Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Property That Southland Didn't Take

I heard today of another investigation into the possible uses of the old Todd's Trace Apartments, or what is now known as the Pennington Place dump.  This would make about the fifth time that someone has asked about the property and what could be done to redevelop it.

Since it has been basically abandoned for several years now, all the apartments have been broken into and at least two complete buildings destroyed by fire, there is no way that it could be rehabbed and the only solution is to start with a clean slate.

I have given my thoughts on how the area should have been redeveloped when I wrote this back in January.  Unfortunately the church is proceeding with its plan and there is not another large religious entity set to do something similar.  I also do not want another large piece of tax revenue generating property to be designated as tax-free as long as our city needs the funds as the do.  No, somebody rally has to make this a viable development for both the city's and their sake.

What makes this so tough to work with is the lack of easy access to the major roadways.  I still think that, at some point, the dependance on the personal automobile will be removed and since this location is at the intersection of two main roads and it is a straight shot to downtown, some sort of mass transit will suffice for most new urbanists who may live that far out.

Still, today's urban developers are not that forward looking and a quicker access is desired in order to work a deal. The property is hemmed in by two, less than stellar areas, the business along Woodhill and the declining neighborhood of duplexes and townhomes with a growing reputation for crime, and a successful shopping area on Richmond Rd. Residential, and especially up-scale residential, without a different orientation and access would be a hard sell in this location.

So many of late seem to think that the current design process for the CentrePointe block will bring about a winning solution and a certain Herald-Leader columnist and blogger believes that we should apply a similar  one to the Lexington Center redesign, so should we get the mayor involved and do something here?  How about some suggestions from you, my readers. 

What would you place in this difficult redevelopment area?  Remember, the church took a similar sized chunk of apparently unneeded commercial land so a shopping center may not be viewed as possible.  The French Quarter hotel works, but do we need another series of lodging units, either extended stay or otherwise?  Give me your ideas and I will post them and send them on to the mayor.

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