No 7-Eleven

Resisting Chain Stores and Corporate Control

Abominable 7-Eleven Disfigures a Baltimore Historic District

7-Eleven BaltimoreVia Baltimore Business Journal

It comes as no surprise that the opening of a convenience store selling almost nothing that anybody should eat or drink creates little excitement in the surrounding community.
Since this isn’t a food or health column, but one about urban design and architecture, I will focus on the wrapper in which a new Baltimore 7-Eleven is encased. The store opened in the spring at West Franklin and North Paca streets after just a few months of construction.

Like tourists wearing sombreros in Mexico or lederhosen in Bavaria, retail buildings often masquerade in garb inspired by local cliches — mission-style, colonial or anything in between. What constitutes a mere laughable nuisance in suburban shopping centers, however, becomes architectural assault in an urban historic district.

At first, seeing a barren surface parking lot being dug up by heavy equipment in late winter inspired hope in this corner of Baltimore’s west side, an area largely unaccustomed to investment and construction.

But the strip footing and tiny trenches for wastewater lines foreshadowed hastily erected spindly steel columns, confirming that whatever was being built here couldn’t be of any substance.

Disappointment turned into disbelief once all the sticks and beams were connected with astounding speed, revealing the shape of a giant shoebox, with the lid hovering one story above it.

That extra level mystified everybody around and became the talk at Trinacria Deli, a nearby restaurant, grocery and wine shop. No stairs led up to the lofty height, even though steel decking seemed to indicate a real second floor.

In quick succession, wall studs and window framing formed walls and horizontal punch-out openings on two levels. The overall appearance was that of a 5-year-old having decorated a sideways milk carton to look like a house.

Continue reading Architecture review: Abominable 7-Eleven Disfigures a Baltimore Historic District [Baltimore Business Journal]

7-Eleven Fights Its Way Into Historic Neighborhood

7-Eleven Fights It's Way Into St. Augustine Florida7-Eleven is fighting a decision that blocked plans for a convenience store in a historic St. Augustine neighborhood.

Back in February, the St. Augustine planning and building director denied the site plan of a proposed 7-Eleven convenience store / gas station combo in the historic neighborhood of Nelmar Terrance. Residents protested the presence of the chain in their historic neighborhood saying the inclusion of a 24 hour 7-Eleven would be a traffic nightmare for the pedestrian-friendly businesses as well as the nearby Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind. But that hasn’t stopped 7-Eleven from trying to bulldoze their way into the neighborhood.

7-Eleven is now fighting the decision in court. On May 2nd, 2014, 7-Eleven filed a petition in the St. John County Court, asking the court to remand the case back to the city.

Via The St. Augustine Record:

James Whitehouse, attorney for 7-Eleven, said the City Commission did not give the modified proposal for the development the review it deserved.

Some residents have fought the development because they say, among other things, the gas station would cause congestion at an already crowded area.

“It was a very political matter with a lot of opposition, and we feel like we didn’t get the appropriate consideration because of that,” Whitehouse said.

Plans to build a 7-Eleven with 12 gas pumps at the intersection were initially denied by the city’s planning and building department director in January. The main concerns with the plan were the driveway width and the turning radius onto San Marco Avenue, which conflicted with city guidelines and Florida Department of Transportation guidelines.

Despite the community making it crystal clear it does not want a 7-Eleven, the developer is moving forward with plans, recently purchasing the land at the site for $850,000.

7-Eleven fires back at St. Augustine [The St. Augustine Record]


Historic Neighborhood Wins Battle Against 7-Eleven [No 7-Eleven]

Historic Neighborhood Wins Battle Against 7-Eleven

7-Eleven St. AugustineThe St. Augustine planning and building director has denied the site plan of a proposed 7-Eleven convenience store / gas station combo in the historic neighborhood of Nelmar Terrance.

Residents have been protesting the project since last year saying the inclusion of a 24 hour 7-Eleven would be a traffic nightmare for the pedestrian-friendly businesses as well as the nearby Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind.  Back in October, two dozen residents took to the streets to protest and their efforts have paid off.

The St. Augustine Record reports:

Mark Knight, St. Augustine’s planning and building director, said he denied the site plan of a proposed 7-Eleven Corp. gas station and convenience store at the congested San Marco Avenue and May Street intersection.

In a letter this month to project engineer Andrew J. Petersen of Creech Engineers, Knight said the planning and building department “cannot approve the plans” for a store on that site.

He gave four reasons, two of which — incompatible wall lighting fixtures and no decorative cap on a knee wall — were fixable.

But the third reason, that the driveway onto San Marco is 35 feet wide, wider than the 24 feet maximum in city entrance corridor requirements, has become a sticking point.

The fourth reason is that the turning radius for trucks onto San Marco is too wide, larger than the 10 to 20 feet in the city requirements.

Project Manager Charlie Carpenter of Creighton Commercial Development declined comment Wednesday.

He referred questions to Margaret Chabris of 7-Eleven corporate communications, who did not return a call requesting comment.

7-Eleven, apparently hell-bent on crapping up the historic neighborhood, is expected to appeal within 2 weeks. A hearing has been set for Feb. 20 at the Historic Architectural Review Board at City Hall.

St. Augustine Denies 7-Eleven Permit [The St. Augustine Record]