Adaptive Reuse Followed by Vacancy?

Let’s ponder adaptive reuse and vacant buildings. It’s a sad day when a chain store buys out a smaller company, whatever the reason. Does it sting any less when that chain store now occupies the existing building? What if it’s just a larger chain buying a smaller chain? Does it hurt less than any chain buying an independent store? What happens when that chain store subsequently relocates, leaving the former mom & pop store location unoccupied? It’s akin to a big box store building a massive store outside of town and then relocating to an even larger store, and leaving its original site vacant.

While in Indianapolis, I came across this closed Dunkin Donuts building with the Googie style sign.

On the corner of Washington and Pennsylvania.

On the corner of Washington and Pennsylvania.

A bit of searching revealed a long history of Roselyn Bakery, a regional franchise of 40+ locations throughout Indiana. See this photograph of the Roselyn Bakery sign. The bakery operated in many stores until 1999, at which point the business shut down bakeries and began selling only to grocery stores. Following the bakery, a Panda Express Chinese Restaurant occupied the building for a while until Dunkin Donuts moved in, operating from 2008-2013.
And now? Plans are under review. Let’s hope the Googie sign remains. Roselyn’s Bakery signs still exist around Indy. Check out Down the Road and Visual Lingual.

Closer view of the V-shape rotating sign (it's still rotating).

Closer view of the V-shape rotating sign (it’s still rotating).

What is your barometer for businesses buying one another? Or do we chalk it up to capitalism and business plans? My preference is local businesses, smaller chains, and then larger chains that respect historical significance of location and building. So, it does sting a bit less when a big business makes an effort to be a part of an existing community, as opposed to trying to compete for a removed location. And while some buildings have a greater presence in a downtown block, it’s important to consider the bigger picture. Every occupied building makes a difference for an urban core or downtown.

7 thoughts on “Adaptive Reuse Followed by Vacancy?

  1. Jim Grey says:

    My photo of the Dunkin’ Donuts reuse of this Roselyn Bakery building and sign was from just before the DD opened. And then next thing I knew, it had closed! I can’t imagine why a Downtown DD would not do fabulous business. I used to buy things there when it was Roselyn’s and I worked Downtown; the joint was always crowded.

  2. VisuaLingual says:

    Bummer! So, is the sign currently rotating for no reason? We lived in Indy years ago and still visit regularly. The metamorphosis of this corner has always held a weird fascination for me because of this crazy sign. I didn’t especially love the DD incarnation, but it was sort of funny that they went in a Googie direction because of the preexisting sign. I notice that the article only says that the sign can, not that it has to.

    BTW, here are two similar examples of sign reuse in Cincinnati, where we now live: Cincinnati Color Company before and after, and Tower before and after. In both cases, I really appreciate that the current businesses retained the old signage armatures and even of the old signage text, but I do think that the results look atrocious.

    • Kaitlin says:

      I guess it is rotating for no reason. Weird, huh? I saw it with my own eyes! Hopefully the next business keeps it. Thanks for the other examples. Awesome!

  3. Lani says:

    I recently wrote about how the city I’m living in is changing for malls and more malls (Chiang Mai Thailand). Old buildings are torn down for new ones, quite frequently. But there are plenty of new buildings standing vacant. The US has more land so this more of an epidemic, city centers moving to different areas of town. I’ve seen this in so many places. And I hope we will start to have cities that retain their character instead of running towards a mono-culture (chain stores) – soon.

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