Harlan Crow Is Right: Preston Hollow Desperately Needs a Grocery Store
The following is a non-exhaustive list of the pros and cons of building the skybridge Crow Holdings wants to put in Preston Center:
Pro: Preston Center is essentially frozen in the 1980s.
Con: So are skybridges!
Pro: Laura Miller hates it.
Con: Part of why Laura Miller hates it because she fears that attaching a big, expensive skybridge to Preston Center's two-story, eyesore parking garage will forestall any effort to replace the parking garage with something better.
Pro: Shoppers won't have to navigate the dangerous traffic clusterfuck that surrounds the garage.
Con: "Skybridge" might be the most misleading noun in the English language. It implies some awesome, Jetsonian feat of engineering and yet the thing it describes is just a big dumb elevated tunnel. It's like if high school auditoriums were called "thunderdomes."
Over the weekend, Dallas real estate scion/Crow Holdings CEO Harlan Crow suggested another "pro" to the Dallas Business Journal's Candace Carlisle: Preston Center needs a grocery store because people need to eat.
"The city's [in a] fight to get grocery stores in neighborhoods, and this neighborhood has a very small grocery store that I think doesn't serve the community," he told Carlisle. "I think this is a unique chance to get a substantial grocery store in the area ... There's an opportunity for this grocery store to serve the community and shame on us for letting it pass."
Indeed, the city is in a fight to get grocery stores in neighborhoods. And check out this nifty USDA map classifying a large swath of Preston Hollow as having "low access" to a supermarket and the healthful food therein. And according to the USDA, such a barrier "may negatively affect diet and food security."
We have no idea why the map doesn't seem to count the Tom Thumb in the Plaza at Preston Center, just across the street from the proposed skybridge, or the Minyard's Sun Fresh Market (formerly Alberton's ) at Midway and Northwest Highway, which are both within a mile of most of the pink area. Plus, farther north along Preston Road are two more Tom Thumbs, a Whole Foods and a Central Market that are just a short Beemer drive away from Preston Center. The point is, the neighborhood is officially in the same boat as Pleasant Grove, most of Northwest Dallas and parts of Oak Cliff:
And yet when Save-a-Lot builds a store in southeast Oak Cliff it gets city financing and a disproportionate amount of love from city officials. When Crow tries to provide the similarly deprived people near Preston and Northwest Highway with a grocery store, he gets attacked.
Could it be class envy? The "low access" area of Preston Hollow is home to people like Mark Cuban, Ross Perot and T. Boone Pickens, i.e. people who could buy a grocery store if they are truly in need of healthful food. Or perhaps it's because distance to a grocery store is only half of the equation the USDA uses to define food deserts. The other half is income, which changes the picture completely. The green spaces are food deserts. The pink spots are just places a little further from grocery stores:
Looking at the pink spot, we think we have a better, more modern idea for bringing food closer to the hungry masses -- a Walmart Super Center on Strait Lane near Royal Lane and a SuperTarget at Park Lane and Preston Road. Don't forget lots and lots of parking. That should fix things right up.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.