Wednesday, July 25, 2007

So Much For The Birchmere


Well, despite the best intentions of community groups and Douglas M. Duncan, a second location for the Birchmere Music Hall won't be coming to Silver Spring after all.

You know what, though? The more I think about it the less I care. Yes, it would be nice to have it just for bragging rights, but seriously, how many country-western shows am I going to be hitting up every year? Zero, more than likely.

(And yes, I do realize they have artists of other genres that perform there, but looking at their calender, there aren't too many that I am psyched to go see. I mean they have Minnie Driver scheduled, for God's sake. Yes, that Minnie Driver. OK, she was cute in Good Will Hunting, but I'm not about to drop twenty bucks to enjoy her musical stylings. And, if I was that pressed to see George Thorogood & The Destroyers perform live, I could make the occasional hike out to Virginia.)

Of course, my not caring is predicated on the assumption that something that I will like will ultimately be housed in the former digs of JC Penney. Now, if it were up to me, they'd be starting construction tomorrow on a high-end bowling joint à la Strike Bethesda or Lucky Strike. Now that I'd use a LOT. That'd also be something utilized by a much bigger segment of the population. Think of all the opportunities for birthdays, happy hours, etc. that would open up. My fingers are crossed.

What does everyone else think might work in that space?

UPDATE: Here's the bitter press release from the Birchmere management. Sounds like they feel they got screwed by the county and/or the Lee Development Group. (And they may well have been.) It does offer a tidbit of insight into what may be planned as an alternative to the Birchmere:

It appears the county and/or the landowner is ready to announce -or perhaps already has- a replacement for the Birchmere. The replacement is allegedly a stand-up nightclub concept, more traditionally associated with drink rather than food service.
The parties involved better have something good to announce soon in order to quell the backlash that will inevitably result from today's developments.

Update #2:
It looks like they may have something bigger in store than the Birchmere after all, according to the Washington Post:
Live Nation, the world's largest producer of live concerts, is considering Silver Spring for one of its new Fillmore-branded clubs, according to someone familiar with the negotiations. If the Live Nation deal goes through, the venue could be nearly three times as big as the Birchmere's proposed 700-seat hall. This could make Silver Spring, which is already well on its way to becoming an arts center, a destination for top-drawer live entertainment.




11 comments:

Julie said...

I keep going back to this...makes me sound like an alocholic, but this county really needs a good sports pub. Something along the lines of the Crystal City Sports Pub but in MoCo. I'm tired of going to VA to watch football.

Along the same lines I'm tired of driving to Rockville/Gaithersburg to find a sporting goods store. I just saw that Pacers is going in off of Fenton, but I would like a place to buy sporting equipment near by other than Target.

b said...

Someone should tell Silver Spring Forward about the development. The site hasn't changed since I first found it while looking into Birchmere rumors.

Tom Collins said...

Something fishy about this Birchmere thing. No one appears to be saying publicly what happened. Makes me wonder whether it is a negotiating tactic by one side or the other. I'm sure we'll all find out soon.

Sporting goods store is definitely called for in the CBD. However, City Place is a better spot than fronting Colesville across from AFI/Round House. When I don't order sporting goods online, I do drive to Westfield Wheaton or Montgomery our trudge around on Rockville Pike. I'd prefer to stay in the 'hood and spend my dollar(s) here.

Anonymous said...

Um, a "stand-up" nightclub focused on drinking? Like the ones in DC and PG with regular shootings? No thanks.

Anonymous said...

Birchmere was a great idea when there were no others. Now that other ideas are being explored, they too seem like winners. As long as something grand and entertaining goes in that space, everyting will be great.

rd said...

So nobody thinks that the stalled plans for House of Blues in DC have anything to do with the current backstabbing of the Birchmere?

Anonymous said...

I say hell-no to LiveNation, House of Blues, Hard Rock Cafe and their ilk. This ridiculous corporatization of DTSS has got to stop. It strips the place of any character and edge, and seems to be on a slippery slope towards becoming a local Orlando or Las Vegas (or for a local example, Baltimore Harbor), rather than any of the other, more interesting revitalizations in this area (U Street/14th Street, Penn Quarter, or even the not-quite-perfect Clarendon/Courthouse stretch). Quite a far cry from any East Village aspirations. Bring in more independant venues, please ! On a similar note, it is equally troubling to see all these pleas for big-box sporting goods stores and Bed Bath and Beyond in DTSS. Let them stay on Rockville Pike where they belong, PLEASE !!!

b said...

The truth is, everyone says they want highbrow entertainment, but people lie. In a German military club we took a poll on desired entertainment programs. Jazz took the poll with 93% (because it's cool to like jazz). We paid top dollar for a live band, and 8 people showed up. People bitch about The Majestic 20, but they are an on-screen sponsor for every AFI showing. If not for the Majestic 20, more than a million tax dollars would go to support the AFI, (and it's worth it). I am a paid member, and go on a regular basis, to an empty theater. If all these people who bitch & moan about class acts in Downtown Silver Spring were for real, I wouldn't be sitting alone at the AFI. Pennys will become a 3rd Starbucks, people will bitch, and it will make money. I'll be at Kefa, having a good cup of joe, and a friendly chat with Abeba & Lene. Oh,yea...have a nice day.

Anonymous said...

I doubt I'm the only one who was excited by the birchmere coming. we love some of the musicians who play there but never get to see them b/c going to alexandria isn't practical. I don't want a club (isn't that what the one over by Mayorga's is). And I don't want a 9:30 club-like place. I'd never venture in for blues. If this deal is truly dead, I hope Birchmere can find a local close enough to be a short drive.

Thayer Avenue said...

I agree with Tom Collins that something sounds fishy about this. Be interesting to hear the real, full story.

Along the lines of sports, if they thing House of Blues might have enough community support, what about ESPN Zone? Sounds great, but it would probably throw me into bankruptcy.

Anonymous said...

I am bummed about the Birchmere decision. I have seen one show in Virginia, ages ago. It is a great venue and would be the perfect size for DTSS. A big loss for all the boosters of good live music......