It likely won’t surprise you that nine days before Thanksgiving was a little hectic at PJP. And because our Thanksgiving ordering system closes in less than 48 hours, all that hectic also felt a bit frenetic, if you can imagine. That said, the day was manageable but by the time I drove home, I felt like I had just walked around all day using my hands as a de facto bowl for jello. I lead a glamorous life, indeed. (Side note: I don’t even like jello.)
Once I got home, I did read that plans have been filed to remodel the old Macy’s store on Stadium to house “four of the country’s most financially sound retailers”. Now, between you and me, I’ve heard rumor that three of those retailers include Home Goods, TJ Maxx, and Burlington Coat Factory. Did you just hear a chorus of angels singing? FINALLY. Personally, I don’t understand how we have almost arrived at 2019 without a Home Goods or TJ Maxx in Columbia when Jefferson City was able to achieve that years ago. I don’t know who the fourth retailer is, but I will likely need a moment to collect myself if it is a Nordstrom Rack.
And because nothing is ever easy when it comes to opening a business in this town, I read that the city planners have rejected the plans submitted because the architectural firm included two towers on the Macy’s redesign that are 11 1/2 feet taller than acceptable for tower height. Wait. What? The Macy’s building has sat vacant for almost three years in one of the busiest shopping areas of town and now we have a chance at some super good shopping and we are going to slow this train down to discuss tower heights? Gah. Sounds about right.
The Kroenke Group, also responsible for the PJP building and I promise you…no towers planned for our illustrious digs, is appealing the ruling. And while I’m a general cynic at heart for billionaire landlords, I’m going to have to go pro-Kroenke on this one. The Kroenke Group argues that an updated facade on the building is needed to attract national retailers. If I had the money to occupy a super large retail building on Stadium Boulevard, I wouldn’t be that interested to have my store look like a defunct Macy’s either. Remember when all the Blockbuster stores closed and new stores opened but kept the facades? Let’s not forget.
So can you blame these “financially sound retailers” for proposing a new storefront look? Of course not. Do they need towers on the building? I don’t know, but I bet it looks nice since an architect with experience in commercial real estate created the drawings and not a random person off the street with a simple interest in medieval castles. Also, I don’t know if anyone has alerted city government, but there are so, so, so many other things to focus on as this town grows besides tower height (like understaffed police and fire departments, declining roads, and other pressure on infrastructure as our city grows).
And not to state the obvious, but if we really are talking about a Home Goods, TJ Maxx and more, then we are talking about a lot of happy shoppers generating a lot of state sales tax. Also, most of Kroenke’s properties sits in tax increment financing areas…meaning more taxes for infrastructure in the immediate area. And not to mention all those people those retailers will employ. And the less trips we can justify to St. Louis and Kansas City because we have an addition of great shopping right here, meaning money stays in our local economy.
I really just want a Home Goods in this town. What I don’t want is to see this project hold up because someone feels VERY STRONGLY about those extra 11 and a half feet of tower. Compromise, people.