There's a hole in the 600 block of Northampton Street.
It's easy to spot, sitting on the south side of the street, in the middle of the block: some abandoned row-houses, an empty gravel lot, and a little grassy hill.
A Brooklyn developer wants to turn it into a combination supermarket/cafe/32-unit apartment complex that would be known as "Dutchtown Commons."
This comes at a time when the city is working on its master plan for this part of the West Ward. Easton's Planning Commission has done a survey to help plan for the revitalization of the 600 block, and plans to discuss some of the results of the survey when it meets Wednesday at 6 p.m.
It's "the most disinvested block in the city," said Becky Bradley, director of Easton's planning bureau.
So when the concept went before the commission earlier this year, its members were excited. Not that there weren't concerns. There's the issue of the height: Dutchtown Commons would be seven stories tall, making it higher than any other structure on the block. And Bradley said there's a worry that back of the building would offer neighbors nothing more than a view of windowless brick.
"No one wants to stare at a big blank wall," she said.
There are concerns in the neighborhood as well, Esther Guzman, program manager for the West Ward Neighborhood Partnership. The group's office is also on the 600 block of Northampton Street, just a few yards from the Dutchtown Commons site.
Residents here worry about the traffic a supermarket -- not to mention at least 32 new residents -- would bring to the neighborhood, Guzman said. Plus a lot of them are fans of the local "mom and pop stores" that are nearby.
"But I think we need a supermarket that has good products at good prices," Guzman said.
Currently, there's only one actual supermarket -- as opposed to the various corner grocery/convenience stores -- within the city limits of Easton. That's C-Town, located on the South Side, and serving mainly residents of that part of the city. The other major grocery chains -- Giant, Weis, etc. -- are all in Easton's suburbs.
Whether or not the Dutchtown Commons store would be competition for the chains remains to be seen. The developer has yet to say which vendor would go into this space, and the planning commission isn't expected to take up the matter again until the new year.