Greater Greater Washington

Development


Want a Trader Joe's? Then add more residents

Residents in many neighborhoods often say they wish their neighborhood had a Trader Joe's or other new retail options. There's only one real way to get such businesses to move in: Add more residents who can shop there.


Photo by Il Primo Uomo on Flickr.

Lydia DePillis writes about some recent zoning fights. Along Georgia Avenue, ANC 4B fought a proposal to build 400 apartments and retail at the Curtis Chevrolet site, now slated for a Wal-Mart.

The 4B resolution stated, "Our Community is homeowner-based and family oriented, we want to maintain the character and integrity of our community," and "With the addition of over 1000 more residents in a compact area the likelihood of crime and violence increases dramatically." Lydia says the neighbors wanted a Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and a movie theater for the site.

Many neighborhoods talk about how they want a Trader Joe's or Whole Foods, or in many cases even any grocery store. But then, at the same time, they oppose new housing in the neighborhood because of fears of traffic (or crime, which makes absolutely no sense since more people being around reduces crime).

The Trader Joe's moved in to the West End while the West End was dramatically developing. Whole blocks of formerly light industrial uses were turned into fairly high density residential buildings (high density for DC, not for most other cities). In Logan Circle, the Whole Foods moved in knowing that substantial development was planned or already underway in the immediate vicinity.

In Cleveland Park, there are constant debates about the health of the commercial strip and the overlays that limit restaurants in an effort to attract more non-food establishments. But the real reason there aren't more non-food establishments is that there aren't enough people. If the long-ago proposal had gone forward to turn the Park and Shop strip mall into some tasteful larger buildings, similar in size to others on Connecticut Avenue, instead of landmarking the thing, Cleveland Park could have more of what it wants.

It's simple. Unless your neighborhood is in the process of growing rapidly, it's unlikely to get more retailers and probably not the kind you want. Most of the time, the retail market is close to an equilibrium where the number of retailers matches the demand for retail in that area. Only when a neighborhood is gaining population is the time ripe to add more.

Once upon a time, the commercial corridors thrived without this added housing, except for two factors. First, family sizes were substantially larger, and a typical single-family house might have parents, 3-4 kids and even some relatives living there. Now, family sizes are smaller, but many neighbors also fight proposals to allow basement or garage apartments, even though those would simply restore the numbers of people that the house used to hold.

Second, people shop more online and more in suburban big box centers. That's not going to change. Bringing big box retail into DC, as these Wal-Marts do, might keep more of the tax dollars from big box shopping in DC, but won't create healthy neighborhood shopping corridors.

Neighborhoods can either stay the same size, and see local retail gradually decline as online shopping grows and DC adds big box stores. Or, they can add enough new residents to support new retail options. Most of us prefer the latter. Some people, though, want to stop new residents but also have the retail. That's completely unrealistic.

Lydia also reports that the last act of the lame-duck ANC 5C, which includes Bloomingdale, was to oppose Big Bear Cafe's request to change its zoning to commercial. Since several new, more retail-friendly commissioners are joining in the new year, there's a good chance they will quickly reverse course, and even so, the Zoning Commission is unlikely to heed this last gasp stance against change.

David Alpert is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Greater Greater Washington and Greater Greater Education. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He loves the area which is, in many ways, greater than those others, and wants to see it become even greater. 

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I should point out that adding density is generally necessary to attract these kinds of business, but is rarely sufficient. The West End Trader Joe's was attracted in large part due to lengthy lobbying, pestering, letter writing, etc. by the Foggy Bottom Association in cooperation with Jack Evans and other stakeholders in the neighborhood. Trader Joe's in particular is very very cautious about entering new markets. Of course now their FB/WE store is the most profitable on the East Coast.

by Erik Weber on Dec 22, 2010 11:41 am • linkreport

I've got to hand it to the FB Trader Joes for handling such large volumes of customers in such a small space, with relative grace. The shelves are always stocked, and even when the line snakes around the store, the queue moves extremely quickly. Never more than a 5 minute wait.

On the other hand, you can't quite say the same thing about the Columbia Heights Target, which more and more resembles a Soviet commissary -- depressing, apathetic staff, everything's painted red, and the lines are huge, despite there being nothing on the shelves.

by andrew on Dec 22, 2010 11:46 am • linkreport

Takoma Park

by jnb on Dec 22, 2010 11:48 am • linkreport

So, people shopping online for groceries prevents a trader Joes in Cleveland Park?

The first part of the argument is cogent, although untested (because of smaller familes there are less people in a particular area). But the second part -- people shopping online and in bigbox -- doesn't apply to grocery stores.

The reality is this is market controlled by a few large enterprises,and we've accepted the efficiencies they bring, at the cost of destroying small retailers.

Retailing laws -- as in Germany or Japan -- preserve those small retails spots but at a huge cost.

by charlie on Dec 22, 2010 11:57 am • linkreport

I only hope that some of the neighbors of Barracks Row and their ANC commissioners read this. Neighbors are frustrated that more and more retail is being taken over by restaurants, and have responded by pressuring the ANC to not approve any new liquor licenses. The two latest casualties on 8th St were an independent video store that mostly made money renting XXX videos and a vet that doesn't need the higher foot traffic and can easily survive on a different part of the Hill. I would personally love more dining options (preferrably casual, family friendly places as long as I'm asking). Of course, if Trader Joes wants to move into the Blue Castle at the corner of 8th and M, that would be great too.

by SE on Dec 22, 2010 12:00 pm • linkreport

The trick with Target is to go on Wednesday. Restock happens on Monday/Tuesday nights, so there's plenty of stuff on Wednesday/Thursday, but the weekend hordes gut the place by Saturday afternoon.

by JS on Dec 22, 2010 12:03 pm • linkreport

The situation with Trader Joes in Clarendon leads me to suspect that the strong demand for TJ stores means they they have a pretty strong bargaining chip when it comes to getting things like parking, zoning concessions, etc. If the local leadership isn't willing to play ball, then too bad, they'll go elsewhere.

by Rob Pitingolo on Dec 22, 2010 12:04 pm • linkreport

I know this article isn't about affordable housing... but one thing has occurred to me after the other recent threads. I think alot of the resentment regarding affordable housing for single households is that the affordable housing recipients get these great units that the other residents in the building had to work their way up the property ladder or be financially responsible to save a large downpayment to buy. Or worse yet, that other people with average income could never afford to buy. The example I throw out there in related postings is the recent Duke University graduated gifted a 2BR condo at City Vista for $150K when it's market price is $450K+ through the affordable housing program. That is total B.S.

A cool town studios article I recently read talks about Gen Y being willing to live in Micro lofts in amenity rich neighborhoods. Micro lofts are like compact studio apartments with around 300SF.

Perhaps the district's amenity and transit rich neighborhoods need some of these micro-lofts both to have another tier of pricing for market rate units and as an answer to affordable housing for childless households. Smaller units reduces cost and thereby level of subsidy to each affordable housing unit. It also puts them in housing they may want an upgrade from at some point so the recipient still has some incentive to work to improve their earnings. Finally, I think the taxpayers not in the affordable housing program will find less reason to be resentful.

by Jason on Dec 22, 2010 12:40 pm • linkreport

@SE. Agreed! Most of the 8th St Businesses that got pushed out weren't much of an asset to begin with. Although I agree that 100% restaurants is a bad thing, I don't think they're quite there yet.

If/when Fragers gets pushed out, I'll start to complain.

by andrew on Dec 22, 2010 12:41 pm • linkreport

You're right, David, however, transportation in some of these areas is a legitimate concern. I think the location for the Brightwood Wamart is great but it needs a more robust public transportation option.

@ Rob, I would say that if the Trader Joes in the West End is among the highest grossing on the east coast as Eric states, I'm thinking that while they may want some minor concessions, they would be short-sighted if they did not recognize the huge economic potential in the District.

by Randall M. on Dec 22, 2010 12:48 pm • linkreport

@JS "The trick with Target is to go on Wednesday. Restock happens on Monday/Tuesday nights, so there's plenty of stuff on Wednesday/Thursday, but the weekend hordes gut the place by Saturday afternoon."

Yeah, I always plan my shopping trips around what's convenient for the merchant. Sounds like a winning strategy to me.

by Paul on Dec 22, 2010 12:48 pm • linkreport

JS at 12:03,
The situation you describe pretty much holds true throughout the metro area. I avoid pretty much all retail from Friday to Tuesday if I can help it. Otherwise, the stores will be mobbed, or post-mob trashed, with 1/3 of the items on my list not available. This is a habit I've acquired after 14 years. The retail environment in this region just seems to suck compared to other places I have experienced.

by spookiness on Dec 22, 2010 12:51 pm • linkreport

The issue of restocking points out some differences in operations required for smaller urban stores. TJs and Whole Foods stay pretty well stocked in small spaces despite crowds because they're restocking the entire time they're open. A once-a-week restocking model, on the other hand, doesn't work so well where your store's floor space per customer is less than might be available in the 'burbs. So to handle the volume in an urban store, you may need to adjust the operations model and spend more on restocking labor in order to save on expensive real estate while keeping shelves full.

by Richard on Dec 22, 2010 1:19 pm • linkreport

@Richard

They're talking about the restocking of the entire store (product being brought from warehouses to the store). Other retailers do stock during the day and during the entire week, bringing product from the back out to the storefront.

I think the real problem is that plenty of stores were just unprepared for the popularity of these urban stores. The Target in Columbia Heights was pretty terrible when it opened - nothing on the shelves. It got better. I feel like things are usually there when I go, though it was pretty bad around late August/early September when it was swarming with college kids buying stuff.

by MLD on Dec 22, 2010 1:42 pm • linkreport

One other factor that I think plays into this (and is sometimes overlooked) is the number and size of the tractor-trailers required to keep these stores supplied. If you've ever been on Park Rd. when an 18-wheeler is maneuvering into the loading dock of DC USA or the Giant, you've seen how the trucks can disrupt traffic for several minutes at a time (or more, as the truck stuck on the median of 14th did several weeks ago). Loading/disruption issues always come up in neighborhood meetings (see the battle over the redesign of the Wisconsin Avenue Giant in Cleveland Park, or the Safeway in [I think] Tenleytown), so having a more-frequent restocking schedule would probably result in more delivery trucks and would conflict with the locals' desire for fewer trucks/noise/loading issues. Not sure how to square these issues.

by JS on Dec 22, 2010 2:12 pm • linkreport

So, people shopping online for groceries prevents a trader Joes in Cleveland Park? ... people shopping online and in bigbox -- doesn't apply to grocery stores.

*sigh* OK, whose turn is it to show Charlie how to order groceries on the internet? :) Seriously, before the Safeway moved into City Vista, the internet was the ONLY way that I got groceries for years. I still do it occasionally for big orders. It's easy, the delivery guys are friendly, and the produce is always fresh.

by tom veil on Dec 22, 2010 2:38 pm • linkreport

Huh? The concerns about the health of the Cleveland Park commercial district on Connecticut Avenue are now abating as we come out of the worst recession since the 1930s. Virtually every commercial space is full or has something planned there today.

Included in the Connecticut Ave. commercial strip is a modest, neighborhood-serving supermarket. I doubt that a major grocery store would want to locate less than a block away. And the reason why the 'hood rallied around to preserve the Park & Shop center and voted in the Cleveland Park historic district 25 years ago is that a developer proposed "some tasteful larger buildings, similar in size to others on Connecticut Avenue", just like at Van Ness! I don't see a Trader Joe's located near Van Ness, despite all the density and frequent retailer turnover there.

Now, on Wisconsin Avenue most people would dearly love to see a Trader Joe's instead of the tone deaf, small-business unfriendly, Pringle-pushing, Salvation Army-hating Giant chain that seems to have a lock on the real estate there.

"In Cleveland Park, there are constant debates about the health of the commercial strip and the overlays that limit restaurants in an effort to attract more non-food establishments. But the real reason there aren't more non-food establishments is that there aren't enough people. If the long-ago proposal had gone forward to turn the Park and Shop strip mall into some tasteful larger buildings, similar in size to others on Connecticut Avenue, instead of landmarking the thing, Cleveland Park could have more of what it wants."

by Green Cleveland Park on Dec 22, 2010 2:49 pm • linkreport

The Trader Joe's in Bethesda has a trivial amount of parking, and it's always busy.

I can only imagine what a Wal-Mart at the Missouri-Georgia intersection will do to traffic, which is already a mess during rush hours all the way from Military and Connecticut to Riggs Rd. and South Dakota.

by Theophylact on Dec 22, 2010 3:34 pm • linkreport

This is bunk. The TJ in Bailey's doesn't have a ton of residential near it. The residences that are within walking distance are mostly SFHs occupied by low-income Latinos--who from my firsthand observations seldom if ever shop in TJs (not PC but not inaccurate). Everyone I see leave that TJs is going to a car. Same with the one in Falls Church. I've never seen someone walking to or from it. Likewise for Rockville.

Most people over the age of 30 will always want to drive to grocery stores.

by JB on Dec 22, 2010 4:44 pm • linkreport

Trader Joe's would do well in Cleveland Park. The area has good transit links to Adams Morgan & Mt Pleasant, as well as a large walkable population and a Red Line stop.

They also would make sense for the 14th Street corridor below U St. There are big spaces, lost of people in walking distance who'd like an alternative to Giant or Safeway, not to mention Whole Foods.

TJ's does well with small space. The Foggy Bottom store is smaller than the one in Rockville and does a bigger volume, with a better selection.

The Wal-Mart in Brightwood is not much of a consolation prize. The area is filled with middle class home owners, but it's stuck with somewhat rundown, low-end retail strips. It will make the Georgia/Missouri intersection even more of a choke point.

by Rich on Dec 22, 2010 5:06 pm • linkreport

But then, at the same time, they oppose new housing in the neighborhood because of fears of traffic (or crime, which makes absolutely no sense since more people being around reduces crime).

is there any evidence that 'more people being around' reduces crime? i've used it before -- said it before -- but i'm usually concerned with 'subjective safety' -- having some place that feels safe(r). Whether or not it actually is safer is a different story.

so, if 'more people being around' or greater populations of people living in an area produced greater safety/less crime, then cities would be relatively crime-free compared to the burbs, right?

DC population is up, and so is violent crime (per capita), right? not sure how this compares to the crime rate in the burbs, or if it's just a bump in the data. national crime rates have been dropping for 30 years, as the national population has been increasing. correlation?

i know Wal-Mart and other big box store (big) parking lots are magnets for crime.

Neighborhoods can either stay the same size, and see local retail gradually decline as online shopping grows and DC adds big box stores.

my guess is that online shopping for physical goods (where shipping is required) is probably still growing, but i'm guessing it'll level off in the next few year, and possibly even drop significantly - mainly due to rising transportation/shipping costs.

as for allowing big boxes to come into DC and destroy local retail, that's a choice that DC has to make - i don't think it's inevitable.

by Peter Smith on Dec 22, 2010 5:31 pm • linkreport

@Alpert "If the long-ago proposal had gone forward to turn the Park and Shop strip mall into some tasteful larger buildings, similar in size to others on Connecticut Avenue, instead of landmarking the thing, Cleveland Park could have more of what it wants."

The Cleveland Park Park and Shop was one of the first shopping strips of its kind to be developed in the United States. It is indeed historic and certainly deserves its landmark designation.

The shopping strip sat vacant for 20 years before Douglas Jemel (his first project in DC, by the way) tastefully redeveloped the complex in the late 1980s. At first glance, the shops and parking lot appear to take up a lot of land, but the lot actually is not all that big. At most, a 200- or 300-unit apartment complex could have been built there. That would have brought additional people to the neighborhood, but not enough to alter the retail paradigm along that stretch Connecticut Avenue.

by Anonymous on Dec 22, 2010 5:50 pm • linkreport

Am I the only one who thinks that Whole Foods and Trader Joes are overpriced? I guess I understand why local property owners would want them in terms of driving up prices in the neighborhood but I can't see why anyone shops there. I thought that most residents of this city were more intelligent than to buy into all that "organic" nonsense. I mean whole foods sells homeopathic remedies for gods sake? What Washingtonian is buying homeopathic remedies? Are we turning into LA now? It's just water people!!!

by Doug on Dec 22, 2010 7:19 pm • linkreport

Am I the only one who thinks that Whole Foods and Trader Joes are overpriced?
Whole Foods is very expensive, but Trader Joe's has pretty good prices on just about everything except produce.

TJ's is sort of a niche, though: we've already got one in Arlington and Foggy Bottom. There's already a Harris Teeter in the Adams Morgan area. Logan Circle has a Whole Foods. I don't expect TJ's to be like Giant or Safeway where there's one in every neighborhood. I expect at most 1 or 2 per city.

by JustMe on Dec 22, 2010 7:34 pm • linkreport

"Whole blocks of formerly light industrial uses were turned into fairly high density residential buildings (high density for DC, not for most other cities)."

Is this a slam against the height limit? If so, it’s unfounded. According to 2000 census data, the District has the 7th highest residential density of any city in the United States--a perfectly respectable level of density give it’s size (8th largest, if you look at it as the heart of a metropolitan area rather than a political jurisdiction) and age (most of the city outside the L'Enfant city and Georgetown was platted and built in the 20th century, whereas denser US cities like Boston, New York and Philadelphia were well established by then).

by Chris on Dec 22, 2010 7:54 pm • linkreport

@Chris: I'm not surprised. Rowhouse neighborhoods like DC's are fairly dense. I sometimes get the feeling that the skyscraper advocates don't realize that and think the choice is between skyscrapers and detached houses on quarter-acre lots.

by davidj on Dec 22, 2010 8:27 pm • linkreport

In Logan Circle, the Whole Foods moved in knowing that substantial development was planned or already underway in the immediate vicinity.

Actually, if I remember correctly it was the Whole Foods (or more precisely 'Fresh Fields' which was later bought out by Whole Foods) which kicked off the redevelopment of Logan Circle (which was still known as Shaw at the time.) The Council had been working with Fresh Fields to establish a store in the District in the hopes of sparking rejuvenation. And the location which the District government had chosen was something like 13th and U. It was all a done deal when a local Realtor (Connie Maffin)got others together to start a movement to get the location changed to what was then a pretty scary block of P Street (car repair shops and the like during the day, abandoned at night) and pretty blighted except some of the houses directly on Logan Circle and Vermont Avenue near it which had been redone. They went all out to convince Fresh Fields that their neighborhood could re-develop if only it had an anchor 'organic' food store like the upscale Fresh Fields. They were successful and that area redeveloped pretty quickly. 13th and U which lost out on that store is still struggling to catch up.

by Lance on Dec 22, 2010 10:20 pm • linkreport

This article is patently wrong. Whole Foods has opened more outlets in upper NW (Tenleytown, Georgetown, etc) than in any other part of the city. These areas are not adding significant numbers of residents, or increasing density. If you want a Trader Joes or a Whole Foods, you need to (a) have strong per capita income levels and (b) fit into their niche demographic. Here's a quick question - is there any majority-black neighborhood in the country that hosts a Whole Foods or Trader Joes? Sadly, I don't think there's much that Brightwood could do to remedy that situation.

by JM on Dec 23, 2010 1:30 am • linkreport

It kills me that some residents would rather a parcel of land stay vacant and rot than let a business that wants to locate there move forward, if that business is not exactly what those residents want for that particular spot. What gives?! If these residents have money to invest, then by all means they should buy and develop the properties in the manner they wish, otherwise, they ought to get out of the way and let business run it's course. Just because you live in a neighborhood you should not then have the right to decide who else moves in, or what businesses operate in the area. These folks are so full of themselves- don't want moderate or God forbid low income/subsidized housing, don't want this retail but do want that retail- get real! Don't want to share your neighborhood with certain elements? Exercise your rights- to move!!! You know the drill- just like some of you did back when blacks moved into your neighborhoods, and you didn't want to live near or have your kids be schooled with- well, as I said, you know the drill. Hasta la vista, baby! See ya, wouldn't want to be ya!! Don't let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya!!!

by KevinM on Dec 23, 2010 8:13 am • linkreport

Agreed with KevinM, Some Brightwood residents (bolstered by anti-Walmart non-residents) don't want to admit to themselves that their neighborhood has little chance of becoming Logan Circle 2, no matter how much they expect the boutique retailers of choice to simply pay to set up stores there.

by Bob See on Dec 23, 2010 10:09 am • linkreport

@Lance: The auto parts places, et al. were disappearing from 14th St before WF arrived. Development had been moving eastward from DuPont since the 80s, esp. in the blocks close to P St. The blocks between 16th & 15th were heavily renovated by 1990 when I moved to DC the first time. The gentrification continued even after the 1990-91 bubble which had inflated prices even for shells. The Mass Ave corridor was solidly middle class apartments in that era and had been in the 80s, according to people I know who had lived there. By the mid-90s, even the working girls were no longer in the Logan/Thomas Circle area on anywhere near the scale they had been before--just a few rather than dozens. Gentrification of Logan began in earnest in the late 1970s--my current neighbors were part of that. WF came close to the culmination of change in the area rather than at an early stage.

by Rich on Dec 23, 2010 10:50 am • linkreport

@JM: TJs operates stores in parts of LA that have large minority populations and aren't exactly rich, including two in Hollywood; there's one in Silver Lake which is a mix of affluence and poverty. The one on the East Side of Cleveland serves racially integrated suburbs and actually is in a majority black town (although it's a small one). The one in Pittsburgh proper is in East Liberty and probably has a majority Black customer base.

Natural foods are popular with African-Americans---about a third of the customers at the natural food co-op to which I belonged in Atlanta were Black. A middle class area undergoing generational succession and some economic upgrade like Brightwood could easily sustain a TJ's and it would pull people from Takoma and Shepherd Park/Colonial Village who otherwise wouldn't shop on Georgia Avenue. The middle class Black areas that exist in DC are relatively rare in other cities. The areas in Atlanta re suburban and no where near the same density. There probably are parts of Queens that are somewhat comparable and TJs would be remiss in not giving them a look.

by Rich on Dec 23, 2010 11:05 am • linkreport

It kills me that some residents would rather a parcel of land stay vacant and rot than let a business that wants to locate there move forward, if that business is not exactly what those residents want for that particular spot. What gives?!

In their defense, Wal-Mart feeds off of poverty and depends on attracting and fostering poverty in order to thrive. I can completely understand the attitude of "I'd rather having nothing in my neighborhood than a Wal-Mart."

by JustMe on Dec 23, 2010 11:52 am • linkreport

In general, I would absolutely agree with the context of the article - if you want to increase commercialism as a whole, you need people to support those enterprises.

But I also have to agree with JM - where a Trader Joe's or Whole Foods in particular opens has nothing to do with density, but rather how affluent a community is. If it really had to do with density, then why would Trader Joe's open so many locations in suburban areas? Suburbs are signficantly less dense than urban areas, and shopping centers are typically comprised of strip malls that are miles from any houses. Same with Whole Foods decision-making process. They are looking for wealthy neighborhoods, period (and yes, I consider 14th and P an extremely expensive area to live in).

by SP on Dec 23, 2010 3:21 pm • linkreport

@Rich The auto parts places, et al. were disappearing from 14th St before WF arrived.

Of course 'improvement' is relative. But I'd still say that prior to Whole Foods/Fresh Fields coming in, the immediate area there was one where 99% of the folks who've moved in there AFTER the opening of that store, would never have moved into that area.

Here's a Wash Post article from the period. I think it makes my point, not that it discounts you point that it had actually been worse beforehand. Incidentally, I personally remember a garage being on the site where Whole Foods/Fresh Fields now stands ... and it only shut down maybe a matter of months (or a year at most) before the digging for the store began.

www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A2272-2001Mar27?language=printer

Palace of Plenty
Food, Class and the Coming of Fresh Fields to Logan Circle

By Anne Hull
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, April 1, 2001; Page W19

by Lance on Dec 23, 2010 5:14 pm • linkreport

@JustMe-
What's up with the hateration for WalMarts? They are a business that you are not obligated to shop at or work for. Anywhere they open a store I bet there will be lines for days to apply for jobs, and the folks that get hired will be happy. Further, I bet the neighbors will shop there and be glad for the convenience and the prices. Get real...

by KevinM on Dec 23, 2010 5:29 pm • linkreport

In an interview I read of the Whole Foods CEO in the New Yorker, he said that the number one metric they use to determine where to place their next stores is the number of people with college degrees within 15 minutes (by car, walking or whatever transport is most likely used) of the location.

by Mong on Dec 23, 2010 6:56 pm • linkreport

@Lance, The article pretty much describes an organized heavily gentrified neighborhood. BTW, in true WaPo style, the writer talks about car dealerships from the 40s. The ones on 14th go back decades further.

by Rich on Dec 23, 2010 11:59 pm • linkreport

@Rich, the article mentions:

'The area still had its share of soup kitchens, homeless shelters and armed robberies. But in 1997, an unlikely retailer began scouting the area for property.'

It may have been better than before, but it was far from gentrified.

by Lance on Dec 25, 2010 2:03 pm • linkreport

Your thoughts on a situation such as Kent Island, across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge? I feel this would be a perfect location for a Trader Joe's because 100% of all the cars that cross the bridge also cross Kent Island. This includes people on the way to (or home from) the beach as well as all those Eastern Shore residents who work on the western shore and travel home every night. Kent Island has traffic and capacity issues for adding population - but where else can a business have so many customers delivered to their front door? All they need is a reason to stop. Trader Joe's - are you listening?

by Lee on Dec 26, 2010 12:45 pm • linkreport

@Lance. 14th St had a huge shelter until recently along with a needle exchange and if look on other blogs, you'll see that there are still robberies. The PNC bank was robbed a week or two ago as was the 7-11. I regularly was in the area in the 90s and have no need to sugar coat it. I don't know why you're obsessed with making it worse than it was.

by Rich on Dec 27, 2010 3:03 pm • linkreport

Ironically, they may (or may say) they require density, but they also "require" parking - with the exception being Manhattan. Other cities with mass transit, density, and low car ownership have failed at attracting TJ's even when all criteria (ie: density, high median income, etc.) *except parking* seem to be met.

by Kris on Dec 28, 2010 10:11 am • linkreport

While Trader Joe's may be the newist icon of new urbanism, in reality having or not having a Trader Joe's is insignificant. Having development policy driven by Trade Joe's is at best silly. Trader Joe's goal is to develop and run a healthy business, this has little to do with developing a healthy community.

by W Jordan on Dec 29, 2010 11:59 am • linkreport

Why do we give major corporations tax holidays but not urban pioneers? Instead of subsidizing corporate developments and big businesses, i'd rather see city governments focus on increasing livability and making housing more affordable and attractive to increase the residential base. The businesses will follow

by Yuri Artibise on Jan 1, 2011 8:19 pm • linkreport

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