Early this Spring Madison Valley learned that the property City People’s Garden Store sits on was being sold. The first players we were introduced to were the developer, Velmeir, and the architect, Meng Strazzara. We all waited in anticipation to learn who the anchor tenant would be. And then the announcement came: PCC was coming to Madison Valley.
Some people were happy: organic produce around the corner! PCC deli take-out for dinner every night! Others were worried: what about Bert’s Red Apple? Essential Bakery? What about the traffic? Many landed in the middle – neutral about the tenant, but very much focused on this new development coming to our neighborhood.
Save Madison Valley reached out to PCC on a number of occasions, wanting to respect their role as an anchor tenant—with both its strengths and limits-- and to engage them about the development that was ubiquitously being identified as “The PCC Project.”
On May 23rd we sent a letter to the CEO, Cate Hardy, and to long-term Board member Carol Binder, explaining who we are and asking to meet with them to talk about our concerns and enlist their support in advocating for a more responsible and more conscientious design.
CEO Cate Hardy and Carol Binder agreed to meet with us June 17. At that meeting Ms. Hardy told us that PCC was not involved in the design of the project, and that our concerns belonged with the Design Review process. Ms. Hardy also said she would pass our concerns on to the developer and architect.
On June 27 we sent an open letter to PCC addressed again to the CEO as well as all of the Board members individually. We wanted to be sure that the entire Board was apprised of the concerns that many in our community have, and some of the specific ideas we hoped they would help advocate for: a smaller footprint, reduced parking, affordable housing for families; preservation of the tree canopy.
There was no response to our open letter of June 27.
After the first Early Design Guidance meeting on July 13, we again reached out to PCC. In a letter dated July 22 we sent a copy of our presentation to Ms. Hardy asking to meet. We told her of the Design Board’s unanimous support, and conveyed that the Board had suggested PCC be involved as the developer and architect work to incorporate the changes that were recommended.
Ms. Hardy declined to meet with us.
On July 30th Save Madison Valley wrote an open letter describing one vision of what responsible development for the City People’s site might look like. We sent copies to PCC’s CEO, Board members, as well as the developer, architect, and still current owners of the property.
On August 7th we sent another email, again asking Ms. Hardy to meet with us. We addressed the apparent contradiction between Ms. Hardy’s claim that PCC is not involved in the design, and that the first floor, entryway, and garage are designed to PCC’s specifications.
Again Ms. Hardy declined.
On September 26 we emailed PCC to say that three of us would be attending the Board meeting the following day. (PCC’s website states that members are welcome, and asks that you email in advance to let them know you are coming.)
The text of the comments we made at the PCC Board meeting on September 27 is available here.
There was no reply from Ms. Hardy, or any of the members of the board, at that meeting, or in the time since.
We still hope we can engage PCC in a dialog about the unique qualities of this site and this neighborhood, and that they will use their influence as the anchor tenant to make this building one that aligns with PCC’s values of commitment to high quality, accountability, sustainability, and environmental conscientiousness.
If you have thoughts about this proposed development – do you want to preserve the mature urban tree canopy? Put the exposed garage underground? Do you want a smaller garage or a smaller store? Are you concerned about the impact of traffic? Please consider sharing your thoughts with PCC’s CEO Cate Hardy or the Board of Trustees, at: