Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Hey, Hey Peaula

Over the past couple of weeks, I've been watching buildings crumble at the corner of Ormewood and Moreland. First the Simpson's Food Store building went down (I shared a moment with Coffeeshop Dude that morning. I was driving west, he was pedaling east and our lives intersected in front of the rubble pile. We both paused for a curious gaze at the pile), then the edges of the Peaula's Restaurant space fell.

This morning I saw only broken bricks and wood where Peaula's once was.

Now, this is not going to be some days-gone-by rant about the neighborhood losing Peaula's. Fact is, I never went there. My question is what's going to be built there now.

When the wife and I were touring the neighborhood with our then-Realtor, she mentioned something about the Peaula's building becoming a mixed-use thing with storefronts on the ground floor and condos above. That would be pretty cool. The Peaula's building was situated right up on the corner, giving it that neighborhood store appeal you just don't get when buildings are set back with parking in front.

I had assumed that the new development would incorporate the existing building and grow up and around it. Obviously that's not the case.

So now I'm concerned. I have a gut feeling our neighborhood may be in for commercial development's favorite way to fill a vacant corner lot - the free-standing drug store.

I don't have anything against drug stores. Both CVS and Walgreen's rank high among the places the wife and I spend money. And East Atlanta needs a drug store. Currently I tend to hit the CVS in Grant Park. Otherwise there's CVS on North Highland; CVS on North Ave; Walgreen's at North & Piedmont and an Eckerd down Glenwood at Candler Road.

None are particularly convenient to our hood.

But there's plenty of places to drop down one of those wedge-shaped druggists without closing the door on what could be a great spot for a restaurant and condos. Ormewood & Moreland has the potential to be a pretty cool little corner. There's a small strip of old commercial buildings that could be a great mini-village on the edge of Ormewood Park.

I may be getting way ahead of myself. There's no evidence that what's going to go up is a CVS. But, given that demolition moved along quickly, there's money behind this project. And SOMETHING new is going to be built there.

We shall see.


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