Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

- Will Shitty Place finally receive its long-awaited and much-needed makeover? The sale of the mall to Petrie Ross Ventures nearly three years ago came with promises of improvement to the retail mix, yet there have been few notable changes thus far.

However, changes finally appear to be afoot, with the planning board approving a new, more welcoming façade at the Colesville Road entrance. Of course, without improving the retail offerings inside, this amounts to little more than putting lipstick on a pig. Unless they plan on staging more free Rihanna concerts, something beyond a facelift needs to happen to lure new shoppers to the much-maligned mall.

Outside of changes to the entrance, proposed physical improvements to the property included a 9-story tower dropped on top of the existing building. Based on historical development timelines in MoCo, time to completion for this project should be approximately twenty-seven years. More details on the proposed improvements can be found over on Just up the Pike.

The owner hopes to announce a major retailer in about six months that will occupy 50-100K feet of retail space on the top few floors. Let the speculation begin! (Bed, Bath & Beyond, please.)

- I was disappointed to discover this past weekend that Goldberg's Bagels is closed on Saturdays. It would appear they don't roll (dough) on Shabbos. I wasn't the only one let down, as there was 3-4 other people in the parking lot trying to get their Saturday morning bagel fix. Also somewhat disappointing: their bagels aren't made on site - rather they are baked at the Rockville Location and trucked over to Silver Spring throughout the day. Not a big deal, but it is nice to get them fresh out of the oven.

- The good news regarding weekend hours is that beginning this week Kefa Café will now be open on Sundays, at least for the time being. This will allow me to get my caffè breve and restock my Yirgacheffe beans seven days a week.

- Later this year Velatis will begin selling ice cream and baked goods in addition to the caramels, fudge and truffles they already stock.

- Finally, here's a video created by B. Klein of recent blasting operations at the site of the future Silver Spring Transit center set to Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. Now, if they could only demolish City Place. I kid!


Springvale Roader said...

Sligo, we might have crossed paths on Saturday. I also found out to my dismay that Goldberg's was closed. I went on Sunday, but 1) the line was out the door, and 2) within seconds of joining said line, a customer came out an announced they were completely sold out of bagels. I went this morning and got myself 18 bagels (their baker's dozen extra special).

It's too bad they don't cook the bagels on premises, but the odds of getting one just baked seem pretty slim, given the crowds, unless you're willing to camp out before they open.

Regarding Shitty Place: "Of course, without improving the retail offerings inside, this amounts to little more than putting lipstick on a pig." Couldn't have said it better myself! ;)

Brent said...

I honestly don't think many (maybe any) higher-end retailers will come into City Place, given the objectionable behavior (or free speech, if you will) that we've all discussed on this blog and elsewhere.

Hugo said...

Mrs. Hugo and I were talking the opening Sunday about whether Goldberg's would be open on Saturdays. I thought they wouldn't be, given my experience with bagel places in Brooklyn growing up, but she said it wouldn't make business sense for them to not be open so that they would find a way. I know better than to brag to her about being right, so I'll do my bragging here.

I hate talking about City Place. It just seems to degenerate into people excusing bad behavior (yes, I acted like an idiot when I was a kid too, but no one made excuses for me and I fully expected to be called out on it) and people complaining that Silver Spring ain't Bethesda. Malls are mostly worthless anyway.

Sligo said...

I know you're not supposed to bake on Saturdays, but can't you train employees do that?

Bruce said...

Indoor malls are dead dead dead. I would think the only hope for lePlace deFeces is to put it back the way it was. Occupy the whole space with one, maybe two big retailers. Heck, with a Macy's there it'll be like old times.

Terry in Silver Spring said...

I was at Goldberg's on Saturday, too, rattling the door and looking sad. I might also have suggested out loud that they could hire a few gentiles to work on that day of the week.

My unhappiness didn't last long, though. I went to York Castle/Tropical Ice Cream and had a nice Jamaican meat pie and an ice cream. Very yummy.

Anonymous said...

Re: goldberg's not being open on Saturday. There are as many 'degrees' of sabbath obsevance as there are variations of Jews, which mean a lot. The only rule per say is right out of the hebrew bible---no manner of work on the seventh day. Some interpret that as not going to the job that pays, others take it far more literally to mean no type of creation (i. e. God didn't create on the 7th day). Baking uses fire or electricity as does opening the shop for business. I'm actually a reform Jew who used to scoff at the idea of silly restrictions like bot driving or turning on the tv on Saturday...I mean, what would you do? As I get older, the pragmatic aspect of the rule makes far more sense. In these days of overscheduled kids, 200 tv channels, Internet and iPhones, imagine what would happen if you had to turn it all off for 24 hours each week: you spend time with your family, read a book, take a walk, mentally decompress...and in the scenario envisioned by religious leaders, connect with God. Not sure who has the better idea :)

Anonymous said...


I have lived in Silver Spring for 8 years and I only set foot in City Place Mall once. 'Nuff said.

The problem is that Silver Spring has become more affluent since the late 1990s. The stores in City Place appeal to people who live on tight budgets. There is a serious mis-match between the demographics of the host community (downtown Silver Spring) and the more poor, mostly persons of color from DC and the Wheaton areas.

If you own the property, what do you do? Of course, you want to attract stores that cater to more upper-middle class customers. The problem is that higher-end stores will not seriously consider City Place because of the outdated building structure.

I always felt that City Place should be converted into mostly office spaces with retail and restaurants at the street level only. The Ellsworth Street side of the Mall is a perfect illustration. I just hope that the stores are not too upscale that even middle-class people cannot afford the goods.

Unfortunately, many discount shoppers coming up (and down) from Georgia Ave. will be shut out once City Place drastically changes its tenant attraction mindset.

btw...The building of the Civic Center where the turf once existed was a signal from the County and more affluent, activist Silver Spring residents that the melting pot days are over. The wine and shrimp crowd will be enjoying the Civic Center art shows, private charity fundraisers and the like where families of all races and classes once hung out on The Turf.


Springvale Roader said...


Fear not. Families of all races and classes will still be able to hang out and enjoy wine and shrimp at the Red Lobster.

In all seriousness, the Veterans Plaza will be a public space open to all, and will offer people of all races and classes a chance to enjoy ice skating in their home town. It's not the turf, but it's not going to be Chevy Chase Country Club, either.

Steve said...

Why is it that I can't help reading this story and the one in this week's Gazette about plans for the mall (I won't use the term "Sh**ty Place" because many people object to the use of the word "S*it*y") without thinking that 3, 5, 7 years from now not much will have changed.
Which brings me to today's quiz. Which will you be able to do first?
1. See a show at the Filmore
2. Buy a pint at the Hook & Ladder
3. Enjoy the quality shops at City Place Mall
4. Catch the Purple Line to Bethesda
5. None of the above

Sligo said...

Definitely #2. I expect to be long-dead before any of the others could happen.

Ed said...

My wife and I were talking yesterday about how we used to have to drive to get to food and entertainment. We used to drive to Laurel for Fridays! Rockville for the first PotBelly! That's how pathetic it was. We've come a long ways, but other than chain food places (with a sprinkling of smaller food places) SS has hit the wall for retail.

We can get any middling/discount chain, same for middling hotels. What we can't get are stores like an Apple store or an REI. And I don't think we ever will. Don't be fooled, there's plenty of $$ to be spent from neighborhoods all around City Place. If a higher end retailer
had the guts to move here, I think it would be a success.

So still driving to Bethesda, Rockville and Tysons for nicer stores. It's sad that a Bed, Bath and Beyond is the apex of retail we can hope for.

Anonymous said...

"If a higher end retailer
had the guts to move here, I think it would be a success."

Whole Foods?

Ed said...

Anon, Whole Foods is the perfect example, that store totally rolls. Why can't more follow?

DevouringDC said...

I'm so glad you shared that Goldberg's isn't open on Saturdays- you saved me a trip as I was about to head over there when I read the news. Thank you! I will have to plan to stock up on Fridays now to make it through the weekend.

Terry in Silver Spring said...

I went to Goldberg's today. OMG, their bagels are AWESOME! Best I've had since my last trip to NYC.

Anonymous said...

What times does Goldberg's open on Sunday mornings?

Sligo said...


Anonymous said...

Goldberg's = delicious bagels.