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Trader Joe’s update: Construction progress photo

Looking northwest from Sears and Greenville, Trader Joe's building skeleton is taking shape as of Feb. 10, 2013.

Looking northwest from Sears and Greenville, Trader Joe’s building skeleton is taking shape as of Feb. 10, 2013.

The exterior walls are now completely up, and the building parking lot looks to be complete (and apparently will be well-lit, judging by the light standards going up). This view, taken from Greenville and Sears on Sunday, looks northwest at the building skeleton.

For what it’s worth, I have to think that Trader Joe’s — whether you ever shop there or not — will be a major catalyst in realizing the plans implement by the City Council awhile back that restricted the hours bars could operate on the street. Now that the late-night partying is largely history, here’s betting that within five years or so, this section of Lower Greenville will look more like a local version of Knox-Henderson.

I suspect that the demographics in the radius surrounding the area (unlike by Knox Henderson, there are still plenty of lower-income residents within a mile or two) will keep most national chains from taking over, even as those same demographics work to democratize the offerings that pop up. Look for mom-and-pop restaurants and small shops to fill the area storefronts, which are in large part empty now that bars presumably can’t stay open long enough to make money.

The transition will depend on how long if takes the property owners to adjust to the new economic reality of that portion of our neighborhood, but I would have to assume that at some point, less rent from local shop owners will look better than no rent from bars that can’t economically occupy the spaces.

I have my doubts about the fairness of what the city did to these property owners, since what happened with the rezoning essentially stripped them of some of the property rights they were currently enjoying.

But that portion of Lower Greenville had basically gone rogue and was out of control in terms of crime and crazies wandering the street, and this may well have been the best way to get control of the situation and return the area to something that is more suitable for the neighborhood.

Councilwomen Angela Hunt and Pauline Medrano, along with the rest of the Council, deserve praise now for what we’ll all be enjoying a few years down the line.


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About the Author:

Rick Wamre
RICK WAMRE is president of Advocate Media. He also writes a monthly column and blogs about neighborhood issues. Email him at rwamre@advocatemag.com.