Urbane renewal.

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

A year ago February I was getting over the silly-ass trauma of losing the Starbucks right down Highland Avenue from us.

I went out in the fog this morning to discover that the sign was going up on a shiny new one which has been built for our upscale caffeinated pleasure down in what we now call the Trader Joe’s shopping center. Ah, life no longer out of balance…de-koyaanisqatsi-ed.

The old one, I can tell you with some precision, was 0.334123 miles by air, or 0.5 mi by road away from here. The new one is 0.974822 miles by air, or 1.2 mi by road. It is in fact a tiny bit further away as the crow flies than the Little Five Points Starbucks (0.895309 miles by air, yet 1.3 mi by road)…but I can count the number of times I’ve zipped over there with my personal jetpack on the fingers of no hands whatsoever, so the stroll to the new one is quite easy and enjoyable…and you don’t have to cross Ponce.

As I think I said back at the start of 2008, I was really in no way deprived by the departure of the old one (nor would I feel much loss over the collapse of the entire chain) except that it was, as designed, an enjoyable place to stroll into amidst clothing shops and beauty parlors that, to be honest, don’t get much of my business.

I thought maybe the store closing was indicative of the times (and well, yeah, things got a lot rougher for SBUX and damn near every other corporation out there in 2008), and maybe the real tell of where we’re at is the sign that said a Krispy Kreme was going in there disappeared quickly and the exBucks property has been sitting unoccupied the whole year. It still looks exactly like the first photo…down to the signage residue.

And it’s not like we’re Krispy Kreme-deprived…an ancient and venerable one (it’s once semi-burned-out sign offered “erica’s Favorite Doughnuts”) is right down Ponce, next to the AIDS hospice.

So what does it tell us that the Starbucksians are confident enough to open another one round here in the current economic climate? Well, I can tell you that the Midtown Promenade shopping center, with the opening of Trader Joes and the subsequent arrival of Richard’s Variety Store has filled in the small shoporama (long ago the home of a sad Winn-Dixie) nicely and made it (certainly over the holidays) a mobbed-parking-lot kinda place brimming with urban disposable-income-disposing. All they really needed to complete the picture was…well, we’re good now, thanks.