Friday, July 29, 2011

before "shitty place" or "black flint" . . .


It was called City Place, and upon opening in 1992, local boosters called it the savior of downtown Silver Spring. Of course, we remember what happened next: anchor tenants leaving, vandalism, the occasional shooting and, more recently, the mall's sale to a new developer, who may or may not embark on a massive expansion in the works for over twenty years.

But the idealism (and the 80's-era excess! Look at all the chrome and neon!) that City Place represented can still be found in these twenty-year-old photos from the website of McLean-based firm ACG Architects, who designed the mall. Their more successful projects include the renovation of an office building at Wayne and Georgia avenues; the Silver Spring Innovation Center at Georgia and Blair Mill Road; and Turnberry Tower in Rosslyn, the tallest condominium building in Greater Washington.

I'm hopeful Shitty Place Black Flint City Place gets a second (third?) act, but for now its imagined glory lives on in these very dramatic images. (We don't take architectural photos like this anymore, either.)




7 comments:

hockeypunk said...

wow i've never heard it called black flint....

hey can i suggest an upcoming entry on the proposal in the mid-90's to build a mall of america-like development in silver spring??

dan reed! said...

That would be fun, but I've found very few images on the American Dream Mall (as the proposal was called). The Silver Spring Historical Society has a page on it, while this magazine produced by Gordon Price, an urban planning professor in Vancouver, has a few more images (including some from the "bad old days").

C. P. Zilliacus said...

Funny that the Montgomery County anti-ICC industry (especially in the form of now-defunct M-ICC) claimed that the ICC would somehow "harm" downtown Silver Spring.

Don't take my word for it - the late Barney Evans, vice-chair of M-ICC made that claim himself back in 1997 in testimony opposing the ICC here (.pdf file, quite large).

Isayaah Parker said...

I'm not understanding the "Black Flint" nickname. It's not exactly populated by Black people, and it's not black in color and its not a GOTH hangout spot. Do explain

dan reed! said...

I didn't make it up. Someone must have thought that City Place drew a lot of black customers and figured it was a nice pun. Though I've usually heard "Black Flint" refer to Landover Mall (RIP), not City Place.

dan reed! said...

The pun is on "White Flint," of course.

Thomas Hardman said...

"Black Flint" is usually used to refer to Westfield Shopping Towne AKA "Wheaton Plaza". Or it was used to refer to that, at one time in the 1990s or so.

BTW this is yet-another example of "it doesn't matter how much architectural excellent you apply to a totally misplaced bad idea, it just ain't gonna fly, not far nor not for long".