Sunday, May 03, 2009

Hilldale development site's upside down flag of distress signals commercial real estate woes

Sign of an Upside Down Condo Market
Once this sign perfectly embodied the bold vision of developer Joseph Freed & Associates' new Hilldale: "Shop it. Live it. Love it." One-stop shopping and living, with condos and upscale shops -- including a planned Whole Foods -- all in easy proximity to each other.

The intersection of University Ave. And Segoe Rd. was the planned site of the second phase of the Hilldale redevelopment. A big new Whole Foods store was going to anchor the site, which would also include two high rise condos. In the fall of 2007, buildings were torn down (including the Hilldale Theater) and excavation began. The fence went up, and with it the sign, "Shop it. Live it. Love it."

Then the condo market softened. Freed regrouped and came up with a series of new plans. Eventually the condos were to be replaced by an office building and a hotel. Construction was said to be about to begin. Then Whole Foods pulled out. Nothing remained but a big hole. And an upside down sign. I'm sure the eyesore will be developed eventually, but I'm not holding my breath.


Rich said...

such an ironic sign of the times.

Gabrielle said...

Similar things have been happening in Seattle. A gas station near my old place was torn out a while ago, leaving a big pit which has now filled with water (a mosquito breeding site and maybe a death trap for children.)