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Ormond Beach Observer Tuesday, May 17, 2016 4 years ago

Wild speculation on what should go in Ormond's vacant buildings

I wouldn't be surprised if Mayor Kelley offered me a job after this.
by: Emily Blackwood News Editor

I love the potential of things. It's the reason why there are three to six empty notebooks at my apartment at any given time.

Blank canvases, an unscheduled calendar, and empty wall space are all food to my wild imagination that can't help but daydream about the never-ending possibilities. So while I'm doing my daily 15 minutes of waiting in traffic on Granada Boulevard, and I notice a vacant building, you can bet my mind is running. 

So instead of keeping all these insane ideas to myself, I thought I'd share them with you. Maybe you'll like them, maybe you'll think I'm crazy, maybe it'll spark a better idea than mine! Either way, hopefully this will start a conversation that will end with all of Ormond's vacant buildings finally being filled. 

Disclaimer: I literally have no clue about codes or rules or anything about what kinds of businesses can or can't exist in certain buildings. So if I've gotten something horribly wrong (which in my experience happens often), then let me know. In a nice way though, like, with a fruit basket. 

First on my list is 9 W. Granada Blvd., more formally known as the building with all the cool window paint, right before you cross the bridge. Now because I'm such a big fan of sitting and drinking coffee in places that aren't my living room, my first instinct with every vacant building is always a coffee shop. And this place in particular would be an excellent choice because it's close enough the river for a leisurely walk and it's big, beautiful windows would make for excellent coffee shop lighting and people watching. Personally, I'd love for the place to feature some local coffee brewers, have one of those cool free libraries and be a hub for writers and creative types to gather and discuss how to make our community a more interesting place. 

Now the building is pretty big, so it could even house a cute little bookstore (meaning, another place Emily can go drink coffee). Also a few websites online say that it has the potential to add additional stories above for apartments with a riverview. If this happens, I call dibs. Everyone knows this now, so don't try to cut in line. 

Second on the watch list is the infamous old Food Lion at 101 E. Granada Blvd. Personally speaking, I would love to see a Target or a Barnes and Noble go there, but at the same time anything that's going to add additional minutes to my time waiting in traffic, I'm not a fan of. 

Though this building is huge and could have the potential to store many different types of huge chains, I think the bigger benefit would be doing something to make East Granada Boulevard more of downtown, walking friendly community. So maybe we should tear down the thing all together and build a structure more similar to it's neighboring Gaslamp Shoppes. Think of how many coffee shops we could put in there then! I mean, at least five right?!

Finally, my last request is for something to fill the void at 71 W. Granada Blvd., formally the home of Ormond Realty. The building was recently painted red, which for some reason made me think it was going to house a pizza shop.

While that would be awesome, I'd also love more food and drink options in downtown. I know we already have a few gems, but the beautiful thing about Ormond's local business scene is that everything is super specific. What other towns do you know that have a tiki bar, a speakeasy and a (soon to come) oyster restuarant literally right next to each other? 

So I welcome the next diner whether everything is made out of celery or has a "Life On Mars" theme (both of which are real places). The more the merrier! 

Though I may not have solved anything with this column, I do hope that our city's vacant spaces become filled with the kinds of businesses that bring people together because that's what makes a community a community. 




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