One of the biggest concerns surrounding the proposal for the northwest corner of Forest and Inwood is the potential redevelopment of the retail center just across the street.

The owners of the two corners, although from the same family, operate as completely separate entities. While developers are proposing to raze the Forestwood Townhouse Community for up to 350 apartments/townhomes and 85,000 square feet of retail, plans for the aged northeast corner remain a mystery. However, its owners (who still remain nameless) have finally broken their silence.

In a letter to neighbors, the Daniels of the northwest corner relayed a message from their distant relatives:

“We own about 10 acres at the northeast corner of the Inwood and Forest intersection. The western 5.5 acres consists of a multi-tenant retail center along Inwood Road, which we reconstructed and modernized about 10 years ago.  Tenants on the western half of our property operate successful, vibrant businesses, which contribute to our community. Many of those businesses have long term leases running out as long as 10 years. We’re actively seeking new tenants for the two vacancies in that segment.

Having addressed the western segment of our property several years ago, we agree with our neighbors: we now need to freshen and modernize our eastern 4.5 acres, extending east from the retail center to the toll road.   A long-term lease on the eastern section of our property has just expired, which will allow us to begin that process.  We recently extended the Antique Mall and car wash leases for a short term, which will give us time and flexibility to evaluate our re-development alternatives.

We began seriously evaluating the potential redevelopment of the eastern phase earlier this year, although it has long been on our minds.  Interested developers have frequently approached us over the years.  A handful of developers made formal presentations to family members operating the northeast corner.  Every proposal has been consistent with the existing property zoning.  The most recent proposals were presented this summer, but we have made no firm plans or commitments to move forward with any specific development, and we continue to evaluate alternatives. We cannot rush into this process – we must carefully evaluate our alternatives considering their impact on both our community and our family.”

So, the future is uncertain for at least two longtime tenants, Forestwoood Antique Mall and the Forest Car Wash and Detail. (Kel’s Kitchen closed in August after 51 years of business for unrelated reasons.)

The car wash has been open since 1991, and the mangers have been working there since day one. D Magazine named it Best Car Wash this year.

Rumors have swirled for many months about the imminent closure of the antique mall. I stopped by recently and, by all appearances, it still has plenty of life left. It’s celebrating its 20th anniversary, the vendor spaces are full of curiosities, customers are enjoying lunch at the Garden Tea Room, and just as every year, Christmas trees are selling in the parking lot.

Still, none of this will sit well with opponents of the proposal for the northwest side. They fear that adding 85,000 square feet of retail to a historically residential corner, alongside plans to redevelop an already commercial corner across the street, will result in a traffic nightmare at the intersection, which is quite congested at rush hour.

As far as we know, developers are still discussing the plans with neighbors, and no re-zoning application has been submitted at City Hall. See our previous story to catch up on the details of the proposal.

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