Lisa Gray uses her new column space to make a plea for saving the River Oaks Theater, River Oaks Shopping Center, and Alabama Bookstop.
Yes, it's a long shot -- but it's not too late for one of those "win-win" outcomes that the City Council likes to tout. It's not too late for Barnes & Noble and Weingarten to emerge from this debacle as heroes, saviors of the city's heritage.
But first, we need to get their attention. And to do it Houston-style.
This week, let's stage a buy-in.
Sometime between now and next Sunday, let's all visit the Alabama Bookstop. And let's all purchase something: a book, a magazine, a birthday card, a Mother's Day gift. Let's drink lattes in the coffee bar. Do our Christmas shopping. Whatever.
The point is to show that we care enough about the city's historical buildings to make a point of spending our money in them. We'll show that we're paying attention and that we'll reward preservation of the places that make Houston special.
We won't have to make threats. We won't have to hint what we'll do if the first domino falls, or scream that we'll remember who destroyed Houston's landmarks.
Our dollars will say that for us, and they'll say it in the language that Weingarten and Barnes & Noble understand.
When money talks, Houston listens.
Which, as I said before, I'm totally down with. I'll make a point of buying something at the Bookstop this week in solidarity. What I think is more important, however, is to make sure that people keep buying stuff at the Bookstop after the new B&N has become reality. Shopping there now, while nice, isn't going to affect Weingarten or B&N in any way. Hell, they may not even notice the effort. Having a no-customer grand opening for the B&N, along with a publicity campaign saying that will continue until we get some guarantees, now that they'll pay attention to.
I realize that my plan assume the River Oaks Shopping Center is already a lost cause. That's a damn shame, but I'll take a shot at saving two out of the three if I can. My concern is that however good we all may feel after a week of Bookstopping, we may feel equally depressed after the bulldozers arrive at West Gray and Shepherd for part one of the Weingarten project. Really, there's no reason people can't shop the Bookstop now and stay away from the B&N later. I just hope everyone keeps their eyes on the prize when the first setback occurs.Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 30, 2007 to Elsewhere in Houston