By Seth Daniel
The Salvation Army Store on Broadway closed earlier this month, and the City said this week that it is seriously considering taking the property by eminent domain due to it being a blight on the city and for public policy purposes.
City Manager Tom Ambrosino said the store has been sold, and he said some believe it is to the owner of the Rainbow Fashions, but he wasn’t sure. In any case, the new owner hasn’t been terribly responsive and he has engaged an independent appraisal to understand what it might cost.
“The City is very interested in taking it by eminent domain,” he said. “We’re going to engage an appraiser and I’ll report what I would like to do one way or the other to the City Council within the next month…The City’s position is that it is blighted and was blighted. We would take it for public policy purposes as part of an effort to revive the Broadway business corridor.”
Council President Leo Robinson said he agreed with the idea, and would support it if Ambrosino recommends the taking.
“I am ok with it and I support it,” he said. “We’re looking to change how we do retail in the downtown and we want to put more units above the stores. This is a key property to make that happen.”
Ambrosino said if they take it, they would likely put it out for development, with a stress on affordable housing. He said ground floor retail would be required as well. He said he would envision several floors of housing and a marquee tenant on the first floor.
He said the Fourth to Fifth Street stretch of Broadway is a key part of the overall Downtown initiative.
With the store sitting empty, that effort is hamstrung.
“This is a top priority of mine within the month,” he said.