Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

- Not technically Silver Spring, but might as well be: Harris Teeter is going to open a location on the ground floor of a new development planned for the intersection of Georgia and Eastern, just across the border in DC. The store is tentatively scheduled to open in Fall of 2016, which seems a long way off, but when you take into account the pace things happen around here, that can be considered 'soon'. Remember when we were hearing about the Harris Teeter that was going to be part of the Falkland Chase development? That was 2008, and that project still hasn't broken ground. I think it's safe to assume now that it will ultimately not include a Harris Teeter.

- According to Twitter, Scion Restaurant's Silver Spring location opens today at 5.

- Not open yet, but hopefully soon: Pete's New Haven Pizza. They've already installed their six pizza ovens.

If you join their email list, you have the chance of being invited to their 'practice run' before they open to the public.

- I don't know exactly when they made the update, but Google has recently refreshed their Street View imagery for Silver Spring. I believe the actual photos may have been taken last summer. You can now use it to see the Transit Center prior to Foulger-Pratt taking down their corporate banner in shame. (Just kidding - they clearly have no shame.)

- If you can stomach reading even more about the Transit Center, here's another extensive article on this CF from the Post.

- Perhaps having to repeatedly stop and look at this depressing and lifeless Transit Center on a daily basis was what drove this poor Metro car to commit suicide by self-immolation last week.
Thanks to BG for the pic.

It's certainly not the first suicidal/homicidal transit vehicle in Silver Spring.

Bethel World Outreach Center Out, Undisclosed Project In

Washington Property Co. has purchased the buildings at 8242 and 8252 Georgia Avenue and the adjoining parking lot from the Bethel World Outreach Church. The new owner hasn't yet released any firm plans regarding how they plan to develop the parcel, but have indicated that they are initially considering  residential, office and hotel space.

My money's on apartments... that's what nearly all projects end up as these days, as Silver Spring seems to have been officially designated a bedroom community in developer's minds. What was the last major office building constructed in downtown Silver Spring that wasn't part of the United Therapeutics complex? I may be mistaken, but believe it was 8515 Georgia, across the street from Discovery, and that opened nearly ten years ago.

This is a good development, as this will better tie together the density of downtown Silver Spring with all the new construction in the so-called "Ripley District". (By the way, what ever happened to Ripifant Street? It doesn't seem to have made it on the map yet.)

While no longer recognizable as such, longtime residents will recall that the building at 8242 operated for many years a movie theater, originally as the Seco Theatre and then later as Roth's Silver Spring West.

Photo via Cinema Treasures. Note Dale Music, still in the same spot.
8252 was originally constructed as a bank, and served as one for many years until Bethel World purchased the property. 

If I'm interpreting the property records right, the church bought the theater in 1996 for $435,000 and the bank building for $760,000 in 1997, so even with the cost of any improvements, I expect they are realizing quite a tidy profit from the $8.2M sale price.

I wonder if they ever succeeded in selling the original bank vault doors. They were trying to do so on eBay for years.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

- Latest Transit Center Fiasco news:

Metro: "Don't want it."
County: "Too bad."
Transit Center Inspector: "Not our fault."
MoCo Inspector General: "More inspections/money, please."

- Why don't any of the DC to New York buses depart from Silver Spring? There are two bus lines with pickups in Bethesda and another with one in Rockville. Silver Spring seems like a logical place for an operator to use as a starting point.

- I have seen plenty short and pointless sidewalks in Silver Spring, including many that simply dead end into a tree, but this one near Colesville Road and Highland Drive is my personal favorite:

Apparently no one involved in the planning or construction process ever said, "hmmm, maybe we should save the concrete on this one." Well, at least it's ADA compliant, so the wheelchair-bound can roll into someone's driveway from the side should they really need to do so.

(Recall that Silver Spring was also once home to what was judged to be the "Stupidest Bike Lane in America", though it has since been upgraded.)

- Speaking of concrete, look who's building the Holy Cross Hospital expansion - it's our old pals from Faccina Construction, concrete-pourers extraordinaire!

 If whatever ailment you checked in for doesn't kill you, the collapsing ceiling will!

- Last month Channel 9 News looked into some suspect towing practices in the small parking lot at the top end of DTSS. I'm a little skeptical of all the protestations of innocence regarding having time left on the meter, but still, these towing operations are a total racket. (And if you are going to tow people, PLEASE tow those using the Whole Foods lot for church parking.)

- Anyone have any info as to what business is going in where the 16th Street Blockbuster Video used to be? There's workers doing something in there. Judging from the rest of the strip mall, probably nothing great, but who knows.

UPDATE: It's going to be a Patient First medical center. That is actually a logical use for that space. Thanks to DT for the tip.

- FYI, there's now a Silver Spring Reddit.

- Finally, this is awful: a woman was sexually assaulted in a Four Corners backyard. I would never consider that a dangerous neighborhood, but there does always seem to be a lot of transient folks milling about there - perhaps a lot of people switch buses at that intersection.