7-Eleven may not be convenient for downtown Grapevine

07/14/2014 5:52 PM

07/14/2014 5:53 PM

After a controversial opening 17 months ago, a 7-Eleven on Main Street is facing an uncertain future.

After a heated discussion with unhappy business owners, the City Council approved the convenience store in downtown Grapevine on Oct. 16, 2012. It opened in February 2013 at 520 South Main St. next to Jake’s Hamburgers.

On Friday, Anthony Bologna, one of the developers of the complex that houses the business, said that “owners and developers of The Source at 520 S. Main are working with 7-Eleven and the city to keep the 7-Eleven at its current location in the downtown area.”

Rumors are circulating that the business could close by month’s end.

Margaret Chabris, 7-Eleven spokeswoman, said there is “no decision about closing the Grapevine store.”

The South Main Street building is home to 11 tenants, including Dr. Sue’s Chocolate and Lone Star Stitching.

In 2012, the City Council approved the 7-Eleven with a vote of 5-0-1 after 3 months of questions, delays, and postponements,

Developer Nandu Madireddi was ecstatic after the vote, saying they had planned to shelve the project had the vote not gone their way.

He said they were not big developers with deep pockets, “but rookies with empty pockets.”

The 7-Eleven owners and developers went to great lengths to comply with myriad requests from the City Council and the planning and zoning commission.

Their request included changing signage to a more Grapevine historic downtown feel, adapting their hours for festivals and offering a market or boutique concept that would have more fresh vegetables and upscale products. Detractors said the latter did not come to fruition.

The loft-style, 2,0000-square-foot 7-Eleven has high ceilings, exposed AC, stained concrete floors, pewter door handles and high baseboards.

The restrooms feature granite countertops and Italian porcelain floors.

Bologna said they wanted the store to blend in with the fabric of downtown.

“We are talking about the spirit of downtown — old charm,” he said.

When the idea of convenience store was first broached for the historic downtown area, Bologna said they were were battling a preconceived notion of other 7-Elevens. Numerous business owners did not want the store that they felt would conflict with their historic image.

However, all council members voted to allow the store, save one.

The dissenting vote was Councilman Mike Lease, who did not want the convenience store “even if it was billed as a market.”

Other council members said they were confident the 7-Eleven would be an asset to the residents in the downtown area as well as for businesses and tourists. They lauded having a convenient place for cold and warm drinks, snacks, various foods and even lottery tickets.

However, the 7-Eleven has been a lightning rod for some since then, including Mayor William D. Tate, who has said he is unhappy with the how it has brought more traffic than expected to the already seriously congested area along Main Street.

Bologna said the store’s closing would be a loss to his company, Biatwic (build it and they will come), and the community because “it’s a necessity to the downtown area.”

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