Occasionally, one hears about adventurous entrepreneurs who have turned an old warehouse into a hip nightclub or a small factory into a clothing store. The romance of the idea seems to come from the contrast between the hardscrabble nature of the bygone identity and the vitality of the new. The former meat processing supply store at 1528 Gratiot seems to fit this archetype. It is currently owned by Mark Ernestus, a German techno artist who pioneered the Basic Channel and Rhythm & Sound recording labels. Neighbors tell us that the building was used for purposes related to Ernestus’ professional interests but is now unoccupied. Now that the days of meat grinders and pulsing beats are behind it, 1528 Gratiot seems only useful as a place for billboards to hang.

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