We had the refreshing experience on Monday, August 15, of seeing plans for the James and Midler intersection that not only took care of both corners, they took into consideration the concerns of this community. Mr. Tino Marcoccia had come to us some time ago with plans for a gas station, not an idea that was going to get much traction around here. Then he hired the architect who was instrumental in the writing of the James Street Overlay District Guidelines, Sheila Weed. Someone that acutely aware of what we want in Eastwood was a wise choice, and Ms. Weed has done quite well, considering the limitations she must work with: certain design requirements by Kinney Drugs and certain (possibly outdated) city codes that require X amount of parking for X-size business.
Personally, I would hate to see the brick building at the corner of S. Edwards and James be demolished (a building that is already part of the fabric of the streetscape), just to discover three years from now that, oh! we’re an urban environment and, oh! we have plenty of free or inexpensive parking along James Street (my dream, is it yours?). So that’s an aspect that I would hope would be reconsidered.
People in the audience brought up concerns: about pedestrians now moving with much greater frequency through that intersection, about new traffic flow, about the ugly facade facing Midler, and so on. All in all, however, the mood was one of relief that the southwest corner was finally going to be developed and that the old Steak & Sundae (aka Wittigs) building was going to be saved and that a diversity of businesses would go into it. This is a great plus, in my opinion, about this recent plan.
The plans shown at the meeting can be seen in these PDF files: