Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What do you Wish for the retail space at LaSalle Hotel?

For Immediate Release:

> October 23, 2013: With the announcement of the conversion of the former LaSalle Hotel to apartment units, attention turns to the retail space available on the ground floors. Through the "I Wish This Was" project community members have had the opportunity to share their ideas for what they'd like to see in DTSB at this location. Contributing ideas through stickers on the windows of the LaSalle Hotel building, people have highlighted their wishes for shops, restaurants and services. Some of these wishes include; a gym, arts & crafts store, children's center, record/music store, coffeehouse, nail/hair salon, pharmacy and more.

>The "I Wish This Was" sticker campaign is a low cost platform for community engagement with an online tool for broader discussion. Stickers provide a forum for all people to share their ideas for vacant businesses on the spot. Community members are encouraged to share their contact information at if they are interested in further discussing their ideas through focus groups. These groups will categorize and flesh out ideas to identify needs expressed by participants and organize them for developers/ entrepreneurs. In addition, wishes will be shared with current DTSB  business owners to determine if these needs can be met within existing stores, restaurants or programs. In conjunction with the Code For America fellows, the CityVoice technology also offers a phone-in alternative for those wishing to share more detailed thoughts or respond to others' ideas. (

The primary goal of this program is to give  a voice to community members not often invited to the table to discuss revitalization efforts downtown and plant the seeds for further empowerment and ownership of development planning. In addition to the former LaSalle Hotel, Targeted properties currently include the Brazy building, Center City Plaza and Jefferson Center. For more information see or contact Mara Trionfero at

The State, South Bend
214 1/2 S. Michigan St.
South Bend, IN 46601

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


I love the way people are entering into discussion about the wishes for DTSB through the stickers!  If you look closely above, you can see the comments letting people know that there IS a card shop next door, that there IS a tattoo parlor downtown and the name of WHO to contact about a record store.  This is what the Wish project is about, dialogue and equal access for participation.  It goes beyond the stickers though... All of the ideas will be categorized and we'd like to hold informal meetings/ focus groups for the categories to flesh out ideas a little more before we bring them to entrepreneurs and developers.  If you're interested in sitting in on one of these discussions, please share your email and we'll contact you by the end of November.  Also remember, you can offer lengthier thoughts through the Cityvoice option ( or here in the comments of this blog.  Get engaged and keep the wishes coming!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Call in your Wishes!!

Good news to those of you wishing for something particular from afar... there's a call-in option for the I Wish This Was project.  Thanks to our friendly Code for America Fellows, you can go over to, click on a property to get its code and share your ideas over the phone.  Even better, you'll get to hear others' ideas!
We've got stickers up on the former LaSalle Hotel storefronts, Brazy building between CJ's and Back Stage Grill, Jefferson Center next to SB Choc Co and Center Plaza next to the DTSB offices-
Think about what you wish was there...  stop by to add it to the posted stickers or call it in today from the convenience of wherever you are ;)  Stay tuned for an update on the ideas we've heard so far!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Brazy Building

Looking forward to seeing what ideas people have to share in these lovely windows!

Monday, September 2, 2013

I Wish This Was sticker campaign- Updates!

We're so excited to see the energy for this campaign and the great press we had this past week.  In case you missed it, the project was featured by Heidi Prescott in the South Bend Tribune on Tuesday-
Which idea will stick? (Mayor Pete even tweeted the article as a great example of Tactical Urbanism!) Then Fox 28 did a story that evening: project-encourages-sb-to-share-ideas-for-revitalizing-downtown, and WSBT visited the following day :downtown-stickers-ask-for-empty-storefront-ideas.
As each story was shared around the interwebs, we got some great discussion and ideas from folks that we'll post here in a few days.  We also had an awesome meeting with DTSB on next steps for the project.  Look forward to seeing stickers on additional buildings within the next few weeks.

To summarize what the stickers have told us so far- a lot of folks seem to want a pharmacy/drug store of some variety downtown.  There were also a lot of votes for a vegetarian/ vegan restaurant.  Several stickers also noted that they were looking for something 'vintage' or 'old-fashioned' as retro seems to be hip these days- an old fashioned soda shop, pharmacy, vintage clothing, record store, barber shop and others specifically included some sort of qualification that it be 'old school'.

Stay tuned for updates and add your voice to the mix in the comments on any of the pages/ sites included here at the blog.  Keep wishing and we'll keep advocating for all voices to be heard as part of the discussion of downtown South Bend's revitalization.

Enjoy your 'NO' Labor day!!

214 S. Michigan- Vacant No More!!

We're excited to see activity at 214 S. Michigan as new life is brought to the shop next to the State.  We can't tell you yet what its going to be, but we CAN tell you that there was some great ideas shared on the Wish stickers that should be kept in mind for other vacant locations downtown!  Check out the list below...  And congrats to our newest DTSB business, we wish them great success!!

Empire Records (YES!!)
Pet store
Vegan/ vegetarian restaurant (X5- lots of excitement for this one!)
Juice bar with organic/ vegan food
A place where everyone knows your name
My house
Subway (Eat fresh or public transportation??)
Old school barber shop with $5 haircuts
Portal to Narnia
JJ's Diner (Apparently they have the BEST waffles!)
Privately owned, old fashioned drug store
Mexican food
Taco Bell
Stand-up comedy club
Clothing design studio
Convenience store or fountain of youth

Monday, August 26, 2013

214 S. Michigan Ave

What do you wish was here?

Ideas include:
A Bodega
Jo Mamas
Trader Joe's (x2)
Tea company
Country dance bar
Old school ice cream shop
Vegetarian restaurant (YUM!)
A pharmacy
A place for older folks to listen to easy music and be able to dance
A really good coffee shop with quality food/ comfy chairs/ study space/ good music/ pastries
OTB/ lottery shop
Urban art gallery
Brew pub
Vegetarian/ Vegan restaurant

What do you think?  Add your thoughts on the stickers or in the comments below!