BOISE, Idaho (FNS) -- Albertson's here is facing considerable opposition from neighborhood and historic groups over plans to build stores near historic downtown sites in Dallas and New Orleans.
In Dallas, the City Planning Commission voted last month to reject Albertson's bid to rezone a residential property for commercial use so Albertson's could build a store there. However, Albertson's said it plans to seek a reversal of that vote March 24.
"There is not another location [for a store] in that neighborhood, and the part of the community that wants it still wants it," said Christy Morrow, an Albertson's official in Dallas.
Albertson's has previously agreed to downsize plans for the Dallas store from more than 62,000 square feet to nearly 60,000 square feet and to incorporate a historic-looking red brick design on the facade.
However, several Dallas groups say they will not alter their opposition to the store's planned development in a residential area near the city's downtown historic district. They acknowledged that Albertson's officials have offered to reduce the store's size and include a more historic-looking facade, but many local organizations say they will not budge.
Albertson's said it changed the design of the planned $8 million investment to reflect "the historical character of Old East Dallas and [to] resemble several small neighborhood shops," according to Bob Rissing, senior real estate manager for Albertson's.
In addition, Albertson's said it would restrict its truck deliveries to nonpeak traffic times and would preserve and maintain single-family homes on the site, according to a flier distributed to neighborhood groups.
While neighborhood and historic groups are urging Albertson's to build at other downtown locations, Rissing said the chain has researched the Dallas market for the past 14 years and has not found any site that can "accommodate a full-service grocery store with adequate parking."
Other reasons Albertson's chose the site, according to the flier: 80% of shoppers come from a 1.25-mile radius; the store will be convenient for the local residents, since most travel on foot or by public transportation; the site works well within existing traffic patterns; and there are lights at all four corners. In addition, the store would create 140 jobs and would include a pharmacy, bank, meals to go, a coffee bar, floral center and film-processing department.
According to Virginia McAlester, a founder of Preservation Dallas, "We would love to have Albertson's in one of our commercially zoned areas, but this [residential site] is not in the best longterm interest of Dallas." Albertson's said apartment owners are working with residents to find housing in the same neighborhood at comparable prices.