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.