Moderato, while the Capri Block is very much up in the air, the Crescent and Broadway Flats are inching closer to construction. Affordable housing has extremely complex funding schemes. I was actually relatively happy with the state of Penn and Broadway before the tornado. Unfortunately the loss of the Broadway Liquor building compounded with the demo of the Fire and Ice/former Burger King building across the street and the rest of the block really destroyed any momentum. Currently all of the spaces are occupied along this stretch or are vacant parcels. Without new construction there isn't any opportunity for businesses with broader appeal.
Ackerberg's properties (Ie 1200 West Broadway, 5 Points, 1101, etc) are all asking too much for rent. I understand he remodeled these buildings without much of any subsidy, but you cannot rent at downtown rates and expect anything more than nonprofits and national chains being able to afford the rent. This isn't Uptown, Dinkytown or even Eat Street. 5 Points was earmarked for a restaurant, but never got interest because of rent and the need for a kitchen build out.
Avenue Eatery (in Ackerberg's 1101 building) may have not changed its name, but changed ownership and has done very well since the MPS completion. I'm actually not sure why the MPS building would be such a catalyst. The old location was only incidentally located next to the NE Arts District and Uncle Franky's and Ideal Diner were the only restaurants in walking distance. I believe the health of the main drag of Broadway (between Irving and 2nd Street) and the Penn cluster are very much independent of one another as much as Lowry is it's own thing.
I spent the late fall 2012 photographing the state of West Broadway for the city (http://westbroadway.tumblr.com
) and I'm a member of Jordan neighborhood board. I'm enmeshed in making the best of my time here. I also don't believe that any neighborhood is in a constant stasis. With that, I bought a very nice house (nearly turnkey) at the bottom of the market. Comparables seem to be selling for a good profit, so I have that opportunity. Heck I could rent it, but I do live on a very stable block with amazing neighbors and little crime even though we're only a block from Penn and 26th and two from Penn/Broadway.
Min-Chi-Bus, as a city we have to make a concerted effort to turn over the vacant and boarded housing stock so that a large enough population, even if poor, can frequent local businesses. That's the current focus of the Jordan neighborhood while the city seems intent on demoing the problem. I've heard rumblings of a TIF district for West Broadway, but at this point I'm guessing that might fund the Broadway-Washington streetcar. The Hmong/Asian population in Jordan in is near 25% of the neighborhood and I believe they represent a substantial portion of the population south of Broadway. We have three very good Asian markets and a great Asian restaurant, but they aren't on Broadway. They're all on Lowry. The Hispanic population is the fastest growing minority. There isn't much of an African immigrant population in my area, but they're seem to be a lot in Heritage Park/Sumner-Glenwood.
This may be controversial, but I think north needs a Sabri (minus the legal shenanigans and code violations) who will remodel cheap and rent cheap. Despite his inane building standards, his properties brought to life much of Lake Street before anybody heard the words Midtown Global Market.
I'd defintely be interested in hearing from this board to what they think can be done outside of policing to improve the northside. I love all the new developments and mass transit everywhere else in the city as much as the next board member, but what can be done in north to catalyze change. Sorry about the long response.