New Five Story Building at High & Seventh
February 20, 2012 4:43 pm at 4:43 pm #482137
isn’t there a laundromat right down the street next to the lot where the Shell station used to be?February 20, 2012 5:14 pm at 5:14 pm #482138February 20, 2012 5:16 pm at 5:16 pm #482139
Opposition seems to be mainly because of the loss of the laundromat and the possible effect on the church next door, which uses the parking lot that would disappear should the building be erected.
If the demand is there for that laundry mat, couldn’t that business relocate somewhere nearby?
If church parking is an issue, wouldn’t that likely be a complaint from people outside the neighborhood who drive to go to church, and not one of nearby residents?February 20, 2012 5:21 pm at 5:21 pm #482140
Does anyone think the landlords who sit on the UAC are somehow against projects like these because the increased competition would force them to spend money and upgrade their own properties? Remember, they also voted down an Edwards project near Lane and Neil based on height.February 20, 2012 5:25 pm at 5:25 pm #482141
^ I think there is a lot to be said about that. I also think their fears are compounded by OSU planning to house all sophomores in dorms on campus.February 20, 2012 5:26 pm at 5:26 pm #482142
If the demand is there for that laundry mat, couldn’t that business relocate somewhere nearby?
If church parking is an issue, wouldn’t that likely be a complaint from people outside the neighborhood who drive to go to church, and not one of nearby residents?
These are reasonable questions and I’m afraid I don’t have good answers for them since I frequent neither the laundromat nor the church (nor do I oppose this development.) I would guess that many residents fearful of the loss of the laundromat think (in as much that they’ve given it much thought) that its loss would be emblematic of more fundamental changes in the neighborhood that are making it less hospitable for low-income residents. As far as the church, I would guess that most of the neighborhood residents who attend services there drive to church.February 20, 2012 6:44 pm at 6:44 pm #482143
One story buildings make me cry.
I forget why exactly, now, but I remember hearing during a WP presentation that the WP residents have a big issue with the Walgreens that wants to go in ground floor, something about how that company is classist or racist or something along those lines, and it’s drawing extra ire to the development.
I don’t like seeing a laundry place disappearing because it’s a needed thing, but like someone else said, couldn’t it move to some of the vacant retail space within WP? I was walking around there the other day and there seems to be a fair amount of commercial space that desperately needs used.
Nothing was ever going to be one-story. The variance was to go from 3 to 5 stories. Anyone could build a three-story structure there tomorrow since it’s zoned for that already.
And you were right there was opposition to the Walgreens because they’re thought to be racist. And considering they would not consider African American candidates for their management training program and paid a $24 million settlement after being sued by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2008 for that infraction that might be the case. There was also opposition because there’s a locally owned pharmacy down the street so the WP opposition was based on previous racial discrimination and protecting local businesses. The laundromat is popular because it has an attendant and is safe. As for density the building has a lot of parking in it so it’s still autocentric. I’d be more convinced if there was a street car stop included.
(Save it bman, I’ve heard it before) ;)
So it’s not really about the WP being anti-density, it’s about church parking, preserving local business, a decent laundromat, and not being profiled/hassled when you go to the drugstore. Also the building is fairly unattractive but that’s just my opinion again and that can be fixed. I, for one, am all for smart density that takes into account public transportation and has a design that isn’t classified as developer-lite.February 20, 2012 6:54 pm at 6:54 pm #482144
It does seem dumb to put in a walgreens when there’s a kroger next door. As for the church parking, the proposed building will be part garage, so maybe they could make a deal and let the church’s congregation park there on sundays.February 20, 2012 7:02 pm at 7:02 pm #482145
What locally-owned pharmacy down the street are we talking about?February 20, 2012 7:03 pm at 7:03 pm #482146
It does seem dumb to put in a walgreens when there’s a kroger next door. As for the church parking, the proposed building will be part garage, so maybe they could make a deal and let the church’s congregation park there on sundays.
I was told by the developer (and I’m paraphrasing somewhat) “Walgreens thinks they can make money there and they should know.” I agree, it’s stupid, and as an added reason, Walgreens is no longer part of the OSU employee prescription plan as of a couple of months ago.
I’m pretty sure all the parking slots would be taken up by residents of the apartments on the upper floors of the buildings, so there wouldn’t be enough left over for the church.
My biggest concern is that, should the Walgreens fail, what would take its place? The last thing we need is another abandoned storefront, especially since OSU can’t just cram more offices in it, like they’ve done repeatedly with the Gateway.February 20, 2012 7:06 pm at 7:06 pm #482147February 20, 2012 7:34 pm at 7:34 pm #482148
Thanks to jimbach and rory for all of the extra context on this. Sounds like a much more complex issue than I think most people previously thought (myself included).February 20, 2012 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm #482149
Evelyn Van TilParticipant
I would also like to thank Jim and Rory for extra context to this discussion, echo their points, and just add the following elements:
*Laundry is very heavy and many of the people who utilize laundromats do not own cars. So, while the laundromat could theoretically move and there might be some vacant commercial properties around, folks are concerned about accessibility and affordability. Suds and Java is nice, albeit small and more pricey than the laundromat in question… However, the local owner of the laundromat in question was never told that her space was about to be developed out from under her. It is very expensive to move a business and takes time to plan for. This complete lack of respect and thoughtful communication B2B on the part of the developer raised red flags.
Additionally, since there is a plan for apartments included here, it would seem reasonable to give some consideration to the need for laundry facilities. When asked whether each apartment in the complex would have individual laundry or would the complex share a communal one, the developer told me that they’ve not “gotten that far” in planning the apartments. Seems like a pretty basic part of an architectural planning process to have not thought about, so either he’s not being honest or they’re not thoughtful housing plans.
*More to my larger point: the developer did not engage in ANY conversations with the neighborhood or the church until AFTER zoning variances were already on the table/been denied. We have a very active civic and the developer was told by the city planners that it would be important to involve us. He choose to ignore that step. Additionally, showing up at the church on a Sunday in blue jeans (WTF?!?) and providing responses to questions at the civic that were less than thoughtful and appeared ingenious didn’t earn him much traction either.
*Finally, at no point has the developer been a responsive community partner in the project. Assuming that the project moves forward and Walgreens opens it’s doors, we could be very helpful in connecting them with well-qualified local employees to interview through the Godman Guild and others doing Workforce Development in the area. Given Walgreens’ PR issues of the past (the aforementioned $24 million settlement with US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), it would seem prudent to be mindful of this when entering a vibrant and diverse neighborhood like WP.
If it’s helpful, I’m not against the development (albeit not a fan of Walgreens either), and I’m hopeful that we’ll see thoughtful development (and better design) in the future, but I am deeply concerned that this developer has not been a good citizen in the planning process. If the developer had come to us early on, during their planning process, as others such as WagCo have, listened to our neighborhood, engaged in meaningful dialogue with residents/local businesses, and addressed our issues with respect, they would get a lot further.February 20, 2012 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm #482150
Ok, just wanted to be sure that was the reference.
Well, my understanding is the plan for 5th & High Corner also includes a pharmacy, which would make 4. And Kroger’s pharmacy long predates all of them in the area, since Wilder’s relocated from downtown as a recent addition to the SN.
Regarding a pharmacy failure, that’s kind of unlikely. Or at least, it won’t be Walgreens. They’re probably going to sign a very long term lease, meaning they won’t be going anywhere for quite some time, if ever. As long as people keep popping more pills, and drug companies keep making them, they’ll be in business.
Of course, there is the flip side of the local business question in that Walgreens could also make life tough on the various carryouts everyone seems to complain about IIRC (or at least force them to improve). There’s definitely two edges to the standardized corporate corner store sword.February 21, 2012 12:36 am at 12:36 am #482151
For everyone who wants to pick up the laundromat and drop it in any old vacant space, its not that easy. Laundromats have very high utility requirements (water, electric, gas). Plus the floors have to be reinforced to support the weight of the equipment. An unbalanced commercial washer doesn’t walk across the floor like a home model, it flies around smashing things.
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