Inside Job: Asian Plaza Plans Upend Gentrification Narrative

Comments

1
i guess i'm an urbanist.

apartments are going up all along 12th. Yesler is well along in its redevelopment. the population is burgeoning there. now is as good a time as any to break some eggs and make an omelet in Little Saigon. Tamarind and Sichuanese are popular enough to find another space. Especially Sichuanese, since they don't appear to have ever spent a dime on d├ęcor, unlike the Tamarind.

that's a crazy high percentage of workforce units. hope they pull it off.
2
"Tamarind and Sichuanese are popular enough to find another space."

@1 for three to four times the rent they are currently paying and for a huge outlay in up-front costs to build out for a restaurant for which they would likely have to take out big, big loans and all the same time risking a new location. "They're successful!" Remember that's what people said about Bauhaus.

These are not Tom Douglas joints. The vast majority of small independent restaurants - even the very successful ones - don't survive moving locations in this rental climate.
3
@2 Is it a bad climate for retail? Seems like just yesterday we were all afraid that Amazon would make most local retail go out of business and we'd have empty storefronts everywhere. Is that happening? If so, it should be easy for them to relocate. If not, then maybe we should be requiring more storefront space in buildings.

What's missing from this story is how much square footage of retail they're removing, and how much they're adding.

Regarding the building not representing the Little Saigon area well enough, have they seen the building they're currently in?!
4
Wasn't there just an uproar when the Goodwill site on Dearborn was going to be built up into a shopping center, and the plans got scaled back due to protest from this same community? I'm not sure where the "we've been ignored when it comes to new developments" thing is coming from. I'm sure there's lots of nuance here that I don't know about, and I would be happy to understand more about it.
5
@3 I'd characterize the mix of existing businesses as point-of-service (nails, 4-5 restaurants) and then a supermarket, and 3-4 retail shops. The commercial amenities are different for each of those, with varying requirements for drains/ventilation/ceiling heights etc. But you're right on that 2nd point- what is the net gain/loss of retail in this plan?
6
Tam Nguyen is resourceful and will land on his feet eventually. The real poignant losses here are of Puget Sound Sage and the third place that is Helping Link. Yes, other places offer citizenship classes, language tutoring, after school programs and technology assistance, but as a community fixture, Helping Link is entirely unique.
7
I would worry more about the other businesses than the "immigrant" restaurant named here. It has a very bad rep as a place to work - very low pay and wage thefts rampant, no breaks, long hours with no overtime, etc - for the workers whom are not on the books, which are many/most of the employees. Of course you can find that behavior from many restaurants that hire people, esp.women, from immigrants' communities, but I hear that they are extra bad, as if they're paying for the pretty decor by shorting the staff.

So if you eat there often, make sure to leave your tips in cash, your waitstaff and kitchen staff won't see any of the bankcards/electronic tips.

The sad thing is the construction will take at least a year, they say, so the older people who live in the neighborhood and don't have cars won't have that big grocery store. There are smaller grocers, but it's more walking while carrying heavy bags.

Vancouver didn't mess with their ID, but that one is more famous and gets lots of tourists who came to see Chinatown, Japanese town and Little Saigon, and not BC's version of gentrified Anywheretown.
8
We'll miss Vietnam House.. it's an awesome restaurant. Fyi: Jumbo on Rainier in Columbia City is closed. Still sure if the owners closed and sold for more condos.
9
Tamarind tree has great food, but let's be honest, the building it is in is trash. The space is too small for the business the restaurant is doing, and while that patio is "charming" during the summer, the other 9 months out of the year it makes any table anywhere near the west side of the building uncomfortable.

Tear it down. Build something new that fits the current tenants and a bunch of new ones.
11
maybe i am dumb, but is this project even on the corner of 12th & Jackson? from the rendering it looks like the bus stop at the entrance to tamarind tree, half a block in, which would mean most of the businesses mentioned won't be impacted by the work? Viet Wah would be coming down, but it sounds like they are all for the project.