Wednesday, June 27, 2007

if there's a boom, i didn't hear it

ALSO FROM THE GAZETTE: "Mandatory busing" hearing for Hampshire Greens delayed; Jerry McCoy says "nothing sexy" about chains in Silver Spring; and "the Turf" is dead.

pictured: the new WesTech Village Corner in "booming" White Oak.

"Burgeoning FDA campus at heart of White Oak boom," screams today's Gazette, which holds a trio of stories about how East County's getting a new Washington Adventist Hospital along with police and fire stations, in addition to the massive Food and Drug Administration headquarters being built on New Hampshire Avenue.
"We look at that area as a national asset," said Pradeep Ganguly, the county’s economic development chief. "We have opportunities to attract major research institutions and companies, manufacturing companies, high-tech companies and more."
The key word is "opportunities." Boom? I didn't hear one. The FDA isn't even finished yet. It has yet to reach its 7,000-employee capacity. Companies aren't knocking down the gates to locate here yet. And the kind of high-end shops and restaurants we demand here - the kind that need a substantial (and well-heeled) office population to support them - haven't even signed leases yet. (That is to say, of course, they'd want to locate in one of our many charmless strip malls.)

The Gazette fails to realize is that a hospital, a police station, or a community center are merely infrastructure. They do us who already live here a lot of good. But they also help to support an increasing population that isn't here yet. This isn't a boom. This is more like the match that lights the spark that sets the fire.

8 comments:

Sligo said...

Well for what it's worth, the Five Guys (in the shopping center pictured) may not have made an audible boom, but it is certainly "blowin' up". It is jam-packed every lunch hour. It is nice that those who work in the surrounding office parks have some additional options these days.

Personally, I'd like to see Udupi Palace move up New Hampshire to the White Oak area. Driving around in Langley Park is a headache.

rd said...

I think that the big investment United Therapeutics is making in Silver Spring is due to the fact that the FDA is located a few miles up the street. For YEARS the FDA has been scattered all over the DC area. Now that the plan is to place the ENTIRE FDA drug evaluation and research complex in one area, you can bet your sweet ass that companies will move to this area.

Have you noticed that FDA Advisory Committee Meetings (the meetings that get all the experts together to make decisions on whether or not drugs should be approved) are all going down at the Silver Spring Hilton...

Anonymous said...

Just a note to say that it's a shame that the FDA/White Oak area is excluded from both the purple line and ICC planning.

Blogsters... write the Council asking them to connect the ICC with Metro in the east (ideally with stops in Briggs-Chaney, Cherry Hill/Randolph, White Oak/FDA, Four Corners). This can be accomplished by building a red line extension. In other words, instead of a % of Metro trains turning around at the Silver Spring station, they would continue north to the ICC.

Sligo said...

Hey, I like trains turning around at the Silver Spring station.

Silver Springer said...

Yes, the FDA in Silver Spring is reat news (they will have a Silver Spring mailing address) but I agree with Dan that the article has jumped the gun. These latest developments are laying the foundation for another primary business hub.

The only things standing in the way are the County Gov, Planning and NIMBYs.

Anonymous said...

These things take time, but if you lived long enough in Montgomery County, you'll know that the East County will be transformed very quickly. They probably won't put in a rail line but more development is definitely on its way. Housing is also doing very well there and you can see some of the demographic changes. Asian immigrants, affluent blacks escaping from a declining PG County, and others are increasingly calling the the corridor home.

Anonymous said...

The FDA at White Oak doesn't create a boom because of its suburban sprawl design. That's exacerbated by the security fence which is motivated by the agency's desire to show its high status rather than any real security problem. (Pedestrians coming out of Metro can walk right by the Pentagon - it's a good thing that building doesn't have military targets like the FDA.)

Why should any business locate near the FDA when you can't walk from here to there. And the FDA is intrinsically hard to access by transit (you can't even provide decent bus access since there are no through roads, so either FDA employees have a long walk in or all the other riders on the bus get delayed). The result is that the traffic generated by all the FDA employees driving to work crowds out complementary development.

The FDA should have been built as an urban campus around its former location at Twinbrook.

Libby said...

I have never understood why there aren't any decent restaurants in the area. I've been living in the White Oak,and now in the Burtonsville are for the past 10 years and there is nothing. Friendlys, come on. And even the new restaurants that are either being built at the West Tech Center or are there already aren't exactly a Cheesecake Factory or even an Olive Garden.

I used to go to the Friendlys for breakfast every Saturday when I was in grad school and it was packed. We've been riding by the new IHOP and people are waiting outside the door to get in. Can't the powers that be see that East County has money to burn too?