The e-mail asked me:
“Is there any way you can find out why the city allowed the new Bojangles at 3rd and Independence to be placed in a typical suburban form? Here is a prominent corner between two high-profile projects, Elizabeth Avenue/CPCC and Pappas’ [Pappas Properties] Metropolitan and what do our planners allow? Suburban schlock. The store is pushed as far back from the corner as possible, meanwhile, the new store at Highland Creek will be urban (pulled to the corner with parking in the back). What do you think about this? Can you find out why what happened has happened?”
Full disclosure: I’ve been a Bojangles fan since they were founded in Charlotte in the 1970s. One night fellow copy editor Hank Durkin (who bailed out years ago, for Microsoft) took me to this fast-food joint at South Tryon and West Boulevard, and I’ve loved it ever since. (That original Bo’s, btw, was demolished and is now a parking lot for the newer Bo’s next door.)
But say it ain’t so, Bo. Your new spot at Third and Independence is essentially a huge parking lot, with a building distantly visible far away, behind the asphalt. It’s about as “urban” as the Costco on Tyvola. The rest of the area is shaping up so much more nicely, with the new CPCC buildings, the offices farther down Third with ground-floor retail, and the aforementioned Pappas project at the old Midtown Square. Too bad Bojangles dumped such inappropriate development at the corner.
My correspondent also sent a link to a discussion forum at urbanplanet.org, devoted to the ugly new Bojangles. Someone in there reports that Bojangles wanted to do a more urban design and “planning” wouldn’t let them. That didn’t ring true. I checked with Keith MacVean, land development program manager at the city-county planning staff.
The villain is the old B-2 zoning at the site. It allows suburban schlock – or as MacVean called it “highway commercial.” It does NOT, require it. Bojangles could have pulled the building up to within 20 feet of the Independence right of way, he said. The company didn’t. Because no rezoning was requested, the company didn’t even need to talk to the city planners, who would likely have tried to negotiate a more appropriate design.
There’s an upside, though, MacVean said. “I think they took down a billboard.”
Friday, September 01, 2006
The e-mail asked me: