Thursday, July 16, 2009

Then and Now

Today we turn our time travel lens to 2nd & Battery. Let's take a look at what went on there:

When I moved into the neighborhood, this building was still standing. Apparently, it was the last film distributorship to go under; it lasted until 1980. Between that time and when I moved into Belltown, it became an army surplus store. Its claim to fame was a large, old missile bolted to the corner. That was the real draw. People would come from near and far to have their pictures taken in front of the missile. The store only took up a portion of the block, but the building itself covered the entire block, from Battery to Wall and 1st to 2nd. All the space not occupied by the famous missile surplus store was abandoned and boarded up. The store went the way of everything else in 1991. It languished for a time. This is what it looks like today:

Sorry folks, no happy endings here. The building was torn down around 1993 and was replaced by the Belltown Court. If you've been in the neighborhood for any amount of time, you'll recall that they had some scaffolding issues of their own. In fact, I'm pretty sure that their scaffold was up for about two years and that the building spent a significant amount of time wrapped in plastic. I'm sure that wasn't pleasant for Belltown Court tenants. Although I'm dismissive about the place, I will admit that it does have some stellar restaurants. Just in that one building alone, there's Lampreia, Macrina Bakery, Belltown Pizza, Branzino, La Vita E Bella and Shiro's Sushi. Hell, they've even got a Subway and a murder mart. But they don't have a missile.

So no, the former film distributor hasn't been repurposed. It's long gone. Is the new place better? I'll give it a conditional "yes." As architecture, it sucks. But as a component of the neighborhood, the place is vital - even if it doesn't have a missile.

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