Monday, May 08, 2006

Denting Denton

EDIT #2: Here is an article about the whole thing. Apparently an investment group has already purchased the land from Loveless. I wonder if this means that they have received assurances that the deal will go through Denton City Hall without a problem....

So I'm sure that some other news source has published something on this already, but I couldn't really find one so I decided to get a little more information on it and post what I found.

It appears that the Winkelmann Civil Engineering firm of Dallas is teaming up with another development group to propose a complete tear down and rebuilding of Fry St. as we know it. The project, which is being referred to as "University Town Center," would involve the tearing down of all the buildings in the center of the Fry St. area, basically from the Yellow House to Cool Beans with Fry St and Welch as borders. This means that pretty much the entire center of Fry St. as we know it would be gone if this thing gets approved. Once destroyed, all the buildings would be replaced with student housing and "Lifestyle" retailers, kind of adding that really cool west Plano slash mid cities vibe to the whole area. Fucking lifestyle retailers?

I spoke with Lori Shelton, project manager for the City of Denton, who confirmed that this plan was submitted to the city in March as a pre application proposal. This means that the developers would have to go before the Denton zoning and planning commission and receive approval from them, and then take it to city council to receive final approval, meaning that any sale of the Fry St. properties to these developers is probably conditional pending the city's approval. Shelton, who was extremely helpful and genuinely concerned about the project, says that the entire process will be open to the public and that public participation in the form of town hall meetings, etc. will be encouraged. This means that public pressure on the council and the developers will be heard and WILL work.

Much of the land is currently owned by a Denton man named Curtis Loveless, who apparently has an office on the square. This is all that we know about it right now.

We don't know how many of you have heard about this proposal, but anyone that is interested in helping Denton maintain anything that makes it unique might want to find out more about all of this and get involved in the effort to make sure that this plan never makes its way through the red tape. This could mean an end to many of the things that make Fry St. fun.

Here is a PDF of the plan that was submitted to the city: PLAN

To get involved, get in contact with these people.

EDIT: The borders of the proposed project are actually Fry St, Welch, Hickory and Oak, leaving the Yellow House in the clear a block away.


Anonymous cody said...

right rumor, wrong area...
it's actually from hickory to oak, and from welch to Fry (the yellow house is a block away, I believe)

But still just a rumor as far as I've heard.
No conformations or sale of land according to the evil corporate media outlet I work for.

But honestly, as much as I'd like to see local development rather corporate gentrification, there's not much you can do about it if you don't own the land. And in the city council's eyes, unfortunately, if you're under 30 you're probably some college student that won't be here in 4 years anyway.

5:04 PM  
Blogger stonedranger said...

you're right, sorry about that.

But wouldn't public and consumer pressure against the landowner and the city do something? And if the people at the city office are interested in getting involved, maybe other denton residents will too.

5:16 PM  
Blogger stonedranger said...

and nothing we reported is a rumor because it was all confirmed by the city, so unless the PDF and the whole thing is a complete scam, the fact that the proposal has been presented is true... at least.

5:24 PM  
Anonymous cody said...

oh, no...I was just calling it a rumor 'cause it's all over myspace in various forms..

but as for consumer pressure, I'd like to think it would help but it just doesn't feel like the case here.

the city seems to have a real hard-on for development, and that's a high profile area on the denton radar, even though most of the businesses (save for a few exceptions) have been struggling.

It's really a shell of the legendary Fry St. most of us have only heard stories about.

5:55 PM  
Blogger stonedranger said...

hmmm. Interesting. So, do you think that it would really be that much of a loss? I'm actually interested in hearing the opinions of people that don't care if this development takes place or not. Not that I am saying you are one of these people, I'd just like to hear a lot of different opinions on this... other than "fuck development" or "fuck fry street" and stuff like that.

I guess I just see what is happening right now in downtown/east side/ Lakewood Dallas and hope Denton doesn't become another cookie cutter gentrified suburb like they are trying to turn dallas into.

5:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the complicated thing about being a student in denton is getting your vote to count.

out-of-state students are often prevented from registering as voters in order to prevent them from qualifying for in-state tuition incentives, which blows.

and many students from parts of texas outside denton county choose not to transfer their registration form their hometown, which blows as well.

this is why curtis loveless has held on for as long as he has. he has run off many good local establishments in the fry street area over the years.

if you are able to vote in denton, register and show up to the townhall meetings. you might even be able to get some political science credit for participating!

6:00 PM  
Blogger jamo said...

I live like two blocks from there, so of course it would be a loss, I want to be able to walk around without passing an urban outfitters thankyou.

6:00 PM  
Blogger stonedranger said...

Yes, thats always been a problem in Denton. Denton has a large liberal student population that can't vote in Denton, which is why Dick Armey ruled for so long, and why projects like this one probably won't be stopped. Maybe consumer action, as opposed to voter action, would be the only answer.

6:01 PM  
Blogger jamo said...

actually, consumer action will never work, because, if it comes down to the students, I'd say nine out of every ten unt students would love something like this...

unkempt kids like me without an ipod or a new car will probably have no say.

6:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe everyone can relocate to texoma and start a new "scene" oh yeah.

6:05 PM  
Anonymous cody said...

I think the two biggest hits would be the Tomato & TJ's.
I'm not especially a fan of the Tomato in general, but the lady that runs it is really nice. Nice won't pay the rent though, as I'm sure she'd probably tell you.

I just think when you look at it from a business standpoint (all nostalgia aside), here's this plot of land,
just next to the university, with almost 30 years of free publicity thanks to Fry St. Fair, and every student in town knows about it before they get there. It's mostly in 1 large chunk (1 owner), only about 1/4 of the businesses are stable, and the city's looking to cut breaks for the right addition.
The owner can sell at a premium, the old buildings can be torn down & replaced to make more efficient use of the space, and you've instantly got twice the sq footage to lease than the previous owner had.
And in 5 years most of the people that were mad about it have moved on in life, and you have a constant fresh crop that will inevitably flock to it.

It's an ugly way of doing business, sure, but only if you're from the town it's happening in.
And only if you're there when it happens.

6:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i say let these dumbass dallas developers come in and do their thing.

when the spend a ton of cash putting up nice buildings in the fry street area, it's gonna eventually bite them in the ass.

the economy needed to sustain such a development doesn't exist in denton.

in a matter of a few short years, business owners will be forced to move on because they don't generate enough dough to pay their sky-high rents.

What will be remain is a ghost-town of vacant, clean structures which will force the owners to come down on rents and accomodate what the local economy has to spend, then everything will just be a brand new version of what it is now.

let's face it, a may take a while, but fry street could use a facelift...

those developers are going to take a major bath on that deal..

6:21 PM  
Blogger jamo said...

actually, it will be just like the drag in austin, we definitely have the economy to sustain it, unfortunately.

6:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a good point.
Also a good way of pointing out how to keep it from spreading...
Support local businesses and avoid chain stores whenever you can. That's the only real way of keeping any character in your town.

6:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

denton is nowhere near as enonomically stable as austin.

austin is a major city with an international airport, industry, tourism and not to mention the state capital.

also, UT is has 3 times the student population as UNT. that means 3 times the population of rich little white girs running around with daddy's credit card.

6:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

denton can't even keep a record store open they sure as hell can't keep an urban outfitters open. But the white flite suburbia can keep it open.

6:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

denton already is a ghost town during winter and spring break.

summer semesters aren't much better either.

that's one of the reasons fry street fair was invented: to boost the economy so those business could make it through the semester breaks.

6:33 PM  
Blogger jamo said...

true, but this is a far smaller scale addition than the drag is, but its basically the same idea, and if you have been to unt lately, you know what kinds of things these kids are into, and unt is primarily a commuter school, so if they offer some sort of discount parking, it will really work out well for them.

I wouldn't shop there, but I am sure that a large portion of the student body would, if they put in a starbucks, some kind of high end clothing store and some other shit like that, kids will be all over it, trust me.

6:34 PM  
Blogger jamo said...


6:35 PM  
Blogger johnnylawrecords said...

True that about the record store!

6:36 PM  
Blogger jamo said...

I mean, seriously, how stupid do you have to be to draw that comparison, this "town-square" is an extention of the culture that brought down sea-sick to begin with.

6:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

YES! Johnny Law Records!! you guys ruled!!

weshotjr would have loved your store!

6:41 PM  
Blogger johnnylawrecords said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

denton is going to triple in population in 10 years..

real estate is lose money now.. break even for a bit.. and profit later.. of an escapade.. hense the lose money now..

so the only way to put consumer pressure is by showing the government that this will force them to lose tax revenue massive tax revenue in the first few years of it's development before it becomes profitiable.. politicians care about near term future.. and if this is going to hurt near term.. they won't want it.. even if it is a cash cow long term..

now on another note..
i just don't want the buildings torn down.. if they decide to put in an urban outfitters, and or american apareal.. then do it in the same building as the tomatoe.. don't tare down the building that houses the tomatoe.. once denton goes down that avenue.. no building is safe..

right now is critical time of potential for denton.. because it is about to go through a growth spert(whether or not if we like it).. we have a choice.. it can become another frisco/plano.. or it can become the next eugene oregon.. it's OUR choice.. if you are not a voter start a petition drive in the various neighborhoods of denton.. get the voters envigerated.. show them the students, and young people of denton do care.. and care about the city the established live, and vote in.. get facts about what is going on, and do the paperwork/calculations to show that this is a bad idea to your government.. sitting at lous drinking a beer will not make this problem go away.. sitting around a bong talking about this problem will not make the problem go away..

p.s. sorry my english skills are poor

7:23 PM  
Anonymous Andrew Michael said...

The impression I get from the majority of students on campus is that they do not really patronize the existing businesses because they make them feel uncomfortable. Corporate business is on surface consistent, and that seems to be what the majority of people want. The independent businesses need to realize that as DFW continues to grow and become congested, the idyllic aspects of Denton are no longer a well kept secret oasis of sorts, they are targets for infiltration. This means that the independent business owners need to seriously consider how to not only cater to its existing customer base, but reach out to the community on a total community level. It may be too late to establish a strong enough network of opposition. But neither side should be under or over estimated. I am curious… I would like to hear the thoughts of the business owners that would be affected.

7:37 PM  
Anonymous alpha m jetset trash and someday looks like i'll be a superstar said...

thanks for posting all the info.

10:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what a retarded idea.

let denton be the strange wasteland it is/should always be!

11:10 PM  
Blogger jonofdeath said...

Man, this is a disappointment. I've always felt like Denton was immune to this sort of thing. On the other hand, I would like to say that I like the buildings that are on Fry Street, but I never go the places that are there. Places like the Inferno, The Garage, and whatever else is over there just aren't that appealing, so I don't know if I would actually miss anything. I think the square is where I would really be upset if they ever tried to tear down the buildings. That would really make me sad if they tried to tear down Recycled.

12:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

whatever.... lets build a DIY there and we can serve starbucks.

12:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think it's the places like the inferno or the garage that are in the plan. It's more places like the tomato, mr chopsticks, cool beans. Those are trademark to Denton. I would be really upset if they were torn down and forced to conform to the rest of suburbia. Just what we need, another shopping center. The rest of Denton is full of that. Why can't we just keep Fry street? It's part of the character and charm of the little city.

2:34 AM  
Anonymous Cory... the other one... no not that one said...

Maybe this is a good thing. Maybe it will finally get me to move the hell out of Denton. Fecking black hole.


11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

im moving out of denton in a year. its been boring for a while, anyway.

11:45 AM  
Blogger jonofdeath said...

What?! They aren't tearing down those places. Man, those are the worst places. How can they tear down Mr. Chopsticks and not The Garage? In my opinion, those are places that need to be torn down. Not the mainstays of Denton. It kinda feels personal now that they're tearing down Mr. Chopsticks.

11:50 AM  
Blogger jamo said...

I will LEAVE denton if they tear down chopsticks.

12:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How well do the existing businesses actually perform?

1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

take heart young dentonites. don't fear change..

1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i dont wanna grow up!!

1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If somebody opens a Pho place all sins will be forgiven

1:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

where DO people buy clothes in denton?

1:56 PM  
Anonymous Andrew Michael said...

If we lose Mr. Chopsticks… as a vegan my dining options are limited since animal products are so pervasive. However, Mr. Chopsticks has a wonderful vegetarian/vegan menu. They provide wonderful service, the ambience is unique and the experience is just pleasurable in general…we lose a huge part of what makes Denton special.

2:12 PM  
Blogger jonofdeath said...

I never thought any of the businesses over there were actually that bad off. Alter Ego seems to be doing well. Mr. Chopsticks is always busy when I go in. The Tomato always has people. Naranja does well. Cool Beans does pretty good too. The only place that I can think of that wouldn't be doing that great would be Uncommon Ground, but that's because they recently changed owners and new one's suck. And I don't know anything about that comic book store or the liquor store. But they've stayed open for as long as I can remember so that lets me believe that they do alright. I know there are other businesses over on Oak, but I just don't know about them. It just seems like someone from Denton went out to the West Village, and was like, hey this is what Fry Street should look like. I'm sorry, but I don't want Denton to turn into Dallas. Denton truly is my only safe-haven.

2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We need to get rid of the vegans in Denton anyway. We need meat stands and salt licks at every corner.

Chopstix is nasty anyway.

Bulldoze that shit!

2:28 PM  
Anonymous k said...

rumor has it - the biggest influence for chai (sp) to purchase the old china 1 wok (now quick stir) was because of this proposal.

i garauntee if chopsticks had to close quick stir would very much resemble what we know as mr. chopsticks today. that or they would just move.

2:42 PM  
Anonymous Andrew Michael said...

There are not many vegans in Denton.

2:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nuke the whales!

3:06 PM  
Blogger james said...

My opinion is that if they don't do it now they will do it someday soon. This sort of urban renovation will bring a LOT of money into denton, new jobs, raise rents in the neighborhood, encourage new business, the tearing down of the old houses on fry to make room for more high-end apartments and fake irish pubs.

Why give up Denton's quirky charm? Because Urban Outfitters, Target, Starbucks, Barnes and Noble, California Pizza Kitchen, Pei Wei, Paciugo, are what 89% of the world wants. They want bland, predictable, safe, cheap, etc. and I support it.

I support it because if they live on Fry street, and walk from their nice apartment to school, and stop off for work at the Gap on the way home, and maybe catch a movie at the Rave before they have dinner at Carraba's, then they arent driving 60 miles a day from the metroplex, and maybe that "mythical" global warming will slow down just a little bit. and all those people with their Barnes and Noble paycheck money will eventually get bored and go exploring and they will buy booze at Dan's Silverleaf while Record Hop plays. and they will hear a song they like, and buy a Record Hop cd from Scott, and they will listen to it in their jeep, and their boyfriends will like it, and they will go see them again. and again and again and eventually that Record Hop CD will be on the shelves at Barnes and Noble and at the Starbucks, and Scott will sell enough of them to be able to afford to move into one of those sweet condos, and still pay for SHQ. And we can still go see shiny around the edges shows at SHQ.

5:16 PM  
Blogger stonedranger said...

you've got it James: WSJR Post of the Day! If you haven't won before, you can talk to some of the other winners on here about the great honor they felt when they won. Cuz thats all yous gonna git: honor.

5:27 PM  
Anonymous skulkie said...

james, you are looking at the BIG picture! i think you are right.

you know i honestly dont go to the fry st area very much at all. the "art scene" isnt happening there anymore and hasnt been active in that area of town for quite a while. this seems like a natural progression. im surprised people are so surprised, really.

5:43 PM  
Anonymous cody said...

only 2 things wrong w/your post, James:

1. The rest of record hop knows not to let scott touch the money.

2. I fully plan to bring SHQ down in flames before any of those things are built, but thanks for the confidence.

No, but seriously....
it really is a lateral move - & we'll all just have to wait & see what will move in.

In the meantime support the local businesses, especially the ones you don't want to see go away.
Who knows, maybe they'll end up in a cleaner/cooler location.
I know the space next to SHQ is empty, I'm all for something cool moving our way.

10:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's the problem with Denton....

"we'll all just have to wait & see what will move in."

That Attitude only a mother could love. Maybe they should just burn Denton to the ground along with Fry St. We'll just have to wait and see... No matter, you'll probably just go be a commuter somewhere else until it gets commercialized.

Just wait until Rubber Gloves becomes a DART train station and Denton becomes another A&M.

Blech, I'm going for a pint at Cool Beans.

9:38 AM  
Anonymous cody said...

Grouse all you want, brother.

You can either jump up & down & yell fire or you can get your own matches...

but eventually everything burns to the ground.

11:30 AM  
Anonymous Raven said...

There is a pretty strong campaign going right now to stop this--more information at:

4:38 PM  

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