My North Side neighbors — those at computers and with some extra time on their hands — have been chatting on-line for the past few days about all our grocery options, a conversation prompted by the recent announcement that the Garden Theater block had a developer.
Did you know it also has a Facebook page? (That's where I got this photo.)
Wayne Zukin, the developer from Philly, got the nod of the Urban Redevelopment Authority and has exclusive negotiation rights for 90 days (which can be extended) to get his financing and plans in order.
Wayne proposes a niche grocery in the former porn theater and said he has been talking to the East End Food Co-op but also to other traditional grocery companies. He said he would entertain a large restaurant in the theater if a grocery doesn’t pan out.
From this news, neighbors took off on discussions about our existing amenities. Some dissed our local (and walkable) Giant Eagle, some praised it. Everyone who weighed in expressed gratitude that we have Doug’s Market in the residential streets of the Central North Side.
Another party reminded us of the Kuhn’s on Highwood off Brighton Road.
Still another asked how another grocery could be needed when there are already three within a mile or so.
The chat site is often the same 5-10 people, but sometimes a broader-based discussion sets me to thinking about how people perceive their place in the world. We almost always complain about either too much or too little. Wherever we are, other neighborhoods have it better.
Regardless of what development brings to the long-blighted buildings around the Federal-North intersection, I am struck by the thought that we are possibly two years away from that area being completely clean and healthy looking.
Thinking about the journey so many have navigated to get the neighborhood to this point, I am reminded of the axiom: That’s how long community development takes.