Free-For-All Friday 2/10/16

Feel free to use this post to make comments and ask questions about local issues not yet discussed here over the past week.

27 thoughts on “Free-For-All Friday 2/10/16”

  1. So, we finally have some word about plans for the old Oakview Grocery: .

    Click through for details, but basically it’s a 3-story mixed-use development (2 stories at street level, and a 3rd level below in back). Retail at street ground level (2 stores), 4 1 BR condos in below in back level, and a 4 BR/3 BA condo on the top level. Needs zoning approval. There will be an ONA meeting regarding the project on 2/13.

  2. I am so tired of mixed use developments. I’m even more tired of the actual term. Let’s call them nixed use envelopments.

    1. I dunno. I have no problem at all with the term “mixed use development.” I mean, it’s a short, neutral, and accurate description; “mixed use developments” are ones that have a mix of commercial and residential spaces.

      As far as whether mixed use developments are good or bad things, I think I disagree there too. The obvious alternative to mixed-use developments is to allow exclusively single-use developments through zoning restrictions. But that tends to lead to your typical suburban-style outcomes, with large, residential-only areas, and a need to drive to get to any shopping or have other outings, often at strip malls. Downtown Decatur has lots of mixed-use developments, with street-level retail (in part) supported by residential units above, and that style of development encourages pedestrian traffic and biking. I find it a lot more appealing than strip malls and seas of parking. (This doesn’t imply that I think every single proposed mixed-use development is a good idea.)

      1. I think mixed use has been getting a bad rep because of the retail normally associated with them. Rent tends to be high so only chains are able to afford the space. Not exactly a cozy local feel, ya’ know?

        1. Yeah, I can understand that. But I don’t think that the rise of mixed-use developments is really the culprit here. (I mean, it’s not like the lack of mixed-use in East Cobb and Alpharetta has created a mecca of locally-owned, cozy family-owned stores.) Starting up a successful, distinctive, locally-owned store is just a hard row to hoe. Gentrification is probably more to blame, and expanding the amount of retail space available (through new mixed-use developments) should, if anything, help to relieve the pressure on rising retail rents.

        2. #1 thing I don’t understand about mixed-use developments (and I’m no developer so someone tell me if I’m off base on this): Why don’t they practically give away the retail portion to attract unique businesses that would attract renters willing to pay for what is effectively an amenity? I know of a brewer who is trying to get into a mixed-use development on the north side, and the $ per sq/ft is insane. They”ll probably end up with a boring chain. Is it just that easy to fill all of the $2000 a month 1br apartments that they don’t have to worry about attracting residents?

          1. When we downsize, there’s no question that, all other things being equal, I’d pick the condo/apartment development that has a bookstore, coffee shop, bakery, and dry cleaner’s downstairs rather than the one with a Taco Mac.

            1. Fixed Puce Umbrellaments.
              That’s where you have a tall mauve-ish colored apartment building with a haberdashery and umbrella repair shop on the ground floor.

          2. The cost to develop such a thing is so high, you can’t write off the retail. You may have to discount it or make a deal, but every penny helps. But that depends on how the deal is financed. Keeping per square foot rents higher also means you sign tenants that have solid business plans and marketable goods and services to sell. If the retail space is priced too low, guess what you get?

            1. I get what you’re saying, but they could still be selective about their retail tenants without charging big $ for the space.

              1. Developers are rational business people – they need to secure tenants that can reliably deliver a return on the debt required to build a property. The fact is that vacancy rates are low right now – developers don’t need to discount retail rents to grow demand for apartments. Smart developers certainly try to recruit desirable retail tenants, but they aren’t going to subsidize unproven retailers that have a higher chance of failing/breaking their lease.

      2. I haven’t reviewed this particular proposal but, regardless, steps should be taken to preserve that parcel’s commercial entitlements (through the proposed MU zoning change or some other designation). Once neighborhoods lose their mix of uses, including walkable services and amenities, it’s much harder to get them back.

    1. Amplify is actually a fundraiser for very worthy causes and is non-profit. It sounds like you are trying to get something for free from them. Why not just contribute and feel good about whatever extra you might pay and hope they make enough so they can continue to serve our community.

      1. I guess it’s because my kid is under 2, and it’s a pretty normal thing to let toddlers in to events like this. They can have 2 tickets and let a kid in, or they can have 0 tickets cause we’ll be at home watching the kid.

        1. Get a baby sitter. You will have a better time, your child will have a better time, and so will the people around you.

          1. At least your toddler is not likely to spend the entire show with his/her back to the stage having a very loud discussion with friends about whom they saw in the bar the night before and their plans after the show and then get annoyed with me for asking them to quiet down and how some respect for the performers and the others in the audience.

  3. Parents with experience with the pre-K program at the Willow School? Email me privately at qeastma at emory dot edu.

  4. Melton’s pouring Bell’s Hopslam last night. Thanks for the recommendations in last week’s FFAF. Good to the last drop!

  5. Storm came through this week, along with a few booms of thunder, and next thing I see is a collared dog sprinting down the middle if East Lake. At rush hour in the hurst. An amazing number of neighbors left the dryness of their houses and cars and joined the attempt to corral that poor pup. Glad to say there was an eventual happy ending. Only heard one misplaced grumpy comment about how we were wasting our time, otherwise greatly heartened by the selflessness and patience of our little neighborhood.

    1. From walking by, it sure looks like facade work – just a face lift? The interior seems like business as usual.

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