Friday, February 16, 2007

Cold As Ice

Northcross Mall ice rink owner Chaparral Ice Center issued a press statement this week saying it is “caught in the crossfire” of neighborhood opposition to the proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter at Northcross. Chaparral signed a lease with Dallas-based mall owner Lincoln Properties last July to open a new ice rink in the former Beall’s Department Store building where I once bought a flannel shirt for $4 from a farting salesman.

If Responsible Growth for Northcross seeks a court injunction to halt construction of the Supercenter, Chaparral says the resulting business interruption could cost the company “up to a million dollars” and result in bankruptcy. Virtually everyone involved in this debate loves the ice rink, so it would be nice if both sides worked to avoid a scenario in which Chaparral is left out in the cold, so to speak.

That said, Chaparral’s statement seems to place the entire onus for their potential financial woes at the feet of RG4N. The carefully-parsed statement below sounds like it was written by Lincoln’s PR department.

“We want all those who are contributing to RG4N’s litigation against the City of Austin and Lincoln Properties to know that they are helping to fund the possible bankruptcy of at least one of the local businesses they claim to be protecting,” says Chaparral president Charles Collins. “It’s not that we are defending Wal-Mart or even that we disagree with RG4N’s desire to see a mixed-use development of the site in principle. We only wish for them to consider our concerns, and other tenants’ concerns, and amend their legal course of action accordingly.”

Here’s some free PR advice – if you’re ever “caught in the crossfire” in Austin, it’s never a good idea to hide behind someone from Dallas.

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