My first post about the McDonald’s at Grand & Chippewa was on February 1, 2005, nearly 5 years ago.Â Â Â I was alerting everyone about the plan to build a new McDonald’s drive-thru across Grand at Winnebego (map link).
In 2006 the battle began.Â The vacant site on Grand where the McDonald’s was proposed had been a Sears site decades ago. It stood vacant.Â Neighbors of new nearby homes (and many others) objected to the drive-thru which did not conform to the original blighting plan for the redevelopment.
Many meetings were attended, protests were made.Â The Summer of 2006 was a busy time fighting for an urban South Grand.
By September 2006 McDonald’s had won the approvals they needed to build their new location.Â In November 2006 I declared the drive-thru project dead, delays took their toll and the local franchise owner closed the old McDonald’s rather than rebuilding on the new or old site.
Not long afterward the now defunct Pyramid Construction began building senior apartments once planned for the old McDonald’s site on the former Sears site.
On January 30, 2008 I posted about a title loan operation wanting to open up shop in the long boarded up McDonalds’s building.Â I attended the hearing on the title loan outfit on Thursday January 31, 2008.Â I didn’t get a chance to blog about the meeting, the following afternoon I had a stroke.Â It was 3 months before I returned home.
During the Spring 2009 campaigns I heard a comment from someone the only thing I contributed to the 25th Ward (just South) was the boarded McDonald’s.Â Thanks, I appreciated that.Â Since then someone bought the unfinished senior building and finished the project. Â And just recently the boarded McDonald’s got a fresh start:
Pho Mama (Mama Pho) Vietnamese Restaurant, a new restaurant in the Dutchtown West Neighborhood Association (DWNA) area is set to open on Monday, November 2, 2009! Pho Mamma is located at the corner of S. Grand and Chippewa. Their phone is 314-802-8348 and they will be open 7 days a week from 9am to 10pm.Â (Source)
The old building is not the most urban but it also isn’t new.Â Often small local start-up businesses cannot afford the rents on new construction. The site may eventually become more urban.Â I stopped by the area yesterday to photograph both places.
Far more tasteful in appearance than the McDonald’s.
Today the former vacant site contains senior housing with street-level retail spaces facing Grand.Â Â I’d say S. Grand is better off without a new McDonald’s drive-thru.Â It would have been a tiny building on a large site with too much parking and a duel drive-thru lane.Â If only we can get the traffic calmed in this part of Grand as well as a zoning overlay to require new construction to conform to the established urban standard.
Many people were involved in putting a stop to the auto-centric McDonald’s.Â We should all be proud of the outcome, I know I am.Â We should also go patronize Pho Mama.
- Steve Patterson