Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Early Warning on Union

A recent Memphis Daily News article states
Chick-Fil-A Inc. has filed a building permit application for a new restaurant at 61 S. Rembert St. in Midtown, according to The Daily News Online.

The $1 million permit was filed with the city-county Department of Construction Code Enforcement last week. The South Rembert address is just north of Union Avenue east of South McLean Boulevard and west of East Parkway.
Problem is, I can't find that address, as the postman delivers. The last address on the west (odd) side of the street is 45 S. Rembert. The next structure going south is WMC headquarters.

However, just across Rembert from the missing 61 S. Rembert is the Cumberland Presbyterian Center/Bookstore, which has been up for sale for the last year.

Could Chik-Fil-A be sharpening their axe for the building that housed the bookstore? The brief Daily News article adds,
The restaurant chain is scheduled to open a Chick-Fil-A on Union Avenue in August, according to a Chick-Fil-A representative. No street number was on file, she added.
Note: I don't care if Chick-Fil-A comes to Midtown, but anything that does come should, at the absolute least, make it not worse. Better would be better. We have fast-food -- we are civilized like that -- so that won't make us better. But we don't have much beauty of on our major commercial corridor. The bookstore adds a simple but nice beauty. I have yet to see a Chick-Fil-A that adds beauty. Now if they build in an already butt-uglified spot -- Union still has aplenty -- then we're not worse.

Lest you think I'm just oppositional, and would rather have a building sit empty forever, then let me propose an alternative use, one well-suited to the bookstore's present configuration -- the Midtown library. When the new Central Library went in, replacing the library at Peabody and McLean, the City discussed a branch library to take its place. We never got it. This could be our chance.

We'll see.

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Blogger Bruce said...

Hmmm. This would explain the cows I saw at the corner of Rembert and Union holding signs reading "Eat Mor Chikin." I shot them.

2:34 PM  
Blogger Ryan Jones said...

I'm all for a Chic-fil-a midtown bc its just about the only fast food that I'll eat, but you're dead on about the demolition of buildings and addition of some beauty to the union ave. corridor. That branch library idea is a great one, I hope that actually becomes a reality.

10:49 PM  
Blogger jccvi said...

From a sensory level standpoint, I'm pretty sure a chik-fil-a chicken biscuit tastes better than this building looks. That said, it does seem like there could be other places to put a fast food joint in Midtown than this spot.

1:04 PM  
Blogger gatesofmemphis said...

lemme say, absolutely, for the record -- I am not opposed to Chik-Fil-A on Union.

Now, I've never eaten there, but I am a Popeye's fanatic and know every PFC franchise in the MSA, so this isn't anti-fast-food, or any other particular use for that matter.

What urbanists and urban planners call form-based development I call the Paris Adult Principle -- a building's form matters more than the type of its use.

It applies equally well to Overton Square and big purty boxes.

I wanted to point out this possibility in case, just in case, they or anyone else wants to turn that into a shanty, and Memphis into a shantytown. But it may be a false alarm.

Be it noted, though, that this post has two very strong, unpaid comments for their food. Kind of advertising that semi-literate cows can't match and money can't buy. "It's the food, stoopid!"

11:47 PM  
Blogger jccvi said...

The food alone would be enough, but the restaurants are also well run. The workers seem happy to be there. The manager (who is often the franchisee) is usually present keeping an eye on quality service. I've seen Chik-fil-a managers busing tables and sweeping floors on more than one occasion. Their children's playgrounds are well designed and regularly cleaned.

Service and cleanliness are not why people line up 20 deep in the drive through. That's because of the food.

Personally, I'd like to see them turn the building itself into the restaurant. This is not going to happen, but it would be cool.

10:38 AM  
Blogger gatesofmemphis said...

It wouldn't be enough for the blight inflicted. Popeye's, Coletta's and Jerry's Sno-Cone wouldn't be enough. Butt-ugliness is a proven formula for civic and commercial decline.

11:41 AM  
Blogger jccvi said...

Driving by today, I noticed a rather ugly empty lot next to the attractive building in question that would be more suited to a chick fil-a type store. I've yet to find a single Chick Fil-a store that is easy on the eyes, but so much of my income goes there in the form of six nugget kid's meals with milk and fruit that I can forgive any offense on the eyes for the reduction in emissions my wife creates trekking the youngins out east for picklejuice-marinated deliciousness.

4:11 PM  
Blogger jccvi said...

I wasn't aware until recently that there is a very nice Popeye's on Lamar just south of Park.

3:10 PM  
Blogger dave said...

sorry, old post, old question, just catching up...i don't suppose there's anyone i can email or call or whatever to figure out whether this is actually going to happen...city council/etc?

forgive the ignorance, i just moved here...help a brother out

12:11 AM  
Blogger gatesofmemphis said...

dave welcome to Memphis!

The Shelby County Division of Planning and Development (http://www.dpdgov.com/), or Land Use Office (http://www.dpdgov.net/(sb4jk4vabmy3y445syf00x45)/Portal/portal_index.aspx?id=1) might have info on this. They were very helpful when I called them about another development.

I haven't heard anymore about this and the for sale sign is still in front of the building. It _may_ have been a false alarm.

11:37 PM  

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