Grocer, Point Blank: Randall's Says That "New" Simon David is All But a Done Deal

Categories: Schutze
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Well, looks like Randall's Food & Drugs, which owns the Simon David at 7117 Inwood Road, thinks they've got next week's zoning vote at city council in the bag.

I wrote to Connie Yates, their PR person, earlier this week, asking questions about their plan to demolish houses and re-route a street in the historic black neighborhood called North Park Love Field. Unfair Park has been all over this story for months. Yates just wrote back to me saying that Randall's will come to next week's council meeting and basically run the table on the opposition. This all comes down to ballots returned by surrounding property owners.

When this was before the City Plan Commission, the ballots were against Randall's, which is going to formally rebrand the store as a Tom Thumb, and the plan commission turned Randall's down. Since then, Randall's has had Sarah Dodd, ex of KTVT-Channel 11 and Mrs. Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle, working the streets. Yates just messaged me saying the ballots now are going to stack up the other way -- three to one in favor of the zoning change necessary for expansion.

"Many of the neighbors we visited with are excited about Tom Thumb's investment in the community," she writes.

Odds are that council member Angela Hunt will vote with the neighborhood -- meaning, the way Yates says the ballots will go. And by council rules, her vote rules. That means Randall's wins, and the opponents lose, and the company gets what it now refers to as a "new store." Here is the full text of Yates's message:
Jim - here is information for you regarding Tom Thumb's desire to build a new store at University and Inwood. Thank you for inquiring and hope you have a great weekend!

Connie Yates
Director, Public Affairs
Tom Thumb Food & Pharmacy

For over 60 years Tom Thumb has served the citizens of Dallas, including the North Park Love Field neighborhood. Our desire is to build a new store to continue serving that neighborhood. More than 900 people have signed letters of support for the new store. At next week's council meeting, you will hear from residents who have lived in the neighborhood since the early 1960's, and who are welcoming and supportive of the new store. Most of the people we have heard from see this project as a neighborhood improvement. Tom Thumb is committed to working with the neighborhood and has hosted several community meetings to include residents in the planning stages of the project.

Because we value the opinions of residents who have called this neighborhood home for multiple decades, all 169 homes in the official notification area were contacted and asked for feedback. Through those face to face interactions, we have enjoyed the opportunity to hear first hand what residents think of the proposed new store. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. We anticipate when the final ballots are counted we will have 3 to 1 support for the new store. Many of the neighbors we visited with are excited about Tom Thumb's investment in the community.

Tom Thumb believes the neighborhood deserves a new state of the art store, and that is why the company is planning this multi-million dollar investment. Our customers tell us they would like to see elimination of the second story. They say it is difficult to get upstairs or take an elevator with their basket to shop. In order to turn the store into a single story and offer 2,000 more items for customers, the store will need to be larger.

We have looked at every possible scenario of building on the current real estate occupied by our store. To provide a store to service the neighborhood and provide sufficient parking, we had to purchase additional real estate. We have made the following changes to our plans as a direct result of interaction with the neighborhood groups surrounding our store over the past year.
  1. Eliminated originally proposed dock & delivery activities on Robin Road
  2. Proposing a new store vs. originally proposed expansion of the existing store to eliminate delivery traffic on Robin Road
  3. Reduced proposed parking lot light poles on perimeter streets to a maximum of 12 feet
  4. Added light poles on Robin Road for increased security
  5. Added heavily landscaped buffers on the west side of Robin Road
  6. Added a heavy commercial grade screening fence west of the landscape buffer on Robin Road
  7. Increased on site service delivery area on our property for deliveries
  8. Added a 10 ft. and 12 ft solid screening wall along our loading area on University Dr.
  9. Agreed to restrict store delivery hours to 6 AM to 9 PM
  10. Agreed to restrict the store to a single level
  11. Removed second dock well due to concern over noise from standing trucks in the extra area
  12. New dock fully screened and enclosed with a roll down door
  13. Added 8 ft. sidewalks around the site
  14. Added bike racks near store entrances
  15. Added security cameras on the overflow parking lot
  16. No street signs allowed on the property.
  17. Agreed to maximum main building height of 28 ft. with one architectural element on the front of the building not to exceed 32 ft.

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