I have been keeping an eye on the church construction on the former Lexington Mall site and even before the Herald-Leader article noticed a slow-down in the progress toward enclosing the new building. The demolition company had removed their equipment but uncharacteristicly left large piles of the pulverized concrete material in place. The pace of progress made no sense since we have had such a mild winter season so far. I also was not surprised when I saw the latest revision of their development plan several weeks ago. For a location which apparently had failed to support retail uses and had to be used for a church, the increased size and purpose of the outlots could mean only one thing – the costs were definitely rising.
I don't like the whole concept of what they are doing on that project but there is little that I can do about it now. A large edifice surrounded by a sea of parking and the runoff flowing directly across the street from our back-up water supply. Now we are adding a drive in bank and a drive-thru fast food place, which they hope will do well. This has been a fairly dead commercial stretch lately and just about anything would be an improvement.
Speaking of improvements, the whole Idle Hour Shopping Center has undergone a sprucing up in the past few years and it is not finished yet. @GossipGirl 40502 tweeted me the other day about the activity in the old Walgreen's location and hinted at a new restaurant coming there. Well it is true. The site is being prepared for a place called Papacina's, but it is not going in the old building, it is replacing the old building.
Those of us familiar with the Idle Hour area will usually think of the restaurants which have dotted the place since the mid-60's, both in the mall and the shopping center. Most of them have been the typical dash and grab sites, although Durango's is one of the better sit-down establishments around.
A year or so ago, the property owners began talking of a stand-alone building replacing part of the old Walgreen's and Raising Cane's was tossed about, but the parking and drive-thru details could not be worked out. Now we look to have a solution in hand.
Think of a building like Sal's or Malone's but free standing out in the parking lot. Not my favorite style of building and not what I would like to see in a “walkable” neighborhood. When, oh when will we change our development standards to force the B-1 zone to put the building on the sidewalk and hide the parking in the rear?
Maybe the one effect that the church has had on the area is that more people are looking at the potential along Richmond Rd. inside the Circle.