Plan Commission Votes Not to Approve SUP for That Proposed Greenville Ave. Bowling Alley

luckysbldg.jpg
So much for cautious optimism: About an hour ago, the City Plan Commission voted 6-5 not to grant Madison Partners that specific use permit that would have paved the way for the six-lane bowling alley Jonathon Hetzel, Barcadia's Brooke Humphries and other are hoping to open next to Good Records on Lowest Greenville. Hetzel's stunned ... and more than a little defeated.

"We got demonized pretty bad by the neighborhood and some of the commissioners," he says. "A lot of the opposition talked about how we were untrustworthy, money-grubbing landlords. And they seemed to buy into the argument -- that we're just liars. And the plan commission also has decided the way the [Planned Development District ordinance] is written, they can't grant any new business a SUP, only existing ones." (Which, says Angela Hunt, would be an extreme "misinterpretation of the ordinance, if that's what's happened here.")

Hetzel was the only one to speak for the project; the only one speak against it was Mike Northtup, representing a coalition of neighborhood associations. A certain Barking Dog, who opposes the bowling alley-bar, was also in attendance and reports back that the neighbors are quite happy with the CPC's decision -- because, among other things, "We want to bring in a good mix of retail, daytime and nighttime," and a new bar, they say, is just the same ol' same ol'.

"All they're trying to do is shove more bars down our throats," says Avi Adelman. "Lower Greenville was meant for daytime retail, and it can come back in if somebody stops charging godawful rental rates."

According to people who attended the meeting this afternoon, the CPC told Hetzel to open up for a couple of years, see how it goes, then come back and apply for an SUP. And Hetzel says, sure, Madison Partners could open without a SUP, but it wouldn't be able to stay open till 2 a.m. -- which, he says, it needs to do in order to justify its investment in the project. Which means, he says, "We will not open without a SUP."

He says he'll more than likely appeal this to the city council, but that he's "mildly offended" by the plan commission and neighborhood association's contention that they're lying about the project and won't really put in those six bowling lanes. (Adelman says he's convinced they'll be nothing more than "decoration.")

I called Hunt for her thoughts on the subject. She said, "I'll be meeting with the parties, and I am hopeful we can resolve this."
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scottindallas
scottindallas

Lake Highlands would love this project!  Bring it to the Town Center.  Do we need to make a fucking video or something?

FPMC
FPMC

I want to see the latest in an all-nude BYOB "gentleman's club". Yeah, that's the ticket

Evan
Evan

I know it's a bar first and a bowling alley second, but this place really could bring a step or two in the right direction for daytime retail. It's a catch 22, the neighborhood is thinking it's a matter of "if you build it, they will come", but what business is going to be that guinea pig (right now, especially)? This place could sort of bridge the gap - sure, they'd be a bar, but they also could attract more people during the daytime, which would then make the prospect of more daytime retail a bit easier. 

It's a tough decision. The commission isn't crazy for wanting them to build it without a SUP, at least at first, but I think I'd be OK with a 1 year SUP and a stern warning that a) the bowling lanes MUST get built in the very near future and not delayed indefinitely, b) they should be focusing on daytime customers as much as nighttime customers, and c) daytime retail or not, you're not going to be another loud, shitty bar at night. 

rumpunch
rumpunch

However, the landlord stated that the project would not be built without a 5 year SUP.  It may be a bluff, but he might want to take your suggestion as a compromise in his appeal.

Evan
Evan

Yeah, I thought I remembered hearing 4 or 5 years somewhere along the way. Can't blame the commission for not going along with that.

rumpunch
rumpunch

The real issue is NOT the bowling alley. Sounds like a great idea and a good addition to the neighborhood.

My understanding is that the SUP applies to the address, not the business.  This, in my opinion, is why we have heard from only the Landlord.  He is the one who will benefit from the SUP.  Jon has already tried once to get an SUP with no named business for this location.  This time he named a business, however if the SUP is attached to the address, we might have no guarantee that it would happen.

elbueno
elbueno

Its sad that the neighborhood didn't recognize the difference in clientele. The Highball (www.thehighball.com) model would attract a much more sophisticated and older crowd than  any other bar in the neighborhood. It would be akin to Libertine crowds, not Sugar Shack.The wanted a family-friendly establishment...Really?

Quick question: what is the ratio of young and single renters to homeowning families within 3-4 sq. blocks of that venue?

Having lived there, I would guess it leans HEAVILY towards the renters. The renters, unfortunately have no voice, no community and no organization. Thats unfortunate, because I guarantee you they are the majority in that immediate area. 

And do you know why people rent there? To live where they play! 

This whole thing is saddening and frustrating and I hope the Council reverses it.

Mike Diamond
Mike Diamond

The old (and vacant) Copper Tank space in Deep Ellum could make for a great bowling alley.  You could fit more than 6 lanes in that thing.  Throw in pool tables and food, and you could have something like The Garage in Seattle.  http://www.garagebilliards.com...

Billy MacLeod
Billy MacLeod

Good call Mike. Barry Annino at the Deep Ellum Foundation has been working on a bowling alley for that spot for almost two years. The building owner had a lease signed with a potential tenant and the guy couldn't get the financing he needed to open.

Guest
Guest

"Let the surrounding residences and landlords have their fantasy of trying to bring West Village to Lowest Greenville (which won't happen, of course), only to have more liquor stores, pawn shops, and check cashing stores open, with the remaining buildings torn or burned down for more parking lots."

These lovely establishments will go nicely with the WalMart that is likely going in the old Whole Foods location...good luck on those home values all you idealistic neighborhood peeps!

Ben Dover
Ben Dover

Tear the building down and make it into a parking lot. I don't understand why the CPC does not use the parking code approved by the city and continues to grant exceptions.The building is an eyesore. I'll give you  that.The city can condemn it,if it is not up to code.

Dfwhookup
Dfwhookup

I'm a city employee. I'm blowing the whistle here. The district 14 councilperson has politicized the code enforcement on Greenville Avenue. We've been forbidden from enforcing Black-and-white code requirements against Madison Partners. We received instructions to overlook reported violations and to reinterpret fuzzy code violations in favor of this landowner. Code enforcement should not be politicized.

Anonymous
Anonymous

What are some examples of black-and-white code requirements?

Downtown Resident
Downtown Resident

When you bring proof to the table you can say you're blowing the whistle, until then you're just blowing smoke out your ass.

anonymous1
anonymous1

True.  But still, there could be a way to objectively determine if there's any funny business going on.

Barking Dog
Barking Dog

I doubt there are documents to back this up, but the call from on-high does not surprise me. I would love to hear your story, too. Email me - avi@barkingdogs.org.

anonymous1
anonymous1

This should be easy enough to verify.  Surely the city keeps records of code complaints and the outcome of those complaints.

GusMitchem
GusMitchem

Well we do know that some are labled "good" and some are labled "bad" that might be true but also political and we all know preception over-rides  reality

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

That's quite the allegation -- do you have anything to back this up? You are free to contact me via email: robert.wilonsky@dallasobserver.com

Scott Vann
Scott Vann

Regarding "Lower Greenville was meant for daytime retail, and it can come back in if somebody stops charging godawful rental rates." The last time I checked, daytime retail - and any other for profit business - goes where there is a market for it. The owner of the property is is free to charge any rent rate the market will bear. People without any financial stake in the property don't get to dictate what a landlord charges, or who he rents to. If you want to have that level of say-so you need to get out your check book and invest in a business or buy some property.

GusMitchem
GusMitchem

Scott the last time you checked was that in Houston or Louisiana because generally commercial Real Estate is subject to zoning laws which can be very specific in these PD right down to sidwalks, doorways, signing etc

Scott Vann
Scott Vann

You can apply as much zoning as you want, but if the "desired" business can't make money in that area the building will just sit empty. And empty buildings are such a great asset to any neighborhood (sarcasm).

 Many times you have "neighbors," who haven't the ability to invest in the ideas they espouse, demand landlords, who actually have some skin-in-the-game, make concessions that make no economic sense.

 You can dream about what you want Lower Greenville to be all day long, but if the economics don't add up it's just a fantasy.

GusMitchem
GusMitchem

But I will agree that retailes are intelligent and know where the disposable income lives thats what creates the market, and exactly why eveyone calling for a march to DE are not considering the lack of income on about 270 degrees of the radius of the neighborhood

Guest
Guest

How come, if there are so many people in the neighborhood who want some other kind of business at this location, none of them are ponying up to, you know, put a neighborhood-approved business at this location?

Howard
Howard

I actually know some acquaintances who opened a restaurant there a few years ago. They gave it their best, but had to shut down within a matter of months -- no business, and they were losing their money on it. Maybe their restaurant just wasn't what people wanted or maybe it wasn't all that unique. I don't know, frankly.

To be honest, I think the only solution would be for all the viable and good bars and clubs along Lowest Greenville to pull up stakes and relocate en masse to Ellum -- help in the slow but sure revitalization of that area, help turn it into an edgier version of Bishop Arts.

As for Lowest Greenville -- I'll go ahead and say what I suspect most of the residents really want, but for some reason just won't admit publicly: All the buildings demolished, and a mix of upscale townhouses and apartments-over-upscale retail built along the block... a Thomas Avenue crossed with West Village and Park Avenue living+shopping development, basically.

There's just a lot of bitterness and resentment that's been building up over the years about this. I say it's long time for everybody to admit what they really want out of the area, and for the businesses there to start thinking about pulling out.

fred.
fred.

I am a resident. I grew up here. I know a lot of people here. Nobody I know wants to see everything torn down and replaced with new "West Village" or such nonsense. I know people who still cry about the loss of theArcadia Theater and the beautiful Sears building.Howard, you are full of crap.

Erich S
Erich S

This. Every single one of those businesses on Lower Greenville should move to Deep Ellum where they are genuinely wanted and there's space to take them in. I hate going to  Lower Greenville, especially on weekend nights. I'd probably go to Good Records more often if it was in Deep Ellum. 

Just tear all those buildings down and put up a West Village. It's a win-win. The residents get what they want and the landlords can make their moolah. Done.

gabbahey
gabbahey

I predict the same fate for Mextopia as DiTerra's. Opening any business which relies on public consumption in an economic downturn is not a safe place to park your money.

Billy MacLeod
Billy MacLeod

The craziest part of this story is that Madison Partners was hoodwinked into supporting this crap zoning ordinance on the front end. Personally I believe that this SUP ordinance may be unconstitutional.  When in history have you ever heard of a business curfew that allows some businesses to stay open till 2 am and then force others right next door to close at midnight. I have never seen such a crazy business zone. It is anti business, the process is inherently unfair, and it incredibly restrictive towards business. I had openly warned of unintended consequences when this was proposed and again when it passed. Note to Dallas City Council: Midnight is not afterhours, ever.

GusMitchem
GusMitchem

Billy ask the TABC what is considered after-hours. I know it was in the past called specifically and after-hours license and yes it was granted to operate after hours 12-2am

Zone It All
Zone It All

And all this proves why MacLeod will never ever be elected to City Council, no matter how many times he runs.

Zoning is not a constitutional issue. Cities are allowed - and do - use zoning to create areas or concepts that don't conflict. For example, you don't see industrial uses in residential areas.

It also allows a control of hours when all businesses are impacted. This zoning plan requires all businesses in the map area to either close at midnight or have a permit. Period.

In this case, it also included a history review. Since the concept is so new, it needed a review, and lost.

The bloggers above are correct. If this is such a cool concept, and all hell will rain on us if it does not get those 14 extra hours as a bar a week, then how cool is it?

They compared this location to Lucky Strikes in Fort Worth. Madison showed the interior, a few pics of kids, and the bowling alley.

The residents showed the exterior, which included a parking lot the size of Krogers, and noted that the side of the Lucky Strikes building included 500+ parking spaces just for Lucky Strikes.

Eh, anyone seen 500 parking spaces in one spot on Lowest Greenville. Oops, Madison just forgot that issue, eh?

If you don't like zoning move to Houston.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Not to mention Ft. Worth has been very business friendly especially when developing west 7th, which is something Dallas can take a lesson or two from in how to bring in and develop a mix of local/national commercial and residential. Ive been to Lucky Strikes twice and its an really cool place...too cool for Dallas IMHO ;)

Coleman
Coleman

your shitpost is certainly not clear enough to read, sooo....

GusMitchem
GusMitchem

Yea thats my point exaclty, they do a good job of keeping people in the districts they want you in and out of the other neighborhoods

GusMitchem
GusMitchem

Can you not read my handwriting ?

scottindallas
scottindallas

there's much more to Ft Worth than you know brother

Coleman
Coleman

Can you try this comment again, but this time make it legible?

GusMitchem
GusMitchem

Ft.Worth is the size of a themble its was easy for them to funnel entertainment dollars when there was zero competition, and its spit shinned daily, now that have sundance and W7th not what I would call real or cool more like Disney and never a fair comparison to Dallas thats like comparing the size of the US and Canadian economies

Billy MacLeod
Billy MacLeod

Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution governs the unfair restriction of commerce of any business by government. Constitutional lawyers were all over this ordinance before it was passed (and when I say that I mean they were actually at meetings, taking notes, listening to Angela Hunt sell this). Admittedly, I am no lawyer, but aside from constitutionality it is my personal opinion that this specific SUP ordinance will cause more problems that it will solve.

Zander
Zander

You are indeed no lawyer.

Guest
Guest

For example, you don't see industrial uses in residential areas.

Tell that to South Dallas.

Billy MacLeod
Billy MacLeod

Restrictions on small business owners kills jobs and stunts economic growth.

M. Neighbor
M. Neighbor

They can operate a bowling alley and a bar with no SUP... they just have to close at midnight.  Why does a requirement to close at midnight make Dallas anti-business or the neighborhoods so out of line?  The reason the SUP was passed in the first place was because this area had become war zone after midnight.  It was not like that 5 years ago and certainly not 10 years ago.  I don't like special restrictive zoning laws any more than the next guy, but this pendulum had swung so far in the wrong direction, it took something drastic to swing it back the other way.  Given the history of this location and the massive amounts of issues it has caused in the past (and yes, the building is still owned by the same people), why would the neighborhoods support them being open after midnight?  If this is such a great concept and the bowling alley part will truly be a money maker, then they can close at midnight.  After all, the applicant stated that they will be open early on Saturday and Sunday mornings.  They could also be open during the week when schools are out.  So they can be making good revenue when the other bar/restaurants are closed.  Get a year of "good neighbor status" under your belt and then you can get the SUP to stay open after midnight.

Matthew Gunter
Matthew Gunter

I completely agree that the pendulum swung. The violence got far out of hand, and there were a load of irresponsible bars. I also don't like restrictive zoning laws, but agree they were necessary here.

But those aren't the issue.

We, the city, are sinking millions to redo that strip of road. We're also opening our first food Cartopia there, a big first for Dallas. A decade too late, but I digress. When that's all done, will it be done for an empty set of storefronts? Because if so, it's a waste.

Libertine is a great neighbor. So too Mextopia, GBC, GAPC, and Singlewide. The head shop is what it is. My question, to you amongst others on this very blog, is what do you think is going to move in there? It's a bad place for retail.

Billy MacLeod
Billy MacLeod

The whole idea of asking a business to prove themselves for any length of time before you grant them permission to operate any business after midnight in America is utterly ridiculous. Paying for the right to apply for permission to open a business that can keep their doors open after Midnight is crazy policy. You are right, it would be a great place right up until till Midnight when the City of Dallas would force them by law to close their doors. You are correct that they could do this and they can do that and.you are correct that they could probably make it work. My question to you is: why the hell would they want to when the City of Dallas is telling them "close your doors at Midnight or piss off, go somewhere else if you want to stay open till 1am."  Absolute insanity, quite possibly unconstitutional.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

Without taking any position on the merits of this particular project, I do feel that the bewildering, uncertain process under which projects are voted up or down in this City is a bad thing that fuels soft corruption--- with developers feeling obligated to throw money at politicians in the hope that their projects will end up being approved via a process that (to an outsider like myself), appears to be arbitrary and capricious at times.

As it stands, it seems that very little redevelopment that makes sense in this town can be done "as of right."  In other words, under existing rules--- virtually nothing that makes any sense can be done without getting some sort of special "blessing" from the powers that be.  As a result, we have politicians who are funded by special interests and neighborhoods that attempt to micro manage land use.

The issues present in this case (sound, parking, etc.) are hardly unique to this location--- and they cry out for a relatively uniform solution, so that everyone:  developers, residents, neighborhood associations, etc. know what can be done and what can't-- without having to clog up the calendar with rehashing similar issues over and over and over again with widely varying outcomes.

Anonymous City Employee
Anonymous City Employee

That is the ideal solution, which is why it will never happen.  The politicians love the soft corruption, as do the present City Management (witness no disciplinary action over the CIO hiring his buddies).  Anything that would prevent that from happening will get killed by the politicians

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