Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

So after three days of electricity-free living, my power was restored early this morning through a procedure that took Pepco technicians all of five minutes to perform. I can’t really blame them all that much this time around – they did preemptively trim back the branches in front of my house earlier this year and I think I was just unfortunate to end up as a low priority case in their outage triage. Plus last summer I was out of power a full five days, so I suppose this can be considered progress.

Not looking forward to spending another dark evening at home last night, I checked into the downtown Silver Spring Courtyard, which had me feeling like a visitor in my own hometown.  The hotel does have a hell of a location, plus where else can you enjoy such splendid views of the majestic Silver Spring Towers?


- Based on a rumor of Lego Architecture sets being available at half price, and considering I was essentially living next door at the time, I decided to give the Borders clearance sale one more shot last night. I really shouldn’t have bothered. At this point most anything even worth contemplating purchasing has already been snatched up, and half the remaining inventory is miscellaneous garbage (perfume??) they hauled in from some warehouse to try and unload on vulturous bargain-seekers.

- Speaking of which, DTSS' store is not on the list of former Borders locations whose leases are to be purchased by Books-a-Million, so if the space is to continue to host a bookstore, it will have to do so under the auspices of another bookseller.

- Concepts for the new apartments to be constructed on the ashes of the 2nd Avenue Post Office have been released. They look nice enough I suppose, though the fact that you will be living next to the train tracks isn't really highlighted in these images.

(I don't know how Silver Spring is supposed to survive on one single tiny post office. They say no one uses the Postal Service anymore, yet somehow whenever I am forced to go to the post office I always end up waiting in line.)

- In other development news, preliminary work on the construction of the the Ellsworth Condos Apartments at the corner of Ellsworth and Cedar finally appears to be underway. It looks like their "Last Word" marketing slogan from so many years ago may have been prophetic. It's about damn time. It's shameful that a lot in such a prime location sat empty for all these years.

- One of the benefits of being a Pepco refugee is that I ended up eating out more frequently this week that I likely would have otherwise. The outage motivated me to finally get over to Forest Glen to try the new Pacci's Trattoria. I don't consider myself foodie enough to conduct proper restaurant reviews,  but I will say what I had (pictured) was pretty good. Like any new place, there are kinks to be worked out, and it'd probably help if they had additional wait staff to cover the entire restaurant, but that will no doubt all come in due time.

mmmm... ravioli with bolognese sauce


Anonymous said...

If you want to avoid the Post Office lines on Saturday, don't go in the morning. It closes at 3, and if you go around 12-3, there is almost no line. Not sure what the pattern is on the weekdays, but it's always critical to avoid peak times.

Honestly, though, I do a lot of shipping, and for most things, it's really easy to buy postage online, affix it to the package, and just drop it off in the giant self-serve machine. You can weigh packages using many home scales, estimate, or buy a cheap kitchen-type scale.

Clancy said...

I have that view several times a week as I use the treadmills at WSC. . . albeit a little closer to the ground.

Not only will those Second Avenue apartments be in close proximity to the train tracks, but I'm 90% certain that the Purple Line will also pass by on both Spring and Second.

Jaime said...

I think a World Market would be perfect for the Border's location.

Anonymous said...

Yep, the Purple Line will parallel the CSX/Metro tracks, but where it passes behind these apartments, it will be on the other side of the tracks, closest to 16th Street.

Hugo said...

that dish looks decent, but oversauced.

/ pastasnob

Anonymous said...

Those Ellsworth Apts drive me nuts. Either shit (build it) or get off the pot (sell the land to a developer that understands the value of the land). I understand why some projects have had to scale down or are stalled, but this location shouldn't be one of them.

Anonymous said...

Agree with Jaime a World Market would be awesome. Any recent news for City Place and Transit Center?

Anonymous said... - Recent pics of the Transit Center. Didn't spare any concrete for this project.

Anonymous said...

Those Ellsworth Apts drive me nuts. Either shit (build it) or get off the pot (sell the land to a developer that understands the value of the land).

Oh the developer most certainly understands the value of the land. Foulger-Pratt is a very large and successful development and construction company that has very deep pockets. They bought that little slice of DTSS back when the value of the land was pretty cheap so they can afford to wait it out until the market dictates that demand is there for multi-family units. That demand is now and projected to increase over the next few years. This project is wood frame construction over a concrete garage so it won't take long at all for it to be built --ompared to, for example, the highrise under construction on Ripley St. which took forever just to excavate and build out the underground garage.

Stuart said...

Regarding the Ellsworth land, there was a title issue that prevented the original project (townhouse/condos, I think) from going forward.

Anonymous said...

Stuart, can you elaborate?

Justafed said...

Concerning what will be in the soon-to-be former Borders location, people should keep in mind that Borders owns the leases and, because they are liquidating, need to get top dollar for them. BAM was able to get those 14 pretty cheap, in all likelihood because nobody could easily foresee getting any decent competing offers on them. The others they will try to auction off if possible, or reject (bail on) if, for example, the lease is attached to an uncompetitive rent in the current market. I have no idea what kind of deal Borders was getting in DTSS, but it is an objectively excellent location, albeit large for many retailers, and the reason why Peterson does not know what is going in there likely indicates that this is not a lease that will be rejected.

I think the World Market suggestion makes some sense, although it is not obvious to me how they would be able to deal with people taking furniture away, and parking is a bit distant for a place that sells a substantial number of larger and heavier items. I don't think Barnes and Noble is in any condition to expand right now, which is too bad since the location would be excellent for them (it is a really good bookstore location). It may take a few months, but the location will ot be empty for very long. They may need to split it up.

Justafed said...

Wow. Google *is* my friend. Here is the PDF of the objection filed by Peterson to (I think) Borders' trying to sell their lease. Other searches indicate that they were trying to sell the lease through the company that was trying to sell all of their other leases...but perhaps not now, possibly because of this objection.

Justafed said...

OK, so the lease for the Silver Spring Borders is no longer on the list of leases for sale, as of September 1:

So something is up.

Justafed said...

Harrumph. Your blog is truncating my URLs. So all I can say is that the DTSS lease really did move off the for sale list. Something has happened, but I do not know what.

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