Thursday, January 20, 2011

Communication from Developer...

Hey! Wal Mart! 'Fess up! You're going to be bad for our neighborhood! Read the Great Streets Redevelopment Plan, and some Jane Jacobs, already!

Communication between Brightwoodian and Foulger Pratt and Wal Mart's propaga.... communications team. In a nutshell, Wal Mart thinks that, unlike their impact in other urban areas, they'll attract new business to Georgia Avenue. Somehow W4T thinks all the studies in the world won't convince them otherwise.

So sign the petition! Help us petition! And get involved!

Hi Dick,

Happy new year to you. I hope your holidays were wonderful.

A friend passed along this article from the Retail Traffic publication, "CMBS Lenders are coming back, as is their appetite for risk": (I also linked to it in a post on my blog yesterday).

If lenders are lending again, might that make a difference in the fate of Square 2986 (that's what we've been referring to the tract of land that we formerly referred to as "the old Curtis Chevrolet site")?

I've been reading through the Great Streets Redevelopment Plan for Upper Georgia Avenue (which, granted, was published in 2008) and paying particular attention to the section on Square 2986. It calls for a mixed-use development on that tract, in order to maximize revitalization for that stretch of Georgia Avenue. Needless to say, the current proposal doesn't reflect the Office of Planning's recommendations in the Great Streets Plan. But if commercial mortgage backed securities are indeed bouncing back, might that allow the plans for the development of Square 2986 to get back in sync with Great Streets?

Thanks for reading, and considering.


<> wrote:

Hi Rebecca, happy new year. I wanted to introduce myself and get back to you with answers to a few of your questions regarding Square 2986.

My name is Steve Restivo and I handle community affairs for Walmart ( As you know, we recently announced plans for 4 new stores in the city, including one at the former Curtis Chevrolet site.

I think it’s important to note that while the Land Use Map typically is helpful in determining appropriate uses and density in areas of the city, it is not intended to serve as a zoning map nor does it mandate a parcel-by-parcel specification on permitted development. It is one tool (of many) to guide appropriate uses for a property by taking into account adjacent land uses, existing uses and the overall context of a property.

Whats more, the Great Streets Redevelopment Plan has an Upper Georgia Avenue section, and places the Curtis site in “Zone 4, Missouri Avenue Sites from Rittenhouse Street to Madison Street”. The Plan suggests that developing the property could serve as the catalyst for development along Georgia Avenue. The Plan also calls for improved retail such as books and hardware and specifically states a “major chain grocery store would be a key tenant in the development of this site”.

I hope this is helpful and please don’t hesitate to reach out to me should you have any questions regarding Walmart or our plans in D.C.



Steven V. Restivo Director of Community Affairs


Hi Steve,

Thanks for writing. I am aware that the suggestions of the Great Streets Redevelopment Plan are precatory and not binding in any way. But from an urbanist and smart growth perspective, I am in agreement with its suggestions and I am hoping that they are taken into serious consideration when developing the parcel, the development of which is indeed very important for the economic growth of the Georgia Avenue Corridor.

You are probably aware that some of my immediate neighbors (I live .1 miles from the site, according to Google maps) moved to downzone the site to commercial-only, and you are also probably aware that the Office of Planning has denied that request.

That said, I strongly believe that a mixed-use development will be the best catalyst for growth for Brightwood and for all of Upper Northwest Washington. Although the current proposal for a single-use development is within bounds, it's the bare minimum of the site's potential. My neighbors and I will continue to pressure our elected officials to step up and demand that this site be developed in the way that will best benefit our neighborhood, and our entire city.

I am taking part in a committee convened by our Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner that will be charged with reviewing the Large Tract Review once it is submitted. Our committee chair, Richard Layman, has an op-ed in the Washington Business Journal which touches on these issues:

I hope you will understand our position on this. It's hugely important that the development of that parcel be done right.

Rebecca Mills

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