Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Latest From Fry Street

And now, the update I planned to do yesterday, before car stuff got in the way...

Stories about the venerable Fry Street area of Denton, a large portion of which is soon to fall to an out-of-town developer's wrecking ball, have been few and far between since The Tomato closed last month (with the idea of relocating to the Denton Crossing shopping center fairly soon). But this week has brought on a new round of stories:
  • The Tomato isn't moving to Loop 288 after all. In a story earlier this week in the Denton Record-Chronicle, we find out that the landlord chose another tenant to fill the space next to Popeye's. The search continues, with a local realtor helping them out gratis. The latest rumblings point to a spot on the downtown square, but nothing's set in stone yet.

  • Meanwhile, in a Friday story, the DRC revealed some of the developer's plans for the area, and I for one am not impressed. It looks exactly like Firewheel or The Shops at Legacy or Southlake Town Square. And while those places have been a great addition to their respective areas (longtime readers of this blog could label me as a Firewheel fanboy since before it even opened), they were also built from scratch out of empty fields, not built in place of existing buildings with an 80-year history. Click on the artist's renderings in the article and see if you don't agree. (From where I sit, the most dreadful part of the whole thing is the brick wall and glass-covered awning that scream out "FRY STREET" in big letters. In the soon-to-be-demolished area, nobody would have needed a reminder of where they were.) Sure, the developer is making an attempt to "reach out" to the area by having a walkway with commemorative murals of Fry Street in its heyday, but there would be no reason to commemorate anything if they weren't destroying it in the first place.

  • An editorial in yesterday's DRC (it's big link day for them over here) sums things up pretty well when it calls the plans "A triumph of flash over funk." (See a .pdf of the current plans here; at least the parking garage and drive-through restaurants aren't in the mix anymore.)

  • Finally, in an effort to make lemonade out of the lemon that United Equities has unceremoniously dropped on Denton, volunteers spent part of yesterday helping salvage items from the Fry Street buildings for an auction next Friday that will benefit Habitat for Humanity.
I'll keep posting Tomato updates as soon as they become available; I certainly hope to be there on the first day in the new location.

Exporting the Buzz: I managed to work in a Tomato reference in the comments to this post about what makes the best pizza. (Buzz, if you missed my earlier post, is the new place where James Lileks is blogging, in addition to his usual Bleatage. It's run by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, but it draws Lileks fans from all over, including a fairly large number of Texans.)

And here's the competition: Speaking of buzz, there's a lot of it surrounding the "lifestyle center" concept, and one of them is coming to Denton in a few years. It's called Rayzor Ranch, and it should--through its sheer size and location adjacent to I-35--provide healthy competition for both Fry Street Village and Golden Triangle Mall.

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