The Durham Central Market, a planned food co-op which intends to serve downtown Durham (ala Chapel Hill’s famous Weaver Street Market), has posted its intention to partner with Self Help to develop a site on West Chapel Hill St. Self Help acquired the property some months ago, and DCM had been reaching out to neighbors and the council to push for some zoning changes since then.
I live nearby, and boy, let me tell you: I couldn’t have even dreamed of such a positive outcome when I moved to the area 7 years ago. The corner in question, at the intersection of WCH and Kent, marks the endcap of a dismal and underutilized retail corridor which has historically been host to such notable attractions as “crime” and “vacancy.” The possibility of an honest-to-god grocery store here is quite frankly kind of staggering; this follows last year’s addition of The Cookery “culinary incubator” at the site of the old Durham Food Co-Op, and it seems like we’re really close to seeing this strip finally recover.
Some neighbors have expressed concerns that this project is somehow not going far enough to help poor people or something, which is, quite frankly, bullshit. You’ve got to bring out a microscope to find any kind of dark lining on this silver cloud. Self Help has a pretty amazing track record, and DCM has huge potential; if a member-owned food co-op isn’t good enough for you, maybe there’s nothing else in the world that would be either.