News in Brief

On April 7, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Evan Glass

Bicyclettes Before a Bistro?

The quest to bring more retail to South Silver Spring continues.

Local property owner Barry Soorenko told us in January that he wanted to bring a French-style bistro to the space formerly occupied by Mayorga.

While that location is currently being leased by Great Kids Village, Soorenko has long believed that downtown Silver Spring needs an intimate venue for dinner, live music and perhaps some l’amour (despite a new creperie opening nearby in Fenton Village).

But in the meantime, he’s testing the waters for a new venture: a bike store.

“Do you know? There’s no bicycle store in the Silver Spring central business district? I have property adjacent to the site for the Metropolitan Branch Trail,” he emailed to community activists.

Soorenko assures us that even if a bike shop races into the storefront, he still hopes to open a bistro.

What do you think? Oui or no?

 

Can You Spare a Dime?

Faced with a $300 million deficit in fiscal 2012, the Montgomery County Council is weighing County Executive Ike Leggett’s proposal to increase parking fees for its urban centers, mainly Silver Spring and Bethesda. Under the plan, the price for long term parking in Silver Spring would increase from 50 cents to 60 cents an hour and a monthly parking pass would rise from $95 to $113.

According to the Gazette, the proposal would also expand the use of parking meters on Saturdays to include garages and lots in Bethesda, which are currently free of charge. You may recall a similar measure was offered for Silver Spring in 2007, but the Council quickly withdrew the idea after unified opposition from residents and business owners.

The Silver Spring Parking Lot District collected $9.5 million in parking fees/permits and an additional $3.1 million in fines in fiscal year 2011. The 10-cent increase is expecting to raise an additional $650,000 a year countywide.

 

Wheaton’s Five-and-Dime Store?

Despite the aforementioned $300 million deficit, County Executive Ike Leggett continues to support a $4 million subsidy to bring a Costco to downtown Wheaton. If approved by the Council, the county’s money would be used to offset the expected $62 million construction costs.

Supporters say the project would provide 240 construction jobs, followed by 470 retail jobs when the store opens. Opponents protest that the county should not be providing financial incentives to corporations, especially during such a bleak budgetary environment.

 

Etc

In related news, a lawsuit filed against Montgomery County for its subsidy of Live Nation’s Fillmore theater was dismissed last week.

 

 
  • sshistory

    Everyone eats, not everyone bikes. A bicycle shop would have limited public patronage and besides, the Metropolitan Bicycle Trail thru downtown Silver Spring us years off.

  • JoyS

    I’m a fan of bikes, and while there isn’t a bike shop exactly in the central business district, I’d worry a bit about investing in one since there are 2 bike shops extremely close to downtown — one on Grubb Rd and one on GA Ave near 16th St & Goldberg’s Bagel.

  • http://twitter.com/pwthornton Patrick Thornton

    South Silver Spring is really lacking in food options. I’d welcome a bistro or a coffee shop. Ironically, Mayorga couldn’t make it in that spot because of construction; now that the construction is over and there are thousands of new residents, we could really use a cafe and coffee shop.

    Caribou is always packed, and it’s not that close. You have to cross a terrible intersection to get to Starbucks, and its hours are limited. There are some cafes on East-West, but they are all for the NOAA crowd and not open on weekends or at night.

    Most of the other coffee shops in Silver Spring are not that close at all.

  • Evan Glass

    Tiramisu Cafe is in South Silver Spring

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TDV6U42T5V3AVAISO7ZPIYYD3U Brad

    Whatever goes into that space needs to have a wide appeal. I will desperately need to pull in the foot traffic from the SSS area or it will not survive. The wider the appeal the easier it will be to pull in customers from around the area as long as 1) the food is consistent, 2) the service is of good quality, and 3) the prices are not in line with DC prices. With such a big space, they’ll need to ensure they are consistenly filling up their tables to be able to support the work force they hire. While a French bistro sounds great, customers could be resistent to try it if they don’t understand the offerings of a French food establishment. Regardless of what goes in, I’m excited to see something turn in this area……..we need growth!

  • http://twitter.com/pwthornton Patrick Thornton

    Ah yes, I forgot to mention that. I like Tiramisu and they have excellent deserts, but it’s small, can be crowded and isn’t open particularly late. For these reason, I go there less than I should. I believe it closes at 8, which means I can’t really make use of it accept on weekends during the day.

    Even with Tiarmisu, Caribou and Starbucks, we are under capacity for cafes in an urban area like ours.

  • http://twitter.com/pwthornton Patrick Thornton

    The space itself is an issue, as you mentioned. It’s large, which requires a lot of customers. The chain French bistro chain La Madeleine has bigger buildings and brings in a bit of traffic. It can be done with a French place, but it will take some forethought.

    I sometimes wonder if that space would be better off if it were broken up into two smaller spaces. It might even be big enough o house a microbrewery.

    I hope we get a restaurant in that location. Nothing against a bike shop, but I don’t think that location makes any sense for one. There aren’t even bike lanes near it, and Georgia is a terrible road to bike on.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jobomsawin Jimmy Obomsawin

    It doesn’t make sense for a bike shop now, but it will. When the Metropolitan Branch Trail gets extended through Silver Spring to connect to the new transit center to meet up with the Georgetown Branch Trail, it will be going over the overpass. The bike shop would be visible from the trail.

    I would love to see a bike shop there since the one up near Forest Glen is on a stretch of Georgia that is even less bicycle-friendly, but I feel that it would have a better chance of success if it’s in another couple of years when the trail comes through.



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