Thursday, March 13, 2008

What is next for Trenholm Plaza?

Developer tight-lipped over Forest Acres project

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Steve Pinnell receives a haircut from Bobby McBee on Friday afternoon at Bobby’s Barber Shop in Trenholm Plaza. Store owners have been left to speculate on the future of their businesses amidst rumors that plaza owners may have plans for redevelopment. 

By Todd Morehead

Rumors of major big box development at Trenholm Plaza in Forest Acres are so far unsubstantiated. The owner of the plaza, Edens and Avant, confirmed that some form of development is slated but would give no details on how major or minor that development may be. Until the plans are released, residents and shop owners are left to speculate and many worry that small businesses that have been operating for decades in the shopping center may be lost in the fray.
“I believe the community would like to keep some diversity among local business, not just the same smattering of national brands,” one Forest Acres resident told City Paper. She also said she hopes the community will have some say in how development proceeds.
Edens and Avant says they plan to work with the community and especially the existing small businesses in the plaza during the upcoming developmental phase—whatever that may bring.
“We wouldn’t want to do anything that would cut them out of the picture in terms of communication,” Edens and Avant spokesperson Julia Culbreath told City Paper via phone on March 6. “Being a part of the community is important to what we do and we ideally would stay in contact with them throughout the process.”
A Forest Acres official said the city couldn’t comment on Trenholm Plaza development because it’s private property.
Mark Williams, city administrator for Forest Acres, confirmed that Edens and Avant filed a rezoning application for a church lot on Forest Drive that will go up for public hearing on March 11. If the lot is zoned for commercial development, that proposed shopping complex will have a bank, a Gold’s Gym and mixed retail space, he said.
As for Trenholm Plaza...
“Honestly, they could legally bulldoze it all down tomorrow if they wanted to,” Williams told City Paper, stating that since it’s commercially zoned private property, development at Trenholm Plaza is largely out of city jurisdiction. “They have the right to do what they want with commercially zoned property.”
The folks at Bobby’s Barber Shop, which has been in the plaza since it opened, had not even heard of any proposed changes. Edens and Avant has so far not filled in merchants about their plans, however major or minor they may be.
“We’re not at a point where we can talk about the plans just yet,” Culbreath said, “but I’d be happy to talk to with you about it in detail when we’re ready. I’d just say give us a call back in a few weeks.”
For the meantime the residents of Forest Acres can only wait and wonder.

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