The economic costs of poorly designed places are very real, as evidenced by yet more business turnover at the Alpine Village apartment complex.
While heading home yesterday, I noticed that one of the signs for Chill Yogurt & Cafe had been replaced by a sign for “Body Rock: My Body Fueled.” I have no idea what this business is, but it’s at least the third one to occupy the same space since it opened a few years ago.
In fairness, the two previous enterprises were yogurt shops, which seems to be an industry without a business model. The turnover also recalls Jake Haws’ recent guest post in which he pointed out that some would-be entrepreneurs poorly execute their well-intentioned plans.
But the difficulty of maintaining a business in this spot is also likely due to two factors: poor location and poor design.
First, this building is located on a particularly unpleasant stretch of Freedom Blvd. I analyzed Freedom in this post, but the gist of the argument is that Freedom aggressively discourages pedestrian use and doesn’t encourage drivers to stop either. This corner space is even more challenged because it’s actually hard to see when approached from the south — the natural direction from which passersby might stop — due to landscaping at the nearby Taco Bell.
On top of the difficult location, this spot is part of a poorly designed building. That post on Freedom Blvd also discusses Alpine Village, which is basically a strip mall with apartments plopped on top. Bafflingly, the apartments don’t even open up in the same direction as the shops, thus negating much of the benefit of grouping them together in the first place.
Provo is filled with these kinds of places — many of them much worst than this one — but it’s important to recognize that they collectively represent a weak spot that degrades the city’s otherwise business-friendly environment.