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September 23, 2017

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Joe Downtown:

Joe Downtown: Upper-floor Container Park tenant is shuttering store


Joe Schoenmann

Todd VonBaastians is shown at his Alios store at the Container Park, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Alios is an architectural and entertainment lighting business with a main office at 1217 S. Main St.

Container Park Opening

A look at the downtown Container Park on 7th Street and Fremont Street, which had its soft opening today, Monday Nov. 25, 2013. Launch slideshow »

The downtown Container Park is about to lose one of its first tenants.

Alios, an architectural and entertainment lighting business, will leave the outdoor mall in April, said owner Todd VonBaastians.

The Container Park opened in late November and claims to have welcomed some 300,000 visitors since then. But Alios is on the third floor of the mall, and despite the numbers of people visiting the place, few seem to venture to the third floor.

Over 90 minutes Tuesday afternoon — a Container Park representative said it was busier than usual for that weekday — only about 15 people walked by VonBaastians’ large windows at the front of his store.

The move isn’t entirely unexpected, VonBastiaans added. He considered the Container Park store a “pop-up,” with his main office at 1217 S. Main St. Some fixtures in the store are large, very unique and may be beyond the budget of locals and portability of tourists.

VonBastiaans said he got “great exposure” by being at the mall, which is what he wanted.

“It was a wonderful experience and it will be a great spot and great experience for the next business to move in here,” said VonBastiaans, who is very tied to the downtown community. He has donated his time to numerous downtown endeavors. One of his most visible was the donation of time and lighting of the exterior of the historic Huntridge Theater after hundreds of volunteers showed up to whitewash the building.

VonBastiaans said he is leaving at the end of his six-month lease.

A representative for Downtown Project’s small-business branch did not return a request for comment.

Earlier in the year, however, sources said the Container Park was enduring significant expenses for security and live music that plays most days.

The park has become very popular, though, especially for parents with children. Tuesday afternoon, one woman asked a Metro officer how to pay for parking — the city has a newer system where drivers pay for their parking spot via one remote meter — because she wanted to take her child to the Container Park’s playground.

Joe Schoenmann doesn’t just cover downtown; he lives and works there. Schoenmann is Greenspun Media Group’s embedded downtown journalist, working from an office in the Emergency Arts building.

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