Vacant is as Vacant does

RLB Former Fashion Bug site

The former Fashion Bug store location in Round Lake Beach. Sally Beauty Supply moved into the center section; the vacant unit we’re talking about in this post is pictured to the far-right.

Decided to check for signs of life at the vacant retail unit next to Sally Beauty Supplies while getting some greeting cards at Ann’s Hallmark (same building as the Kohl’s).

Potential?
No sign of life. In fact, the “Unit For Lease” window sign with contact information had just peeled-back and was folded sadly over on itself at the base of the door (when we checked in mid-July). Peeked inside and saw no signs of recent activity, but did pay more attention to some details. If you click on the interior picture below for a larger view, you can see them as well.

There are no plumbing pipes or fixtures in the back, and the walls go all the way to the rear of the unit. In order to get a occupancy permit, and depending on what the business will be, the unit will have to provide a restroom for (at least) the employees. Choices are to either open up an interior wall and share with an adjacent business, or jack-hammer the floor to lay some additional plumbing for a new bathroom.

Vacant Unit

Noticed also no rear exit, for loading/shipping as well as providing an emergency exit per code. The interior shot shows two power panels and some other floor-mounted electrical box. Going around to the rear of the building, it’s just solid concrete structural panels used to assemble the exterior walls. If there’s a rear door going in for this unit, they’re going to have to go in with high-power concrete cutters.

Rear of Building

Even so, right outside of where the exterior door(s) WOULD go is a new power meter box, used to add extra meters when the former single-business store was subdivided into three units. To cap it all off there’s a utility transformer and connection box with protective pillars surrounding them, just feet from the where a door would go. We doubt that the Fire Marshall or OSHA would approve of an exit door there.

It’s going to take extra $$$ to make this unit fit for a business, and a small start-up or entrepreneur probably won’t be able to cough up a decent-enough lease payment to make it worthwhile for the out-of-town property management company to bother with the modifications.

But just think about what could happen if they do it right:

Foxy_Brown

Arepa

Narrow Cafe Bar

Little Red Fox

Which of the below scenes would YOU rather see? Which do you think brings more value and more LIFE to the village?

Wouldn't this make for a great "Before-and-After"?

Same “Form Factor” of building, just a single-story strip with adjacent storefronts. What is happening INSIDE that makes the OUTSIDE so lively? Is that something WE should try?

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One Response to Vacant is as Vacant does

  1. Pingback: Another skinny example | www.reimagineRLB.com

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