Posted by Roland Hsu, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Apr 18, 2013 at 9:52 am
In reply to the recent letter about the demise of the new grocery store at Alma Plaza: I suggest that it is more helpful to examine the facts. The neighborhood of Midtown/South of Midtown recently benefited from:
1. Removing the eyesore of the abandoned Alma Plaza lot
2. New construction and employment
3. Retail open for business
4. A grocery store ("Miki's") that offered the finest produce, cheese and wine, delicatessen, and in-house bakery, and dedicated, knowledgeable employees
5. Respectful and supportive employer-employee relations
6. New neighbors (residential and commercial) eager to make friends
All of this was brought to our neighborhood, all within a short walk of our homes.
The reasons for the failure of Miki's Farm Fresh Grocery store are:
1. Undercapitalization of the business, without corporate franchise backing to weather a full business cycle
2. Property owner and developer failed to open in time the walk way from Ramona St. to ease and attract local shoppers
3. Design for car traffic ingress/egress controverts the typical model of acres of asphalt parking in front to attract car traffic from Alma.
While it is true that the developer -- McNellis -- contrived a concession to rezone, reduce the viable commercial space, and build too close to Alama Street, I suggest we face the fact that the buildings are built, and nice neighbors are trying to bring their lives and livelihoods to join our community. Residents are bringing their families to the housing, and proprietors such as Miki's (and the next grocer) are trying to bring outstanding value to our walkable shopping neighborhood center.
Instead of the predictable complaint from those who insist on viewing new neighbors and neighborhood development through the clouded lens of anit-government, anti-social, libertarian ideology, it is more helpful to come together, face facts, and support the next grocer who -- although not likely to be as dedicated to fresh market goods and knowledgeable employees -- at least will be trying to attract new friends and neighbors to come and meet at our local community center.