Monday, June 29, 2009

The New Rainbow: Does the Future Look Golden for Uptown?

Uptown's Rainbow Foods has long been bashed for both its suburban-style parking lot, its faded interior, and its sometimes-limited offerings, among things. Most detractors are probably cheering as they contemplate the recent announcement that Rainbow is anticipating MAJOR changes. In short, the current building and parking lot will be demolished and a new, three-story building will be built in its place. Unlike the current setup, the new building will take up the entire property.

According to the website OurUptown, the new Rainbow will:
  • Have three floors; the first floor will include 10,000 square feet of retail space. 250 parking spots (total) will be spread out between the first and second floor. The third floor will feature an 80,000 square feet grocery store.
  • Shoppers will access the grocery store through stairs, elevators, and escalators.
  • The maximum height is currently expected to be 48 feet; no zoning variance is necessary.
  • The store will be closed (for obvious reasons) for most of 2010, and possibly into early 2011.
This is great news. While I may be in the minority when I say that I hate big stores, and think that the current store is more than sufficient (and is in fact too big for my tastes), I realize that most people embrace the big-is-better viewpoint when doing their grocery shopping. I also don't mind the store (often called the "ghetto Rainbow"), and actually think of the store as it is now as the new and improved, "upscale" Rainbow, at least compared to what it was in the '90s. And yes, I'll admit, I like my grocery stores a little dingy around the corners as long as that dinginess doesn't extend to unsanitary conditions. Too much class in a grocery store makes me nervous. I'm weird that way, I guess. Still, I admit that this new Rainbow will give the people of Uptown an updated grocery store offering, and is certainly better than the risk of Rainbow pulling out and leaving altogether (a la Best Buy when it closed its Uptown store because the size was smaller than their typical suburban store). Mostly, though, I'm just happy that the store is pumping money into the community and is demonstrating an interest in building a neighborhood-friendly store that will get rid of that eyesore of a parking lot.

There will be undoubtedly be far more to say on this topic as more facts are released. In the meantime, this is an exciting project, and has the possibility to really help fill in the gap between Lyn-Lake to the east and the core of commercial Uptown to the west. It sounds like Rainbow is interested in a design appropriate to the area. I also hope that they consider the potentials of the Greenway when building this new store; if done right this could better link the Greenway to Lake/Lagoon, and help better connect CARAG and the Wedge.

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like CVS is now opening a store across the street at 1010 lake st. adjacent to the Buzza building.