Sam’s Club temporarily blocked from building in Uptown

East Village

Proposed Sam’s Club would be north of Cityplace tower

Judge Emily Tobolowsky granted the East Village Neighborhood Association a temporary restraining order on Friday afternoon halting Walmart from moving ahead on its plans to build a Sam’s Club in the Cityplace area.

Tobolowsky was filling in for Judge Phyllis Lister Brown. She questioned attorneys for both sides as well as city attorneys defending its neighborhood notification of change of zoning. Some of her questions at the morning hearing indicated she was hedging on the side of not pushing ahead with a project that was not actually her case.

The restraining order stops the city from issuing a building permit for the 100,000-square-foot retail space.

Among the variances granted by the city is one involving parking. The city has granted a variance requiring fewer spaces than required by ordinance because customers may shop in the area using DART transportation. Cityplace station is a short walk from the planned location.

Demolition permits have already been granted. The restraining order does not cover those because even if the Sam’s Club project is halted, The Trammell Crow Company may move forward with other retail development. The neighborhood association was not challenging that.

The controversy revolves around what a mega-store does to a neighborhood by putting small retailers out of business and creating massive traffic jams on already-crowded streets with no plans to upgrade those streets.

The closest Sam’s Club to Uptown was on Park Lane and Greenville Avenue. That store remained open less than 10 years. Since the site was abandoned by the company, no new retailer has taken up the space. The acres of empty parking lots surrounding the empty megastore has added to urban blight in an area that leads the city in crime just blocks away from NorthPark.

In court, the neighborhood association argued that the rezoning request was for mixed-use development. Their attorney said they were expecting something similar to West Village, just blocks away on the opposite side of Central Expressway. They argued one megastore is not mixed-use development.

The neighborhood also argued that as Uptown has become more densely developed with mid-rise and high-rise structures, a megastore does not mesh with the area’s growth.

—  David Taffet

FIRST LOOK: Kroger’s new Fresh Fare Cityplace store opens today

Let’s go Krogering.

It’s easy to do in the gayboorhood. The Cedar Springs store of the grocery chain has become as much a fixture in the gay community as the bars down the street. Earlier this summer, Kroger opened a new Fresh Fare store on Maple in the old Elliott’s Hardware spot.

And just in time for the holidays, another one opens on the other side of North Central.

The new Cityplace shop officially opened this morning in the space once occupied by the Loew’s cinema, but has been barren for a long time. Not anymore.

“There’s a nice apartment complex next door, and a Lifetime Fitness [around the corner],” notes Gary Huddleston, the director of consumer affairs for Kroger. The “Uptown East” area is coming along.

Certainly the Kroger story might actually help usher that. Maybe I’m strange, but I always love visiting new grocery stores — they are oddly beautiful, and this one is no exception. The 60,000 square foot store (which employs about 260 folks) is another of their Fresh Fare concepts, focusing on organic, natural and (as often as possible) locally-sourced perishables — produce, deli and meats, baked goods, sushi. The Cityplace Kroger is indicative of another step in the continuing evolution of the grocery world.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Work it!

Dallas is awash in places for fitness-conscious gay men to build muscles … and show off a little

There’s not a loss for gyms around the Oak Lawn neighborhood. Several fitness centers dot the healthy landscape from Uptown to Downtown and several in between. This is a list of health clubs that are among the favorites for the LGBT community.

— Rich Lopez

…………………………………

Club Dallas
Exclusively serving gay men for more than 30 years, this institution actually has one of the largest gyms in the city, and is open 24 hours, 365 days a year.
2616 Swiss Ave
214-821-1990
TheClubs.com

Diesel Fitness
Located on the third floor of the Centrum, it’s right in the heart of the gayborhood.
3102 Oak Lawn #300
214-219-6400
DieselFitness214.com

Energy Fitness joins an already bustling roster of gyms in the Uptown area. Located in the West Village, this gym has garnered praise for its no-nonsense approach and competitive membership fees.

Energy Fitness
This recent gym has gained a reputation for affordable memberships and solid service right in the West Village.
2901 Cityplace West Blvd.
214-219-1900
UptownEnergyFitness.com

Equinox
Located in the old Park Place Motorcars location, it offers a full range of fitness services
4023 Oak Lawn Ave.
214-443-9009
Equinox.com

Gold’s Gym
Locations are throughout the city, but the one in Uptown serves a fit, very gay customer base.
2425 McKinney Avenue
214-306-9000
GoldsGym.com

The LA Fitness by Love Field has been a favorite for the community with its convenience to the Oak Lawn area and an impressive list of amenities and classes. (Rich Lopez/Dallas Voice)

The LA Fitness by Love Field has been a favorite for the community with its convenience to the Oak Lawn area and an impressive list of amenities and classes. (Rich Lopez/Dallas Voice)

LA Fitness
Has multiple locations, but the one at Lemmon and Mockingbird by Love Field is popular with gay clientele.
4540 W. Mockingbird Lane
214-453-4899
LAFitness.com

Trophy Fitness Club
With four total locations, one can be found in the downtown Mosaic (formerly Pulse) and in one Uptown.
2812 Vine St. Suite 300
214-999-2826
TrophyFitnessClub.com

24 Hour Fitness
Popular locations include the one Downtown and one at Mockingbird Lane and Greenville Avenue.
700 North Harwood St.
214-220-2423
24HourFitness.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 17, 2012.

—  Michael Stephens

Drawing Dallas • 02.10.12

JaQuanFNL_2Lanky dreamboat LaQuan Brown is the ideal Valentine

MARK STOKES  | Illustrator
mark@markdrawsfunny.com

Name and age: LaQuan Brown, 18

Occupation: Student

Spotted at: Target Cityplace

At 6-feet-5, slender, romantic dreamboat LaQuan catches eyes everywhere he goes. A creamy blend of two cultures — his mother is of Dutch descent, his father is African-American — LaQuan certainly stands out in any crowd. His exotic and handsome look recently captured the attention of a modeling scout for Krave magazine, a fashion, lifestyle and entertainment publication for men of color; he was recently selected to model for an upcoming issue.

This intelligent and contemplative Scorpio was born in Oak Cliff and raised throughout Dallas. He enjoys outdoor sports of all kinds, including (predictably) basketball, but also running and taking contemplative walks. He’s also talented at freestyling, and can rap about any subject on the spur of the moment.

LaQuan’s career goal is to obtain a doctorate in psychology, and eventually become a therapist/counselor for at-risk teens.

—  Kevin Thomas