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Thursday, September 7, 2006

State Bank of Wellston to Be Demolished for Walgreens?

Word on the street -- the street being Martin Luther King Drive -- is that the State Bank of Wellston will soon be demolished for a new Walgreens store. Hopefully the rumors are wrong, but they seem sadly probable.


Anonymous said...

The bank, while an interesting modern building, it not terribly urban. However, that could be fixed through some good windows and doors crafted to work with the facade. I would be OK with letting it go for an equally detailed mixed-use urban building on the site. But, for a typical Walgreens? No, I don't think so.

tobyweiss.com said...

They might as well implode the former JC Penney building while they're at it...

This is absolutely unacceptable news. I'm starting at angry and working towards livid.

Isn't it about time for Mighty Mouse to come in and save the day?

Anonymous said...

As much as I love all of you, I am sorry to break this news.

The majority of Wellston residents and elected officials don't really care about preserving the old bank building.

They'd much rather have a new Walgreen's, and maybe a whole new shopping center at MLK and Kienlen.

Robert Powers said...

Guess I've got my next assigment.

Anon: It's too bad there isn't a vacant lot nearby that Walgreens could use instead, like say just to the north of the bank building.


Claire Nowak-Boyd said...

Agreed fully with Mr. Powers! Having the bank building and having a Walgreens are not mututally exclusive concepts.

One might argue that "Oh the stores want important corners!" but the important corners are home to important buildings, and shouldn't our major corners look wonderful and urban and carry our history? I'm sick of walking around my side of town and seeing intersections of our most important streets squatted upon by hideous, cheap franchise buildings. There is plenty of vacant land up here and plenty of room to build these things without taking down important buildings and ruining the streetscape of two major streets. AND no one is stopping these multimillion dollar corporations from building better structures, or from rehabbing old storefronts.

I really wish there was a general purpose store and pharmacy in my North Side neighborhood, too (oh, if only Parks Pharmacy had not burned!), but if one tries to come up here and insist they can only locate in my vacant-lot-riddled neighborhood by tearing down soemthing important, I will be royally pissed. With the sheer degree of need for a store like that in ONSL or Wellston, I don't think that moving the store's location a block away to the site of an extant vacant lot will significantly harm its profits.

Steve, yeah the bank building could have more windows, but it does come right up to the sidewalk. Furthermore, the radio tower is a wonderful and quixotic landmark that can be seen from far away, and kind of gives a feeling of character and history to the whole streetscape. I also think that the fabulous colors and shapes of the building lend visual excitement to the streetscape. I think the character that the whole thing gives to the street makes it pretty urban.

Were I to build a new building there, I'd probably do it differently than what is there, but the magic of an urban streetscape is the magic of accumulation and difference. That's part of what makes urban areas special. I'd rather have this building than an unimaginative, bland new building that technically follows the tenets of urban building.