In case you hadn’t yet heard, Phase 1 of the physical construction of your expanded co-op has begun!
Last week work was begun in both the space directly north of the current store and the upstairs space at the south end of the building that is the future Common Ground production kitchen. We’ve been working for almost two years to get to this moment and the wait has made the sound of drills and floor polishers sweet music to my ears.
You can expect to start hearing the sounds of building pretty regularly now when you visit your co-op – construction is now moving forward at full speed! Last week the concrete floors in the upstairs space were polished and sealed. They will look exactly like the floors in our current store. Why did we choose to go with this type of flooring again? Because it’s very durable, very cheap and easy to care for over its life, and it has just about the lowest environmental impact of any flooring option out there for commercial use. The existing concrete is lightly ground, then polished, then sealed with a non-toxic floor sealant. It looks great, is affordable, and is a great environmental choice. Now that the floor is done, the new walls of the upstairs kitchen will be roughed in this week and soon we’ll be able to see the shape of the future kitchen. We’ll have more pictures for you next week!
While almost all of Phase 1 of construction will happen behind the scenes, there is one area of the store where you will see a big change this week. The current entry vestibule of your co-op will be knocked out as of TODAY. Right after we close the store on Tuesday, May 1st, the construction team will be coming in to rip down our current vestibule and put up a temporary, much smaller entryway. Why? We had to change the shape of our current entryway to fit all the retail space and registers we needed for the expanded store. There’s a little complication with this – the concrete floor of our vestibule was built when the mall was originally built and is actually higher than the rest of the store’s flooring, so we’ll have to grind it down and make it level with the rest of the store in order to re-size the vestibule.
The temporary vestibule will be up for several months. During this time the larger shopping carts will be in a temporary corral on the co-op porch right outside our entrance, and the smaller carts will still be stored inside the entryway. We will not have room for the community board in the entryway during these months; we’re looking for a temporary solution for this period of the construction and we’ll keep you posted about it!
It’s amazing to see physical evidence of all our joint hard work to plan and fund our expanded co-op. I went upstairs to see the new kitchen floor yesterday. I got chills all up my spine, seeing that new shine on that old concrete floor. It’s just a polished floor, but it symbolizes so much more. We’re about to watch unfold what can be accomplished when a community shares a vision and works to make it happen.