Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Solution for City Place

Recently, one citizen's visceral hatred of City Place manifested itself in violent behavior when said citizen tried to perform a mercy-killing of the much-maligned shopping plaza. Regrettably, she was armed with a mere baseball bat, hardly the appropriate tool to bring down a four-story structure. Perhaps Mjöllnir might have been a more appropriate choice.

I certainly appreciate her malevolence toward the perennially useless mall, but recently I had an epiphany as to how we can potentially kill two birds with a single stone.

Here's a solution to the City Place Problem that I don't think has been proposed - why doesn't the county just buy Shitty Place and convert the structure into the new Silver Spring library? That way, they can cancel the 500 remaining design charettes, start working on the project immediately, and we can have ourselves a library smack dab in the center of the downtown shopping area. This centrally-located library would mirror the optimal setup that Rockville Town Square enjoys today.

Since we are in the midst of the new Great Depression, perhaps the government could purchase City Place at a Steve & Barry's clearance sale-like price from its current owners, Petrie Ross Ventures. The county could partially finance the deal by selling off the land occupied by the current library and the adjacent playground as well as the real estate presently slated to host the future library.

There's already plenty of parking attached to the building by the so-called "City Place Bridge". All the cranky people who have demanded that the library have a garage incorporated into the design so they don't have to deal with the "hassle" of parking across the street can be at least partially appeased. I think meeting rooms are part of the new library plan, and there's certainly plenty of space for this on the top level, which formerly housed the defunct AMC City Place 10. The county can continue to lease space to the outward-facing businesses that are technically part of City Place.

With this plan, we can finally put City Place out of it's misery. Let's be honest - it's hopeless. The main attraction (the theaters) only lasted about ten years, and their latest anchor store went bankrupt after less than a year in the building. City Place was a mistake, and now it's time to erase that mistake. Sure, there was a brief glimmer of hope when Petrie Ross purchased the building, but the truth is that nothing has changed.

Also...

- The new Buy Local Silver Spring guide is out. You can pick one up around town or print out a copy yourself (PDF). Why stop with just promoting buying local, though? We ought to go all out and print our own money.

- I was very disappointed to learn while playing the DC-based game Fallout 3 that you can't travel to a post-apocalyptic Silver Spring. Takoma Park is there, though. Guess it's not "nuclear free" anymore.

- Greater Greater Washington doesn't like Silver Spring's reversible traffic lanes. Personally I appreciate them for the entertainment value of watching some schmuck suddenly realize that he is driving in a lane with oncoming traffic and try desperately to merge into the adjacent lane.



40 comments:

Dan Reed said...

At 300,000 square feet, City Place is five times the size of the Rockville Library - and the SS Library is supposed to be even smaller. It's a pretty fantastic idea, not gonna lie . . . but what do we do with the other 240,000 square feet?

Sligo said...

I dunno, but at least we could say to Rockville that ours is bigger than theirs.

I'm sure there's some county-related purposes that the space could be used for. Offices, maybe? Can't hurt to have room for expansion. Maybe the first floor could remain available for selected retail.

It's not like half the place isn't already lying fallow, anyway.

Metrogal said...

Brilliant idea. Develop the additional space for non profits, the arts, housing/condos/apts and first floor retail. Upgrade the food court. Create a real City Place.

Vagrarian said...

They could have a computer lab and some art studios, like those community ceramics or painting or woodworking places. They could have classes in conjunction with Pyramid Atlantic or Montgomery College. The idea totally rocks, too bad the county will never go for it.

Joel Sparks said...

Give space to the Moose Lodge while we're at it. They need to move.

Ooh, and invite Seth Hurwitz to put a venue in there too!

Anonymous said...

This idea should definitely be passed along to the county. It is so logical, it must have been thought of before, but.....
This would move the library away from the Purple Line track which is a plus. Also, current plans are for an office building to be built on top of City Place, which could continue. The Ellsworth level could easily be commercial/retail with entry to the library on Fenton, Colesville and from the parking garage bridge.
It would end the frustration with City Place which has never contributed positively to DTSS, although when it opened I tried to shop there. Of course, someone will come up with issues surrounding the Redevelopment District and private ownership, but City Place hasn't worked from the start. This kind of change would be positive for the county and residents.

Thomas Hardman said...

Pure Genius.

TheDadReport.com said...

It's a great idea, but since I can see any way Ike Leggett can get paid I don't see it happening. You give the library the 2-3 floors starting on ground level and the floors above that become new space for some MOCO gov office. Why we could even give Ike a larger bathroom than 60k of our tax $ will buy him. My God how much time and money would this save us!
-Ed

Tina & Drew said...

I dunno something like a library/torpedo factory set up would be awesome.

No Silver Spring in Fallout 3? Boo, haven't found Takoma Park yet :)

Sligo said...

Tina & Drew:

Do you have Left 4 Dead? If so, you need to get in our occasional Silver Spring-based online games.

Anonymous said...

I think I did see the city place library idea proposed on a blog. Could the county actually still make it happen at this point? Aren't they also obligated to build apartments since they borrowed funding from somewhere? Not that making City Place into a library would really hinder that...

Vagrarian said...

Hey, apartments over a library? Sounds good to me....

silver spring penguin said...

Turn it into a casino. It's got no windows, no clocks, and a buffet in the basement. The only things missing are roulette tables and Wayne Newton.

Woodside Park Bob said...

Not a bad idea, but what would the costs be? How much would it cost to acquire City Place and convert it to a library in comparison to what it would cost to build the new library on the currently proposed site? If City Place would cost less than the current site, then this is a no-brainer. It could well make sense even if it cost more.

js said...

...selling off the land occupied by the current library and the adjacent playground....

Dude, that playground is awesome. That's it, I'm pre-emptively starting a Save That Playground That's Next To The Silver Spring Library (The Current One, Not The Future One) Campaign.

Who's with me?

Sligo said...

That playground is scary at night.

Anonymous said...

A beer at McGinty's and a copy of Nietzsche. Pure bliss.

ian.swank said...

This is great if I can have a beer from McGinty's while I browse the library. The cross-promotion is natural, "Books on Tap"!

Anonymous said...

js said "dude, that playground is awesome".

It sure is, except at night when the countless muggings occur.

Springvale Roader said...

I gots me an idea. Let Hollywood film another zombie or Die Hard movie in City Place with the understanding that they can blow the crap out of it any way they want (except for the McGintys part!). Take their money, demolish the place, and build a mixed-used building, with businesses on the bottom and apartments above. Bring a little bit of Manhattan into Silver Spring.

Anonymous said...

Does everyone agree that the idea of putting a parking garage, at a cost of $11 million, into the new library when there's a huge parking garage literally across the road is totally absurd at any time, yet alone in a recession? Even the idea of building a bridge is silly, as it would then cut off the library from the shopping areas. Plus, isn't the Purple Line going to go right past the library? Surely, we don't want to encourage folks to drive there?

Sligo said...

Don't get me started on the whole library "free parking" issue. The problem is that it's only a small minority that insists on the free in-library parking, but they are the ones who actually go to these library meetings.

Thomas Hardman said...

Springvale Roader:

I agree, that it's long overdue that Silver Spring have a good zombie movie filmed there. Or a bad zombie film.

For an example of what it might look like, check out the latest video from, of all people, Miley Cyrus. It's got a sketchy movie theater, parking garages, and zombies, sorta.

Now if only we can talk the music video industry into recognizing Silver Spring as the Zombie Capital.

marktheworld said...

perhaps i'm in the minority, but i think city place could work if (1) the owner builds the office tower above it (creating demand from those office workers); (2) brings in stores currently over on rockville pike, such as container store, bed bath beyond, old navy, etc.; (3) opens up the building to the sun with large windows, and allow street openings for ground level shops (such as mazza gallery did). with more apartments/condos opening in DDSS, the demand for a small scale mall might be the ingredient needed to make city place work.

Tina & Drew said...

Sligo -

off topic but I do have Left 4 Dead on Steam though not on Xbox :) what platform are you playing on? How are you liking it?

Springvale Roader said...

Thomas Hardman, I'm all for campaigning to make Silver Spring the zombie capital of the world, but out of respect to dear old George Romero and his beloved Pittsburgh, I think out of decency we ought to wait until he passes away (and, presumably, reanimates).

Thomas Hardman said...

Springvale Roader:

I have just come across a fascinating little study that proves conclusively that George Romero will have to wait until the next Republican administration to re-animate.

Zombies are red, vampires are blue.

Whatever its challenges, the Bush White House has presided over a period of robust health for a genre that – if history is any guide – will soon fade: the zombie movie.

[ ... ]

“The question is, why?” asked Annalee Newitz, editor of io9.com, a pop culture Web site.

One answer: These gore-flecked flicks are really competing parables about class warfare.

Democrats, who want to redistribute wealth to 'Main Street,' fear the Wall Street vampires who bleed the nation dry,” Newitz argued, noting that Dracula and his ilk arose from the aristocracy. “Republicans fear a revolt of the poor and disenfranchised, dressed in rags and coming to the White House to eat their brains.”

Or perhaps the bloodsuckers' latest incarnation, as less-threatening undead citizens, reflects a more inclusive politics. “Suddenly,” said Robert Thompson, professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University, “the vampires have become people just like us.”

“After the upsurge of zombie films that symptomized the Bush era, the latest re-investment in vampirism signals hopefulness,” said Larry Rickels, a UC Santa Barbara professor of German and comparative literature.

Whatever the reason, when forecasting White House victories, monsters have been nearly as accurate as pollsters. By Newitz's tally, Bush's election in 2000 came at the start of a massive upsurge in zombie flicks: 183 in seven years, for an average of 26 a year.

This year, though, only nine zombie films shambled into theaters, while a rising tide of vampire flicks – 18 in '08, with more on the way – indicated that the blood-red tide had turned.

[ ... ]



Thus, due to the election of Mr Obama, Braineaters are "out", and Bloodsuckers are "in".

Heck, just look at the cabinet picks. In many cases, much of the Clinton (and even the Carter) pack appear to have risen from the tomb, all deathly pale and stuff.

I predict that by mid-term of Mr Obama's first stint in office, Goth will be back and more widespread than ever before, but it will have become so de-rigeur and commonplace that nobody will notice when Cabinet ministers start showing up for meetings in fishnets and black lipstick, and the female Cabinet ministers show up in bustiers and naughty-schoolgirl kilts. Of course, a revolted world will immediately fall into complete global peace lest Madeleine Albright be called forth and sent to visit dressed like that...

Anonymous said...

Sure turn City Place into the a Futuristic Unutalize Super Library. UNDER STRICT CONDITIONS that The County/State Demolish that Super Parking Lot Across the Street and Build a New Upscale 5 Story(w/ 3 Level Underground Parking) City Place Mall in Comparison to Pentagon City............

Springvale Roader said...

Thomas,

As a lifelong horror fan and diehard zombie fanatic, I say "hmmm" to the theory you put forth. Interesting, surely. I'm an old school vampire fan: give me the dudes in tuxedos with impeccable manners against the teen heartthrobs any day. Bela and Christopher: them's vampires! Anyway, I ramble. I have no doubt that horror movies reflect underlying social trends. In the case of the not-to-be-lamented oughts, perhaps the general populace yearns to see its President and Vice President ripped to shreds by the ravenous undead. That would be a measure of justice, to be sure.

Still, as both a zombie fan and true blue Democrat, I want both Obama and more zombie movies. Vampires suck.

Cheers,

Springvale Roader

Thomas Hardman said...

Springvale Roader:

Uh, more or less, by the definition most people use, I suppose. But so do Yuppies, but nobody makes movies about them.

That being said, just because you're a statistical outlier who votes Democrat and still likes Zombi flicks, that doesn't void the general point that Mr Romero is best advised to wait until the next Republican administration for his best marketing opportunity assuming that he wants to do Zombi Films once again. And in fact, it's high time for the locals to scout out the territory -- there's already been an excellent start -- and then start writing a script.

If you admire Mr Romero's work, no doubt you are familiar with his film "Martin", which in my humble opinion is hands-down the best vampire movie ever made. That might be long overdue for a remake.

Anyone got any ideas on statistical association between states of the Economy and werewolf or frankensteinish monster movies? Will the new Green frenzy spawn a new generation of film and television about sharing, caring lycanthropes, or misunderstood genetic-engineering mishaps?

And the question nobody seems to have asked: if Mr Obama was to come out to the AFI to see a monster movie, what kind would he want to see? Other, perhaps, than one in which there is a post-apocalyptic deathmatch between Dick Cheney and Usama bin Laden, culminating in a running shotgun battle over who gets to control the oil of Iraq and the poppies of Afghanistan.

But I digress. Here's my new idea for City Place: do whatever you want with the interior, but the outside should be modified so that it is clearly and obviously a Borg Cube Ship, with a big sign that reads "We are the MoCo. Your cultures uniqueness and individuality will be joined with our own..." etc etc you know the rest.

woodside forest said...

Until you have tried to take your wheelchair-bound mother to the library you hush up about the problems of a library parking lot across the street from the library.

Not everyone is able enough to wind their way through a crowded parking lot, gamble on the elevators working, and push a wheelchair across the $#@## that they call sidewalks and streets in downtown SS.

So, as a prior posted said - don't get me started about parking at the library.

Sligo said...

There are 4 elevators side by side in the Wayne Avenue garage. I'm sure that at least one of them is working at all times. Presumably, the library garage would have a single elevator. So all else being equal, the odds of having no working elevator in the library vs. having no elevator in the hypothetical library garage would be 4 to 1. (Cue Star Wars quote.)

If the only concern is people with legitimate disabilities, perhaps there should be handicapped parking spaces ONLY. (Basically that's what the crap McDonald's in Silver Spring does.) The proposal that the library have a full-sized parking lot when it is across the street from a giant county garage is COMPLETELY ABSURD in this day and age. Sorry, but it's true.

Lucy Proctor said...

Ya know, I just read that article you included on printing our own currency... Why not? Seriously, I would totally support it. I would much rather spend my hard earned dollars a block away from home at a place I still consider home than some massive chain store. Especially for those incentives....

TheDadReport.com said...

Singular you got me thinking. What about turning the JC Penneys into the new library?

Robin said...

This is seriously the best idea I've ever heard. Sure, it would take some construction, but all the necessary elements are already there - garage, the bridge thingy, lots of space. If its cheaper, the town would be STUPID not to do it. Is there anyway this can actually be proposed? Someone needs to bring this to the council or bring it up at a charette or whatever.

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