Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Arapaho Redevelopment Put in Storage

From December, 2011:
The other request is for rezoning for a self-service warehouse with outside vehicle storage (boats, motor homes, etc.) on Arapaho Rd west of Custer Rd. That's right in a shopping center, across the street from a shopping center, just down the street from the Civic Center. A few years ago, the city thought parked boats and motor homes were such an eyesore that the city council passed an ordinance restricting home owners from parking their recreational vehicles at their houses. The city also spent years buying up aging homes across Arapaho Rd from the Civic Center and tearing them down. Why in the world would the city now agree to zoning that would allow a self-service warehouse, with boats and motor homes parked outdoors, to be built in a shopping center, near a residential neighborhood, and just down the street from the Civic Center? Here's another use destined to destroy any hope that this aging retail neighborhood can be revived.
Source: The Wheel.
That's what I wrote three years ago. The city council rejected that particular rezoning request in December, 2011, but the owner returned in March, 2012, with a modified request (he dropped plans for outside vehicle storage) and the council approved that. So now we have a self-service warehouse smack dab in the middle of the West Arapaho enhancement/redevelopment area.

It's time for an update on this three-year-old decision.

Did the warehouse act as a catalyst for redevelopment of the shopping center and its neighbors? Judging by the hookah lounge, vape shop and billiards den nearby, ... well, you decide whether a self-service warehouse attracts the kinds of businesses this area needs.

There is another business that the warehouse did inspire to invest in the area. That's the self-service warehouse itself. The owner was back before the city council this week to ask for approval to build two 2-story additions to the existing warehouse, to construct another separate warehouse, and to operate a truck rental business on the site.

Sure enough, the city council went along (with only Steve Mitchell in opposition). When the council first approved this use three years ago, they gave up on anything approaching the highest and best use of that land. Now that we're stuck with a self-service warehouse for a generation, who really expected the council to decide against doubling down on that bad decision from three years ago? While the city's attention is focused on greenfield developments like CityLine and Palisades (both of which I supported), Richardson's older shopping centers continue to suffer from neglect (which I obviously don't support). Hopes for enhancement/redevelopment remain in storage. Deep storage.

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