Tuesday, February 26, 2008

It's Kinda Like A Bizzaro Silver Spring

As someone who is always bitching about the lack of shopping in downtown Silver Spring, I find this post on DCist about residents' and developers' of Columbia Heights (or "CoHi" if you're cool) quest for new retail outlets extremely amusing.

...The developers originally tried to woo places like Nordstrom, Macy's, Sears, Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, but didn't have any luck, getting Target instead. The developers, Grid Properties, fired the leasing company, Newmark Knight Frank, after Newmark didn't attract high end retailers.
Neiman Marcus???? Nordstrom??? Saks??? Shiiiiiiiiiit, we've been gentrifying in Silver Spring longer then they have and they think they are getting that high end stuff right away? Hell, I'd go into convulsions if if I found out they were putting a Target in City Place. Clearly they haven't gentrified as much as they think they have 'cause there are clearly plenty of crack pipes being hit if people expect Saks to move in. No offense to Columbia Heights, because it is getting nicer in some ways, but let's be realistic. I would say that the population within a mile radius of City Place could support those types of stores a lot more than residents in a similar area around 14th St.

The sad thing is, they probably aren't even getting a "good" Target. Yes, there are differences between Targets. The easiest way to tell them apart is look at how many models of iPod they carry. If they don't have the high-end stuff, you ain't at a "good" Target. I have also found that you can easily judge a neighborhood by the CVS. The more stuff they have locked up (esp. razor blades), the "worse" the neighborhood.

It's even better when you compare the neighborhood listserv with those around here. There, they complain about Foot Locker and Marshall's (and other "ghetto ass" stores) opening up in their new DCUSA development because it would attract people of a lower socioeconomic level. Here in Silver Spring they'd fight anything "nice" because it would attract people with money and displace some crappy store you'd never shop at. Hell, Marshall's and Foot Locker are two of the best stores in City Place!

- Speaking of places that have it better than us with regard to shopping, I went into the new Kensington Safeway for the first time this past Saturday and let me tell you, compared to the dumpy locations in downtown and Four Corners, this place is practically Xanadu. The produce section even has wood floors, for goodness sake. With this new Safeway and the new Giant Food down the street in Wheaton, they've got it a lot better than us when it comes to groceries. We do have Whole Foods, though.

Silver Spring Daily Photo has a few shots of the store.

- MoCo Police have been cracking down on loitering by day laborers at the strip mall at Veirs Mill & Randolph Rd. If the police hadn't responded to business owners' requests, they may have been forced to take matters into their own hands with a 400 lb. water cannon-equipped robot.

- Silver Spring gets a brief mention on the upcoming episode of HBO's The Wire. (This one's already available on On Demand.) Amazingly the reference, though brief, is both geographically correct and omits the extra "s". One of the stars and one of the writers of this show live in Silver Spring.


Springvale Roader said...

Oh, so the hipsters in D.C. can't get themselves a Whole Foods while we inbred yokels in Silver Spring have been enjoying ours for years? Bwahaha!

It is a funny thing, though, that the Columbia Heights folks support upscale stores while so many people in Silver Spring oppose it, but in both cases, downscale is all both groups get.

All I want is a decent anchor store in City Place Mall where I can buy some men's underwear, where the underwear is actually on the rack and not at the bottom of a pile of assorted junk on the floor. Is that asking too much?

baj said...

Other bonus points to the Kensington Safeway: carts with dual seat cars in the front, clean selection of veggies, comfortable couches, and helpful attendants in the parking lot.

b said...

The government should subsidize the water cannon equiped "bum-bot" instead of digital tv conversion boxes. If I was poor and lived in the ghetto I would have much more fun harrasing crack dealers from my window sill than watching Simon Cowell.

Anonymous said...

Let's face it. City Place will never succeed. Convert the stores into office space and build retail elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the laughs!!!

Tina said...

I'm terrified about the implications of what that says about Silver Spring residents vs. Columbia Heights.

At least the CH crew aims high I'm jealous they have a Best Buy.

We do have Merimeko but when I went shopping the majority of the clothes are way out there in terms of style and cost. Anyone shop there at all? Guess I'll continue to make the hike down to Pieces

Sligo said...

Hey, TECHNICALLY the Wheaton Best Buy is in Silver Spring.

Anonymous said...

Springvale roader, "downscale" isn't at all how I'd describe downtown SS. Whole Foods, Borders, WSC, two multi-screen movie theater complexes (one of them an excellent art house), all within like 3 blocks of my door. Mostly middle-class, with a few upper-middle class stuff thrown in. Then add the Marimekko, the new women's boutique that looks nice but that I never go into because I'm a guy, the new golf pro shop (golf isn't exactly a ghetto pastime, eh?), and it looks like things are even moving a bit upscale lately.

Springvale Roader said...

Anonymous, we're getting their, but the entire City Place Mall is still a trainwreck, and there are no decent stores to buy clothing or home goods. But yes, things are at least moving in the right direction.

One quibble: I would say that we have one world class movie theater (AFI), and one godawful movie theater that should be reduced to a rubble heap entitled, "Mount Talkmore."

Anonymous said...

Target is one of the most racist corporations in America. As a former employee, I have been to over two dozen stores in the mid-atlantic. There are radical differences in stores in white neighborhoods like Gaithersburg and black/hispanic neighborhoods. I remember helping opening up the Wheaton Target and asking why they don't stock certain electronics there that they store in Gaithersburg. The store manager told me that it was because "all these illegal Mexicans are theives." Damm.