Goodbye, eyesore. Hello, traffic.

While change is scary and rush hours will be more annoying, new development is a good thing

Traffic+on+Grover+Avenue+after+the+dismissal+bell.+Traffic+on+the+street+is+already+a+problem%2C+and+some+fear+the+new+apartment+complex+will+exacerbate+the+issue.+Photo+by+Janssen+Transier.++
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Goodbye, eyesore. Hello, traffic.

Traffic on Grover Avenue after the dismissal bell. Traffic on the street is already a problem, and some fear the new apartment complex will exacerbate the issue. Photo by Janssen Transier.

Traffic on Grover Avenue after the dismissal bell. Traffic on the street is already a problem, and some fear the new apartment complex will exacerbate the issue. Photo by Janssen Transier.

Janssen Transier

Traffic on Grover Avenue after the dismissal bell. Traffic on the street is already a problem, and some fear the new apartment complex will exacerbate the issue. Photo by Janssen Transier.

Janssen Transier

Janssen Transier

Traffic on Grover Avenue after the dismissal bell. Traffic on the street is already a problem, and some fear the new apartment complex will exacerbate the issue. Photo by Janssen Transier.

Janssen Transier, staff reporter

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The former First Texas Honda dealership was an iconic part of the McCallum landscape. Throughout my time at McCallum, the abandoned car dealership off of Koenig and Woodrow has been the stuff of legends.

I recall stories of vagrants hiding out in what used to be the lobby of the nicest Honda dealership in town and of kids exploring its abandoned halls. I’ve heard whispers that entire parties were thrown there.

But now, after many years of decaying in a vacant lot, its reign as a destination location for loiterers has ended. The old Honda dealership has been torn down, all to be replaced with “multi-level apartment complexes,” meaning there will be shops and restaurants on the bottom level of the complex and apartments on top. To certain students at McCallum, this is a tragedy, but not everyone is so down in the dumps about the proposed building, to be called The Pearl.

Some members of the faculty at McCallum think that the abandoned Honda dealership’s proximity to McCallum encouraged a certain … miscreant behavior. Principal Mike Garrison is one such person who believes that the new apartments will be a positive change.

“I think that the apartments will be a little bit more well monitored than the Honda dealership,” Garrison said, “so I don’t think there will be as many issues as there would be in a vacant building.”

Bella Russo
Construction at the site of the old Honda dealership. Photo by Bella Russo.

Garrison isn’t the only one who thinks the new apartments are a good thing. Junior Molly Gardner also has high hopes for the new apartments.

I think that the apartments will be a little bit more well monitored than the Honda dealership, so I don’t think there will be as many issues as there would be in a vacant building.”

— principal Mike Garrison

“I’m glad to see that spot finally being used for something,” Gardner said. “It’s been abandoned for so many years, and I’m excited to see the new shops and restaurants it brings.”

Although it may be a nice change, there will doubtlessly be some major adjustments to our daily life. One being the traffic after school on the roads around McCallum. Such a building will bring a lot of traffic around the McCallum area. If you have tried to drive down Grover at 4:30 p.m., you know traffic is bad enough already.

Now, there will be the traffic of people going in and out of the apartment complex in addition to the existing rush-hour traffic on Koenig and the swarm of people in their cars trying to leave McCallum. Junior Sara Milliken is one student with similar concerns.

“Traffic will definitely get a lot worse with everyone going in and out of the apartments and stores, which is really bad because the traffic on Grover at 4:30 is already insane,” Milliken said.

Milliken also expressed her concerns about how the new development will affect the culture and atmosphere of the neighborhood and the city as a whole.

More apartment buildings isn’t what we need. It’s already so hard to get around Austin, and this will only make it worse.”

— junior Sarah Milliken

“I think that this area is getting really crowded, really fast,” she said. “And in my opinion, more apartment buildings isn’t what we need. It’s already so hard to get around Austin, and this will only make it worse.”

Things will be strange for a bit; that is undeniable. Change is always strange. However, I don’t think it will be all bad. The truth is, the Honda dealership was an eyesore, and it has sat vacant for far too long. It wasn’t doing anyone any good the way that it was. It will be refreshing to see a new use of the space, even if it will result in the loss of what some see as a McCallum icon.

Although Milliken voiced some concerns about the future of the apartment complex, she does acknowledge that there will be some positive effects.

“I think it’ll be nice to have some new restaurants around McCallum,” she said. “It’ll be a nice change of scenery.”

There will doubtlessly be a period of adjustment, but I think in the long term, the new apartment complex will largely be a good thing. Traffic might increase, but there will also be a refreshing new use of space, and “The Pearl” will replace the unsightly heap that has been occupying the space for all these years. I believe that McCallum students will learn to love what the new apartment complex has to offer, even if it takes some time for them to warm up to it.

To read more about what’s coming to Koenig and Grover, please see, “From Honda store to Pearl next door,” in News.

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