Change is Just Around the Corner for Lower Greenville

A year from now, Lower Greenville will be transformed, and it’s clear that residents and property owners are excited about the changes.

Tonight I spoke at three different meetings to discuss the New Lower Greenville. The first meeting was hosted by long-time property owners Marc and Roger Andres who brought together fifty or so retail brokers who are like location scouts for the retailers/restaurants they represent. Other property owners in attendance included Madison Partners and Greenway Investments.

Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Pauline Medrano and I shared with the group the plans and timeline for Lower Greenville: streetscape construction will start this summer and be finished about eight months later and the new late-night permit requirement begins in September.

Jon Hetzel of Madison Partners announced that the city had just given them the green light to move forward on their plans for an outdoor eatery trailer park at the old Arcadia site. Construction on that should begin in a couple of months.

The group was treated to some sweets from TrailerCakes (which makes an amazing peanut butter and jelly cupcake — trust me on this). TrailerCakes and Good Luck Food Truck will be among the eateries coming to Arcadia Trailer Park, and that alone is worth getting excited about.

The retail brokers liked what they heard — they were relieved to know that we have a plan in place to make the street safer and attract better businesses. They were also impressed with the significant city investment in a beautiful, retail-friendly streetscape.

The next two meetings were to talk with neighborhood groups about the Lower Greenville changes. Both the Richmond Place Condo Association and the Cochran Heights Neighborhood Association were pleased to learn that the changes we’re implementing aren’t years away, but will happen in the next few months. They loved that we’re getting the problems under control, fixing the street, and making this a walkable, family-friendly area.

Lower Greenville’s transformation is a win for everyone — neighborhoods, property owners, and businesses — and change is just around the corner.

Advertisements

Plans for St. Patrick’s Day on Greenville Avenue

Greenville Avenue will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday, March 13, and I wanted to explain the initiatives the city is taking this year to limit the impact of the St. Patrick’s Day parade and party on our Lower Greenville neighborhoods.  (Sorry in advance for the incredibly long post.)

This is a joint effort of Deputy Police Chiefs Vincent Golbeck, Julian Bernal and Tom Lawrence, neighborhood residents, special events office, code enforcement, sanitation, parking enforcement, event sponsors, myself, and others. Note that these events are privately sponsored and are not endorsed by the City of Dallas. Check for updated info at www.dallascityhall.com.

Here is a link to a flyer that has all this info as well as a map of the Lower Greenville parking restrictions.

BULKY TRASH
In response to my request to ensure as much bulky trash as possible is picked up before the Lower Greenville festivities, I received this response from Mary Nix, Director of Sanitation at the City:

Although our brush/bulk crews are straining to get back on their regular schedule – as the snow storm debris collection is a massive undertaking – we recognize the need to address the Greeneville neighborhood’s immediate need.

We’ve sent several rotoboom trucks to collect storm debris (starting earlier this week) – and are making sure they’ll cover the area for several blocks to both the east and west of Greenville from Ross Avenue to Southwestern.  They’ll go additional blocks as time allows.  We’ll do our best not to inadvertently collect the temporary “No Parking” signs as we go!

Continue reading

Lower Greenville’s Future

Last night, I went to the Double Wide benefit concert for the businesses and employees who lost their jobs as a result of last week’s fire on Lower Greenville.  The Doublewide was great to host this, and Chelsea Callahan did an outstanding job organizing the five bands in such short order, helping raise funds for these newly-unemployed workers.

The neighborhood support for these restaurants and pubs — Terrilli’s, Mick’s, Greenville Ave., Hurricane — has been amazing.  Neighborhood associations are selling t-shirts to benefit the employees, a local bank and other business owners have set up a fund to provide financial support, and a facebook page has been created to highlight other job opportunities.

I’ve gotten so many emails from people — lawyers, planners, historic preservationists, architects — offering their services to the building owners free of charge, so the building can be rebuilt and the businesses (and their employees) can get back on their feet as soon as possible.  (I’m passing along this info to the owner, who pledged to keep the historic facade and rebuild quickly.)  A testament to the community support for these businesses can be seen in the many flowers now adorning the chain link fence surrounding the burned-out property — letting the owners and employees know that we are deeply saddened by their loss, that their departure has left a hole in our community, and that we wish them well.

This outpouring of support got me thinking:  Would we have seen the same response if a block of Lowest Greenville — say, south of Bell Avenue — had suffered a similar fate?

I don’t think so.

It’s not that the loss to the business owners or employees would have been any less traumatic or worthy of the neighborhood’s generosity.  But the businesses we lost last week were just the kind that we want on Greenville Avenue — restaurants and pubs that attract mostly neighborhood folks, that are family-friendly, and that have patrons visiting throughout the day not just late at night.

We see too few such businesses on Lowest Greenville — too few restaurants, neighborhood pubs, and retailers and too many bars.  Way too many bars.  All crammed into the middle of a residential area.  Continue reading

Lower Greenville Owner to Rebuild, Keep Facade

I just spoke with Jon duPerier, a general partner here in Dallas who owns the Lower Greenville block that burned.  He told me that he and his partners are history buffs who feel strongly that their building is one of the most historically significant on Greenville Avenue.  He acknowledged that while it would be cheaper to scrape and rebuild, they would rather make the investment and keep a part of Dallas’ history alive.  They are going to preserve the facade and rebuild in the same footprint asap.  The city will be expediting permits for the project, and I told Jon that I would work with him if any issues arose.

This is great news on so many levels.  Jon was very sensitive to the loss to the business owners and their families and wants to get them back in business as soon as possible.  The reconstruction also means that we won’t be looking at a burned out building for months, and will get to see a part of our history revived in short order.

It’s so great to know there are property owners who are invested in our community, not just their small piece of it.  Many thanks to Jon and his partners for their commitment to Lower Greenville and our businesses, residents, and history.

From the Lakewood Advocate Backtalk Blog, here’s a great picture of original plans for the building back in 1931 versus today (pre-fire).  The sketch appeared in the June 14, 1931 edition of  The Dallas Morning News along with the caption, “J. T. Piranio is erecting the modern store building at Greenville avenue and Goodwin street at a cost of $25,000. This will provide six large store-rooms, designed in the latest style.”

greenvillegoodwin

greenvillegoodwin2004

Lower Greenville Fire – How You Can Help

[UPDATED MAR. 5 AT 6:18PM]

The Lower Greenville fire has resulted in a lot of folks losing their jobs overnight. There are several ways you can help:

New Info:  From the Lower Greenville Neighborhood Association:

LGNA volunteers will be selling St. Patrick’s t-shirts at the block party between Vanderbilt and Vickery on Saturday 3/13.  T-shirts will be sold for $10 each, and 100% of gross sales will be donated to restaurant employee assistance.  LGNA is donating the t-shirts that will be sold.

From the Lakewood Advocate Backtalk Blog:

Benefit for employees of Terilli’s, Mick’s, Hurricane Grill is Sunday
Five bands are playing a benefit concert Sunday at the Doublewide for employees of Lower Greenville restaurants that were destroyed in a fire this week.

The bands are Corey Howe, STEW, Manned Missiles, Cocky Americans and Slider Pines, plus sets from DJs Sista Whitenoise and Woodtronic.  The party starts at 8:30 p.m., and tickets are $7.

From the Taste of Lower Greenville Avenue website:

How to support the employees of Terilli’s, Greenville Avenue Bar & Grill, Mick’s and Hurricane Grill
Collection of information, job leads, etc – Help Lower Greenville Facebook page

Restaurant Employee Relief Fund Bank Account
A bank account has been opened to raise money for employees directly affected by the fire. Donations can be made at any local Branch Banking & Trust (BB&T) branch. The account name: Restaurant Employee Relief Fund, Account #8056613196.

The account is coordinated by the Greenville Avenue Restaurant Association, The Greenville Avenue Area Business Association, The Greenville Merchants Association, and the Historic Greenville Avenue Area Business Association. Funds will be dispersed by the owners of the businesses on a case-by-case basis in coordination with the Associations managing the account. Continue reading

Lower Greenville Fire: A Great Loss to East Dallas

As many of you have heard by now, yesterday morning at around 5:30 a.m., a four-alarm fire broke out on Lower Greenville, gutting the building that houses Terrili’s, Hurricane Grill, Mick’s Bar, and Greenville Bar and Grill. 

This is a great loss to Lower Greenville on so many levels.  These are some of the businesses that have defined Lower Greenville for years.  They’ve been assets to the surrounding neighborhoods, good community parters, and represent the antithesis of the problem bars we see south of Belmont.  They’ve provided jobs for business owners and their employees.  The building itself represented some of Dallas’ best 1920s commercial architecture.

Now we’re left with a shell of a building, business owners and employees who’ve lost their livelihood, and the loss of some our most significant Lower Greenville restaurants and pubs.

Yesterday morning, I spent about an hour at the scene as firefighters continued to extinguish the fire and secure the site.  (Photos.)  When I talked with Deputy Fire Chief Stuart Grant, who was overseeing the fire department’s response, he said he wanted to try to keep as much of the façade as possible (especially the corner front facades at Terrili’s and Hurricane).  He told me the rear wall was cracked and too damaged to save, but that he was instructing the city’s demolition crew (which had to remove the debris for safety reasons) to keep the front corner façades.  

My heart goes out to the employees and business owners who lost their jobs overnight.  It is such a tough time to be out of work, and I hope they are able to find other opportunities as soon as possible.  I’m also hopeful that the building owner will rebuild using the remaining facade as a starting point and that Terrili’s and others will be able to move back in after reconstruction.  

The building itself is such a great piece of architecture and an important part of our history.  I’ve received many emails from concerned residents who want to see the building saved.  I agree, and will do all that I can to preserve this structure.  There’s unfortunately a legal limit as to what the city can do to protect the building since it’s not currently an historically-designated structure.  However, I’m finding out what our options are and will push as hard as I can to preserve what’s left of the building.  I’m also trying to get in touch with the property owners to discuss their plans.

St. Patrick’s Day on Greenville Ave. 2009

St. Patrick’s Day on Lower Greenville went better than last year. I’ve got pics from the festivities, as well as (wait for it) Dallas’ Official 2009 St. Patrick’s Day Music Video Montage. Enjoy.

There are three stages of St. Patrick’s Day: the parade on upper Greenville, the special street event party south of Mockingbird, then the free-for-all bar-fest on Lower Greenville. Continue reading