Greater Greater Washington

Silver Spring mall could get massive facelift, new name

Standing inside City Place Mall, it's as if the revitalization of downtown Silver Spring never happened. After multiple attempts to revive the half-empty mall, the answer could be opening it to the street.


Rendering of the proposed Ellsworth Place Mall. All images from Petrie Ross.

Representatives from Annapolis developer Petrie Ross Ventures presented their plans for the 21-year-old mall at the corner of Colesville Road and Fenton Street last night at the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board's monthly meeting. They want to create several new entrances to the street while reorganizing the mall's interior to draw larger, upscale retailers. Construction could begin this year and the mall could reopen in 2015.

The mall will also get a new name: Ellsworth Place, building on the success of the revitalized Ellsworth Drive next door. "We think it's time for the name to change and the branding to change to send a signal that things aren't the same as they were for 25 years," said partner Walt Petrie.

Mall will get new entrances, national retailers


The mall will get two new entrances, including this one on Ellsworth Drive.

Unlike White Flint Mall, which is being redeveloped as an outdoor shopping center, Ellsworth Place will remain an indoor mall. "It wants to be a mall," said Terry Richardson, president of Petrie Ross. "The retailers who want to be here want a mall experience, just friendlier and more pedestrian-oriented than City Place was."

To that end, Petrie Ross will improve the mall's connections to the surrounding streets, which already have lots of foot traffic. They'll renovate the three existing entrances to draw people in and place new cladding on the mall's newer section, closer to Colesville Road. Signs, lighting and video screens will hang from the existing metal framework that wraps around the building's older portion, originally built as a Hecht's department store in the 1940's.

The developer also plans new entrances on Ellsworth Drive and Colesville Road with escalators leading directly to the mall's upper floors or into a store. Along Fenton Street, there will be a new outdoor dining terrace suspended above the sidewalk to serve a sit-down restaurant. Meanwhile, new signs on the mall's blank rear wall will beckon people standing on the Metro platform two blocks away.


Ellsworth Place's new center court.

Inside, Petrie Ross will replace the existing 1990's Art Deco decor with "more of an industrial, clean look," said Petrie. The mall will get new lighting, a new elevator and new escalators. They also plan to rearrange the layout to improve circulation and combine smaller stores into larger, "junior anchor" spaces for national retailers.

Petrie said he seeks to bring retailers serving the "moderate and up" crowd, with a focus on entertainment venues, restaurants and clothing stores. Some establishments will stay, like McGinty's Public House, Blue Pearl, and the restaurants facing Ellsworth Drive, along with a "refreshed" Burlington Coat Factory. But the food court, which has just one restaurant, will go away, along Galaxy Billards, which will make way for a new entrance.

Several major chains and one "locally owned, regional chain" restaurant have already signed letters of intent to open here, and Petrie Ross is about to sign a lease with one of them. "You're going to recognize this tenant, and be happy to hear who it is," said Petrie. There was no word on what the new stores would be, but attorney Gus Bauman hinted that one of them might be the arts and crafts store Michaels.

On the fifth floor, a 10-screen movie theatre that's been closed since 2004 will be turned into an entertainment venue with "high-end bowling." Petrie compared it to Lucky Strike. "It's a large venue with a lot of activity that will draw a lot of people," he said.

Concerns about local businesses, historic preservation


The mall's renovated entrance at Colesville and Fenton.

After Hecht's closed in 1987, Montgomery County sought a way to bring shoppers back to downtown Silver Spring, but City Place struggled soon after it opened in 1992. When the Downtown Silver Spring complex opened in 2003, the mall had become an afterthought.

Since buying the mall in 2007, Petrie Ross has made several proposals to fix it, ranging from cosmetic changes to turning it into an outlet mall or a Target.

As a result, residents were cautiously optimistic about the mall's future. "I'm personally excited about this and I know people want things to go into this building," said Evan Glass, chair of the advisory board. "But this is the fourth iteration y'all have showed us. So why now? Why this?"

Terry Richardson, president of Petrie Ross, said that after years of recession, shoppers are ready to start spending again and retailers want to serve them. "National retailers . . . hit the pause button" in 2008, he said. "But year by year, sales are increasing."

Residents talked about stores they'd like to see in the new mall, like a bookstore or other "third places" where people could hang out without having to spend money. Board member Praj Kasbekar asked if there could be more local businesses in the mall. "Not everyone is looking for another national chain in Silver Spring," she said.

Historic preservation was another concern. The Hecht's wing is a historic landmark, and any changes to the outside will require approval from the county's Historic Preservation Commission.

Bauman called the proposed exterior alterations "modest," saying they won't drastically alter the fašade. Instead of cutting a hole over the new Ellsworth Drive entrance to put a display window there, Petrie Ross will attach a new sign and glass "shadow box" to the exterior. "Without those entrances, tenants will not come here," Bauman added. "This is what tenants tell us will bring them to Silver Spring."

Groundbreaking could happen this year


Aerial of Ellsworth Place with proposed office building on top.

Representatives from Petrie Ross are already talking to the Montgomery County Planning Department about getting permits. If they get them this fall, Petrie said, construction could start by "the end of the year" and the mall could reopen within 2 years.

There's no word on when work will start on a 9-story, 210,000-square-foot office building above the mall, which was approved with the original project in 1988. The infrastructure needed for the office building is already in place and "we could get the permits tomorrow," said Petrie.

The past failures of City Place shows that malls don't always work in an urban setting. But with over 30,000 people working in downtown Silver Spring and thousands of apartments being built, there's bound to be demand for new places to shop, eat and hang out. The key is making sure that they're not walled off, but connected to the larger urban realm.

Check out this slideshow of renderings of the new Ellsworth Place.

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Dan Reed is an urban planner at Nelson\Nygaard. He writes his own blog, Just Up the Pike, and serves as the Land Use Chair for the Action Committee for Transit. He lives in downtown Silver Spring. All opinions are his own. 

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My favorite part of this is the rendering with the alternate store names. I can't wait to shop at H&W, GSE Shoe Warehouse, Great Buy, Russ, House Goods, and DP Changs. Though, they're missing my favorite developer faux store, "Box and Cylinder."

by Adam L on May 14, 2013 2:07 pm • linkreport

Ironically, H&W and GSE Shoe Warehouse's real-life counterparts are across the street from City Place-er, Ellsworth Place, while the mall actually used to have a Russ on the bottom floor back in the day.

by dan reed! on May 14, 2013 2:09 pm • linkreport

Great, now send them to Ballston. Which has added residences/offices/the ice-plex on top of the mall and is a pretty nice cut through when I need to get home from Ballston.

by drumz on May 14, 2013 2:13 pm • linkreport

Hmm. Seems like a mild facelift and a slight shift in strategy, but overall it's tough to see how that'll help. It's in a weird size category: not big enough to really draw people inside from the sidewalks or from beyond the immediate neighborhood, and not small enough/not enough frontage to subdivide into a bunch of street-facing spaces (a la Georgetown Park).

by Payton on May 14, 2013 2:24 pm • linkreport

Glad to hear that someone is trying to do something with that property. There's already a cluster of national serving retail around Ellsworth. The mall should have more, especially in retail sectors that are already completely chained up. I hope they can make it work and I hope the new entrances help to connect the mall to the bustling street outside.

by Cavan on May 14, 2013 2:30 pm • linkreport

Why is the original Hechts "historic"? If they can't make that site work, tear it down. The indoor mall is no longer the anchor for that area.

by SJE on May 14, 2013 2:31 pm • linkreport

Hah, Adam L, totally missed that. Charlotte's Tales = Victoria's Secret? Not sure about Coast Classic or Julio's. Never knew this mall even existed though I've been to the movie theater and along the pedestrian area there which I like.

by Alan B. on May 14, 2013 2:32 pm • linkreport

I agree it does seem like a relatively tame plan compared to say what Ballston is proposing. I think the issue is sometimes the retail property owners dont know even how to approach residential or other uses so they don't try.

by Alan B. on May 14, 2013 2:34 pm • linkreport

I think getting those new entrances is the best chance of this succeeding. The whole Mall concept is wrong for this location, but opening it up will hopefully help the situation. I like the signage and added lighting though. Across from the Majestic theater it will definatly add to the lively Times Square aspect of that intersection. The county could help immensily by adding a tree'd median to the Colseville side like exists on Georgia Ave. Part of the reason that strip of Colesville is struggling to get a good vibe despite all the great ammenities is the highway feel of that block.

by Thayer-D on May 14, 2013 2:36 pm • linkreport

Memories...

by John Muller on May 14, 2013 3:10 pm • linkreport

I think this is a step in the right direction, especially if they combine spaces and focus on large retailers. Something similar to what is in Columbia Heights with 4-6 big places could work. A bunch of small stores will not work, and that's one of the core issues currently.

Beyond doing that, I don't see this working for this space. This area is urban and people want that urban experience. I don't think they get that. Why don't they consider making a second outdoor area of stores on Ellsworth like Pettersons does farther up the street? That would be more urban and would put more retailers facing the street for street browsing.

My biggest concern is that they'll make this big, bright and tacky and ultimately detract from Ellsworth, which is working really well.

If they actually do get a big bowling alley/arcade and can bring in some big retailers to offer services and products we don't have (crafts, clothing, everyday products), it will be a benefit to the area. If they think offering an indoor mall experience with a few chain restaurants will move the bar, they really don't get DTSS at all.

by Patrick Thornton on May 14, 2013 3:20 pm • linkreport

@Payton

There are already a number of street-facing stores in the mall along Ellsworth Drive, along with the bank on Colesville and the other bank on Fenton Street. The restaurant at Fenton and Colesville and outdoor seating will help provide more activity there as well.

@Patrick Thornton

As was explained last night, the interior of the mall would be reconfigured to hold fewer, larger tenants - what you might call a "mid-box" store, like Best Buy or Bed Bath and Beyond at DCUSA. These are the kind of stores that, in a suburban context, have lots of big, blank walls with little interest to people walking by.

They're actually well-suited to a situation like this: the little stores face the street, while the big ones are upstairs (where the blank walls don't detract from the ped experience and can't be changed anyway) or below ground (where there aren't any windows anyway). And some of the mid-box anchors will have entrances directly from the street, so you get the benefits of street access without the street-killing blank walls.

A lot of people expressed a desire for locally-based retail here, and I think it's worth pushing for. The Mosaic District in Fairfax has a number of local, high-end retailers there, ranging from restaurants like Matchbox to clothing stores, as a way of differentiating that project. Walt Petrie repeatedly said that Silver Spring has good demographics. It's worth exploring whether they're good enough to attract the Matchboxes and South Moon Unders. After all, we're already getting a Sweetgreen.

by dan reed! on May 14, 2013 3:30 pm • linkreport

I agree, nothing about it is historic.

In today's weather I think the mall really needs to have the option to open up doors and windows to create a semi outdoor space. During winter and hot summer bars / restuarants should take advantage of the glass atrium for year round outdoorish seating.

Permeability will help, but it is no panacea. Attracting good merchants is what it really comes down to. "high-end bowling." doesnt sound to me to be that type of merchant.

by Richard Bourne on May 14, 2013 3:30 pm • linkreport

I'm cautiously optimistic about this. If they can make it function more like DC USA in Columbia Heights, I think it can work. As @Patrick Thornton says, the focus should not be on creating a better indoor mall experience. Attracting some quality anchor tenants and making it easier to get to those stores without wandering through the entire mall will go a long way. The office tower on top would also add some needed density to support the new stores and restaurants.

I'm very curious who the "major chain" is that is supposedly about to sign a lease.

by Rebecca on May 14, 2013 3:39 pm • linkreport

The Hecht Company branch store in Silver Spring was a pioneering suburban satellite for one the region's major DC-based retail companies. The elegant, streamlined moderne limstone exterior, with its great public clock at the corner of Fenton and Ellsworth, has been a familiar local landmark for over 60 years. As is the case at the Fillmore (formerly J. C. Penney) and at the Silver Theater, the early and mid-twentieth century architecure of the Silver Spring buisness district is distinctive and of high quality and merits preservation.

by GDubber on May 14, 2013 3:58 pm • linkreport

@Richard: regarding the bowling alley, Petrie clarified later in the presentation that the tenant was a high end entertainment, dining, and meeting venue with a 'bowling component' like Lucky Strike so, fortunately, bowling is not the major part. I wonder who it could be....Dave and Busters? I'm optimistic that even if the initial mix of tenants isn't perfect, the large influx of new SS residents with expendable incomes will create the market for those tenants that initially wouldn't come. Silver Spring development is on fire, and purple line federal funding (followed by construction) is going to pour gasoline on the fire. I'm in favor of all this development...and we have barely scratched the surface of revitalizating Fenton Village.

by Woodsider on May 14, 2013 4:05 pm • linkreport

Dave and Busters would make sense. The White Flint location is not transit friendly and there is really nothing completely comparable closer to downtown DC that I know of. That could definitely be a draw for a certain demographic (15-25?) to the area.

by Alan B. on May 14, 2013 4:14 pm • linkreport

@Woodsider

Petrie did downplay the bowling alley part, but looking at these floorplans they provided me, it appears like half of the 5th floor (where the entertainment venue would go) is taken up by bowling lanes. Personally, I don't have a problem with bowling alleys, though I agree that having a venue where you can do other things besides bowling is a good idea.

by dan reed! on May 14, 2013 4:22 pm • linkreport

I would love to have a nearby bowling alley but agree that something like Dave and Buster's would bring people in. I also think a Target would have done the trick even if it didn't thrill me. I sure hope they pull this off and it becomes a place where people go.

by mela on May 14, 2013 4:40 pm • linkreport

@Alan B, my guesses are:

Coast Classic = Coastal Flats
Julio's = Uncle Julio's

by m2fc on May 14, 2013 4:42 pm • linkreport

@dan: the floor plans in your link look the same as to those that were on public display last night. Did PR give you something different? Either way, until the leases are signed and the space is built out those plans are not final (many might even still be conceptual for the smaller tenant spaces). I don't have a problem with a nice bowling alley either...but as you and others have said, the space would be best served with multiple uses.

by Woodsider on May 14, 2013 4:54 pm • linkreport

Dave and Busters, yes please!

by Chad on May 14, 2013 4:55 pm • linkreport

If I read the blog correctly, then I am unhappy that Galaxy Billiards will not remain in the Elsworth Place Mall. I propoase that business remain because it is also an Entertainment vehicle, for those of us who are not "Moderate and up", but a bit older and enjoying the billiards challenge. I am very happy that the escalators will be re-done, hopefully an UP and DOWN will be available at many locations.

by Jim Riley on May 14, 2013 5:11 pm • linkreport

FINALLY.

by Justin..... on May 14, 2013 5:35 pm • linkreport

What GDubber said. It's architecture like this that gives Silver Spring its personality. The facelift looks pretty cool. Now if only they get rid of the depressing air of urban decay on the inside.

About Dave & Buster's White Flint location, I don't think that is long for this world since the whole mall is getting demolished soon.

by Chris S. on May 14, 2013 6:30 pm • linkreport

cf. Georgetown Park Mall

by Richard Layman on May 14, 2013 8:16 pm • linkreport

Thy can build and spend whatever they want here, until they tame the youths that run the outdoor area on weekends and every night during school vacation/summer breaks, I won't go there. I not want an 'urban' experience, thank you, if that means listening to the hoodrats screaming at each other across the street...all while surrounded by MoCos Finest. It's a shame that they've let downtown SS get this bad.

by Jay b on May 14, 2013 8:16 pm • linkreport

The wing of White Flint that used to hold Bloomingdale's has already been demolished. Several sections of the mall have over 50% vacancy. The mall as a whole is at least 30% vacant. Dave & Busters is the only thing open on the third floor.

by Frank IBC on May 14, 2013 8:44 pm • linkreport

@ Jay -

"Hoodrats"? Did I just hear a dog-whistle being blown?

by Frank IBC on May 14, 2013 8:59 pm • linkreport

Kids these days with their rap music and maceranas. GET OFF MY LAWN!

by Michael on May 14, 2013 9:41 pm • linkreport

It's 0945 on the 15th. What's up with the Breakfast links? They haven't been posted yet.

by Chris on May 15, 2013 9:45 am • linkreport

First went to Silver Spring Mall in 93. My buddies and I used to go to the movies there all the time because it was Metro accessible. Our other go-to movie theater was Union Station, for the same reason.

I'm a bit sentimental about this mall. I hope they can make it work.

Does anyone think a Busboys and Poets would work the typical "B&P miracle" at this location? It seems to liven up any retail area it touches.

by Alan P. on May 15, 2013 9:45 am • linkreport

@ Alan P.

It's my understanding Busboys and Poets refuse to locate in Montgomery County MD because the County Council withdrew their motion that would publicly speak out against international war efforts, and B&P are anti-war. This was brought up when they chose to locate in Takoma Washington DC just a block away from the Maryland/MoCo border. Ironic they have a location in Arlington, don't ya think?

by Gull on May 15, 2013 9:54 am • linkreport

As someone who actually still remembers when this was a Hecht's, I'll say it's time to tear it down and start completely from scratch. All the historic character of the building was lost with the first renovation, and this is only going to erode what little is left further. The big limestone slabs simply do not work in making this area a center point for the community of Silver Spring, and trying to retrofit with yet another mall reeks of failure, because malls in general are failed concepts (and DCUSA, which is essentially a couple of big box stores lumped together in a tight urban area, is not a mall by any stretch--and certainly not what's bring proposed here).

by Circle Thomas on May 15, 2013 9:57 am • linkreport

@ Circle Thomas,
Your basically right aboutr a mall not working here, but they are business people and are holding the rights/permits to build an office tower above the mall for which the foundations are already in place. In other words, they have too much money invested and this is was the easiest way to make a buck. That being said, I think Dan Reed's point about mid-size anchors not helping enliven streetscapes makes sense, so why not put them upstairs?

As for the historic nature of the building, it's kind of blank and certainly designed to be an internally focused building. Even the Woodies downtown (and Sullivan's auditorium) was built with an office wrap to keep the pedestrian realm enlivened by windows. But it is historic and stone. There is a real economic value to keeping some of a places character as embodied by historic buildings. This alteration seems sensitive and reversable, so hopefully they won't knee cap this modest proposal.

by Thayer-D on May 15, 2013 10:20 am • linkreport

The property probably can't be opened-up without great expense and the developer probably isn't able to attract the kind of business that would justify demolition & replacement. This is a facelift and an effort to get some new, supposedly, more upscale tenants. It's likely to fail, much as the original did. Enclosed urban malls just don't work--other than Water Tower Place in Chicago (which is not far from a major fail of a mall), it's tough to find a successful example of this genre, unless you look for very limited malls like DCUSA. I get to DTSS often enough to notice that it's pretty dead as a retail environment with very few exceptions, like Whole Foods, which is a regional draw despite being cramped and poorly managed. DTSS's pre-redevelopment retail was pretty marginal although it filled some unique niches like the shaver store and teh various ethnic groceries. There are a limited number of stores that could fit in DTSS--SS has some affluence, but not on a scale with Bethesda and it anchors a seas of classic suburbia, not clusters of density like Clarendon or, to a lesser extent, Bethesda. Consequently, it competes with lots of other retail and the affluent areas nearby are not that far from the classic upscale retail areas of the region. Despite its many problems, Wheaton Plaza is better positioned to draw the mid-market national chains that have eluded DTSS. It's probably what sparked DTSS's decline 50 years ago,

by Rich on May 15, 2013 10:38 am • linkreport

@Rich

While I agree that downtown Silver Spring has a lot of competition for high-end retail (hence Petrie Ross' focus on more moderate-level stores), the level of density there and in surrounding areas is actually higher than Bethesda's.

Check out this map from Mapping America.

Not only is downtown Silver Spring comparable in density to downtown Bethesda (if not more so), there's a string of equally dense neighborhoods going to the east towards Langley Park and south into DC. These areas may not be as affluent as Bethesda, but they're still middle-class and have substantial disposable income. And if the Purple Line comes, that will generally mean more people and some higher incomes.

This won't sustain Cartier and Hermes like in Friendship Heights, but it bolsters the area's already strong demographics. City Place hasn't struggled because of its neighborhood, but in spite of it.

by dan reed! on May 15, 2013 11:16 am • linkreport

@Chris - GGW editors are probably too busy writing their endorsement of Tommy Wells for mayor to update the Breakfast Links. (I jest. But not really.)

by Rebecca on May 15, 2013 11:35 am • linkreport

Rich, I don't think you're correct in calling Silver Spring a "dead retail environment." You bemoan a lack of national chains but the presesence of mid-market chains like American Apparel, DSW, H+M, New York and Company, and Men's Wearhouse says "hi." Or, how about upmarket chains like the aforementioned Whole Foods, Pacers Running, or City Sports?

Not every location can have large luxury department stores like Bloomingdale's or Saks Fifth Avenue. Our region is highly unusual in that it hosts TWO of locations of those stores. Most metro areas don't have one of those stores. They're very rare.

As for Westfield Wheaton "stealing" stores from Silver Spring... That was certainly true in 1961. You must remember that both retail clusters are now regional serving locations with our Metro system. DSW and H+M both have locations in Wheaton and Silver Spring. You should also note that Wheaton does not have a City Sports.

The point is that Silver Spring, as well as Bethesda, Clarendon, downtown, Friendship Heights etc. are all still works in progress when it comes to retail. The national chains came to dominate their retail sectors during a time when nobody was expanding retail in walkable urban places. They're still figuring out walkable urbanism. The same is true of landowners and how to configure and lease retail space in walkable urbanism. The chains are still learning about what works and doesn't in a walkable urban place rather than in a self-standing big box on the side a traffic sewer suburban arterial.

Here are links to two posts I have written about this topic.

by Cavan on May 15, 2013 11:56 am • linkreport

if the office building atop CP has been zoned/permitted since 1988 why hasnt it been built? Perhaps stop waiting for stores and instead build the office building. Then restaurants will def rent space in the food courts and stores will follow as well.

by lilkunta on May 15, 2013 12:40 pm • linkreport

Hm JUST opened in the Borders bookstore so I doubt they'll move into the mall. Bring Target DeFINITELY! Yes Target is in white oak, p g plaza, wheaton, and whiteflint, but more targets are ALWAYS a good thing.

by lilkunta on May 15, 2013 12:44 pm • linkreport

In reference to Wheaton stealing away Silver Spring's retail business, I can understand there must have been some of that in the 60s when Wheaton Plaza opened. But Wheaton Plaza and Wheaton in general fell into decline by the 80s, so since then it's hard to imagine Wheaton gorging itself on shoppers from Silver Spring.

Although Silver Spring seems to have been very successful in drawing in new residents and offices over the last 15 years or so, the retail sector doesn't appear to have awakened from its several-decade slumber yet. Judging from the quick demise of City Place, maybe the local demand is just not there yet to support dense retail.

However there should be an opportunity here to make Silver Spring more of a regional retail draw. As far as I can tell there is not much in the way of strong retail draws on the eastern edge of Montgomery County, nor in western PG or the northern corner of DC.

by Chris S. on May 15, 2013 1:24 pm • linkreport

Chris, again, I fail to see how you can claim that retail in Silver Spring hasn't thrived since 2004. Just because City Place has stagnated doesn't mean that Silver Spring isn't already a regional draw. In fact, there are multiple national chain retailers across the street from City Place on all sides: New York and Co., Ulta, DSW, H+M, Men's Wearhouse, City Sports, Ann Taylor Loft, Pacers Running, American Apparel, Whole Foods. There are multiple small/local retailers on streets that aren't part of the Fenton Street development too.

The problem with City Place was that it never modernized to today's conditions. Silver Spring was a weak retail area back when City Place opened in the early 1990's. As the area grew into the strong retail environment it is today, City Place did not change with the times. It was not renovated to better engage the street with all the foot traffic. Few people even know there's a mall behind McGinty's.

For an example of a small enclosed mall on top of a Metro station evolving with the times, look at Mazza Galleria in Friendship Heights. As foot traffic in the area increased, it improved its window displays and added/renovated its entrances from the sidewalk. City Place never did the same. This plan is an attempt to renovate the place so that it engages with sidewalk and invites all the foot traffic inside.

by Cavan on May 15, 2013 2:03 pm • linkreport

MUCH better than a bowling ally ("upscale"just makes it overpriced for bowling), would be a climbing wall place like in Rockville and Columbia. Those places are crowded and thriving -- you have to book months in advance if you want to do a party there. Very popular with families for birthday parties, young adults, people into fitness, etc. A great clientele to attract to the Mall. Also, if they did do build the office building, having a rooftop, high-end restaurant would be a huge draw. The view to DC, etc. would be very cool. Do they ever do any kind of marketing polling to see what people drive to Bethesda, Rockville and DC for? Whatever people are willing to endure traffic to get to will do well here.

by DTSS Neighbor on May 15, 2013 2:06 pm • linkreport

Short of places with significant regional draw like Tysons, the only thing that really matters is local income levels.

A climbing wall would be awesome. There's one in Rockville I think but its not terribly metro accessible.

by Alan B. on May 15, 2013 4:00 pm • linkreport

@ lilkunta
Although there have been approvals for an office building on top of the mall for a while, the market fundamentals just don't justify new office space in Silver Spring. Most of the office buildings were built either in the 1960's, or the 1980's. Most of the new office in the region in the past 15 years has been in the 270 corridor, the Dulles corridor or the Ros-Balls orange line corridor. Office space is fairly full in Silver Spring, but rents are still too low to make it profitable in today's construction market. If rents raise $3-$4 per square foot, I bet you'd see a speculative office tower or two proposed. There are a couple other office buildings approved and unbuilt in Silver Spring besides this one, and two that were approved were recently changed to residential.

As for Target, rumor has it the developer tried to get Target, and failed. Target saw Silver Spring as 'suburban' and therefore said a new store requirement would need to be over 100,000 sq ft with a huge amount of private parking. The market analysis Target did didn't show Silver Spring as urban enough for an urban format store. Maybe it's worth everyone reaching out to Target to come to DT SS and suggest City Place as an urban location.

by Gull on May 15, 2013 4:06 pm • linkreport

Why no updates today, GGW?

What am I supposed to do at work.... work??!?!?!?!?

by Nick on May 15, 2013 5:13 pm • linkreport

@Cavan - Well, maybe I just don't know where to look, but if I were to imagine needing to get some new clothes or go Christmas shopping, I can't think of much in Silver Spring that fits the bill. Maybe some stuff has opened up in the last couple years I haven't noticed yet.

If this new mall is half as nice as Mazza Gallerie then I'll definitely swing by to check it out. That would be a huge step forward. Although to be honest I rarely go to Mazza Gallerie unless I'm looking for Christmas gifts at Williams Sonoma. Such a pain to park in Friendship Heights these days. That is one area in which Silver Spring has most local urban centers beat.

by Chris S. on May 15, 2013 6:40 pm • linkreport

Chris, fair enough. You do recognize that you not knowing of any stores that you shop at is very different from there not being any retail,, right?

I shop in Silver Spring, Friendship Heights, downtown, and Tyson's. Doesn't mean I'd say that there aren't lots of retailers in Clarendon and Georgetown.

by Cavan on May 15, 2013 7:10 pm • linkreport

@Cavan - Well, of course there's some retail in SS. The comio book shop I used to frequent as a teenager is amazingly still standing. Hurray for small business! I don't think my relatives would appreciate me Christmas shopping there though. :)

by Chris S. on May 15, 2013 7:21 pm • linkreport

Once these next several apartment buildings get completed, there'll be more incentive to add retail. My guess is that and the Purple line are motivating factors to the City Place developers.

by Thayer-D on May 15, 2013 8:57 pm • linkreport

"Why no updates today, GGW?
What am I supposed to do at work.... work??!?!?!?!?"

A few hours after this article went online, I revisited the site and got an internal server error message.

Sort of wondering if there is a technical issue preventing the posting of new material. Of course the conspiracy theorist in me thinks this is all a diabolical part of AAA's new "War on GGW."

by Adam P. on May 16, 2013 8:11 am • linkreport

Glad to see some kind of effort to do something with the retail landfill that is City Place Mall. I happened to go in there for the first time in ages the other day simply to kill a few minutes before an AFI film started. It was even sadder than my previous visit a year earlier. I think a better idea would be to tear down the mall as it's still an odd space that takes a lot of escalators or stairs to cover. I'm sure the space could be used for something much better than an indoor mall. Still, maybe one last attempt to bring it to life is warranted. If that doesn't work, knock it down and put something else there.

by Lancette on May 16, 2013 4:05 pm • linkreport

@ Rich

Tysons, Wheaton, Montgomery and PG Plaza malls seem to be doing fine by the foot traffic and they are all urban.

by kk on May 17, 2013 2:33 pm • linkreport

@ Gull: HOGWASH: I disagree. United Theraputics just moved there world headquarters from NC to SS. The CEO build not one BUT TWO buildings on Spring @ Cameron

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=spring+stree+and+cameron+silver+spring+MD&hl=en&ll=39.003794,-77.019675&spn=0.000033,0.01693&sll=39.013048,-77.028923&sspn=0.133381,0.270882&hnear=Spring+St+%26+Cameron+St,+Silver+Spring,+Montgomery,+Maryland+20910&t=m&z=16&layer=c&cbll=38.999642,-77.027841&panoid=4OgwwTYtUsx4hRpLVurb9A&cbp=12,216.8,,0,0

She also owns the parking garage on Spring btwn Colesville & Cameron; as well as the Colespring Plaza Apt Building. She is waiting for the leases of the current residents to run out then she is knocking down that building and adding a 3rd building to her UT complex.

But if City Place had the office building atop the mall perhaps she would have saved the cost of buying the parking garages and apt building and instead jsut rented office space!

by lilkunta on May 17, 2013 4:05 pm • linkreport

@chris S; i think williams sonoma should come to SS. I think it would do well. There are hi income parts of SS like woodside park, white oak, calverton, and colesville so Williams Sonoma would do well.

I too am SOO GLAD Alliance Comics isnt closed. The rent keeps increasing and but I hope they survive.

by lilkunta on May 17, 2013 4:17 pm • linkreport

Commercial Assessments can do the As-Builts or Facility Condition Assessment for any company looking to move into a new retail location in the Mall.

by David on May 21, 2013 1:30 pm • linkreport

Please keep Marshall's!

by salt on Nov 16, 2013 5:18 pm • linkreport

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