The Heart of a Neighborhood

At the corner of 21st and Union in the Central District, this is the kind of small-scale commercial building that forms the heart of an urban neighborhood. They tend to be a little old and rough around the edges, yet have character in both the architecture and tenants that more than makes up for it. Most importantly, they are affordable to the independent businesses that foster meaningful connections between people and place.

The building in the photo above is home to a bike repair shop, a yoga/pilates studio, and a small movie theater that serves food and drinks. On election night the movie theater — Central Cinema — hosted a neighborhood party that perfectly illustrates the unifying role small businesses can play in their community. The video below (via CD News) shows a particularly profound moment from that night, during which a woman spontaneously went up on stage and sang the national anthem. Pretty safe to assume nothing like this happened at the multiplex.