21 October 2004
Loading up the frontage road
The abandoned Wal-Mart on I-240 east of Pennsylvania Avenue will be torn down, as will a currently-operating Mardel store: in their place will be a semi-upscale strip vaguely similar to Belle Isle Station on the northside, including new quarters for Mardel and the city's first Marshalls store.
This makes a certain amount of sense, since I-240 just about bisects the southside; it's halfway between Reno and SW 149th. Admittedly, most of the growth in this area is south of 82nd Street, half a mile south of I-240, which is the border of the Moore school district, but there isn't a retail corridor in the area that in any way rivals I-240.
I did find this comment by Ward 5 Councilman Jerry Foshee interesting:
Wal-Mart moves every five years and leaves a box. It becomes a blight and affects the neighborhood surrounding it.
It's very uncommon, though, to remove one of their abandoned boxes completely; usually someone will try to renovate it into smaller spaces. The developers evidently felt that this old box was unsuitable for their tenants. Of course, this leads to the next question: What happens when Wal-Mart, which is now west of Penn, decides to pack up and go somewhere else? I guess we'll worry about that when it happens.