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A Peek Inside the Blackstone at Ninth and Broadway

By Eric Richardson
Published: Friday, May 15, 2009, at 11:26AM
Blackstone Eric Richardson [Flickr]

9th and Broadway. Under construction, opening in approximately six months.

Though it may not look it from outside, the long-delayed conversion of the Blackstone department store to 82 residential units is finally rounding the home stretch nearly a decade after the project was first proposed.

Running the project are husband and wife team Allen Gross and Arax Harutunian of Neighborhood Efforts. Walking through the building with the two, it's immediately clear how much fun they have restoring historic buildings. They got into the field nearly fifteen years ago, when they took on the preservation of the Los Altos in 1995.

Some notes from a tour through the under-construction building:

  • Walking into the basement, it would be easy to think you've found your way into an archeological dig. Ceiling-high scaffolding towers over excavation below. Two levels of parking are being put in, and that requires a few more feet of headroom.

  • Ground floor could potential hold retail, a restaurant and up to two bars. A large grease trap is being installed and CUPs are being applied for, meaning that eventual tenants will have a quicker road to opening.

  • The residential units carry the high-ceilings of loft-life but not its exposed utilities. Historic crown molding in the ceilings has been lovingly restored and highlighted. Massive windows throughout.

  • Another break from the loft trend is closets, and lots of them. Many units feature both a walk-in and a shallower space or two.

While the upstairs units are nearing completion, work on the ground floor and parking will push the project's completion date out toward the end of the year. Of the building's rental 82 units, 16 will be affordable and 66 will be market rate.


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