Spirit of the Westside
Last June we covered a cool story about a building complex on Grant Street that had been purchased by Prish Moran. Since that time, Prish has been working away at the interior in order to have many of the features underway this spring. In coming weeks we should have a couple of great spin-off stories that Prish and her project have helped to inspire. The good news is that Grant Street (corner of Lafayette) is about to get an injection of the arts. I called Prish to ask her about the headway that she was making. Here's her progress update:
"It's looking pretty cheery over there at this point. I've reassessed what the corner really means to me since we last spoke in June. It's going to be a West Side artists’ community. I'm going to call the artist's complex 'HOME'. I always felt that this corner should be warm and inviting... while focusing on the community at the same time. I want it to be like a town center. I feel like there is a niche out there that has not been filled. The corner location will be converted into an old-world cafe. I'm not into the laptop coffee shop kind of thing. I have a vision that this will be more creative and welcoming. The second and third floor will be rented to artists who may want to show in the gallery adjoining the cafe. Who else can bring back a community other than artists? The interior of the gallery will feature high ceilings and brick walls. The space next to that is where my sister is going to open up a very different and creative flower shop. There is one space still left... I'm looking big-time for someone to open their dream trattoria to go along with the gallery, the cafe, the flower shop and the artist studios. I am open-minded as to what will go in there. The rent is cheap, the parking is easy (two public lots)... and the rest of the tenants will make this corner into a small community of people who love art, food, coffee, flowers... I really envision it being something of old-world flavor."
It won't be long until the community will have another Grant Street destination on its hands. Just think of all the people who frequent Guercio's who would love to be able to walk a few more doors down to grab a cup of coffee and a bunch of flowers in the morning. "We're aiming for a May 1st opening," Prish told me. "There is so much that we can do for this West Side community. The coffee shop will be called Sweet_Ness 7 Cafe. There is a wonderful story behind the name... I'm stronger in my commitment to bringing artists to Grant Street, and I believe that there is going to be a chain reaction... as a matter of fact, we're already starting to see spill-off. The formal entrance to the church (built in 1920 on the property) will become a community space. There is even a studio between the church and the coffee shop that I have rented to an artist from Seattle... he's my first official tenant, and he's excited to host shows that will be open to the public. Work is starting on the artist apartments next week... if you know of any artists looking for brand new spring diggs... or if anyone out there is looking to open a trattoria... have them send me an email.
In the email, subject matter should read, “Grant Street Trattoria or Grant Street artist loft.