Tuesday, June 24, 2014

MAPCO tries to gussy up convenience store; fails

Posted By on Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 4:46 PM

click to enlarge CENTRAL PARK IT AIN"T: Fancy sketch softens MAPCO proposal with a few trees. At Third  and Arch, looking east.
  • CENTRAL PARK IT AIN"T: Fancy sketch softens MAPCO proposal with a few trees. At Third and Arch, looking east.

MAPCO
, which is using power broker Dickson Flake to try to win Little Rock City Board approval of a giant gas station/convenience store at the difficult Third and Broadway intersection, has City Director Joan Adcock out distributing a pretty package of MAPCO propaganda to opponents in county government to see if they'll be soothed by a little landscaping and tweaking of the design and operational plan.

Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley, a foe of the plan and the traffic and beer buyers it will attract 24 hours in the midst of places his employees park and work, puts it bluntly: "You can put lipstick on a pig but it is still a pig."

It remains unbelievable that the city Planning Commission approved this terrible idea over the strong objections of the city's professional planners. It's more unbelievable that the man who appointed those commissioners, Strong Mayor Mark Stodola, has been AWOL on the issue of how the rebounding downtown (a massive Robinson Center renovation is about to start two blocks away) will be helped by a B-grade convenience store at an already bad intersection.

The city board today is to set next week's agenda, including this terrible idea. 

A MAPCO sent this letter with other materials to the city board:

Mayor Stodola and Members of the Board of Directors,

Attached please find a letter from Joe Whelan (V.P. Strategic Growth) and me addressing many of the concerns brought up during the past several weeks as I interviewed members of the Board and other key officials in the downtown Little Rock area regarding our proposed MAPCO convenience store located at the northwest corner of 3rd & Broadway.

We appreciate the opinions and concerns of all involved and have modified our business model to address as many of them as possible in a way that we believe will alleviate most concerns. It is our sincere belief that our store will be a positive addition to the downtown Little Rock business landscape.

We look forward to seeing everyone at the Board of Directors meeting next Tuesday, July 1 and respectfully ask for your support of our project.

Best regards,

Steve Vanden Noven
Director of Real Estate

Here's the full pitch, addressing security, beer sales (no 32- or 40-ounce single containers), landscaping and design.

If this gets approved, mark their promise of "fresh food" for an underserved downtown. Don't go looking for any arugula. But I bet you'll be able to get a 22-ounce Old Milwaukee and a Slim Jim. Says the letter:

We have listened to the community’s concerns and have modified our building and operational plans (within the constraints of our economic model) with the adjustments outlined above.

In other words: What, you expect a gas station to be able to afford to build something nice there?

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  • IHOP coming down, but .....

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