Sunday, November 21, 2010

"This is not your father's Wal-Mart": GGW talks to Foulger-Pratt

Dan Malouff has further info on Wal-Mart's plans for Brightwood over at Greater Greater Washington.

He points out that the Curtis Chevy site is fewer than four acres, significantly smaller than the suburban plots of land that Wal-Mart typically occupies, which are 20 acres on average. The store itself will be 102,000 square feet, and it will be vertically built. (For comparison, the bilevel Target store in Columbia Heights is 173,000 square feet.)

The store's entrance will be set back 20-30 feet from the curb, and parking will be below-ground.

Also, he notes:

Unfortunately, the development won't be mixed-use. If Foulger-Pratt would stick a few floors of apartments above the retail uses, that would add new customers for the surrounding businesses and help revitalize central Brightwood as a place to live, not only to shop. It's regrettable that the plan misses such an opportunity.

I personally agree that the lack of mixed-use is indeed regrettable, but that's partially the fault of Brightwoodians themselves, who so strongly opposed the residential aspect of Foulger-Pratt's original plans for the site, that the plans were scrapped. (This was before my time in the neighborhood, so I wasn't around for that whole fiasco, but from what I've heard things got pretty heated.)

Foulger-Pratt will meet with the community on December 7 at 7pm in the Community Room of MPD's Fourth District headquarters, 6001 Georgia Avenue NW, to discuss the building plans.


  1. is there any chance that residential could be reintroduced at this point, or has that ship completely sailed?

  2. I intend to ask Foulger-Pratt about this, but I won't be surprised if the answer's a flat-out "no". I asked CM Bowser about it earlier this week, and she said "That WAS the original plan, but YOUR NEIGHBORS [emphasis hers!] opposed it!"

    My ANC told me that the reasons for the opposition were mainly fear of increased crime, increased vehicular traffic, and big tall buildings towering over small residential structures. (My take is that the Wal-Mart itself will have more of an impact on those factors than residences would, so why not build residential as well?). But that was a long time ago, and there's been turnover in the neighborhood since then, so perhaps now oppositiion won't be so vehement.

  3. fear of increased crime, increased vehicular traffic, and big tall buildings towering over small residential structures

    well, since that seems to be a fait accompli now, why not add residential? that might be a line worth discussing here.

  4. I'd be fine if F-P stuck with their most recent rendering:

    Unfortunately, I doubt that rendering will fly with the Wal-Martians.

  5. Frankly I think the FP discussions had a significant racial angle. Black residents didn't want new residents coming in at all, as they assumed they wouldn't be black (probably correct). They tossed up every reason they could to slow the process and ultimately they won. Not all blacks of course (nothing is monolithic) but there's a significant black community in Brightwood that just wants everyone to leave them alone and go away. I find it sad but don't seem to have any ability to influence anything. I am not too excited about WalMart but at this point I feel anything is better than the long empty Curtis lot.