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H.G. Hill Center

it's just dave

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I just got back from my first stroll through the new Hill Center in Green Hills. Dodging security and supervisors, I was able to look into most windows, get my bearings, and allowed myself to gaze at this new shopping experience with eyes wide open. Several stores will open Sept. 1 including my first sit-down stop at California Pizza Kitchen (which, by the way, is a MUCH slicker place than I was imagining. Dress to impress). The West Elm store at the corner across from the YMCA had no merchandise yet, but made my knees weak, as did Anthropologie, which seemed fully stocked and ready to go. This one should make many women happy.

I found the Center layout very comfortable like walking through a small town which had outdone itself in form and finish. The landscaping is lush and will only grow moreso (irrigation was going full force, so an oasis from the drought was most welcome). Whole Foods (opening Nov. 1) was not obvious, only a part of the streetscape. The large parking garage is not evident from the shopping experience, only the roadway and some on-street parking. The nicely tucked-away garage is very large (about 900 spaces), well lit, and provides numerous access points. I was thanked very courteously by a foreman for volunteering to leave the area. :)

The city is in for a treat. It was the first time in a while that I actually caught a glimpse of what is really bubbling under in Green Hills. It's still a mish-mash, but from every vantage point within the Hill Center, the place was a bit intriguing, yet welcoming. Of course, at 7 a.m. on a Sunday morning, there was no crush of humanity which all to often screws up all semblance of retail serenity. The connectivity with the mall and Bedford Commons began to become obvious, especially if looking at the land rumored to be prepping for Neiman's and Nordstrom. I noticed on my way in that someone ELSE won Powerball last night besides me, but I can still window shop. Don't write off Green Hills quite yet. Years hence just might prove the Negative Nancies quite wrong in their assessments. Rome wasn't built in a day, but now there's one really nice step in a postive direction. That's my take on the matter.

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I hate to rain on the proverbial parade, but I had just the opposite reaction - I was very disappointed in this whole project. I was there on Sunday, walking through and dropping in on Mitchell Gold Furniture, West Elm, and some of the others.

Yes, I do like some of the stores that are new to the area. Yes, it's better than the run-down Hills grocery that had been there. However, it just really fell short, in my opinion.

For comparison - two of my favorite places to visit when I'm traveling for work are Southpoint (officially called the Streets at Southpoint) near Durham, NC, and Santana Row in San Jose, CA.

Southpoint has more of a mixture of "mall" and "main street". And it doesn't feel like the stores and the street are wedged into an alley. Much more open and expansive.

Santana Row is a whole different beast (this brings up an interactive map) - upscale stores, (some of the ones here, too, like Anthropologie, but also Bang & Olufsen and Gucci), restaurants, a hotel, and high end condos above the ground floor! Multi-story, full height windows, just all sorts of unique features. The residential component in the upper floors just adds an entire different dimension. And it's 3-4 stories, in total.

Maybe these are unfair comparisons because these places are bigger, but...

My 2 cents!

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Looks like GH is crossing from suburban to urban. I hope that continues. Is the parking at Hill Center underground? Also, is there a vehicle/pedestrian connector to Bandywood? That would seem like such a natural thing to do.
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