Monday, December 6, 2010

Action items in preparation for tomorrow evening's meeting regarding the Wal-Mart plans

Last night a meeting was held, in which several community members brainstormed ways to slow Foulger-Pratt's development process until there can be sufficient community input about the Wal-Mart plans. About 25 people were in attendance, including commissioners, reps from the UFCW, business people, and residents of the affected neighborhoods. The plans are moving quickly, and your input is very important at this point.

Key items from the discussion:

*The new location for Tuesday's meeting is Emory United Methodist Church's Fellowship Hall, 6100 Georgia Ave NW - please spread the word!

*Our goal at this point is to get the developer, Foulger-Pratt, to halt their Wal-Mart plans until there is sufficient time for community input.

*In addition to inviting friends and neighbors in Ward 4 to Tuesday night's meeting, our other task is to each make 3 calls/e-mails:

1. Since representatives from Foulger-Pratt have claimed that they will not attend the meeting on Tuesday (even though they're the ones who called the meeting to order in the first place!) because they feel that a community meeting is "unnecessary", please write to Dick Knapp at Foulger-Pratt to demand that he or another rep from Foulger-Pratt attend the meeting. dknapp at

2. To Councilmember Muriel Bowser, asking her to make sure Foulger-Pratt attends the meeting, and also to halt the development process until there can be a full independent analysis of traffic and environmental impact and sufficient community review of plans.
Phone: 202-724-8052, or mbowser at

3. To your ANC Commissioner, asking him or her to attend the meeting, and to demand that Foulger-Pratt attends the meeting and halts the process until there can be a full independent analysis of traffic and environmental impact and sufficient community review of plans. For help identifying and contacting your ANC, see this site:

If you have any questions, feel free to write me.

***UPDATE 4:00 pm***
Mr. Knapp has informed me that he will attend the meeting after all. I'm very thankful that he's going to be present.


  1. Please, please, please stop making things difficult for this developer. For years we Brightwood residents have complained about the lack of shopping opportunities in Brightwood. Because of our high crime rate and generally seedy neighborhood, it is going to be hard to find a company willing to set up shop here. Well, we finally found one so instead of making things difficult, let's welcome them with open arms!! A new retailer means potential new jobs (something people are ALWAYS complaining about at community meetings), more shopping opportunities (because with the Walmart, other businesses will soon follow), and lower crime (because whenever one of these large stores sets up shop they work out special deals with the MPD to keep crime down).

    Sorry, but there is nothing "historic" about the Curtis Chevrolet spot. It's a seedy, disguesting corner that desperately needs a retailer like Walmart. I don't love Walmart, but I'm happy we're just getting something that will make our neighborhood more desireable. It will likely serve as an anchor for other businesses and that's a totally awesome thing!

  2. Anonymous: The problem is I'm not convinced that Wal-Mart will be an anchor for more development. I haven't heard too many stories from communities that have been revitalized by Wal-Mart, but I've heard about plenty of communities that Wal-Mart has sucked dry. Upper Georgia Avenue is already struggling (obviously you know that). The corner at Georgia and Missouri is a very important anchor for the community's economic development, and I think it's wise to be cautious about the tenant that goes into the new development.

  3. An empty lot sure isn't going to anchor any development. It's just going to continue to anchor crime, and continue to showcase Georgia Ave as a run-down dump who's primary benefit is getting to and from Md as quickly as possible.

    As far as assessing impact, yeah there will be more traffic. On a site that large, it doesn't matter whether it's a single large store or several smaller ones, there will be more cars and people around. It's change, and I think worth it.

  4. Yeah, I'm not advocating for an empty lot! I want to see growth on Georgia Avenue. I just have my doubts that more businesses are going to want to set up shop on the same block as a Wal-Mart. And if we end up with even more empty storefronts, Georgia Avenue will be a run-down dump...with a Wal-Mart.

    I'd love to be proven wrong. I haven't heard any updates on Emory's planned development, but I'm hoping they can get started soon, and that they can attract good tenants to their ground-floor retail spaces.

  5. Brightwoodian, you are wrong to try and wlow this. If you help destroy this development this will be the second lost opportunity at that intersection in the last few years. The last was opportunity was destroyed over concerns about a car barn for crying out loud. Please, for those of us that need this development please stand down. While WalMart is not perfect it is the best opportunity likely for this area of the city, if you think other businesses are interested or in line you are deluding yourself. By your own profile you are a recent transplant to this area, so please just stay quite until you've been there for a few years and don't help keep that corner blighted. Your saying you don't want to see that corner as a run down dump, which is what it already is and has been for years. PLEASE STOP!!!

  6. An empty lot is the end result of this opposition if Walmart says screw it and pulls out. Didn't that happen on the previous proposal? It's hard for the opposition to not be perceived as fighting for an empty lot, whatever best intentions are claimed.

    The old Sears in Tenleytown was like this Walmart proposal: a stand-alone, big box retail building with lots of parking below, and it was that way for decades. But recently it had several floors of residential built above it and the retail was divided up.

    Also, if Walmart poses a threat to existing retailers, then the same can be said about any other businesses that go may there. Let's face it, much of the retail on Georgia Ave. needs to step up their game, Walmart or not, because at present it's miserable. I wonder how many residents flock to SS or PG plaza to shop, because there's nowhere local go?

    Finally, as much as some would like a Whole Foods or Gap or whatever more "upscale" retail, that just ain't going to happen on Georgia Ave presently. In fact, a low-cost retailer would benefit the lower income and elderly who dominate the demographic here. I'll bet even folks from west of the park will go there... just because you're rich doesn't mean you prefer to spend more money for the same products.

    This should be considered the start, not the "tragic" end. :)