If two buildings on Foster get talked about more than all the others, it would be the Bobwhite Theatre and Phoenix Pharmacy. Both have the potential to transform the neighborhood—one as an events space that draws people to the neighborhood and catalyzes more growth; the other as an iconic and historic building that bookends the “Heart of Foster.”
Unfortunately, both sit waiting for a deep-monied developer or tenant to take over the respective spaces. One (Bobwhite) is currently being renovated with the intention of leasing it out, ideally to someone in the music/movie/food business. The other (Phoenix Pharmacy) gets oohs and awes by passersby who see its potential, but is more famously known for its rapid decay, boarded up windows, occasional junk sales, and big “U” sign posted by the city to indicate an unsafe structure.
Now it appears, though, the Phoenix Pharmacy is getting closer to a rebirth than many ever expected. And after a few fits and starts over the years (that included plans for a grand mural and development opportunity), maybe some traction is finally being gained. According to the “Foster the Phoenix” Facebook page, all the recent loading and unloading and moving of boxes and junk has a purpose. Or at least a semblance of purpose. Here’s what they say:
“I’m sure many of you are wondering what is going on with the Phoenix…
“As some of you may have seen we have been clearing out the building and the main property is 98% open and available for renovations and research. We now have a signed option agreement that will allow a non profit to look at purchasing the property. If they go forward with their idea they would buy the property and then sell it to the community in shares allowing US to have ownership and be part of any capital appreciation. A first ever of its kind in the country and a huge uplift to the Foster area if it takes off.
“Thanks again for everyone’s support and I will make sure to keep everyone updated to any new developments.”
There have been rumblings of a non-profit taking over the space, yes. And some of those rumblings have including Mercy Corps as a potential suitor. Outside of that, it’s a big mystery—though one to keep track of. At this point, any use of the building should be a net positive for the neighborhood. Stay tuned…