Friday, June 16, 2006

Gateway cleanup

Although it is one of the busiest streets in town and a major "gateway" to our community for travelers, Gateway Drive has long been a depressing stretch of roadway dotted with dilapidated buildings. This is a shame because Gateway is the first view that so many people have of our city and it could become a vibrant commercial neighborhood if given the chance. In my opinion, the worst eyesore on the stretch of Gateway that runs from the Red River to I-29 is the old Weekley's Auto Wrecking building. It is ugly and has long worn out its welcome.

Guess what...there are finally plans to tear down the old Weekley's building. Also, the neighboring Transport, Inc. building (now abandoned) next door is also slated for demolition. Apparently, this is part of an ongoing plan to improve the appearance of this neighborhood...which is something that I heartily applaud. This should have been done long ago.

I'm curious why both buildings are suddenly both going to be demolished. Does a developer have plans for the area? Could that be what's pushing this forward? I think some sort of commercial development would be perfect for these lots.

Hopefully we can see more redevelopment along Gateway in the near future. I won't be happy until it's nice enough to have a Starbucks on it. :)

34 comments:

GrandForksGuy said...

By the way...that Starbucks thing was kind of a joke (::emphasis on "kinda"::).

ben said...

GFG, I know the Starbucks was a joke, but really, every town needs those lower density "uglier" businesses. That is where a lot of decent paying jobs are at. Look at Main Ave. In Fargo. The corridors are similar in looks (Main in Fargo is probably uglier, even)and they are both valuable to the community. The low-end industry is as important to a town as every Starbucks!!

Sara said...

I am excited to find this blog. I am from GF but live elsewhere. I look forward to catching up on the GF dish.

Dave Miller said...

Whatever happened to the hockey sticks that were supposed to line Gateway Drive?

Elucidarian said...

[Sara, the GF blog community is very healthy, and even informative.]

As for Gateway, industrial corridors don't have to be ugly. If they're not highly visible to the public, it matters less. But something could be done to offset cutting through Simplot smog to make a hockey game or staying in hotel in the shadow of a once-great entertainment complex, among other things.

Anonymous said...

I think a Kroll's Diner, (which has locations in Minot, Bismarck, and Fargo) would be a great addition to Gateway Drive. That place rocks!

Anonymous said...

I think a Kroll's Diner, (which has locations in Minot, Bismarck, and Fargo) would be a great addition to Gateway Drive. That place rocks!

Anonymous said...

I was born and raised in GF and haven't been there in about 30 years and really don't know what it looks like any longer.
My dad was a mechanic at Absey's for more than 25 years before moving to Mich.
Why not post some pics so I can see what it looks like now.
We used to get used parts for our cars at weekley's. Mo was a good friend of my dad.

GrandForksGuy said...

I realize we need areas of town were these types of businesses can locate, but why must it be on one of the busiest streets in town and the "gateway" to our community? Also, why do the owners of these businesses/buildings let them get so ugly in the first place?

The buildings in question have long lived out there use/welcome and I'm glad to see them go.

As for the hockey sticks, that's way too tacky for my taste.

I sometimes think there has been too much effort spent in trying to fix up Gateway west of the interstate when Gateway east of the interstate isn't much better and is really right in town. This is the stretch that I'm most excited to see redeveloped.

GrandForksGuy said...

Welcome, Sara! Glad you find us.

elucidarian said...

I'll try and take some current photos of Gateway (and elsewhere) so you can see what we're talking about. Good idea!

Good Ol' Boy said...

Larry Weekley quit his day job and has been working to clean out and sort through the stockpile in Mo's old building since last summer. It's a big task for one guy, but give him props- he's getting though it. And a place always looks messiest when you're cleaning.

As far as the old Ho building and transport Inc.- not a clue what's goig on there, but glads to see them go.

Can we possibly pump the Simplot smoke and stench over to the East side and bubble it up through American Crystal's pond? Hahahahaaa...

GrandForksGuy said...

I do give props to the Weekleys for finally cleaning up their property.

I wonder if they're the ones who are tearing down the building/house or if they are going to seel the property to a developer who is going to clear the site?

JGS said...

WAL-MART!

Kidding aside cause I doubt Wal-Mart would look at that site. But it's nice to see this getting cleaned up. It's been awhile.

Matthew K. Hartman said...

Great to see the city is doing something about the area along Gateway. The entire stretch from I-29 to Washington is an eye-sore that needs some attention...

By the way, looks like there's also action near 34th St. and 17th Ave. (west of the Century Elem. School). I'm not sure what is going on, but the lot has been under work for a few days now. Most likely we're seeing additional housing developing here, given the proximity of other apt complexes.

GrandForksGuy said...

Hey Matthew, are you talking about the property on the south side of 17th Avenue that is west of 34th street and near the English Coulee? This is the old Birkholz farm which was recently turned into a cul-de-sac for single family homes. There are already a couple of homes on the cul-de-sac and it does look like one more is on the way. It's good to see empty lots fill up. It's great to build new residential neighborhoods, but I do like to see some of the exisiting ones fill up as we see here.

drunk said...

Hey, you never know - Starbucks can actually attract other businesses to a location. It happens out here all the time.

I'm still jealous that you guys have a Caribou Coffee. It's my favourite coffee place!

Matthew K. Hartman said...

GFG... That's not the location I'm talking about - but, there is indeed another home going in the location you're referring to. The lot I'm talking about is on the west side of 34th Street, just across from the Century Elem. School. There's an apartment/condo complex on the SW corner of the 34th/17th intersection and the lot under construction sits adjecent to its south. There were trucks on location Friday, but I didn't see any sitting there on my way into work Saturday evening. I drive by here almost daily - if I see any signs out front or anything of the like, I'll let you know.

GrandForksGuy said...

Matthew, now I know the location you're talking about. The funny thing is that a friend and I took a walk last week and we passed this lot and we said that it was funny that it had never been developed and we wondered who owned it. If memory serves me correctly, there has never been a "For Sale" sign on the property so who ever has owned the land must want to develop it now. I'm glad to see empty lots fill in.

ben said...

Hey, A Wal-Mart would be an Excellend addition to that property. If the old Ho, Transport Inc and Weekely's all go, that area would be very transformed. If you look at where many Wal-Marts are located, they aren't in the prettiest of locales. Just a pipe dream, but hey...

GrandForksGuy said...

I would think a Wal-Mart would be a pretty good fit for this property. If the exisiting motel in between the old Ho and Weekley's was torn down there would be plenty of room for a Wal-Mart. Having a Wal-Mart here could bring plenty more commercial development to the north side of town and would clean up the area pretty good. I wonder if Wal-Mart would consider a store here? It would almost certainly be a SuperCenter which, by the way, would do something to fulfill the desire to have a grocery store in or near University Village. This property is very close to University Village.

Anonymous said...

The last thing in the world we need is another Super Wal-Mart in town. I personally would love to see something go into that area, but please, not another Wal-Mart.

Elucidarian said...

Let's not just think about commercial development per se; a little more retail diversity would be good, too. The Walton family already has two businesses in town.

Besides, Wal-Marts are evil. What about a Costco or Safeway? Or even another Target or K-Mart? I don't know about the rest of you, but I like options.

Anonymous said...

Anyone hear of Trader Joe's? Great blend of discount and imported wines and food items. People who experience it are as loyal as any Target shopper. And please don't say Fargo would have to get one first...lame.

Coffee Guy said...

Why another Wal-Mart? Do we need one?

I'd give anything for a Trader Joe's. At least there's one in the Twin Cities now. I think I'll be bringing a few coolers with me next time I head there.

Chipotle is what I'm really hoping for.

GrandForksGuy said...

I would certainly be open to seeing any one of a number of different retailers set up shop on Gateway. Wal-Mart just sticks out as a likely possibility. I would like to see a ShopKo in town at some point, maybe that could go on Gateway? I doubt that anything too upscale or trendy is going to eye an area like Gateway Drive any time soon.

JGS said...

I'm the kinda of person who welcomes any new business that's coming to town, such as another Wal-Mart. Although another Wal-Mart along Gateway Drive would be great for the north-end, there really isn't any great place to place it. If it were to develop on the old Ho plot, it would be in the worst north-end location possible. It would be right next to the polluting Simplot.

Only other fessible locations is the land next to the Ralph, more west of town along Gateway Drive, or maybe EGF?

And I find it hard to see another Target in the GF-EGF area, or atleast a Super Target. I think we'll only be seeing one K-Mart in this town (Surprised it does decent in GF).

But whatever does develop in this area where Weekley's sits, I hope it will benefit the city.

Anonymous said...

Trader Joes would be great, but keep dreaming - the becon of hope would be a World Market (aka Cost Plus) which usually has a wine store attached. Awesome stuff (kinda Pier 1-ish).

Anything but Wal-Mart.
I hate Wal-Mart, they are evil!

Anonymous said...

World Markets are fun little stores. Great gifts, affordable furniture, fun little culinary nuggets, and yes...great prices on beer, wine, etc.

Don't hold your breath though. Gershman will fight until his dieing breath to keep liquor out of operations like this...Sams Club also.

Even though, the fact is...they're seperate stores, within the stores, with their own liquor licenses.

Anonymous said...

Can someone in the name of everything holy build a Fleet Farm in this town?

vcsuvike said...

I would like to see development there. It would be a great place for affordable student housing. Some cheapy apartments. Since Simplot is there, you won't see anything great develop. I personally would like Grand Forks to get Home Depot or Costco.

GrandForksGuy said...

The fact is that there probably will be some sort of new commercial development where these buildings that are going to be torn down currently stand. However, no "trendy" or remotely "upscale" major retailer is going to want to set up shop in this area anytime soon. That's the only reason why Wal-Mart comes to my mind as a potential retailer who may be interested in this area. They have two stores in Bismarck - which is basically the same size as GF - so I think it is reasonable to assume that they would like to have more than one stores here too before long.

JGS said...

Exactly, GFG. I fully agree.

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one that's enjoying watching GFG's and jgs's internet romance blossum? It's a very touching and endearing subplot in this cold and impersonal blogger world.

Did you guys ever get together for that "Grand Slam" trip to Fargo that you were planning a while back?

How'd it go? Cute stuff. Please keep us informed.