Saturday, July 30, 2011

City Place: 1992-2011

It's finally happening: City Place is getting a makeover (and losing its name in the process). Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you "The Outlets at Silver Spring". This plan has has apparently been in the works for quite some time, but admittedly this is the first I had heard of it.

According to the website recently launched by EW + B Development, "the most experienced service provider in the outlet/value retail industry", the much-maligned mall has its Grand Reopening scheduled for later this year. It appears that the revamped shopping ceneter will primarily house outlet stores, which is actually somewhat intriguing. (And haters/Virginia lovers: your precious Old Town has outlets too, so spare us please.) Who doesn't love outlets, even if one should shop them using a bit of caution?

According to the map provided, much (350,000 sq. ft.) of the retail space in the mall is up for grabs. The only spots that appear to already be claimed are some of the outward-facing spaces such as Chipotle, Ben & Jerry's, PNC Bank, etc.  (i.e. the ones that don't actually appear to be in the mall) Also, Marshall's isn't going anywhere.
I had been under the impression that the mall had changed hands from Petrie Ross Ventures to Hutensky Capital Partners, however it would appear that Hutensky and Petrie Ross are in cahoots on this one. I sincerely wish them the best of luck in their endeavor. If they belive they can fill Shitty Place The Outlets at Silver Spring with quality retailers before Christmas, more power to them. I sure hope they are successful.

More to come.


ForestGlen said...

I'm intrigued, but also doubtful that it will work. I think structural changes to the building are needed to create more street-facing retail space. Just filling Shitty Place with outlets isn't going to be enough.

A. Ross said...

Skeptical. With less than 6 months to "renovate" it would seem like a Comcast/XFinity change in name only. Hope I'm wrong - it's surprising how bad CP has been considering how good the area around it is...

Anonymous said...

I hope they can attract some quality tenants other than the pimp outfitters and dresses fo hoes stores they have now

Anonymous said...

The only way to go is up. I'd be fine with anything, so long as it fills the mall and is marginally useful. Heck, even the name change is more progress than we've ever seen.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:21,

Bless you.

lonebear said...

The happiness has faded as soon as I read their "Local Area" page.

"Major retailers are already enjoying success in the mall, including Marshalls and Burlington Coat Factory."

Major, yes. Good, debatable.

"Nearby major employers include ...Walter Reed Army Medical Center..."

Um. Closed as of real-soon-now.

"...Across the street, Live Nation is reviving the historic 2,000-seat Fillmore Theatre..."

Interesting definition of revive there. I do not think that word thinks what you think it means.

And agreement with A. Ross on amount of time to renovate, and Anon 11:44. Unfortunately, there is really not any way to create more street facing retail. At least that is how I see the space.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone watch the video attached to the developer's site? Gag.

I am skeptical of how this is going to work out. Many of the spaces in the mall seem kind of small and the multi-story plan seems like a big hurdle to overcome.

Then there are the comps being used to sell the project. All of the examples cited were heavily subsidized by MoCo. How much will these new partners invest in the project and how much rope are they giving themselves for a timeline? They're going to have to do a lot of work to dispel the "Shitty Place" image. How much is MoCo government going to be involved in the project to ensure that there is adequate policing, etc.? And what about the signs notifying passersby of a large new tower project proposed for the space above the mall? Is that now dead?

Lots more questions here than answers, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Already the negativity has hit a high point and the ink isn't even dry on the announcement yet. Let's see how it pans out before declaring it a failure. People really need to calm down on constantly bashing anything that goes on in Silver Spring, really getting old.

Anonymous said...

Malls are beyond dead. Even the Shops at Georgetown has been largely vacant for years and years. Outlets is the only way to go, I think (a handful large footprint stores) which I don't know if City Place is suited for, physically. Guess we'll see. If this doesn't work then I really think it makes sense to turn it into something other than a mall/demo it. The land is worth a whole lot more than its current output.

Patrick Thornton said...

If they don't physically redo the interior of the space to have it centered around a few large retailers, this won't work.

City Place itself is poorly designed. It's not big enough to have as many tenants as it currently does. The only way to really transform it is to rennovate the interior and combine many of the stores together.

Also, the exterior is pretty hideous too. I am quite skeptical that anything major can happen in 5 months, especailly considering that I was just in the place and there is no work currently being done on this.

If this company thinks that merely rebranding City Place will solve the issues, they are sorely mistaken. Most of the tenants have to go. The space itself has to be redesigned. Even the "good" tenants that the developer mentions have rundown spaces in the mall. Burrlington is a disgrace if you want to get scientific. Only Marshals, after some work, deserves to stay.

2-6 tenants is what that space should have, instead of trying to fit in a full suburban mall.

I agree that a try outlet experience with a few key retailers would be great for the space. But 5 months? or 3-4 months? How is that going to happen?

Clancy said...

If only they would bring back the Nordstrom Rack. . . when I first moved here, it and the AMC Theaters were the only reason I ever went into City Place. Never missed the theaters, but I still miss the Rack.

Not to add to the chorus of negativity, but this seems to be little more than renaming City Place. Maybe rolling out some grand plan every 4-5 years is what's required in order to keep the property as some sort of tax write off?

Clancy said...

Just took a look at the linked map: odd that they don't include the top level where the Burlington Coat Factory and the old movie theaters are located.

Also odd: the lowest level still includes the "food court" but provides no stalls or other spaces for vendors of said food. All the space is designated as part of some new "anchor" that mostly occupies the old Ross/Steve & Barry's space.

lonebear said...

anon 9:27, what is there to be positive about? A company that looks to be just changing the neon at the entrances, has plans that are only possible if there are already new tenants signed and they work 24/7 on refresh.

A flashy site to sell said re-brand that gets simple facts wrong.

I hold final judgment until they actually do something, but unless they gut and rebuild (Patrick T.), and get rid of Burlington shlock factory (my wife), I have little hope of seeing the space rebound.

Anonymous said...

lol@the usual anon crying about "negativity".

ooooh don't pick on silver spring. What is Silver Spring? A 15 year old fat girl that can't abuse? Grow up. Constructive criticism is what is needed, not mindless fellating of the status quo.

I love that people think it's "negativity" to point out that the nightlife sucks and that the people in DTSS leave a lot to be desired (punk teenegers enaging in gang fights).

As for City Place: one of my friends said it best

"This place is designed like a bad Nintendo Mario sequel. You go up ladder and ramps only to reach a dead end. Come to thik of it it kind of feels like Zelda or Castlevania"

I call it: "one of the most depressing malls in America"

I concur with the people asking these questions: How do you account for City Places retarded design in 5 months? Sounds like a rebrand to me.

Either way I guess even a rebrand is good if they can get the frigging seedy third world ghetto "stores" that sell god knows what out of there for real outlets.

Anonymous said...

We've had discussions about City Place on this site before. After the last round, I went in--hadn't been in there in quite some time--and tried to imagine how to make the space workable, with more street-facing stores and a flow pattern that didn't rely on a single tiny elevator and two escalators that were placed in, perhaps, the worst possible location.

Now, I'm NOT an architect, but after my visit I came to the sad conclusion that the only reasonable option is a tear down and rebuild.

The space just doesn't work. The land is in a good--if not prime--location. Time to try again!

Been Here Done That said...

City Place can't be demolished. The large, blank wall that used to be Hecht's is certified historic -- so anything new has to fit within that. Furthermore, big discount retailers are by definition corporate chains and this community long ago expressed a desire for small shops (preferably operated by a cross-section of the area's rich ethnic mix). MoCo didn't listen to the people when they seized the Silver Theater (rather than making it a small, indie movie house and community theater), and when they brought in Live Nation, and when they populated Ellsworth with fat-injecting fast food franchises. Maybe now is the time to give Silver Spring what it wants.

Sligo said...

Is the previous commenter being facetious or not?

Anonymous said...

I'm definitely not worried about the Dec. 2011 date they set. A. they started this marketing awhile back - just because we all are now are hearing about it doesn't mean they haven't been discussing with or even signing tenants for awhile now. B. if someone actually wants the sqft and the space needs to be reworked, I'm sure they won't turn them down because it would take till February to complete. I agree that there's no reason to come out the gate bashing the plan - let's see if it gets off the ground or not and go from there. No one cares if you, personally, are skeptical because of the perceived short timeline.

Mortis Olaf said...

Been Here Done That, only the Hecht's side of City Place is Historic. The rest is fair game for destruction. More traditional urban architecture can easily be built there, seeing is how they managed to get a mall on the site. Ellsworth is fine, AFI seems a lot more prestigious than a simple indie theater, and I don't think any of the locals are ambitious enough to open a music hall. They seem more preoccupied with opening hair salons.

Sligo said...

Yes, and I'm sure that just like the AFI a "community theater" would have spent the millions of dollars required to meticulously restore the Silver Theatre to it's original state.

Anonymous said...

I'm in agreement that anything is better than what we have now...let's wait and see. Since it's my community and the closest mall, I'm thinking positively and very hopeful that there will be a handful of stores that I will use on a regular basis.

Springvale Roader said...

"The large, blank wall that used to be Hecht's is certified historic -- so anything new has to fit within that."

So demolish the rest of the building and turn the wall into a handball court.

Outlet malls tend to disappoint, but I'll reserve judgment until I see what we're getting.

Anonymous said...

Is the previous commenter being facetious or not?

The troll is strong with that one. -1 for not mentioning skateboarders.

If they can make this work, then go for it. It seems like a logical solution without having to gut the place. Yes it's still a mall. Deal with it.

Anonymous said...

The consumer-debt-based economy is toast, but everyone's too terrified by its demise to acknowledge this reality, never mind consider a new model. The entire creaking economy is based on a few ideas which no longer work:

1) Create "aggregate demand" (i.e. consumer demand, which then creates business demand) and the economy "grows," people are hired and get paid, and that's good.

2) When consumer demand slumps because people are over-indebted and can't afford to buy more of anything, then "stimulate" demand with massive Central State spending to replace the vanished private demand.

3) Demand is endless. You can never have enough stuff, food, vacations, education, healthcare and toys. Give people free money, or the ability to borrow nearly-free money, and they will spend, spend, spend. This creates "growth" which is always good.

Anonymous said...

If MoCo government wants to see the Locational Atlas & Index of Historic Places-designated Hechts portion of City Place demolished, it will have no problem doing so. The 1927 Silver Spring Armory was on the county's higher-tiered Master Plan for Historic Preservation and easily had it torn down for a parking garage. So think big folks...

Anonymous said...

Following up on what lonebear said, that page also listed the completion date of the Transit Center as "early 2011." Umm, yeah sorry. That ship has sailed.

But then on a whim I went to check the MoCo site for the Center. It says this:

"Based on the current pace of construction, final completion of the facility is expected in March 2012 if there are no severe weather delays or unforeseen incidents. "

WTF? March 2012? I thought it was slated to be finished this November! When, and why, did this deadline get pushed back?

Anonymous said...

March?! ugh. I really don't see what all is left to do, but what do I know. So annoying.

Terry in Silver Spring said...

I've got my fingers crossed for this one. I'd love to see some new shopping in DTSS. They probably can't get Nordstrom Rack back, but there are plenty of good quality labels that have outlets in places like Arundel Mills and the outlet center just on the Eastern Shore side of the Bay Bridge. Bring in stores that appeal to women rather than kids, such as Jones New York, Saks Off Fifth, or Talbots Outlet, and you change the mall's clientele.

This would make me very very happy.

Isayaah Parker said...

I agree with what my fellow skeptics. How many times has there been an unveiling of a plan that either gets shelved or fails? Please just like the Transit Center this so called plan will get PUSHED BACK AND PUSHED BACK until homeless people set up shop in the "food court" and rats have a national convention there. (I've seen a rat in the food court) Silver Spring is for teenagers of blue collar workers, POINT BLANK PERIOD. Adults have no business taking silver spring seriously, especially sophisticated ones who frequent Friendship Heights. Just turn City Place into a 5 story CHILDRENS MUSEUM...(See Port Discovery of Baltimore) or how about a SCIENCE CENTER?

Anonymous said...

There is 0% chance Nordstrom Rack will be back because they recently opened in Friendship Heights on Wisconsin in the old Linens-N-Things location.

Regarding the hoped-for tenant mix in Sh**y Place (uh, I mean The Outlets at Silver Spring), the developer will be in fierce competition with Tanger, who has proposed a much larger and built from scratch outlet center at National Harbor in Oxon Hill.

While Silver Spring is nowhere near Oxon Hill, outlet centers are considered "destination retail" so it would be a surprise if you saw the same upscale outlets (there's an oxymoron) at both.

Lesan said...

Today, I sent the developers a note requesting upscale outlet shops. I also told them that the project will fail as we will not patronize anything less than that. So instead of everyone posting negative comments on this blog, why don't you do the same. It can't hurt. They need to know how you/we feel.

Anonymous said...

Email just sent to Andrew Boyle

Mr. Boyle,
I have lived within walking distance of City Place since you opened. The combined income of my household is nearly $200,000. I can count the number of times on both hands that I have patronized current and past businesses in City Place. Why? Because the stores sold/sell low-end merchandise. Unless retail is VASTLY improved, I will continue to spend my consumer dollars elsewhere.

Patrick Thornton said...

Just emailed the developer as well. I go to DTSS at least once a week, but only go to City Place a few times a year at best (and only for a store or two).

They need much better shops and to rethink everything. Any rebranding with a few new retailers won't work. Heck the whole idea of a mall in an urban area doesn't really work. They need to make the shops bigger and have a lot less tenants.

Anonymous said...

I am going to be optimistic, because it just can't get too much worse. Even when my grandpa walked through town, he came back to my place and the first thing he told me was, "Your mall sucks." Thanks grandpa! Maybe he'll like outlets better.

Terry in Silver Spring said...

"While Silver Spring is nowhere near Oxon Hill, outlet centers are considered "destination retail" so it would be a surprise if you saw the same upscale outlets (there's an oxymoron) at both."

True, and I'm very glad to see Tanger moving into Oxon Hill. National Harbor is a great spot, an example of what can be done with the right partners. I was born and raised in Oxon Hill and have seen it go from being pretty much "country" when I was a kid to seriously run down. When I was little, my neighbors rode horses up to the store. (I'm 49 btw) I want Oxon Hill AND Silver Spring to succeed (Hyattsville and a few spots in between would be nice, as well).

So, it's not the Tanger Outlets that come in. What about Prime Outlets? I think their nearest are up in Hagerstown and over on the Eastern Shore. There are several outlet center companies. It doesn't have to be Tanger.

Anonymous said...

I too emailed Mr. Andrew Boyle and encouraged him to bulldoze CP Mall and completely redo the entire site. The more emails he receives, the better.

Anonymous said...

Okay, so why is Bethesda Magazine
talking about the outlets? Jealousy?

Sligo said...

I wonder where they heard about that.

Anonymous said...

At least Silver Spring Patch had the courtesy to credit you for first reporting on it.

Anonymous said...

As well as JUTP

Helene in Silver Spring said...

I go to Burlington fairly often for good deals on name brands. Even my picky teen/tween boys find things they like there.

What I'd like to know is what have they done/will they do to the movie theater space upstairs on the top floor??

Anonymous said...

So I suppose the fact that it's a year later and nothing has happened and the "new website" is now an empty directory ( means that this isn't gonna happen?

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