). It's notable that there are 100 Seattle dispensaries that DIDN'T get a DEA letter.
Jerry Gropp Architect AIA September 06, 2012 at 06:53 PM
. K- As you must know by now, Mercer I. is a long way from Seattle- and Utah. J-
Jerry Gropp Architect AIA September 06, 2012 at 09:52 PM
. Once again- it's really hard to disagree/differ with Ira on this. (I wish I could). J- "As I've said many times, OUR City Council is owned by wealthy development interests and couldn't care less about the wishes of average Islanders."
Jerry Gropp Architect AIA September 07, 2012 at 11:41 PM
. Here's what I had to say about the MI "DownTown" on another of my PatchBlogs. J- http://mercerisland.patch.com/blog_posts/mercer-islands-so-called-downtown-could-have-shown-more-imagination-9de446be
Darcie September 09, 2012 at 03:24 AM
I would think a speciality children's toy/clothing shop could do well on the island with all the families that live here.
Kim Kendall September 10, 2012 at 05:30 PM
What about offering our community a service by reducing rent in order to maintain the hardware store on the island? Or reduced rent for the use of a Organic/natural Food Co-op run by locals? Both of these businesses are needed on the island and worth supporting. Some rent is better than no rent for a space that has remained unused for so long.

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