Friday, December 3, 2010

Wal-Mart and Foulger-Pratt reps met with 4A, 4B ANCs last night

I spoke with several commissioners who attended last night's meeting, and came away with some information about the planned development:
  • A presentation of the proposed development was provided, and though I haven't seen the renderings myself, the general consensus seems to be that the building is decent looking and not one of the big-box behemoths of ugliness that Wal-Mart is famous for. The plan does not include saving the historic car barn that is on the Curtis Chevrolet site. I'm not sure if the Historic Preservation Office has the final say on that, but Wal-Mart's stance was clearly stated: they want that car barn gone.

  • Of course traffic issues were raised, but of course neither company has control over the redesign of the intersection of Georgia and Missouri Avenues. That's for DDOT to handle.

  • Access to the underground parking garage will be from Peabody Street. The building will be set back from the street, allowing for 23 feet of sidewalk.

  • According to Commissioner James Sydnor's notes, "A store of this size will require three truck deliveries per day which will access the store from Missouri Ave., with enough room to turn around on site. Consideration will be given to six smaller trucks as an alternative to the three larger trucks. The community may wish to give consideration to six daily deliveries instead of three."

  • One attendant asked if Wal-Mart, Foulger-Pratt or the city had calculated this development's effect on independent businesses, and what would be the corresponding loss in jobs and tax revenue, but received no direct answer.
It's difficult to write about this objectively for the blog when I remain very unconvinced that Wal-Mart is going to be the cure for what ails Upper Georgia Avenue. As I mentioned earlier, Foulger Pratt is attempting to wriggle out of the December 7 meeting that has been planned and wants to consider last night's meeting the "public meeting". Understandable that they don't want to deal with the opposition...after all, many communities have successfully opposed Wal-Mart; so perhaps this plan can be altered, and Brightwood can instead attract a different large retailer, and hopefully one whose labor practices are less abhorrent than Wal-Mart's.

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