William Hicks, who owns Hollywood Vintage in Portland, is planning a mixed-use shopping mall inside the former Abeco Office Systems storefront on Commercial Street in Astoria.
Hicks plans to call the project Astor Court. He intends to rent square footage to businesses looking for something less than a full-fledged storefront. Helping him in the endeavor is business partner Rodney Bender.
“I really want to put stuff in here that locals, that residents, as well as tourists, can take advantage of and enjoy,” Hicks said, adding he’s interested in anything from retail and office space to a deli or antique dealer.
For the past 20 years, Hicks has run Hollywood Vintage in Portland’s Hollywood district, offering vintage clothing, accessories, costumes and eyewear. Over the next few years, he’s looking to leave Portland and relocate to Astoria, where he bought a house several years ago.
“What I will do to seed the business, is I have an optical department in Portland, so I’ll sell vintage … and classic-style eyeglass frames,” he said.
Hicks has been moving stuff in from Portland over the past week. He will be readying the space for businesses in the next few months.
Hicks imagines a three-story mall with storefronts of varying sizes. He plans to extend the third-story mezzanine around the entire ground floor and punch a stairway to the basement.
“I really want to do the place like a Roman courtyard,” he said. “So there will be the pillars, fluted pillars going like a colonnade on each side.”
The building was constructed in 1945 for Abeco, which recently downsized to a location west on Commercial Street. Hicks plans to take off the metallic decoration on the storefront, tear out carpet and polish the original black-and-white tile and otherwise restore the building to its original look when it first opened.
Hicks will be setting up a Facebook page for Astor Court and recruiting interested tenants.