We Do Not Need Another Sam’s Club in Uptown East

SamsCityplaceWhile I was in West Virginia, I read Steve Brown’s report that a Sam’s was coming to Uptown East at Cityplace, courtesy of Trammell Crow. I thought maybe I had altitude sickness or something. Total head scratcher. Here I have been interviewing builders and developers on how Uptown development is splashing over east of central, where we are starting to see some great multi-family developments taking shape close in to the urban core.  They are even starting to call this area “Uptown East.”

And then I learn that Trammell Crow Co. bought 17 acres from Affiliated Computer Services on North Central Expressway at Haskell Avenue last summer. Gonna call it East Village. So far, so good. But then Steve gets wind from folks at a Las Vegas conference that:

“The office buildings on the old ACS site will be replaced by a large Sam’s Club store and a several small retail buildings lined up along the North Central frontage road, show pictures of the development Crow is displaying at the International Council of Shopping Centers conference.

Crow has done buildings for Sam’s Club and its parent company Wal-Mart before. They are both tenants in the Timber Creek Crossing shopping center in northeast Dallas which Crow developed.”

It’s no surprise that Sam’s Club would want a location in central Dallas.

Competitor Costco has been looking at locations, too, including the old Steakley Chevrolet property on Northwest Highway.

I’m speechless.

When Trammell Crow bought the ACS site, they promised an urban mix used development which would be fitting with such a prominent piece of real estate, adjacent to Texas’ only subway station (Cityplace DART Station). Or let’s revert to my favorite term to overuse, “WALKABLE”. I love Sam’s (sometimes) and love Trammell Crow, but shame on them for putting WalMart dollars above their home city. As a developer, they are entitled to and should seek out high profits, but they should also be responsible to their community and not sell out the city that made them the successful development company they are today.
Dear Lord: what if they put a Sam’s in at Preston Center where Trammell Crow just bought out the block housing Marshalls?

Even more surprising is that the City’s planning staff has given blessing to the development plan, so says Robert Wilonsky.

Staff has given its blessing to the development plan, and when Crow bought the property, Crow had it zoned for anything and everything. As in: “The zoning was granted as a conceptual planned development district and requires City Plan Commission approval of a development plan for each phase of development prior to the issuance of a building permit,” says the agenda item.

That said, plan commissioners have certainly gotten an earful from ticked-off neighbors this week, and they expect nothing short of “hell,” in the word of one commissioner who says the development plan, at the very least, is not a done deal.

Now people are mad and trying to stop this madness.  One reader tells me “I emailed Philip Kingston at the city and he said they don’t need a zoning variance, so there may not be anything they can do.  A Change.org petition has been launched . It requests that council member Adam Medrano and Mayor Mike Rawlings both see the light and stop this deal before the first Walmart trucks arrive.

One resident told Wilonsky that a Sam’s Club will aggravate traffic in the area. Tue, but personally, I think we are just going to have to get used to the increased traffic here, in Lakewood, Preston Center, all over town. What I don’t understand is that every single developer in the world wishes to duplicate the West Village with it’s magic mix of residential, retail, and commercial. And this is the perfect place to do just that. Also, I know that crime at Ciytplace has been an issue in recent years. How do you wipe out crime? Put more people ands lights in the ‘hood, get people out on the streets.

And this is NOT a NIMBY, in my opinion; it’s a waste of great real estate potential. Totally anti-urbanism. Who is going to walk to Sams and pick up an 18 pack of paper towels to carry home like a sherpa? Can you imagine hauling laundry detergent, or a case of Diet Dr Pepper on the DART train? And what about the practically brand new Sam’s Club and Walmart just 6 miles north in the Timbercreek shopping center at Skillman and Northwest Highway?

Neighbors and aggravated residents have organized a community meeting at the Starbucks inside the Capitol Avenue Kroger tonight from 8:30 to 10 p.m. Councilman Adam Medrano has said he will attend.

8 Comment

  • Candy, this is another staff report head scratcher.

    This is a great example of why PD 193 (across the freeway) works so well. Had the zoning change a year early been proposed on the other side of Central, within PD 193, the developer would have had to come before Oak Lawn Committee and confessed to what they wanted to do. That would have been as welcome with OLC as a priest at a porn convention.

  • They only things splashing over on the East side is blood and water in the potholes. Imagine? A Sam’s Club. Ugh. That will not lead to more of the single family development that could go into there. I wish the city would implement John Thompson’s master plan to have Haskell be redone all the way to Fair Park, and come back on the other street heading West. Sigh.

  • This is exactly what they did with the Timbercreek development. Promised a bunch of great stuff, got the city to say “sure, whatever you want to do,” then bulldozed the hell out of everything and put up a Wal-Mart and Sams, with nothing at all the city could do about it.

    So, for the city to repeat the same “oh we didn’t know they were going to do that, but we can’t do anything about it now” is complete garbage. I’m not usually one to believe *everyone* is in on backdoor deals and bribes, but this one seems too obvious to believe otherwise.

    • In return for getting City of Dallas permission to clear cut established trees in the Forest Creek shopping center location, Trammell Crow Company delivered on its pledge to plant “equivalent” trees in return.

      Those trees were planted near the Lake Highlands Freshman Center.

      Had they been planted at the appropriate time of the year, there is a good chance that some of them may have survived.

      Hey guys, trees soak up carbon dioxide and emit oxygen. Let’s take care of them.

  • Another mess on the prairie as David Dillion would have called it
    What do you expect ,,,Trammel Crow company to build a park for the city?
    Sad but another architectural blunder will likely occur

  • There are multitudes of us who live in terror at the 90 degree ingress and egress at the Costco on Central in Plano where many of the drivers on the service road to 75 has multiple potential contestants for a new land speed record. We are doing cartwheels in exuberation after reading Candy’s nugget about the potential of a Costco in the defunct Steakley Chevrolet location on Northwest Highway at Abrams Road.

    This is really super that we may be getting a Sprouts at Abrams & Skillman in the old Tom Thumb site, and a Costco on Northwest Highway.

    I may never have to go to Plano again, especially as we have the Trader Joe’s on Greenville.

    The absence of either a deceleration or an acceleration lane common to QT service stations makes one feel as though they are putting their life on the line when entering or exiting the parking lot at this Costco.

    This is another one of those cases in which the engineers disregarded those who comprehend human dynamics, as well as the fact that Type A behavior is the norm in Plano, Texas.

    Now, if we could only get a restaurant up to Geneva Convention standards in Lake Highlands, we would be overrun with eager creative class innovators seeking to buy homes, set up roots, and reinvigorate this into a haven for families with young children.

  • I think this is great for Uptown. I believe Trammell Crow has its finger on the pulse of the area, and this is just what Uptown needs.