Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Thought you might want to hear an update on the efforts thus far to get Montgomery County to designate 8001 Newell Street as a park.

On Friday, August 31, Marc Elrich, Council member-at-large on the Montgomery County Council, visited with a small group of residents from both 8045 Newell Street and the Eastern Village Cohousing (EVC), and we provided him with a tour of the 8001 Newell Street property.  Marc currently serves on the Council’s Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee (PHED), where he focuses on ensuring that development occurs at a pace that fits the County’s infrastructure.  It was a very positive meeting, and Marc provided some good suggestions for reaching out more broadly with County officials and offering recommendations on how we can better plug into some of the discussions being held by various Silver Spring political groups.

On Friday, September 7, we also submitted the request to the County that the property at 8001 Newell Street be designated as a park.  As part of that submission, we informed County officials that over 340 signatures have been collected, thus far, on our petition.  Signatures have come from not only 8045 Newell Street and EVC but also the Silverton, the MICA, the Aurora, the Blairs, Veridian, Rock Creek Spring, Spring Garden, 1200 East-West Highway, the Galaxy, the Bennington, Falkland Chase, and even D.C.!  If you have not yet had the opportunity to sign the petition, please do so now and JOIN OUR CAUSE – and share the link with others that you think might also wish to see a park developed at 8001 Newell Street instead of a seven-story apartment building.  Go to http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/silverspringpark.

Sometime in the next 60-90 days, the Montgomery County Planning Department will be reviewing both our request AND the Comstock apartment project plan.  We anticipate that there will be a public hearing where the County will solicit community feedback on the Comstock proposal.  This hearing will likely occur in December.   At the same time, there may be a public hearing on our request for a park sometime in the fall.  We will provide an update to this blog as soon as we know the date(s) for either of these hearings.

In the meantime, although your petition signature is an important part of the community input that the County receives, you are urged to attend any of the open political meetings that serve the Silver Spring area.  For instance, the Silver Spring Citizen Advisory Board (CAB) meets the second Monday of every month in the downtown Civic Building on Ellsworth Drive at 7:00 PM.  (http://www6.montgomerycountymd.gov/mcgtmpl.asp?url=/Content/RSC/SilSprng/BoardsCommittees/citizenadvisoryboard.asp).  The next meeting of the CAB is Monday, October 8.

There is also a Neighborhood’s Committee under the CAB, and it meets the fourth Monday of every month at 7:30 PM – also at the Civic Building.    The Neighborhood Committee handles matters pertaining to the quality of life in neighborhoods, including, but not limited to public health planning, community redevelopment, school-community relations, housing, education, the Arts, and the natural environment in the region.  We encourage you to attend the next meeting of this Committee!

We are also looking into having a table at the upcoming 6th Annual South Silver Spring Street Fest, Saturday, September 29, from 12 – 6 PM, on Kennett Street.  If you have not been able to sign the petition, we will have some available during the festival.  We can even give you a “behind the scenes” tour looking out over the storage facility, which provides another vantage to assess the impact of a proposed apartment building in our community.

So there is a lot of good progress, and we look forward to your continued engagement and support in the efforts to convince the County that 8001 Newell Street should be a park – and not another monolithic building.

We have developed a great PowerPoint slide deck, which has information on the storage facility site in question, some historical background, existing open space in the South Silver Spring area, and other interesting data.  If you are interested in obtaining this information and you would like to be involved in our continued efforts, please contact us at park_now_for_southsilverspring@yahoo.com.

 

40 Responses to Making 8001 Newell Street a Park: An Update by Renee Tatusko

  1. jag says:

    No offense, but not even being able to reach your exceptionally meager goal of 500 signatures should be seen as a red flag.

    Would we rather see yet another impractical, low use pocket park or, alternatively, increase the vibrancy and tax base of South Silver Spring? Maybe even *gasp* have a large enough population to fill some of the innumerable vacant storefronts plaguing SSS!

  2. Jon says:

    “Signatures have come from . . . 8045 Newell Street . . . the MICA, the Aurora, the Blairs, Veridian, . . . 1200 East-West Highway, the Galaxy, the
    Bennington”

    “the efforts to convince the County that 8001 Newell Street should be a park – and not another monolithic building”

    Pot, meet kettle.

  3. Sandy says:

    Good post. What some seem to be missing is that a master plan drawn up when only the Blairs and the low Spring Gardens, etc. inhabited this part of town comes to look very different when, a few years later, SSS has become the most densely inhabited part of the County. The County has already GOT what it wanted: lots of housing fairly close to Metro in an area that was forbidding in 2000, and a hugely expanded tax base. Now we need a park (even an historic park where Abe Lincoln really played ball!), all green, to keep a balance between intense development and places that allow us to breathe–literally and metaphorically. A lot of folks have been righteously throwing the NIMBY insult around. Of course some of the resistance comes from those who would look out right at a seven story building in a 4-5 story neighborhood, but a) many in the larger area have expressed concerns with a manhattanization of SSS and b) it’s not NIMBY so much as it’s NOIMBY–not ONLY in our backyards. There are many other empty, or near-empty lots for building close to Metro.

  4. Dan Reed says:

    The DC area continues to grow, but it’s also a very expensive place to live, and there is a dwindling supply of open land in desirable, close-in neighborhoods. There AREN’T any empty or near-empty lots in the surrounding area – most of them are spoken for, whether for new development or existing buildings that aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Thirty years ago, MoCo decided to cordon off a third of its land to be preserved for agriculture and parkland forever. The trade-off is that, given the need for housing, we have to build in existing communities like South Silver Spring.

    Personally, I’d rather build in an existing neighborhood with existing amenities, on a site that’s already developed, than on open land that a) is already natural and b) lacks existing infrastructure.

    As I’ve written before on my blog and Jimmy Obomsawin pointed out in a recent post on this blog, there’s already a lot of open space in South Silver Spring. If neighborhood residents really care about the quality of park space there (and not just keeping a building out of their backyard), they should start by making the ones they’ve got better. And if Renee’s worried about another “monolithic building” in her midst, I hope she’s on the design committee arranged by the developer. If South Silver Spring could use anything, it’s better architecture.

  5. Mickey says:

    I can’t agree with you, Dan. Current – as of August 31, 2012 – vacancy rates in SSS are over 8 percent, not including Galaxy and Orion. Further. aeo State housing dept study Gin GJune 2012 – prepared by the real estate industry for the department – noted a GLUT of 320 apartments in excess of demand, even BEFORE including Galaxy (125 units), Orion (46 units) and the one being built on Georgia Ave (210 units). Not to mention buildings like Solaire or under way on the other side of the metro. So while there was at one time fewer choices in SSS for those desiring a walkable lifestyle near metro, who were also priced out from DC, there is now a plentiful supply. And don’t say these apartment vacancies will be filled when the economy turns around. The job market in DC and MoCo for the folks who choose SSS as a possible home remains one of the most competitive – with lowest unemployment rates – in the region and country .

  6. SS Hombre says:

    I have a question that maybe someone can help answer. If Jimmy and Dan are right that there are so many open (but not.green ones with grass, trees. or lawns) spaces in SSS, and let’s say we build apartments on all available properties in the area, what do we say in 10 years when there is no land left available for a park (in a 5 minute walk from SSS) and then there is then a desire for green parks ? Do we say too bad we can’t meet the demand ? Do we say “oops” we never planned for this growth and that amenities are important to think about ahead of time ? Do we say “it’s not a big deal and I will walk 20 minutes, even if I really want it something accessible and walkable in my neighborhood ?

  7. Dan Reed says:

    Mickey, do you have any links to the reports you’re talking about?

  8. Dan Reed says:

    Thirty years ago, Montgomery County set aside one-third of its land to be preserved for agricultural use or in its natural state forever. Another tenth of the county is parkland. The tradeoff is that we have to build somewhere, and that somewhere is in places like downtown Silver Spring. Let’s be clear: there are a lot of parks and pocket parks in and around DTSS, whether residents want to believe it or not and whether they choose to take advantage of them or not.

  9. mickey says:

    Dan, go to Zillow and go to the State Housing Dept website to find these reports. How would you refute the real estate market conditions and conclusions?

  10. There are lots of parks in Silver Spring, even green ones. About an 8 minute walk from Newell St. sits Jesup Blair Park, and its acres of grass, trees and playing fields. Less than a mile away also sits one of the largest urban parks in the country, Rock Creek Park. Even close than those are the urban garden plots.

    South Silver Spring has a lot of space dedicated to parks already. The issue is that the parks we’ve had in the past haven’t been very good. We need to work with the developer of 8001 Newell to ensure that we get a park next to the new building that works for our community.

    We also need to work with the county to take our existing urban parks and make them work better for the residents.

  11. Mickey, please provide links and citations.

  12. Sandy,

    Our building is 6 stories high and due to its pitched roof, will be taller than the new building going up next door. The new building will not be out of character for our neighborhood, and will in fact be a much better fit for SSS than our own building. It has an urban design, will have a brick exterior and provide retail and green space for our community.

    Our community already has lots of public park space, and there was no mention of support for a new park before this new building was proposed. When a new building was proposed in the back yard of our building, a few residents suddenly discovered that our community needed a new park.

    You’ve been at the same meetings as me, and several of those most in support of building a park here want to do so because they don’t want their views altered and believe that a green space will be better for their property values. However, new buildings that fit our community and that support walkability, will increase our property values (see Washington, DC for examples of this).

    I’m not opposed to new parks in South Silver Spring. But public park space serves all in the community, not just those who think they are entitled to having a view of a park outside their windows. And because public park spaces serve the entire community, those public spaces should be put in locations where there is need and where they will be utilized.

    In addition, 8045 Newell residents enjoy their own private, green park that is virtually unused by residents of the building. We just had a round of emails through our building about how to better make use of the space. If our residents can’t even use our own private park, why will we suddenly use a park on the other side of our building?

    What I fear most about putting a park on this plot of land is that it will sit unused, a wasted asset for our community. Building lively public parks isn’t easy. Silver Spring is littered with parks that have gone unused due to poor location and design. You can’t just build a park somewhere and expect that it will be a vibrant space, and this proposed location is far from retail, cultural destinations and places of employment to make it a vibrant park. This location also sits by several public parks, and a few very large parks with ample green space are within walking distance for residents.

    What we need is not more parks but rather better parks. Our underutilized parks could be reinvented to be more community serving.

    The best way to make Silver Spring and Montgomery County more breathable is to get people walking to work, retail and other destinations and out of their cars. This new building supports that and helps us support more walkable retail and businesses. Building a new park here will force us to build farther out in Silver Spring and Montgomery County, necessitating more roads, more parking spaces and more air pollution. Hardly more breathable for anyone.

    We’ve got a lot of public parks already in Silver Spring. Let’s make those better and help support more investment and walkability in our community. It’s a win-win.

  13. EngagedSSResident says:

    Patrick, I am not trying to get into your disagreement with Sandy but ….

    I live in the Bennington, not 8045, and I signed the petition. I take great offense at your comment that the park is intended to benefit “just those who think they are entitled to having a view of a park outside their windows.” I want a park in my neighborhood that is accessible and walkable less than 8 minutes away …. so don’t think it just 8045 people are in it just for themselves. (And, I know others in the neighborhood who do not live in 8045 who also signed the petition and share my shared community viewpoint !) I have long legs and walk quickly. I walked from the storage facility to Jessup Blair – 10 minutes (not 8). And my pedometer measures 1.1 miles from your building to Rock Creek (not less than 1 mile). So don’t give disingenuous measures to subvert the argument that others are making for a park.

    You might suggest that the open space by my building (on the side where the sushi place is) could be a green space, but architecturally and from a design perspective, it is too late. You are naive – and I am an architect – to think that “surely” that surface parking spaces could be converted to green. Oh, by the way, if you look at the planning code and Comstock’s proposal – I was in attendance on August 20 at the Civic Center – there is no promise of “GREEN” space. It is “open space”, conveniently shaded “GREEN” to fool people that it could be, but not necessarily be, something with grass or trees.
    You fear that the park will be underutilized. I think it will be activated, especially since this issue is the cause of such intense feelings within the neighborhoods. This intensity of feeling will mean that it will be designed with community input that I think we both agree is needed.
    But even if it less than utilized at 100%, why is this considered a wasted resource? Parks do cost money to maintain, agreed, but every land economist will tell you that the net benefit of a park (with increased property values of homes in a 2000 foot radius) less maintenance cost of park is GREATER than the property tax values gained from residential building because the residents of a new apartment building will use public services in the neighborhood that cost the County money. Further, the County’s policy of giving tax abatements to spur SSS development means that there is only a marginal gain of revenue of a residential building over the storage facility. With these abatements in place, the County actually will continue to lose money on a residential deal.
    At the August 20 meeting, Comstock reps suggested that we could have retail in the building – like a dry cleaner or coffee shop – do we need a fourth dry cleaner in the neighborhood or a fourth coffee shop? (or will that go out of business or not have enough customer demand to merit its survival ?)

    Lastly, you even suggest, “I’m not opposed to new parks in South SIlver Spring.” So, where would you put a park then in your less than humble opinion ? Where do you put it after all parcels are put out for residential development? Once this parcel is gone at 8001 Newell, that’s one less possibility of location in the neighborhood. And, it was not the idea of residents who learned “too late” that a park was an option and know are fighting – the park has been an option by the County even in the 2000 plan, but like all plans, not everything is implemented all at once.

  14. SilvertonReaderinSS says:

    The proposed location is far from places of employment? far from retail ?

    Discovery employees on Kennett Street, NOAA employees on East West might not go there from lunch?

    What about picking up sandwiches at Giant on East West and walking over the 4 minutes and eating a picnic lunch ?

    I don’t understand, Patrick, why you say a park is too far from these things to be activated? What’s to say that the building will be 100% occupied? If vacancy rates are now at 8 percent in the immediate vicinity, they will only increase in aggregate with more housing added to the supply. Are high vacancy rates for apartments also a sign of lack of activation?

    The community has a win-win with a building? If it is so obvious, why is there such contention against the building? Why did people sign the petition? Why did they speak out against the density at the August 20 meeting? And, it was not just folks at 8045 Newell, who were at the meeting or those who signed the petition? Interesting that I see only the same limited number of voices for the building, yet I have seen different and increasing numbers of people for the park everywhere I turn ? Hmmm.

  15. Where did you enter Rock Creek Park? If you enter by the Lowell School, it is definitely under 1 mile. I’d be more than happy to show you and other community members the quickest way to enter the park. It’s a heck of a park, and I strongly encourage people to make use of it, particularly in the Fall when it is beautiful.

    The most logical place for a new park in South Silver Spring is during a redevelopment of the Blairs shopping center. The county has already drawn up how this could work. Parking would either be put underground or in a parking garage and what is currently the surface parking lot by the Giant and other shops there would be a green space. In addition, this redevelopment would also incorporate making the buildings there more than one story and more urban in character. This space would gain more office space, more business space, more retail and more park space.

    This proposal would give South Silver Spring its own destination similar to Ellsworth. It’s the perfect location in South Silver Spring for a community park that brings together people from all over our community.

    We should be pursuing development of new buildings and parks in the best long-term interest of Silver Spring. Converting a surface parking lot with a strip mall into a mixed-use complex with a large village green is a much better long-term plan.

  16. I use the parks in our area several times a week and have not found our park situation lacking. Could some of them be better designed? Could we make them better? Sure, but there is plenty of space already allocated to parks.

    I have places to walk my dog, places to play basketball and football, places to go hiking, places to sit and relax and eat lunch or people watch. What would really make our parks better is more people and more vitality.

    As someone who uses the parks in the area regularly, I do not find we are lacking in facilities.

  17. OldTimerinSS says:

    Incorrect, Patrick, or misinformation on your part. The County drew up Blair Plaza as a park as an example of one of SEVERAL options for a park in the community. Pretty schematics are nice for the imagination, but not real for the practical.
    But you are not so naive as to think that Giant or any of the other large anchors are going to give up 25% (or more) of their sales, while this construction takes place to make room for underground parking. Or are you?
    Have you actually asked the owners of the stores about their interest in having a park there? I have asked them and each of them sees it as a highly disruptive influence on their businesses. Also, where would people park their cars during construction – I see few spaces available for the many shoppers on the weekend on the street.
    8001 Newell offers the most feasible and imminently practical solution for a park NOW – not in a 5 or 10 year horizon – because the owner of the storage facility is willing to sell his building and land NOW.
    As to entering thru Lowell School and Rock Creek being less than one mile, you might have found a short cut that I don’t know about. But how do you offer green park amenities NOW to those in the neighborhood who are not as ambulatory as you seem to be. What do you suggest to those older residents or disabled residents who just want some quiet, green space in their immediate vicinity NOW, if they cannot walk the distance to Jessup Blair or walk to Rock Creek, or do not have the time for a 5 year (minimum) wait for the Blair Plaza project (if ever feasible – see my comment above) to ever get off the ground?

  18. AngerinShepherdPark says:

    By the way, you and your neighbors who walk your dog need to clean up after your pets. Shepherd Park residents get dumped on – literally and figuratively – by self-indulgent persons like you, Patrick, who really are not thinking about the community’s quality of life. More people and more vitality in the area is one thing; more concrete is not the same as a better community. Some people – including many of my neighbors in Shepherd Park and those across the street in Silver Spring (in Spring Gardens and Rock Creek Springs) – chose to buy, live and own in the neighborhood because it is a residential community, not Patrick’s (and other persons) falso idea of New Urbanism utopia.

  19. Alice says:

    “the tradeoff is that we have to build somewhere” – why do we have to constantly build, Dan ? In Portland, OR, where I am from, we realized that smart growth means that development does not have to be a continuous activity, in order to have the quality of life that we expect from an urban environment that caters to the walkable successful professionals that choose to live there. I moved to DTSS three years ago and I love the lifestyle here, but at some point, you need to blow the whistle and stop development and just choose among the limited universe of housing options you have. I support the park because that is my blowing the whistle and telling the County, “enough is enough”.
    So, I guess, in Dan (and other pro-development perspective), after all the land goes to residential buildings and not other amenities, development should still continue. By extension of his argument, we should have a rezone to increase density to the scale of Crystal City. I want to live in Silver Spring in low-rise, because I like the community feel that brings; I don’t need to be surrounded by several 20 story buildings to create a concrete canyon of Manhattan.

  20. You need to keep building because people keep being born. The U.S. is around 312 million people right now. It will be 500 million by mid century. Some estimate that we may top 1 billion by 2100.

    Why do we have to build? Because we need housing for people.

  21. I do clean up after my pet, and I encourage everyone to do so for the benefit of us all (and it is the law). There really is no excuse for someone to not pick up after their pets.

    You chose to buy in a suburban area in another jurisdiction. I chose to buy in an urban area in another state. That’s the market working. I’m not about to make suggestions for how Shepherd Park should be developed in the future.

  22. This was supposed to be from me. I don’t know why it didn’t take my name.

  23. Dan Reed says:

    Alice, Portland has an Urban Growth Boundary that restricts development on the suburban fringe, just like Montgomery County with its Agricultural Reserve. And Portland, like Montgomery County, has a policy of building up in close-in, transit-served areas. Have you been to the Pearl District or the Southwest Waterfront in recent years? Or have you seen the redevelopment planned at Lloyd Center? Portland is growing, they’re building, and they maintain a spectacular quality of life while preserving a ton of open space.

    I’m glad that you have a home and a neighborhood that you like, but you don’t get to decide when people stop having kids/start households/want to move into your neighborhood. The best we can do is, in fact, the Portland example. And if this were Portland, there might just be an apartment building at 8001 Newell Street.

    BTW, I grew up in downtown Silver Spring in an 18-story building (Georgian Towers) and there was a very strong sense of community.

  24. Harris says:

    The DC metro is 5 million people and growing. It covers multiple jurisdictions, not just Silver Spring. Other areas are also expanding like Silver Spring. The competition for housing location is a competitive one, based on the options you can choose – apartment, townhouse, private home – AND the amenities you offer. If you just build housing, you have the unintended consequence of taking away the amenities that drive people away from the area in the first place.
    Planning is intended to be just that – thinking forward for the long-term; not having knee-jerk reactions to population trends. Thinking forward for the long-term means that growth is balanced. Adding just buildings to the area without a check is not a balanced growth plan.

  25. Nathan says:

    Does it make sense to have a community where neighbors get to know each other more than once a year at the Silver Spring Fest ? does it make sense to have a community where neighbors know each other more than just passing conversations in the elevator? How does adding another building create ‘community” and get people to know one another ?

  26. Robert Lostrum says:

    Really, Patrick, I am supposed to believe that. Every other post has your name, so why didn’t it take it that time ?

  27. Bob Lerman says:

    Right, you are, the company that owns the space can decide what makes the most money long term. The most money that the company can make is by having parking adjacent to the stores. Why would they give up prime land for a park if it is not in their financial interest to do so? And, if a seller of a storage facility realizes he can make more money to sell it for a park, would it be then worthy for a park or do you just make a residential building in general? And if money is the only deciding factor, how do you justify a residential building when it makes less revenue for the County than a park would generate?

  28. OldTimerinSS says:

    Patrick – where is your answer to:
    ” But how do you offer green park amenities NOW to those in the neighborhood who are not as ambulatory as you seem to be. What do you suggest to those older residents or disabled residents who just want some quiet, green space in their immediate vicinity NOW, if they cannot walk the distance to Jessup Blair or walk to Rock Creek, or do not have the time for a 5 year (minimum) wait for the Blair Plaza project (if ever feasible – see my comment above) to ever get off the ground?”

  29. Brian Savoie says:

    Everyone has been very respectful here – until this post. Please, please, please – try to keep this discussion civil. I know there are many strong feelings here, but this is a place for a civil expression of opinions. I believe this particular post resorts to accusations and name calling. Please refrain from indulging in these activities.

  30. JGE1023 says:

    If a park is such an immediate need in South Silver Spring, why wasn’t there any visible support or community outreach prior to the announcement of the development project?

    I think most residents of South Silver Spring would like more park and green space, however the fact that there have not been prior efforts by this group or others for additional park space as well as the fact that the focus is on ONLY the 8001 Newell Parcel are facts that I believe should be considered.

  31. Mickey says:

    The idea of a park on that particular site has been considered for at least three years by the Planning Department. It only jumped into the public debate because there had been no previous action (over the past three years) that called for land disposition to be made on that site. The construction of Galaxy and Orion did not spark an outcry from the public, because these were vacant parcels that were zoned residential. The storage facility – an existing commercial building – is on land that is zoned residential but the commercial use of the current property was grandfathered into the 2000 Master Plan.

  32. David says:

    “Gasp” 30,000 people live and work around downtown Silver Spring and yet “gasp” we need more people to fill innumerable vacant storefronts. Why do you think there is a mismatch from the consumer demand against the number of vacancies? …
    Also, “gasp” the tax base has to expand but “gasp”, the County gives away abatements so that added development “gasp” does not really fill the coffers the way that the developers purport.
    If you want all the choices of urban life in dense quarters, choose Crystal City which “gasp” has no sense of community life and “gasp” can’t be sustained because BRAC moved the jobs away from there to “gasp” non-walkable portions of MD and VA.

  33. Brian Savoie says:

    I don’t mean to nitpick here. Honestly, my mind is not made up in any direction – and I’m just trying to get accurate information.

    The land the Galaxy and Orion were constructed on was commercial (8 years ago). It was a series of strip commercial buildings (similar in nature to what is located further up eastern). They only became vacant when they were purchased and bulldozed to create residential buildings.
    There was also previous action to make the storage space a park. This action started when Harvey Maisel (the owner of the property) was looking to self develop a 4 story structure. However, when Maisel scrapped these plans the push for a park faded away.

  34. David says:

    Thanks for the historical perspective. So, indeed, the plans for a park at 8001 Newell are not a “sudden” or late-breaking development, but an idea that had been pursued for a while, even if the idea of it was submerged for a while.

  35. Or perhaps, the idea for a park only props up when a bigger building is planned for that site. Once the previous plans for a building were scraped it was the perfect time to push for a park, if that’s what people really wanted.With no other use planned for the space, park proponents could have pushed the county to buy the land to make it into a park.

    But they didn’t.

  36. Mark Connors says:

    Love your condescending attitude, Patrick. Very civil of you ! NOT. I am for a building, too, but with your tone, you make more enemies than friends for the cause.

  37. Claire says:

    Your condescending attitude, Patrick, does more to make enemies than friends to the pro-building position that we both share.

  38. JGE1023 says:

    Is it then just a coincidence that the public debate has arisen at the same time as the plans for development?

    Perhaps it would be more productive to push for a park in a location where there is not a pending development?

  39. jag says:

    Huh? How did you get from 30K (a laughably incorrect figure) to BRAC and yet not even stumble upon addressing the issue at hand? Is this some sort of game I’m not understanding? “Mention everything under the sun that doesn’t mean anything”?

  40. Jeff says:

    30,000 figure is from Downtown Silver Spring – the promo arm of the neighborhood. The issue at hand is whether there is market for retail in DTSS. There is the market. Why the vacancies on East-West ? As a commercial real estate broker, every large retailer I spoke with who has considered E-W as a location – among several name brand entities – indicate that E-W is not a viable option because of the commercial rent prices in the area. They each acknowledge that there is plenty of market potential but they won’t break even unless the rents are lower to do business. (and, the retailers are not deterred by the street view at Veridian or 1200 E-W either). And, while the proposed building on Newell is proposed to have retail on the ground floor at reduced rate, the amount of retail there – at 3,000 sf – is to small to attract a brand name retail player that might not get the foot traffic that a location on E-W would be more successful to achieve.

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