Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Moving a mess isn't cleaning the house

So, Amity Gardens is getting a Wal-Mart supercenter. Good for Amity Gardens, but it's not exactly "breathing new life" into East Charlotte, is it?

There's already a Wal-Mart less than two miles northeast of Amity Gardens at Eastway Crossing, an equally - if not more - economically depressed area of East Charlotte. That Wal-Mart is likely to become another empty big box, something which has become a symbol of inner Charlotte outwith uptown. That Wal-Mart serves as the primary anchor to a shopping center which has already lost two of it's four anchor tenants (a Winn-Dixie and a Phar-Mor which later became a Goody's and closed again) leaving Food Lion as it's main anchor. Food Lion will obviously have to compete with the new Super Wal-Mart as it has food in addition to the other crap it sells. Yep, Eastway Crossing is pretty well screwed.

Lets look at the real reason for this: marketing Charlotte to "newcomers". Independence Blvd., on which Amity Gardens is located, is Charlotte's main thoroughfare, you basically have to drive on it entering Charlotte from the east. Eastway Drive and Central Avenue are secondary thoroughfares which have seen their importance diminish with the population shift away from inner Charlotte to areas like Matthews, and Mint Hill -- both of which sit, you guessed it, southeast of Charlotte. So now when they come to uptown for an NFL or NBA game, they won't have to look at the urban decay that is Amity Gardens and Coliseum Center, they'll see a big, shiny Super Wal-Mart instead.

But, if you want to look at it as a coup, an amazing catch for the struggling eastside, go right ahead.

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