A Third Wal-Mart Proposed for the Golden Mile

From the Frederick News-Post:

The developers of the Frederick Towne Mall property say building a Wal-Mart is the solution for redeveloping the commercial stretch of U.S. 40 in the city known as the Golden Mile.
That would be the big-box chain’s third location in Frederick.

Wal-Mart representatives joined the developer and its team Wednesday at the weekly workshop of the mayor and aldermen. The developer is seeking a change in the property’s current zoning, which calls for a mix of commercial and residential development, to one that allows only commercial construction.

“Wal-Mart has agreed to purchase a substantial portion of the mall property to be the anchor property in this redevelopment,” David Severn, attorney for the developer, said at Wednesday’s meeting. “We believe it will reinvigorate this area of the Golden Mile and the entire Golden Mile.”

This was the first time the developer identified Wal-Mart as a potential partner, but Severn stressed that the new zoning would be the only way the project would work. A design plan was also presented for the first time that detailed how the store would look and what amenities would be included to spruce up the 50-acre property, which includes 28 acres that won’t be touched. Boscov’s and Home Depot, which take up about half the mall property, are privately owned and are not going anywhere.

The developer and Wal-Mart made the following points in favor of the plan:

  • New jobs; up to 300
  • More people coming to the Golden Mile; results in an increase of traffic to other retail in the area
  • Updates to the area around the mall; pedestrian bridge over 40 and a park

Personally, I think we could do without another Wal-Mart. With two other Wal-Mart’s in the area I don’t buy the “bring people to Golden Mile” argument, maybe it will keep people in that area there who would normally travel to 26 or 85 stores.

No matter how much I’m against it though, I suppose an open Wal-Mart might be better than a mostly abandoned mall.

Whatever you think it sounds like citizens will have a chance to comment on this plan:

Severn said meetings were planned with neighborhood groups and the Golden Mile Alliance to show them the developer’s exact plan.

It’s also important to note that the ” … city’s planning commission has already recommended the change not be made.” And that the final decision is up to the Alderman.

Thanks for the tip on this story Jeff.

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44 thoughts on “A Third Wal-Mart Proposed for the Golden Mile

  1. Sorry to rant. This story just makes me rabid with anger at commercialism…I very rarely have a good experience at Wal*Mart and the times I do are when I order something online for pick up. I guess I’m more or less disappointed because I had envisioned bigger/better things for Rt 40. I grew up at the mall with my cousins over the summers, but now the mall is a joke.

    Having lived in Hillcrest for almost 4 years now, it’s not as bad as everyone else likes to make it out to be, but bringing Wal*Mart there is not going to change the image that’s been established…such a shame. Wal*Mart may bring increased traffic, but I HIGHLY doubt it will bring more traffic to the businesses already there.

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  2. Join our NAC newsletter if you wish to keep in touch with the updates and meetings on this issue. taskerschanceinfo@gmail.com
    We put out a NAC5 newsletter every week or two with information for the area. It is a closed list-serve. If you wish to join, email us and give your location in the city.
    Yes, this was very disturbing and not what we wish for the Golden Mile. We have known for some time that Walmart was the company wanting to come in with Mr. Ifshan. This is definitely not in compliance with the Vision of the mall property of most residents in NAC5 and in other areas of the City. People Building Frederick’s Future….pbffgroup@gmail.com …has been working on this issue and visiting NAC’s throughout the City. Most of those visited also do not agree with this move to just place a Big Box store with all the parking once again on the Golden Mile. We need citizens to contact us to obtain dates of all meetings and discussions. We need you to become involved, come to meetings, write letters and speak on your feelings on this issue.
    We, People Building Frederick’s Future, have had several top in the Nation, planners and specialists visit Frederick and give seminars on what is the trend in America and what works. All have agreed that Big Box is not the future, Mixed Use is the future. Keep in touch and we announce our speakers in our Educational Series and what is happening in our city. Mr. McMahon, a top specialist in this area of expertise, stated that Cities should not allow Developers to tell them what to do but should tell the developers what they will allow.
    Join us and sign up for these emails and newsletters.

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  3. This just makes me burn with anger. NO NO NO NO NO. We do NOT need a 3rd Wal-Mart!! That will d0 absolutely nothing to improve the Golden Mile. It’s just more of the same crappy shopping. I love Frederick and I’ve been doing all I can to defend the utter stupidity of the current Maryland government, but Virginia and Pennsylvania are looking better every single day. WE are supposed to be Maryland’s 2nd largest city and yet we act like a village in the boondocks when it comes to retail. WHY am I STILL having to drive 30 miles or more in any direction to get to any real shopping??? You want my dollars to stay local?? Give me reasons to shop here!!! FSK is becoming a dark cave of a mall, no food court, and stores I have no interest in – only Barnes and Noble and Macy’s brings me back there. Nothing else. I go to Tyson’s or Columbia for real malls. I go to Rockville for Whole Foods and REI. I go to No. VA for the Wegmans that is allowed to sell wine, the outlet mall, the Trader Joe’s and more. I should NOT have to do that. The utterly ridiculous argument that we don’t have the demographics was smashed the day Wegmans opened here. Try getting into a good (and pricey) restaurant anywhere downtown on a Friday or Saturday without reservations. You won’t get in because they are packed. A big outlet mall with a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods attached would become a destination shopping point. Wal-Mart????? Sickening.

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    • I agree with you, Gypsy. I go to all of the same stores and hate the distance. As an X Montgomery County resident I want to do everything in Frederick. I have tried and done so since 1997 but have been waiting waiting waiting for a Whole Foods (but I love the Common Market and don’t want them to get hurt) a Trader Joe’s, etc. I live near Urbana and although there is a Giant there and some restaurants it is not as shopper friendly as the Kentlands. I wish the Golden Mile could be on that level someday. Still waiting…

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    • Adding more restaurants is not the answer though. Ever been to Columbia? They have far more and better authentic ethnic restaurants than Frederick and many places have been featured on food network. You still cant get in any place on a Saturday night. My husband grew up near Baltimore/Howard county border and would rather shop in Frederick then step foot in Columbia Mall. We don’t need repeats of Columbia and Rockville. That areas needs things that are not find anywhere close by.

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  4. Add me to the list of people who do not want another Walmart. I hate going there and I avoid it at all costs. Who do we want to be, Frederick? The masses who shop at dirty cheapo Walmart? Aren’t we better than this?

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  5. The problem is we all, myself included, can quite easily vent on the net, but attending the meetings that address these ventures are probably not well attended and therefore voices are not heard. Like B stated, we need to let our voices be heard…

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    • Heard on WFMD this afternoon that the mayor is already on board with this. We can go to the meetings and what we’ll get is the slow sad shake of the head, the “oh dear dear dear” sad smile, pat on the hand and then told how we just don’t understand how these things work. If anyone in the City government/planning actually cared about what “the people” think there would not be 2 big electronics/appliances stores next door to each other in the same shopping center (Best Buy and HHGregg); the rotting properties downtown would have been resolved (no guts whatsoever when it comes to facing down the Dragon Lady), rehabbed, and leased/sold to new and thriving businesses.

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  6. I would encourage all to attend the next Golden Mile Alliance meeting on 4/16 at 7pm at the Annex Building on West Patrick St (downtown) and or the next NAC 5 meeting held last thursday of the month 7pm at Taskers Chance pool house (off key parkway). The developers are due to present at these meetings and would be a good time to ask questions, see the plans up close, etc. I agree it is hard to get to some of the meetings since they are often held during the day, but both of these groups are held in the evening. And I have gone to the city’s website and “attended” a meeting online either in real time or archived, so I can stay informed about what was discussed/decided on issues that are important to me.

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    • If they build another Wal-Mart I will convince my mother to move out of the house she has lived in for 4 decades. It will just pull that area down even further. And it is unnecessary.

      For those that can’t attend meetings, due to children, night work, etc, is there a contact person, to write a letter to, or call to make sure this doesn’t happen?

      I lived in Frederick for most of my life, recently moving 30 minutes away. I could easily drive to Columbia or Baltimore City, Owings Mills, etc, all within 30 minutes too, but I choose to drive to Frederick because traffic is better, it is easier to navigate, there aren’t as many people (even though people will not agree with me, driving in Frederick is a lot easier and quicker than Columbia, Owings Mills or the city). There is no reason for 3 Wal-Marts when you could provide better shopping for those people who live further out than the city limits of Frederick.

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    • I attended the GMA meeting last night and was disappointed at the lack of a turnout of folks to hear the Walmart presentation/discussion. With all the “chatter” online about the FTM and this proposal, I would have thought that people would come out.

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      • If you missed the GMAC, join NAC5 on April 25 for the presentation and comments on the mall. We invite anyone in the City to attend. 7pm

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      • I wanted to come, I can’t attend a 7 pm meeting. I can’t attend day meetings, I have 2 small kids and no local babysitter. There has got to be another way to contact people and let them participate. Numbers to call, addresses, email, etc

        “We invite anyone in the City to attend” And only Frederick city residents can attend?

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      • I was trying to say, anyone interested in this mall situation, please attend.

        Yes, there are other means of communication on the issues. You can write all the Alderman and the Mayor letters with your comments. You can also sign up for the area newsletter of NAC5 and follow us on Facebook at City of Frederick NAC5. Of course, you can also write the local media outlets and let them know of your stand.

        Please sign up for our emailed newsletter. It is a closed email system…. taskerschanceinfo@gmail.com.
        This email is for the NAC area.

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    • the latest meeting update- the NAC 5 meeting will now be held at The Annex on West Patrick Street downtown (by the new parking deck down the block from the courthouse) still at 7pm. come out to hear and see the presentation on the Walmart and the mall area in general.

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  7. A big NO to Walmart!! We want a more upscale/town center type of renovation. A Walmart is only going to add to the downward spiral that Rt. 40 has been experiencing over the years. We need an UPWARD trend!! Something like what’s going on off of Rt. 26 with the Wegmans, Home Goods, etc.

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  8. So the developer thinks this third Walmart is a great idea. Hasn’t anybody else noticed that, with regard to planning for this property, the developer has not only NEVER been right, but has been spectacularly wrong, each and every time?

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  9. You can send your written comments to both the mayor and the aldermen. Let them know that you don’t want a Walmart on this side of the city and ask them to hold the developer’s feet to the fire and not be wimps. Ask them to consider a vision for the future and not immediate satisfaction.

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  10. Sounds to me like the developer is looking for a quick out. Just dump the property on Walmart and run with whatever cash he can make out of the deal. Personally I think the Golden Mile could be redone in a way that remains consistent with the plan released a few years ago but that requires developers that are willing to put up a great deal of money and take some risk. Clearly, this one just wants to cash out.

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    • Joe, well said,
      I would encourage you and others to send an email that says exactly that to all the Alderman and the Mayor. I would also suggest that everyone attend all meetings and make comments at the meetings. The first of which is next Thursday at the Annex on West Patrick Street in the Parking Deck by the Courthouse. 7pm.

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  11. Ick. Sometimes, scratch that, frequently I wonder if Frederick is headed in the right direction. More, bigger and better is not always the right answer. A 3rd Walmart is never the answer. Let’s keep Frederick beautiful. Congestion and more stuff is not how to do it.

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  12. From Gazette.net about 2 possible malls in Clarksburg MD:

    “The Peterson Cos. has announced plans to build a Tanger Outlet Center on its 98 acres on the east side of Interstate 270, along Md. 121, known locally as the former Miles-Coppola property.

    And less than a mile away on the west side of the interstate, just south of Md. 121, the owner of another plot, Adventist HealthCare, is considering bringing a competing shopping center by Simon Property Group to their slice of Clarksburg.

    “It’s a huge win for Clarksburg, for Montgomery County and for Maryland,” Councilman Craig L. Rice said of the dueling shopping malls. “It’s great because it just shows how many folks really are vested in seeing that Clarksburg is a burgeoning area, a great place to set up shop.”

    And what does Maryland’s 2nd largest city have in mind? A 3rd stinking Wal-Mart.

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  13. Is there any other way to attend these meetings, other than in person? It is extremely difficult between my wife and I’s schedules to attend one of these things.

    At any rate, with the feeling that a THIRD WalMart is overkill for this area, I’m warming up to the design of the proposed project. KMart would receive the biggest impact from a new WalMart and residents of Middletown would probably warm up to it. This stretch of road needs something and WalMart may be the only answer…sigh…

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      • I’d take a Target over a WalMart any day, but really, what other store can come out here? The demographics don’t support it. Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, REI…etc…all these stores you constantly suggest have NO reason to be out here. Not one. I really don’t want another WalMart, but WalMart meets the need. Kmart has JUST as much value that WalMart…but you couldn’t pay me anough to go in there…

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      • Trader Joes won’t come here because of trucking routes and distribution centers, not because of demographics. They do daily truck runs and have virtually no storage at the store, so they need to be close to distribution centers. We will probably never get a TJ because of THAT reason, not because of our demographics. Unless they move a center or build one close to us, then no we won’t get one. It could be the same with other stores such as Whole Foods, they don’t come here not because they don’t think it will do well, they could very well succeed and want to come here, but they would need to build a distribution center, and that is the tipping point in costs. At the same time, Wal-Mart can’t keep it’s shelves stocked, won’t keep any employees at full time, and has consistently thrown out merchandise it can’t stock because it won’t hire enough people to stock it. The treatment of employees is appalling.

        Yes another Target would make more sense, Glen Burnie has 2 Targets on each side of town. As much as I don’t think you need 2 of the same stores in one town – Target would at least be more reasonable.

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      • So next week, like I do often, I will be going to Tyson’s Center mall. Another day next week I’ll be driving back down to REI and Whole Foods. And on the highway with me will be thousands of the “demographics” that too many believe doesn’t exist in Frederick County. We are ALL headed down there to shop because we cannot find what we want here. Ever. I’m a Petite size – there is simply no actual choice of clothing here. I am an avid outdoors person – sorry, but Sports Authority and the Trail House simply don’t cut it when it comes to the things I use and the outdoors clothing I wear. I love Wegmans but there are still fun things I get at Whole Foods that aren’t available here. Period. Oh yeah, Wegmans. How many people laughed and sneered that Wegmans would not come here because of the “demographics” ? Ever been in there? Always busy. And Frederick County does not exist on it’s own. People from Carroll County and Washington County come here to shop – and would come here for better shopping. Change the type of retail choices and the “demographics” will change as well. I believe that a lot of the “no store like that will come here” comes from deep seated resentment – “I can’t shop there so nobody is going to shop there.” I’m so sick to death of Frederick being portrayed as some poverty ravaged area where no one has the means to shop at anything other than Wal-Mart. And yet we are fully part of one of the most affluent regions in the entire United States. Take a look at this website more often – – count the number of people who are constantly raving about great restaurants they frequent in Montgomery County, all part of that “demographic” that “doesn’t exist” here. Maybe “stores like that won’t come here” because there are people so willing to sneer, scoff, and diss this area in order to keep them out. How much of this is part of the “no growth” crowd I wonder. All “smart growth” always comes down to “no growth.” And things that don’t grow and change eventually stagnate, rot and die.

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      • Thank you for your post! I have a choice to shop in Frederick or Columbia, but I choose Frederick simply because it is easier to get around. If everything was in Frederick I would shop there all the time. Because, while out and about, most people are nicer in Frederick than in Columbia and parking is better. Oh and don’t forget – people who live in Columbia and Gaithersburg drive HERE to shop in the Frederick Costco – because the people are nicer and the store is bigger. So we are getting people from other counties shopping here for the SAME EXACT store they live near! If they are already doing that, then find a reason to keep them here with a store they don’t have.

        How does Comfort one shoes exist? Or gymboree? Or chicos? or Jos A Banks? Or Wegmans? in a town of our demographics (they are not high high end, but better than wal-mart)

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      • BK,

        I couldn’t agree more with you re: the demographics. There are many many factors that go into a company opening a new store in a location. I like to think that if the economic argument made sense there would be an influx of next tier stores coming to Frederick.

        I’m not a fan of Walmart, but I do live on the west side of town – *any* investment by a large firm is welcome. If those fighting it would pool their money/time together, buy a franchise in a fantastic store, and open it in Frederick Towne (or any other place nearby), I’d shop there. Can I put my request in for a Whole Foods?

        As far as Wegman’s goes, I’m happy they are here. I’m glad to hear they are packed. Maybe it is a sign of a shift toward Frederick, which would be great.

        I am pretty amused by the argument people make that they have to drive to other cities to frequent TJs, WFs, or any other store. Why should those companies move here when they are all ready getting your business? Personally, I’d shop locally and then every week send the receipt(s) to their corporate office with the note: “This would be yours if you had a store in Frederick.”

        JJP

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      • In response to your comment ” If those fighting it would pool their money/time together, buy a franchise in a fantastic store, and open it in Frederick Towne (or any other place nearby), I’d shop there. Can I put my request in for a Whole Foods?”

        Anyone can contact the stores and request that a new store put there. Doesn’t mean it will happen, but if you want a Whole Foods, contact them and ask for it, if enough people ask, maybe it will happen. The link below shows the requirements for Whole Foods that anyone can send them. I don’t know about square footage of the mall or parking, but if anyone wants to take a picture, give demographics and information about stores in the town, they can. Then send the the information to the broker list. Anyone who wants a Cabela, Old Navy, just send an email. Most of “new store request” on the page. Harris Teeter has a page and contact person. I have contacted a few places myself.

        http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/company-info/real-estate

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    • Hi BK, i know i can’t make daytime meetings but have either watched them live or in the archive on the City’s website. that way i know what was really said vs. reading someone else’s version of what they thought they heard. of course if you can’t make evening meetings either, I would suggest sending an email to the Mayor/BOA indicating what you think of the proposal. From my own experience, some are very good at getting back to citizens, others not so much…But at least you can know you got your opinion out there. Hope this helps.

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  14. Opening comments from last night’s WalMart discussion:

    I also just want to say…I’m pretty adamantly against WalMart being the ‘fix’ for the mall, but I do like the design of what they proposed. I wish we had more access to what the owners have looked into, rather than taking them on their word…

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  15. If you people dont want a Wal MArt on RT #40 just dont go… Maybe other people would like it. Maybe other people need jobs. We now live in a world of ” If I dont like it, no one else should like it either” wha… wha… quit crying and go do something to help the city… LOL

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  16. ^^ Sweetie, if you really want to go to Walmart, you can avail yourself of the two that are already in Frederick. A third Walmart is no solution to the problems of the Golden Mile and will likely cause more, what with Walmart’s deleterious effects on surrounding businesses in other locations. This move to Walmart is an attempt by the New York-based developer to cash out quickly. Frederick should say no, repeatedly.

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    • AMEN AMEN AMEN!!!! Read the article in today’s paper about the group that was trying to lure REAL money earning businesses here.

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    • If you have ever known anyone that has ever worked at a Wal-Mart, they are notorious for treating employees badly. I can’t get the article on the Post about other possible businesses (who the f designed the new website, I am sorry, I can’t find anything on that site anymore!) but they understaff all the time and they have a huge turnover. 70% of employees leave within the first year. 70%! Basically most of the staff leaves, so yeah they offer jobs, basically temp jobs. Most employees take home less than $250 a week. That means 13K a year, if they stay that long AND are given 40 hours a week. Poverty level for 1 person is 11K

      Who does that help? They bring in jobs, that people stay in for less than a year. Wouldn’t it be better to have a business where people can stay longer, make more money and spend money in the community?
      This is doing something for the city- getting a business in there that would be a better benefit to the community, where people can earn more money and therefore spend more money locally.

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