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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Oakwood Village to be renovated?

Plans include a "local grocer", according to one sales flyer.

Oakwood Village is a shopping center at the intersection of Oakwood Avenue and Meridian Street that has seen better days. Tenants have been hard to keep since Winn-Dixie, its main anchor, closed about five years ago, being replaced recently by a couple of shady furniture stores. A revitalization of the center would be logical considering its location-- just north of Lincoln Mill.

What is not known yet is whether or not this will be a full-blown redevelopment of the shopping center. The suburban design of Oakwood Village seems out of place in area surrounded by pre-WWII mill houses, so a more urban (mixed-use?) makeover of the center would be welcome. But even just the signing of a "prominent local grocer" to the center (if that's all this "renovation" is) would help the Lincoln Mill neighborhood become a more vibrant, attractive place to live.

This leaves one lingering question-- what "prominent local grocer" would put a store at Oakwood Village? There are three such grocers I would consider "prominent" in the area, with the recent departure of Southern Family Markets: Kroger, Star Market, and Publix. Kroger has a recently-renovated store on Oakwood about a mile west of the shopping center. Star Market also recently renovated and expanded its original Five Points store (also about a mile away), and it would be tragic for them to leave that neighborhood. This leaves Publix, whose closest store is six miles away, in Southeast Huntsville. Publix seems to prefer affluent suburban areas,  but has been known to build urban stores, such as this one in Columbia, SC. Could Publix be planning to do the same in Huntsville? Stay tuned.

Update (4/9/10): I should also mention the possibility that the proposed grocery store could be completely local and independent.

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