"Burtonsville has always been known for its history," says Jones, head of the Bethesda-based BMC Property Group. "Now that history includes artifacts from 2540 BC."
Residents say the newly-rechristened Great Pyramid of Burtonsville, along with its smaller counterparts the Pyramid of Paint Branch High School Panthers and Pyramid of the InterCounty Connector, appeared behind the two-year-old shopping center Thursday morning. The ancient burial monuments, originally dedicated to Egyptian pharoahs and meant to resemble the shape of the sun's rays, have quickly become a tourist attraction, drawing confused visitors from as far away as Alexandria, Virginia.
"We've always wanted to see the pyramids," says Jim Jebow of Maple Lawn. "Now we can do it without worrying about civil war breaking out. Or having to eat unfamiliar food."
Street vendors offering rugs and camel rides have already begun to appear along Route 198, while shoppers complain that all of the special parking spaces for hybrid cars that won Burtonsville Town Square an environmental award are constantly filled.
Not everybody's excited, though. "I vaguely remember learning about the pyramids in sixth-grade history," says Burtonsville resident Sandra Spring. "But I was kinda hoping we'd get something fun in Burtonsville, like a bowling alley."
Across the street at Burtonsville Crossing, which lost a Giant and several of their tenants to Burtonsville Town Square, the remaining shopkeepers are fuming.
"I heard our landlord totally had a plan to bring the Great Pyramid of Giza to our shopping center, but once again we got screwed over," says Mac Iato, manager of the Starbucks. "I mean, we've got a drive-thru and that weekly car show in the empty parking lot, but there's no competing with one of the Seven Wonders of the World."
Jones estimates that 10 million people will visit the pyramids this year. However, he won't say how they got to Burtonsville.
"Let's just say that my nephews made me watch the movie Despicable Me," he says, "and I got inspired."