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What Can Replace Outwrite?

What's appropriate for the high-traffic corner in the heart of Midtown?

Some folks are wondering what could possibly replace , which Thursday due to financial struggles after 18 years in business.

For 15 of those years, the iconic bookstore has occupied the busy corner at Piedmont Avenue and 10th Street, arguably one of the "gayest" intersections in Atlanta. Many considered Outwrite a safe haven for the LGBT community, a place where it was OK to discuss, question and embrace one's sexuality.

"It's difficult to imagine what's going to happen to that corner," Outwrite's founder and owner Philip Rafshoon said on the phone Thursday afternoon.

The approximately 2,500-square-foot store already is up for lease.

Rafshoon said the building's landlord, Jodaco Inc., is looking to replace Outwrite with another local, independent business that's just as community minded as the former tenant.

"We hope he keeps true to that commitment," Rafshoon said. "I want that corner to be successful."

But what could possibly replace such a memorable business?

"Hopefully something else the community can utilize rather than something stupid like an upscale flip-flop boutique," one reader wrote Patch in an email Thursday.

So we'd like to know ...

What would you like to see at that busy corner in the heart of Midtown? What would serve the community as Outwrite did? Should it be a gay-themed business or does that not matter? Would you prefer a local, independent business take over the space?

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!

Drewboo January 26, 2012 at 11:43 PM
My little soapbox: If the landlord thinks he can nickel & dime our beautiful Midtown culture w/ some silly boutique or wireless retailer which does not improve our community’s culture, then he has something coming. Outwrite utilized every square inch of that tiny space & did so efficiently by offering so much more than simply books. I will personally boycott any new tenant that does not provide a welcoming space for us to congregate. Gay Themed Tenants: - Another "multi-use business model with a wifi-cafe area" - easing the overload caribou will likely experience now while providing whatever niches will be profitable. - Non-profit LGBT community center with cafe, maybe a small movie screen area for docu-screenings, an Atlanta gay history educational wall, etc. Plaza theatre is not a non-profit theatre, so why not a non-profit community cafe, arts & media center? - Georgia Equality Offices with a cafe area raising money for state LGBT political causes & charities. - Partnership of local LGBT churches for a LGBT Spiritual Center & non-profit cafe. Local-Ind Business: - Highland Bakery - mini baked goods area & coffee shop cafe (HB has 3 small coffee-shop locations on GT campus little known to non-GT folks) - The Olive - greek restaurant/cafe - Cafe Intermezzo "Express" - !!!!! Regl-Natl Business: - Panera Bread - Coffee shop to compete w/ Caribou & accommodate former Outwrite regulars These are just ideas - Help me Brainstorm!
Drewboo January 27, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Obviously the non-profit ideas are less realistic since the landlord is wanting to make more money... but still.
JAX January 27, 2012 at 07:14 AM
I wonder how much the rent was? I have been trying to find out, but have been unsuccessful so far.
JAX January 27, 2012 at 07:19 AM
Boy Next Door or Brushstrokes should relocate here. Or go back to what it was 16 years ago before Outwrite....a gay club, in keeping with the neighborhood theme.
Drewboo January 27, 2012 at 07:35 AM
Yeah I thought about brushstrokes, but their current store is so much larger than Outwrite, they would have to reduce their offerings significantly, and there would be no room for a cafe feature. I really hope its not a clothing store, but BNS would be better than natl brands. That space is so small though, I wonder what could really go in there. I like the idea of a gay bar though... like perhaps a coffee shop during the day that transitions into a bar scene at night. As long as its no-cover :0)
kelli rose January 27, 2012 at 12:43 PM
Previous comments by Drewboo sums up the situation .. need something to compliment the midtown neighborhood for the GLBT community. Any thing less will fail ...
Marc Acampora January 27, 2012 at 01:18 PM
I'd like to see something unique. I don't think it has to necessarily be gay-centric. A non-chain that this diverse neighborhood can enjoy. Something that adds to the unique character and fabric of Midtown, like Outwrite did. No clothing. Definitely no wireless retailer. Not sure we need more coffee. Perhaps another bookstore...
Jeff K January 27, 2012 at 01:50 PM
Whatever it is, I hope it is something which continues the "hang-out" atmosphere, and remains either in or strongly supportive of the LGBT community. There seems to be a lot of competition/saturation in the food/bar environment in that immediate area. Not sure what would fit there, but it's sad to see an icon fall.
Gary January 27, 2012 at 02:08 PM
How about a nice bakery/sweets/coffee shop? Imagine fresh yummy baked goods and great coffee at any time of the day,,,,
JonC January 27, 2012 at 04:01 PM
I want to say a bar, but a) would there be enough room for a kitchen and b) part of the appeal of Outwrite was that it was appropriate for those who didn't want to/weren't old enough to drink.
Amy Wenk January 27, 2012 at 04:50 PM
I vote for a chill lounge that stays open late with live music, open mic, spoken word, etc. Those glass windows are meant for performance. Why not keep encouraging Atlanta's creative talent? Love to see something like Java Monkey or Churchill Grounds.
angela January 27, 2012 at 05:01 PM
hum prime local = $$$$ rent , there really is everything we need right there , so nothing to compete with the other local businesses , I think Atlanta needs a "fun " rental place , like NY , LA , Chig , two person bikes , 3 wheel bikes , segways , fun activities to buy or rent , i went to so many places looking to buy a kite one lovely spring day , three hours later ... nothing but a empty tank of gas and a headache ...
SM January 27, 2012 at 05:16 PM
I think the key is a local business (no nat. chains) that caters to the whole midtown population, and comes in quickly!! A couple ideas that first come to mind---a good NY Bagel Shop (Midtown Bagels), something like the Irwin Street Market- with multiple vendors selling anything from ice cream, to baked goods, to fresh produce, a Yoga/Pilates Studio--even somewhere where community members could hold exercise classes, a Small Live Music Venue- similar to Star Bar, smaller version of the Eye-Drum--we don't really have a place for live music shows in Midtown, a sushi/karaoke bar, a coffee - bar - something like Octane or Park Grounds ( allows dogs), A bar similar to Ormsbys (game room--along with drinks and food)- Maybe Gilberts could expand to provide this in the area, Deep Dish Pizza Bar---Pizza Antico, or a bourbon and blues bar. I guess you could say that these are all the things that I think Midtown is missing within in walking distance from the park!
President Taft January 27, 2012 at 05:30 PM
I vote for bagels! Let's get a good bagel / coffee shop that will ease pressure on Caribou Coffee and Flying Biscuit. It'll be a great attraction for all the running clubs and weekend park visitors.
SM January 27, 2012 at 05:37 PM
That was first thought in my above post---since moving to Atlanta---I have not found a good Intown Bagel Place---and there is definitely not one in walking distance from Midtown!!! It would be a great addition for the corner---both for the Neighborhood---and for park visitors (running clubs and boot camps)!!! As a runner in the park, I crave a good bagel ---and driving to Einsteins doesn't do it!
aj January 27, 2012 at 05:56 PM
a strip club ha!
Amy Wenk January 27, 2012 at 06:04 PM
I heard someone say blues bar! That would be amazing. I'd certainly love the addition of a good bagel place like Belly General Store. Yum.
midtown dad January 27, 2012 at 07:21 PM
how about a place that doubles as a bagel shop/deli during the day and transitions into a blues bar at night?? :) i like the sounds of that...I think Midtown really lacks a good neighborhood bar/tavern with good food that isn't too expensive or trendy. I used to love going to McCray's and I think something like that on that corner would do really well
Amy Wenk January 27, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Oh gosh, a bagel shop/blues bar within walking distance would change my life :)
Drewboo January 27, 2012 at 08:57 PM
coffee shop to ease Caribou traffic, yes. But carbs and gays dont really go together. I really like the idea of a bakery though that has a coffee-shop component, baked goods area, and a cafe "hang out" area. I think that would be the best utilization for the size/location of the property. I think such a place could easily host small community events near the windows like live music, book signings, art classes, lectures, etc - and stays open to at least 12midnight. That would be a dream tenant. I dont love the business practices of highland bakery, but something similar would be nice.
Drewboo January 27, 2012 at 09:00 PM
I agree "not too expensive or trendy" is so true. Midtown attracts a lot of young people who are also in school at one of the nearby institutions, but does not really offer them anything affordable. All these overly trendy/expensive nooks take away some of the character of Midtown in my opinion. We need something to balance it all out.
JAX January 27, 2012 at 11:57 PM
Whatever it is, they will have to be able to make the newly advertised rent, $7,696 per month, for the space, which seems a bit outrageous, and would certainly rule out non-profits, and a lot of independent establishments. If that was what Outwrite was paying, I am surprised they made it this long. A bar may the only thing to work there.
Urbanist January 30, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Wow...nice suggestions. You want to either further segregate the neighborhood into a predominantly gay neighborhood, or invite in another location of an already established business...how original!
Urbanist January 30, 2012 at 02:36 PM
I'd love to see the original structure stay put, but see a mid-rise (6-8 stories) of apartments build on top of this. Sub-divide the ground floor space into multiple retail spaces, and get better density out of the site.

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