The following post was written by Patrick Thornton of 8045 Newell Street and the second in a two part series of posts on points of view concerning development of 8001 Newell Street. – BCS
I believe this project is in the best long-term interests of South Silver Spring and Silver Spring as a whole.
This proposed building will bring more people to our community, helping us support more businesses within walking distance, while also helping to keep more eyes on the street to better ensure the safety of the community.
It is true that this project alone can’t bring more walkability and amenities to South Silver Spring, but it is just one piece in ongoing development efforts in the area. Two new buildings have come online on 13th Street this year, and another building right across Georgia from 13th is well under way. The motels on 13th Street will most likely be redeveloped within the next 10 years, and the rest of East-West past The Veridian and past Discovery’s second building will likely be redeveloped as well.
South Silver Spring is in its infancy as a community. We can’t stop revitalizing it now after coming so far. We need additional investment, and this new project on Newell brings that.
Much of the retail on East-West sits vacant because we don’t have enough people living in the area to support retail there, especially with competition from Georgia Ave. and Ellsworth. Each new building allows us to support more retail, making our streets and community more lively.
I’m extremely excited to a see a major, anchor tenant moving into East-West later this year. It’s no coincidence that after several new buildings were completed that more tenants started to show up. Many of us would like to see South Silver Spring better served by more amenities, and new projects that bring in new residents help support these businesses that benefit all of us and our property values.
Communities in the DC area that are more walkable and have more amenities have higher property values. As South Silver Spring has become denser from increased investment, the value of the land around here has gone up. South Silver Spring suffered from disinvestment for decades; I don’t want to see us go back to those times.
The plot of land for this proposed building also sits about a half mile from a red line metro stop. Land that close to the metro stop should be developed. Otherwise, land farther out will be developed, increasing sprawl, putting more cars on the road, lengthening people’s commutes, damaging the environment and making it harder to support walkable communities. Montgomery County deserves better.
Many of us moved to South Silver Spring for a walkable neighborhood close to a metro stop. We want to see South Silver Spring become an even better, more walkable community. One only has to look at the property values (and how strong they have remained after the housing bust) in denser and better served communities in The District and Arlington to see what South Silver Spring could be like.
People want walkability. People want amenities.
But you can’t build a great community overnight. South Silver Spring has come a long way from where it was 10 years ago and progress is ongoing. We’re not done yet, but we’re getting there. More people in our community will help keep our neighborhood healthy and to allow us to support more amenities within walking distance.
I know some people feel this new development will harm them. I disagree that it will, but it’s possible that for some, the increased vitality that comes with development will not outweigh the drawbacks they perceive. For South Silver Spring as a whole, however, this development and the other developments under way are most welcome.
It’s a good sign that during this economic slowdown that developers want to continue to invest in our community, that they want to help make it stronger. Let’s work with the developer and the architect to make sure that we get a building worthy of South Silver Spring.
Let’s build a better community.