Friday, July 6, 2007

city place: a glimpse of our possible future

PHOTOGRAPHER PROTEST: Residents descend on Ellsworth demanding free speech in Downtown Silver Spring complex.

FROM THE POST: Extended hours for parking meters could end; Ashton Meeting Place defeated by Planning Board.

City Place's future is up in the air again as Silver Spring, Singular reports that developer Petrie Ross Ventures has bought the sixty-year-old Downtown landmark. It's unknown whether Petrie Ross will follow through with plans to build an office tower atop this moribund shopping mall.

Just Up The Pike has long wondered what should be done with City Place. Unlike the mall's past owner, whose portfolio consists mainly of office buildings and McMansions in Tysons Corner, Petrie Ross actually has experience building (and renovating) dying malls - giving us an idea of what City Place's future will look like AFTER THE JUMP . . .

The Centre at Glen Burnie in Anne Arundel County was renovated by Petrie Ross Ventures, City Place Mall's new owner.

1) City Place will be renamed to include the word "Centre."

Petrie Ross' portfolio shows their strategy: no matter what the project is, throw the word "Centre" in the name. Potential new names include The Centre at Silver Spring, City Centre, Centre Place, and City Centre Place Mall at Downtown Silver Spring.

2) It will be gutted and replaced with a Wal-Mart.

Well, it happened to the Centre at Golden Ring (formerly Golden Ring Mall) in Baltimore, and City Place used to be a single department store: who says it can't go back?

3) It will be classed-up.

The swanky Mall at Shelter Cove in Hilton Head, South Carolina - roughly the same size as City Place - has a directory that reads like a mini-Tysons Corner. If City Place follows its lead, we could see a Banana Republic, a Williams-Sonoma - even a Brookstone.

4) A little of all three.

The Centre at Glen Burnie (above, at right), a mall in Anne Arundel County Petrie renovated, sits in an older suburb that resembles Silver Spring in its less-thriving days. Like City Place, Glen Burnie's surrounded by larger, ritzier malls - Marley Station, Annapolis, Arundel Mills - but Petrie Ross has managed to find a niche for it by keeping stores like Rainbow while bringing in higher-end chains like Lane Bryant and Bonefish Grill.

5) Or none of these things at all.

Silver Spring is wildly different than any location Petrie Ross has worked in before. City Place will demand a creative solution - one that considers Silver Spring's increasing wealth while respecting the needs of its diverse consumer base. If Petrie Ross succeeds in remaking City Place, it'll have been just fifteen years in the making.

Shelter Grove photo courtesy of Petrie Ross.


Sligo said...

Well, at least it won't be called "Shoppingtown".

Anonymous said...

Trade the office space with a hotel. Dump the low class stores and copy the Gallery at Harborplace, an upscale multistory mall with air-rights Renaisance Hotel. Just look what they did with Wheaton Plaza, not long ago a downtrodden mall, now one of the region's busiest.

Julian said...

I thought I once read that City Place has a covenant with Hecht's that says that a department store is not allowed to occupy the property.

Anonymous said...

Julian is correct. Does anyone know how long the covenant lasts and if it survived Hecht's sale to Macy's?

Anonymous said...

How do you remember that there was a covenant with Hecht's? I am impressed. Hope they had some ground stores and make it more human scale.

Anonymous said...

How about we put in some kind of museum? some Discovery thing with all sorts of weird nature stuff, or how about something that deals with film since we do have AFI? That'll keep silver spring from becoming like any other homogenous revitalization. It'll bring in families, new visitors, and hopefully attract new independent businesses.