A few highlights from last night’s meet-and-jeer on the third floor of the George R. Brown Convention Center Downtown, where representatives of Walmart, Ainbinder, and the city gave presentations on the Walmart and related retail developments proposed for the area around Yale and Koehler streets in the West End:
- Mayor Parker announced she had originally hoped to hold the meeting at the United Way building at 50 Waugh St. in Memorial Heights, but the nonprofit turned her down — probably because of concerns it might get “rowdy,” she joked. But the night’s meeting format seemed designed to keep public outbursts to a minimum: After the presentations, attendees were asked to break up into smaller groups and gather around tables in the back to get their questions answered, one by one, from city officials or developer representatives. Before attendees could be dispersed, though, a few people managed to work their way to a microphone and ask questions or make statements in front of the entire room.
- A significant percentage of the crowd wore “I don’t want that Walmart” red shirts. It wasn’t clear what portion of the less-vibrantly-dressed people there supported the development, but during his presentation Walmart senior VP Jeff McAllister did announce that many of the company’s suppliers were in attendance.
- Details of the particular neighborhood amenities Ainbinder is hoping to fund with a 380 agreement were announced. Included: a 12-ft.-wide crushed-limestone jogging path and “antique” lighting along the Heights Blvd. esplanade from I-10 to the railroad tracks north of Center St. and the restoration of the Yale and Heights Blvd. bridges over White Oak Bayou to their “original splendor.”
- Ainbinder unveiled its site plan for the development — not too different from the one leaked last month — as well as additional renderings. We’ll have more on these in a later post.
Missed the meeting, or just couldn’t get enough of this sort of thing? Mayor Parker promises you’ll have another chance next week.
- West End Walmart coverage [Swamplot]
Photo: Swamplot inbox