‘Only spot for Trader Joe’s’ in Greensboro once again being eyed by developers

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- It may still be known as the only spot that Trader Joe's wanted in Greensboro but now other businesses are eyeing a little more than six acres of land near Friendly Avenue and Hobbs Road for development as well.

Last week, an application was submitted to the city that would rezone the land from residential use to mixed use commercial. It's a change that would pave the way for development.

The City of Greensboro said a planning meeting is set for Dec. 17 to discuss the application but a recommendation will not be made by the group for consideration by city council.

"All we are considering is a request for various commercial uses. We don't have any information on potential tenants. I know that is a question that has come up before on this particular piece of property," said Mike Kirkman, zoning administrator for the City of Greensboro.

Kirkman said the December meeting is also not a public hearing for the plan.

"Realistically, Jan. 12 is the first opportunity for folks to come in and weigh in on whether or not this is an appropriate change for the city," said Kirkman.

Kirkman said if the planning commission does recommend the project it wouldn't be in front of city council for consideration until February at the earliest.

In the neighborhood around The Friendly Center, residents are aware of the application but not up in arms.

"Our neighborhood group has come together in a unified fashion before," said Ernie Schiller, a longtime Hobbs Road homeowner. "I think Trader Joe's when they said, 'Well if we can't have that corner we're not going to come to Greensboro at all' it unified the neighborhood. They're not really in it for the well-being of the community they're in it for the business. I know that certainly affected my thinking."

Even though Schiller resisted the move by Trader Joe's he says he's willing to hear about future plans for development with optimism.

"You're probably not going to please everybody," said Schiller. "I know what I'd like on that corner is different than what some other people would like."

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