Suburban Decay

Neighborhood Abandonment, Google Earth image

West Colfax is the main street that runs diagonally through this image. Sloan’s Lake is at the top of the map and Sheridan is the street that runs across this side of the lake. Technically in this picture there are parts of Edgewater, Edgewood, Lakewood and Denver. This is the neighborhood that I have called home for the last nine years and although it is an “alright” part of town, it’s not what it could be, or what it once was. This area had apparently been booming at some point because there is development everywhere although it is inconsistent and spotty.  There is a halfway house on my street, but also a giant daycare. There are trailer parks only a couple blocks away, but there are also brand new townhomes close by and the long-standing historical small town (in the middle of a big city) kind of feel in Edgewater. The “Casa Bonita” strip mall (left corner of pins) is more than half empty and has been for a long time. There is an abandoned Albertsons in this strip mall as well as most of the strip itself. The only anchors in this center are the famous Casa Bonita, the Dollar tree and a Save-a-lot. There are a couple other smaller businesses, but even these vendors don’t seem to stick around for too long. The ironic thing is that even with all of these available properties, KeyBank just erected an entirely new branch in the middle of the parking lot.

Abandoned Albertsons (in the Casa Bonita strip mall)

misc. building, abandoned for over 9 years

The area directly across from Sloan’s Lake has recently been re-developed and retail is once again thriving, thanks to a brand new Target and a re-developed strip that has almost completed the fine tuning of vendors and eateries (patios overlook the beautiful lake, well, just on the other side of Sheridan traffic).The abandoned Fazoli’s across from the lake attempted to be a Mexican restaurant for a very short 6 month timespan but now again sits empty. The Target was freshly built after the old abandoned for five years Cub Foods was torn down. It seems to attract a fresh new bunch of retail as the strip mall is one of the few that are relatively full in the area (and that is only recently). A Blockbuster video closed and was converted into a dentist and a T-mobile outlet. About two years ago there was a Payless shoe store that was torn down and a fresh bank built in its’ place. The old Table Stakes pool hall was converted into a Rainbow clothing store and the rest of the spaces between King Soopers and Ace Hardware remain full…for now.  This is one of the most occupied shopping areas and there are still three units that remain vacant.

Tucked behind the lake just a block west is an abandoned Safeway. For nine years I have driven by this huge warehouse of a store and wondered if it would ever see life again. The surrounding strip mall houses a Pudge Brother’s pizza and a Mexican restaurant on the corner lot but even the majority of the strip is empty. The real reason people even drive in this gigantic parking lot is the liquor store. There used to be recycling dumpsters in the corner of this lot but they were taken out because people would constantly leave furniture and trash everywhere. We consume things so fast that we have a hard time dealing with all of the garbage. There are also boxes still for the donation of clothes and shoes. This is also a comment on our consumerism as there is clearly a surplus in material goods if we are attempting to collect extra goods on the corners.

Abandoned Safeway

B&W Abandoned Safeway

Mostly abandoned strip next to Abandoned Safeway

At the corner of Colfax and Wadsworth a brand new Walmart was built about seven years ago. It is open 24 hours and is a “Super” Walmart and the other Walmart that is maybe a mile away (at 6th and Wadsworth) was rubbish compared to this retail monster. It briefly closed for about a year and then opened again as apparently there was a demand. The parking lot is always full and Christmas shopping is crazy at both locations which clearly illustrates our need for things and our consumerist lifestyle.

This Walgreens (pictured below) on the corner of Colfax and Kendall has been vacant for about five years now. The replacement Walgreens was built one stop light away at Colfax and Sheridan where there was another building torn down on the corner to accommodate. We keep tearing down buildings to build new buildings. We need to refocus energies into transforming and remodeling the buildings that we already have.

Abandoned Walgreens, Colfax and Kendall

B&W Empty old Walgreens


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