Frederick a "Mini-D.C."

The Washington Post did an article about revitalized downtowns of the region. Much of the focus was on Frederick’s Downtown:

Many of the same forces fueling Washington’s renaissance are driving a small-city boom regionally and nationally. From the historic cities of Alexandria, Annapolis and Leesburg to the newer Metro-centric communities of Bethesda and Clarendon, the desire to live within walking distance of restaurants, bars, theaters and parks has revitalized once-withering downtowns, according to demographers and real estate experts.

Elsewhere, examples of the boom abound: Evanston outside Chicago, Pasadena outside Los Angeles, West Palm Beach outside Miami, said Christopher B. Leinberger, a George Washington University business professor who has studied the trend for years.

In the Washington region, few places have benefited more from the phenomenon than downtown Frederick, where a flourishing restaurant, bar and art scene has transformed the 18th century county seat into a mini-D.C. In the past five years, the city has added 40 businesses to its eclectic downtown, Frederick officials say, and demand for houses in the most walkable parts of the city has pushed up median home prices.

The article also points out some of the things blocking Downtown Frederick and it’s regional counterparts from more growth:

Big housing complexes, large retailers and especially plentiful job opportunities are often scarce in small cities. The regulations that mandate architectural preservation in historic downtowns can also make development difficult or cost-prohibitive.

If you can get through the ad blockade on the Post site go read the article than come back and discuss. It’d be interesting to see what you all think about it.

Feasibility Analysis for a Bicycle Sharing Program in Downtown Frederick

The City of Frederick has set up a website to collect public opinion about a bike sharing program in Downtown Frederick:

The City of Frederick is exploring the feasibility of implementing a bike share system. While we are still in the exploratory phase of bike sharing in Frederick, we would like to hear from you. Please use this website to learn more about the project, about bike sharing and about the possibilities that bike sharing represents for the City.

Visit to frederickbikeshare.com to read more about the program, fill out a survey, suggest bike sharing locations, and learn about bike sharing programs in other cities.

Zoning Change for Frederick Towne Mall Property Approved

From the Frederick News-Post:

After hearing more than an hour of impassioned public comment Thursday, the city’s Board of Aldermen voted 5-0 to rezone the Frederick Towne Mall property.

The rezoning will allow Rockwood Capital, which owns the 20 acres on U.S. 40, to move forward with a proposal to bulldoze the nearly vacant mall and build a Wal-Mart. The developers will need to bring forward a site plan before finalizing its plan.

 

Public Meeting About the Golden Mile WalMart

This was mentioned in the comments, but I wanted to make sure it was broadcasted wider:

Just a reminder to anyone who is interested- tonight 5/9 at 7pm the Fredericktowne Mall developers will again present their plans for the Mall which is to include a Walmart SuperCenter. the meeting will be held at the old BonTon space at the mall. Remember the issue is about zoning, currently the property is zoned mixed use, the owners want it to be general commercial and this presentation is what they will build if it gets zoned GC. The Planning Commission has recommended that zoning stay MU. It will ultimately go to the Alderman for a vote.

Thanks for the heads up mdchmd!

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.

Path project makes headway

Path project makes headway