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West Louisville is getting another Family Dollar, bringing the total number of stores for the North Carolina–based company to six in an area west of Ninth Street and north of Broadway.

Construction is about to begin on the store at 3901 West Market Street at the corner of 39th Street. The site was formerly home to a suburban-style bank-turned-fast-food-joint. The generic structure set far off the street with a drive through has a sign out front reading Crystal Chinese Restaurant. Two brick houses, one that had burned a couple years ago, will be demolished to build the store’s parking lot.

Two houses to be demolished for the Family Dollar parking lot. (Courtesy Google)
Two houses to be demolished for the Family Dollar parking lot. (Courtesy Google)

The building permit for the 8,320-square-foot store was issued last week (h/t Business First), and site plans filed with the city show a standard box facing a 29-space parking lot on a .9 acre lot. Vehicles can enter the site from Market Street or through a widened alley in the back.

The Family Dollar store and parking lot overlaid on an aerial view of the site. (Courtesy Google; Metro Louisville; Montage by Broken Sidewalk)
The Family Dollar store and parking lot overlaid on an aerial view of the site. (Courtesy Google; Metro Louisville; Montage by Broken Sidewalk)

With 29 parking spaces, that pushes the development well above the parking minimum of 17 spaces (71 percent over the minimum). Given the dense and walkable character of the surrounding Shawnee neighborhood, holding to that minimum would have likely sufficed. (Across the street, a large strip mall sits behind an excessively large parking lot as well.) Four bike parking spaces are also noted on the plan, meeting the minimum required by code. The result is a large parking lot surrounding the new building.

The project—both the building and parking lot—will cover about 70 percent of the .9-acre site with impervious paving, leaving 30 percent, or almost 11,600 square feet, of pervious space. That’s a net increase of about 6,300 square feet of land that can’t soak up rainwater over what’s there today.

(Branden Klayko / Broken Sidewalk)
(Branden Klayko / Broken Sidewalk)

That’s important because this stretch of West Market Street recently underwent a streetscape redesign that brings green infrastructure into the design with rain gardens meant to increase the pervious area of the street and divert rainwater runoff from an already burdened Combined Sewer system.

The approximately $1.2 million project was built following a $75,000, 14-month study of the larger West Market Street corridor by Gresham, Smith & Partners in 2009. That study was sponsored by Louisville Metro’s Economic Development Department and Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton.

(Branden Klayko / Broken Sidewalk)
(Branden Klayko / Broken Sidewalk)

 

“We incorporated streetscape elements to differentiate between each character district and help create a sense of place,” Trey Rudolph, a landscape architect at GS&P, said in an interview posted on the firm’s website. “For instance, brick paving in the commercial areas is a uniquely different experience than the residential areas.”

Designers also looked to promote public safety with the street redesign. “We proposed narrowing some of the drive lanes to reduce traffic speeds and also included bump-outs, which are periodic landscape islands that bring the curb line closer to vehicular traffic to visually slow down drivers,” Rudolph said. “For instance, where there are two lanes of vehicular movement with parallel parking on either side of the street, we replaced one of the parking spaces with a bump-out to visually infringe upon the vehicle’s space.”

The new streetscape reflects the surrounding neighborhood’s designation as a Traditional Neighborhood Form District under Louisville’s land development code. The new Family Dollar meets the general rules of the form district by locating the new structure at the sidewalk, among other things.

“Traditional neighborhood districts are generally characterized by a range of residential densities and a variety of housing types, street patterns which include alley ways, on-street parking, occasional office uses on predominantly residential blocks, and proximity to parks and open spaces and to marketplace corridors or to the downtown,” Cornerstone 2020, the land development code, reads. “Proposed residential, office and neighborhood commercial developments in aging neighborhoods with distressed and vacant housing should be encouraged.”

Aerial view of the site. (Courtesy Google)
Aerial view of the site. (Courtesy Google)

As a neighborhood-serving commercial development, the Family Dollar can be seen as a boon to the area’s walkability. It’s a sort of corner store where neighbors can go to purchase household goods or students from the adjacent Shawnee High School can shop after class. It’s location at a commercial intersection helps cement 39th and Market streets as a neighborhood hub.

While no design documents were submitted to the city, based on other stores in the area, the structure will likely be a standard, cookie-cutter dollar store. Its box layout, no doubt optimized for efficiency and ease of construction, is forced onto the irregularly shaped parcel rather than building to the site lines, leaving an awkward triangular plot leftover on the corner. That’s fine, but the end result runs the risk of ignoring the corner with its parking-lot-side entrance on the west side of the building.

According to documents filed with the city, the new building will stand nearly 23-feet tall and pop up at its entrance to 26 feet. A concrete block wall covered in EIFS, a synthetic stucco, will screen the dumpster along 39th Street. Metro Louisville advised against that type of wall in its recommendation for a parking lot on First Street this month.

Two permits have been issued for the project, a building permit and another for the parking lot. The building permit carries an estimated budget of $545,000 while the parking lot permit shows a $20,000 budget.

In the end, it looks like the Family Dollar is a good development for the Shawnee neighborhood. It replaces an abandoned suburban intrusion with a commercial anchor at the sidewalk level. While the store generally turns its back to the corner, an entrance is provided at the sidewalk. It will provide basic goods for the neighborhood.

Now if we could work on reducing the amount of parking in these kinds of new developments to ensure that their walkable neighborhoods remain—and increase—walkable.

 

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6 COMMENTS

  1. To overbuild parking in urban neighborhoods where you take out houses for another schlock on the block (witnesseth 22 and Bank) and overbuild asphalt for a windowless no doubt window clinged to death spandrel glass abomination is the epitome of bad planning. Placing the structure on the corner with zero else to recommend it – it’s just another shitty dollar store, period – is another losing proposition for walkable urban neighborhoods. Forward Develop Heat Islands. Pitiful .

  2. I am a resident of West Louisville and don’t need any of the groups to speak for me.
    This is another reason why we need the Walmart at 18th…300 jobs.
    There are so many Family Dollar and Dollar Generals, they are within walking distance of each other, not to mention, after they open they sale alcohol. I drive to both stores and the bikes I see are laying in front of the door, in the way. The detergent is kept behind the counter because you can buy it in the parking lot cheaper than it is in the store, that’s not good. It’s a place where you can get washing powder and a beer. When will common sense come into play, urban design should not be enforced on corner lots. Large buildings reduce or block the traffic line of sight (ex. Dollar General at 18th and Oak), encourage mischief (with parking behind the store) and this will be the 7th Family Dollar. The view from porches of the existing houses will be blocked when the store is built on the corner. FYI – a Dollar General is slated to be built right across the street (Chicago Steak site, I hope I misread that submittal). The building should be built to the rear, or at least as far back as the rest of the existing homes and businesses, with parking in front for safety purposes, this layout cross contaminates pedestrian and delivery vehicles. How many jobs is this creating 2-5 at best? Why did Family Dollar drop the proposed building at the old Case Tractor in NULU, no Family Dollars between 9th Street and I-65? Why do people complain when “parking is excessive” but within the allowed tolerance? People walk, bike or drive because they want to. Each area of the city is unique and should stay that way, not make every area the same. You go to Old Louisville to admire the architecture, Germantown for the heritage, Bardstown Road for the walkable entertainment, and so on…. It is time we grow our community instead of getting in our own way, big town, little city. Let’s not be like Indy, Cincy, Nashville, we can be better if we use common sense.

  3. The Family Dollar at 28th and Greenwood closed, but you have 3 on Broadway at 34th, 24th and 13th.

  4. Unreal. I’m seeing around 10-15 trees being ripped out because of a goddamn parking lot. Why aren’t residents of the West End standing up to this disaster? Demand better than this.

  5. the westend has to many dollars stores, we want other things in our neighborhood we need to boycott all dollar stores until they leave.we need to call the mayor office and our councils members until they do something about the store. keep their lines busy/

  6. The dollar general in Portland is atrocious, as mentioned, but the one on Market and 16th, while far from perfect, seems to follow the spirit of Cornerstone 2020 a little better, so Dollar General is capable of doing it somewhat right if someone holds them accountable (and maybe forces them to not black out the windows. What is it with this city and stores blacking out the windows? Muhhamad Ali would be much more interesting if the windows on the CVS weren’t blacked out on that side, when it seems like at least a few of them clearly could be left transparent, instead they have either just black paper on them or those stupid vitrine things.) Sadly it seems given the shape of this parcel this one will probably follow the example of the Portland Dollar General.

    And to be fair there are a lot of Dollar Generals per capita in the West End but Dollar General and Dollar Tree do seem to be ubiquitous throughout the city, even in posher areas, and serve a purpose of being a quick place to pop into, and possibly even walk to, because they often go into older shopping centers that were built before peak car, like the one by the Bon Air library and the one in J-Town on Galene. Though if they gear themselves toward alcohol sales in the West End as James Sense says, that is horrible.

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