Showing posts with label development. Show all posts
Showing posts with label development. Show all posts

Sunday, November 20, 2011

There goes the neighborhood -- slowly

The southside Moreland Avenue corridor -- from I-20 at East Atlanta Village south through Ormewood Park to Thomasville Heights and the Starlight Drive-In -- has been in a steady decline for years. Occasionally, some new development will spring up, almost as a surprise, like the new Kroger and Burger King, or "Moreland Station" at Custer Avenue where the old Kroger was (CVS, Sonic, Aldi, O'Reilly), but generally I've just become accustomed to watching things get older and fall in on themselves.

For instance, after many years of neglect and nominal attempts to attract attention to it, that 1965-futuristic C&S Bank reached the point of no return and was demolished in August. Simple renovation wouldn't have been enough: it would have been impossible to modify the split-level facility to conform to modern handicapped-access standards. And the squatter crack-dealers really needed to be relocated.

Then there were the dueling car-washes. Okay, they really weren't dueling: They weren't both open at the same time. I'm thinking of the corner of Moreland and Confederate, where on the Dekalb County side of the street, a defunct car wash proudly bore a sign proclaiming that it would soon be the home of a new restaurant-and-mixed-use development. Meanwhile, on the Fulton County side, a closed restaurant proclaimed that a spiffy new car wash was coming soon. The idea of a restaurant and car wash going to so much trouble just to swap sides of the street tickled me.

Well, imagine my surprise when the new car wash opened. It's still there, and doing a thriving business. But the old car wash structure still stands and has shown no sign of activity in years (not since the removal of the unnamed restaurant's overly-optimistic opening date). Perhaps, being tied to residential construction, it is a victim of the housing bust.

But then there's the QuikTrip that ain't. Just up the street at Ormewood, There stands an increasingly dilapidated-looking Jiffy Grocery, the owner of which has been trying to make a deal with QT to build a spanking-new combination convenience store and gas station on the site. After months of finagling, tract-redividing and refiling, the project ultimately fell through because city regulations require a 100-foot buffer between private homes and a gas station, and it couldn't be done on that lot. We don't oppose progress, you understand, we just don't want it here.

And now Papa John's is facing the same kind of fight. They want to build between that derelict car wash I was talking about (the one where that new unnamed restaurant was supposed to go) and a Family Dollar. There are indications that the market can bear it: the Pizza Hut next door to the Kroger is always crowded, because they have neither seating nor delivery. You want pizza in Ormewood, you have to go get it. And we do.

But there are ten trees on the lot that would have to come down to make room, and the residents aren't having it. We don't oppose progress, you understand, we just don't want it here. And Papa John's isn't interested in an alternate plan.

This is why we can't have nice things. I love trees, but I hate empty buildings more than I love trees, and the area could really do with one less empty building.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Another street name gone, another clothesline in place

Harris Street renamed in honor of John Portman | Creative Loafing

Actually, I'm not opposed to this one in principle. Although I would have thought that most of the tallest buildings on the skyline being his, that would be a big enough mark. But couldn't it have been simply Portman Street?

At least they didn't stick his middle name up there too.

I think it may be a plot to keep people out of the downtown area. You're out of breath before you've finished telling anyone where you are. Remember the downtown Steak and Ale? We used to tell people it was at the corner of Cain and Ivy, and now the building where it once operated is at the corner of Andrew Young International Boulevard and Peachtree Center Avenue! I have to think that was a factor.

See also Wren's Nest Blog and Stop Renaming Atlanta Streets.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

We did it once...

Pimp our highway, please | Opinion | Creative Loafing Atlanta

I'm astounded that at the same time we face the imminent catastrophic failure of a regional transit proposal, Central Atlanta Progress and the Midtown Alliance are talking about, not functional improvements, but redecorating the downtown connector.

One reader takes it the logical step further and suggests "Roof it over from 17th Street to the Grady curve. Make it a linear park." Why, that's absurd, it... wait.

We did it once. Underground Atlanta is only part of a much larger area one story below downtown Atlanta's current street level. Long-time residents still call the area "the viaduct". It stretches from GSU and the Capitol west to CNN Center and the World Congress Center. Railroads became such a large part of the city's economy that multiple overpasses were built for vehicular and pedestrian traffic. An architect named Haralson Bleckley had the outrageous idea to rebuild the iron bridges in concrete and connect them with a linear mall.


LATER: Okay, "catastrophic failure" may have been unnecessarily hyperbolic. "Failed to reach a consensus" seemed inadequate.

Fulton says "we didn't ignore Dekalb, see, here's Clifton Corridor", and DeKalb says "I-20 rail line or no deal", and Clayton says "Hello, remember us?" and Henry says "Please, forget us", and Fayette says "We don't even have interstates here, let alone rail transit, and glad of it!" I had such high hopes for a committee on which other areas (read "south of I-20") were represented.

I underestimated the intensity with which the doughnut hates the hole.