OK, here's what we have, throbbing brain: urban neighborhood, CVS on the corner, defunct movie theatre and pizza place, another empty store front, and a laundromat. All next door to a urban supermarket which has parking.
I received an email from my neighborhood association about CVS needing/wanting to expand and make a drive thru pharmacy here, tearing down the theatre and other two store fronts. While the CVS is fine and has been a staple in the neighborhood, I don't think a drive thru is necessary, nor is the need for such an expansion.
The empty space is located right near two universities--The College of Saint Rose is right across the street and the University at Albany is nearby, but more importantly, all of the student neighborhoods are really, really close and it's on a central busline and also near other neighborhoods consisting of two family and one family homes.
I called the commissioner of city planning here and spoke to her and voiced my idea of a bookstore--barnes and noble or borders (we have neither in the actual City of Albany) in lieu of a drive thru CVS--the good thing is that the zoning laws wouldn't allow a drive thru CVS, but the bad thing is that Borders (I don't know about B&N yet) won't go into an area like this because they deem it too be suburban, eventhough it is urban. They wouldn't even go into downtown Albany--again, it's not urban enough, apparently, and the parking isn't there. It's my contention that there are two types of Borders--urban and suburban. But what about a city that's in between--a small city, like Albany. The commissioner also said that the CVS proposal was the first real interest in the location in over a year (aside from a bar or a non-profit organization, which we have plenty of both).
As a student, I can tell you that this would be a great addition to the neighborhood. Also, I know that I hate having to drive all the way out to get to a bookstore like the aforementioned (although I always try to support our little local guy)--hmm, maybe he could have two locations. Another thought. I guess what I'm grappling with is why no one wants to take advantage of the fact that close to 25,000+ students come to live and learn in the City of Albany every year. A bookstore with a cafe (place to study) would be great. Note: we don't even have a real Sturbucks in the City of Albany--there's pseudo Starbucks in the lobby of a bank downtown--it's kinda weird.
Has anyone else dealt with a problem like this? Any suggestions? I'm going to write Borders and Barnes and Noble. I'll post pics of what the area looks like soon.