They Will Come... So Build it!

It's thrilling to follow the downtown construction in WRJ. By far the largest project underway is "The Village at White River Junction", an assisted living and memory care center with 80 apartments. I'm struck by the building's overwhelming mass each time I walk by. The developers took an underutilized parking lot next to the Methodist Church and shoehorned in an impressive, modern structure at the base of the hill.

I'll take the unit without a plywood window, thanks.

I'm not really complaining, though. There's a land-use efficiency to a dense downtown I appreciate, and I love to witness an urban revitalization at my doorstep. This new building continues an investment in and a commitment to the future, following renewal projects like the Tip Top Building and Railroad Row.

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What stirs my enthusiasm most about this building is the promise of more tenants and businesses. The rental market in the Upper Valley is so tight if you build it, they will come-- to use a hackneyed phrase. In fact, they are here already and looking for a place to live. And they'll be looking for a place to dine out, for a fun place like Lucky's in Lebanon to get coffee, and for a small grocer on the same side of the White River as their apartment. The location of this new apartment building is exceptional and easily walkable in our un-sprawling downtown.

Nestled snugly amongst Northern Stage, the Methodist Church, and the Terraces Historical District.

Immediately to the left of the Filling Station is an open storefront ready for a general store or corner shop. Something like Woodstock's Gillinghams would be amazing. I recently suggested in a Design L'UV post that the Lyme Country Store could relocate to WRJ and was amazed no Lyme folks threatened my life. (Thank you for that.) And to totally belabor it, The Polka Dot as a revamped coffee shop would easily become the Lucky's of White River. In the last year there's been a shift in downtown restaurant business models, resulting in a golden opportunity to claim the coveted "WRJ Coffee Shop" title.

This new apartment building is not perfect. I find this view below especially terrifying. The Methodist Church's Second Hand Rose thrift shop looks like it's about to be devoured by the apartment building.

That is SOME wall.

And please don't get me started on the closing of the Fairview Terrace trail. Oh dear, it's too late, I've already started. Due to The Village's construction, the trail leading from the back of Northern Stage up to the terminus of Fairview Terrace has been temporarily closed. I italicized "temporarily" because if "they" don't put the trail "back", there shall be "you-know-what" to pay. (You can tell how worked up I am by the number of unnecessary quotes I use in a sentence.) Let me put it this way, put back the nice trail up to my house and no one's dog park terrace will get sprayed with Silly String. Just sayin'. Bada bing bada boom.

All hollow threats aside, it's amazing to see our downtown on the move. I can't wait to see what comes next. Welcome to White River Junction!

Is this heaven?

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