“At Chandler Row, the consumer culture transcends it dark side.
Why should profit motive generate only idiot television commercials, wasteful packaging, cramped crackerjack condos, or the inevitable obsolecence of your cell phone? At Chandler Row, consumerism’s impulses are channeled into the creation of a living, breathing neighborhood. “
Quote from Raymond Chandler, Real Estate Developer at the dedication.
In the sprawl that as become The City, there is an oasis; a little pocket of urban perfection, mixing the living, the urban, and the commerical. It is everything The City council has been trying to achieve in the Downtown. Of course, The Row is smaller, only four city blocks by two.
However, The Chandler Group, directed by Raymond Chandler (no relation), have created yet another triumph like The Chandler Complex some miles away. They did so by throwing out conventional wisdom. The Row is nothing but a high end shopping center at its core, but it is so much more. They took the roof off the mall so people could hang out in the sunshine (given the mild winters in the area, this is not a problem even during the gift giving holidays). They added housing above the shops (high end town homes) so it was more than a machine in which to shop. They took space away from retail and gave it to people for parks and broad sidewalks. Instead of segregating cars and pedestrians, they boldy mix the two together, narrowing the strees enough to slow the cars so pedestrians can jaywalk with safety. The broad streets are boulavards, with the wide center divides having cafe seating and small green parks. These all seem like simple things, but it takes a level of design that rarely is seen.
The buildings run the gammut of earth tones and have tile roofs. The upper stories of all the main buildings are housing. Below are shops and services. Residents of the town-homes on the upper levels of The Row’s blocks can look from their windows and balconies and see something pretty much like real life on the streets below: fitness freaks on their way to the health club at dawn, mothers with strollers sitting in the parks (there are narrow boulavard parks on all the streets here), business people taking in caffine or lunching and talking on their cells, and various residents visiting their patch of the world to shop at their high end shops, dine, drink, buy a book, watch movies, or dance until late at the night.
The stores and services include: Ann Taylor Loft, Anthropologie, BCBG MAXARia, a huge Borders, Brooks Brothers, Burberry, Cornelli Fine Fewlers, Club Fitness (a huge multi story health club), Crate and Barrel, Chico’s, Diesel, Ecco Shoes, Farrah’s Nails and Beauty, Ferragamo, Furla, Gucci, Oakley, Orvis, Paradise Day Spa, Running world, Starbucks, Urban Outfiters, Z gallerie. There is a Classic Arts Theatre that shows artistic and foreign films (with the occasional blockbuster).
There are 21 dining establishments, ranging from Asian to Russian, with stops in the Southwest, Itally, France, and Mexico. Most are quite high end, but Noreaster Fishing Stop and The Dinner are family friendly food. Of course Hotdogs on the Row and Sticky Buns Cafe are the local favorite.
There are six bars and night clubs, one of which is in The Orion - the five star botique hotel whos 42 guests enjoy suites and ammenities few can find (and afford). Fuji’s Sushi Bar is a high energy dance club after nine. Club Gold is an ultra lounge. The Cobalt Club is an old school dinner club, with big band/ jazz sounds and dancing. Here the elite drink custom martinis and dance until the wee hours. Q is a quirky club of dark corners and flashing lights. O’Mally’s has the feel of an old Dublin pub (in fact the interior was salvaged from a pub going under.. and it is said a ghost followed it). Savanah Bar is a restaurant and bar with an English African Colonial feel, with palm fans and no air conditioning. All these places are “The places” to be seen these days for the upscale set.
Most of the parking here is underground. Between these lots and the side streets, there seems enough parking (barely).
The Row’s is at the corner of two major streets. The layout of the Row is fairly simple. The main street, Chandler Row, runs four blocks from one of the major streets (east west). Chandler Row is crossed by four side streets. The development is one block wide. One block ends at the other major street (north south) The other ends at a side yard, where a large technogy company’s campus property begins.
The central road is divided. There are trees and small places to rest there. The side roads (Apple, Baily, Cardinal, and Dade) have lovely planted gardens (with paving stones to support the innevitable jay walkers). The streets are narrow and the inlayed bricks at various crossing points act as minor speed bumps. Thus car traffic is controlled.
At the far end of Chander’s Row, the center divider opens wider. Here a lovely park, but small park, exists. The Row’s signature feature, a large clock is at one end.. facing a small personsized chess set patio (the pieces are about as tall as a tall man’s knees). StickyBuns (in is small shack) supplies the people in the park with goodies, coffee, and some of the best mexican hot chocolate available in the states. Cafe tables are spread around that patio. There are two swings and a see-saw there for the littles.
The five screen art theatre is in the back block. It does suprising well for an artistic theatre. Gino’s Pizza is some of the best elite pizza in the city is next store. With “31 Flavors and Gellato too” next door (the franchise is owned by Gino’s), the back block is called Date Row, instead of Dade Street.