Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Jobs for Greensboro?

The company that is proposing a new commercial development at the corner of W. Friendly Avenue and Hobbs Road, has released plans to the News & Record.
The developers of a proposed shopping center at West Friendly Avenue and Hobbs Road met with News & Record reporters and editorial writers today. Here is some of what the developers said:

• The center will have four buildings that encompass about 53,000 square feet on 6.7 acres. The two buildings on the north side of the property will be leased to small shops. On the south side along Friendly Avenue, there will be a grocery store and a drugstore...

• The project will create 135 construction jobs and 160 permanent full- and part-time jobs. It will add roughly $200,000 to the city's property-tax base.
Just in case anyone has forgotten, Greensboro is hungry for jobs, especially construction jobs. In November, the unemployment rate in the Greensboro-High Point metropolitan area was 9.9 percent. Nearly 36,000 people are unemployed in the area.

People in the neighborhood are gathering the torches and pitchforks to drive the developer off (though judging by the many Bill Knight signs that were seen a few months ago in the neighborhood, some of them weren't so opposed to a trashier development in backyards a bit further east). That development, however, is somebody else's future livelihood.

The development is sensibly placed. It would front a busy road and be sandwiched between a large commercial center and a church. In Greensboro's long-range plan, this area was slated for moderate-density residential redevelopment. However, a parcel just down the block at the corner of Hobbs Road and Northline Avenue, which was originally slated for commercial development may be developed as condominiums. Essentially, the long-range zoning of commercial and residential plots within a block of each other would be swapped. In the last few years, another plot a few blocks away at the corner of Friendly and Green Valley was effectively turned into a park. Other parks--the Bicentennial Garden and Bog Garden--are within a few blocks.

Put me down as one neighbor who would like the jobs and tax revenues this infill development would bring. A Trader Joe's wouldn't be so bad either.