Thursday, April 17, 2008

Rock, Meet Bottom

There is a space in time in any musical performance where one beat falls exactly between two others. As part of the natural wiring of our brains, we feel that point. When a note is played slightly off beat, we sense that too.

John Bonham, drummer for the classic rock band Led Zeppelin, had an uncanny ability to hit that mark with perfection. The heavy beat behind all of Zeppelin's music was based on Bonham's signature rhythm. The bottom of something, like in music, is looking for a firm stop. It establishes a critical turning point for us to know that something is preparing to resolve in the other direction.

It is becoming more and more apparent that parts of our city have also found their bottom and are now coming back up. N. Grand is a good example. Yesterday, I was part of a group of about thirty people attending a meeting of the Federal Reserve's 2008 Exploring Innovation series. We met at the new offices of Justine Petersen, located at 1023 N. Grand. 1023 N. Grand was once an abandoned building owned by the city's Land Reutilization Authority.

Justine Petersen has renovated the former LRA building into an exquisite headquarters office to serve their homeownership and micro enterprise lending programs. In addition, the building has storefront space for lease fronting N. Grand.

The building is located about five blocks north of the Fox Theater in what some would generally consider North City, but what is also an expansion of the city's burgeoning Midtown district. The meeting was well attended, and many people parked their cars for free along the side street.

1023 N. Grand is a stately old office building, once housing doctors and lawyers. Much of the original charm is intact, especially noticeable when entering through the main N. Grand entrance. It is during the down phase of a community when such properties become abandoned, and a credit to the people at Justine Petersen for seeing potential in the same building and becoming a partner in the revitalization of another part of our city.

As in music, there is art in identifying that precise moment when things begin resolving in a positive direction. Petersen Housing made magic through their efforts. Around town, there is an increasing sense that more and more of our neighborhoods are going through the same positive turnaround. Can you feel it?

No comments: