Fighting the Beast

I don’t like Wal-Mart. I have lots of reasons for not liking Wal-Mart, but what it all comes down to is, I don’t like Wal-Mart. What I do like is Austin and my home and neighborhood in north-central Austin, carefully selected for its proximity to both work and cool Austin-y things. So imagine my dismay when I learned that the owners of Northcross Mall have made plans to build a 2-story Wal-Mart in a space now occupied by that mall. A space mere blocks from the home and neighborhood I love. I know, of course, that Northcross needs something new to be relevent and money-making again. But I really don’t want it to be a Wal-Mart, much less a 24-hour, 2-story beast with a 3-story parking garage facing my neighborhood. I’ve gone through lots of emotions after hearing the news, mostly anger, sadness, and resignation. But I’m starting to feel some hope and encouragement, because there are people in the neighborhoods surrounding Northcross Mall who are organizing to fight the development. Responsible Growth for Northcross is having a meeting this Thursday, November 30, at the Grace Church of the Nazarene at 7 p.m. One of the things I love about Austin is that Austinites really care about the city and its future, and they’re ready and willing to do what it takes to make their voices heard. So I’m glad there’s a group of my neighbors organizing to work for what they believe in. Join us.

7 Comments so far

  1. Constance Reader (unregistered) on November 28th, 2006 @ 7:52 am

    I know exactly how you feel. I live up on Lake Travis, far northwest Austin, and they are building a Wal-Mart on my relatively unbuilt-up stretch of 620. I was very, very sad to see it.

    I can’t for the life of me figure out why — my neighborhood is hardly, shall we say, the Wally World demographic. As evidenced by the Target whose parking lot was only a quarter full on Black Friday. I’ve been there in the middle of the day on Saturdays and have been able to count the cars in a glance, it’s THAT unused. How the hell does Wal-Mart think they’re going to make any money up there? You’d think the empty Target would be a hint.

  2. Chip (unregistered) on November 28th, 2006 @ 3:34 pm

    A super Wal-Mart anchor store will put tremendous stress on what’s become a residential, mixed use neighborhood. The traffic flow down Anderson and Burnet will be a mess. Not to mention the 24-hour activity, delivery trucks, refrigerator trucks, etc. that will be going on literally in peoples’ back yards.

    Oh yeah, and then there is that crime thing.

    The crazy thing is that the Northcross developer has previously done development that has worked very well with the neighborhood, such as Hancock Center. Why couldn’t they have done this here, instead of just dropping a W-bomb on the neighborhood?

  3. Veronica (unregistered) on November 28th, 2006 @ 11:38 pm

    I had heard this rumor circulating for a while. I am also VERY sad to hear this news.

    I do not like Wal-Mart and even if I did – I honestly believe this is a horrible spot for one. I hope they do not go through with this project.

  4. M1EK (unregistered) on November 29th, 2006 @ 10:03 am

    Hancock Center? Are you kidding me? It’s an awful car-dependent pedestrian-hostile overcrowded nightmare. The old mall was better, if only for that you felt like you only had to park _once_. Now, I almost feel compelled to move my car and park twice if I want to pick up groceries and some dinner at two spots in the ‘center’.

  5. Therese (unregistered) on November 29th, 2006 @ 1:23 pm

    Oh gag! Why does Wal-Mart feel the need to take over the world?! I’m in south Austin, but used to live fairly close to Northcross and the thought of a Wal-Mart going in there is really bothersome!

  6. Bethany (unregistered) on November 30th, 2006 @ 2:50 pm

    Ok, I agree that Northcross isn’t the best place for a new Wal-Mart, especially one of that size. Traffic in that area can be a problem, however, I disagree with all the other negative comments going around about Wal-Mart.

    A new Wal-Mart will employ at least 300 employees. Wal-Mart stresses the importance of diversity in their employees. They donate a TON of money to many different charities, both local & national. Wal-Mart employees do have health insurance as well as many other benefits, if they choose to use them. Crime rates? Noise levels? The crime & noise is already there.

    And why should Lincoln Properties get community input? They own the property. It isn’t like businesses can give input to you on who you can rent your house to…”I’m sorry Mr. Soandso, you can’t rent your home to Ms. Whoever because she doesn’t shop in our store and won’t be beneficial to us.” If you want a say on what business moves in, buy the property & then you can decide. Do you get to have input on who your neighbor rents his house to because they might paint it an ugly color or have a driveway full of cars? No, you either deal with who your neighbor chooses or you move. Exaggerated examples but they carry the same point.

    Oh, and as far as shopping centers around Wal-Mart being vacant because Wal-Mart has put them all out of business, name one in the Austin area. The rent for these shopping centers are usually higher because of the increased traffic flow Wal-Mart brings by these businesses, and the spaces in these shopping centers are high in demand by knowledgeable business people because they know this.

  7. Rick (unregistered) on December 8th, 2006 @ 4:49 pm

    In regards to the previous posters support of Wal-Mart’s take over of the neighborhood. The reason why Wal-Mart is viewed with such distain is that they poster child of the evil corporations in America. Do a little research on how much dirt this company has on it. You don’t get that big and powerful by caring about people in neighborhoods. The reason why the developer does care about the peoples opinion is because collectively people have the power. I think there are enough Wal-Mart megastores in Austin. Wal-Mart is not my idea of a quick stop neighborhood store.

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