Friday, July 23, 2004

Here's the proposed site plan for the Walgreen's/Taco Xpress development.
John Kelso has his usual funny stuff on an unusual topic this week. Walgreens has proposed a joint development with Taco Xpress owner Maria Corbalan on the site of Maria's current lease on the Taco Xpress property on South Lamar.

I actually find this story amazing -- big corporate America (boo, hiss...) is locally aware enough and flexible enough to propose what I think is a very decent compromise to local opposition to "big box" retailers. (By the way, I don't consider Walgreen's "big box" -- drug stores are neccessary parts of neighborhoods, and although an independent drugstore might be preferable, there aren't many left...)

This plan has a lot of benefits:
1. Maria, assuming she can get a loan for her portion of the property, would have a permanent home without threat of losing her property to development.
2. The South Lamar area will keep local-business Taco Xpress.
3. Walgreens gets it's location.
4. The neighborhood gains a drug store.

According to Kelso, neighborhood association President Kevin Lewis says he would like to see "for starters, something with residential on top, and some small shops of some sort. We look at some of the places on South Congress as an ideal, the kind of mixed use transit-oriented growth that the city's promoting, in fact."

While I think mixed-use development that mixes residential and commercial space is a a great idea for urban planning, all these neighborhoods that want nothing but "small shops" are being unrealistic. Small shops are great, but your basic neighborhood services like grocery stores and drugstores, won't fit into that plan. Coming up with ways to partner with the Walgreen's and HEBs of the world and integrate them into a "mixed use transit-oriented" neighborhood is much more practical (and challenging). South Lamar should see this proposed partnership between a large corporation and a local business owner as a model for compromise that could set the flavor of future development in the area -- subsidized cooperation funding the local businesses instead of competition forcing them out.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

The Alamo Drafthouse folks, Tim and Kerrie League, have just sold the franchising arm of the Drafthouse to CEO Terrell Braly.

I did some research into Terrell Braly, and found that in February of 1999, Terrell Braly was manager of sales for New York based residential brokerage the American Real Estate Group. I can't find him in the business press for anything else. Anyone else know anything about him?

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Went tubing this weekend -- in the preparation dug up last year's recommendations to tubing newbies.

Sara (and Ben's) top 10 tooooobin' recommendations:

1. tons of sunscreen (suggested application is in the morning *before* putting on your bathing suit); liberally re-applied at the under-arm tubing hotspot (having your armpits burned is really the pits!)
2. lots of bottled water. drunk is fine; dehydrated is really tiring. alternating beer and water is a pretty good approach.
3. beef jerkey/turkey jerky/trail mix. When you start drinking at 10AM it's good to have something to put in your stomach.
4. breakfast tacos for breakfast. see #3.
5. get a tube with a bottom. really. ben might disagree with me, but trust me on this one.
6. water shoes of some sort.
7. a complete (dry) change of clothes for afterwards. most of the tubing places have showers.
8. suggested post-tubing activities: grist mill or rudy's in gruene; gruene hall for music & dancing if you want to make a day of it; and the san marcos outlet malls are on the way back.
9. if you go on a not-saturday, you can find coupons online for most of the tubing places. links to tube rental places:
10. no glass or styrofoam on the river. you can rent coolers in tubes for your beer and ice.