Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My 2 cents on the Costco issue

Well, I'm going to come right out and say it.  I'm not a fan of the Costco plans for the vacant Hecht's space at the Westfield Mall.  When I initially heard about the possible Costco, my first reaction was indifference.  I don't have a Costco membership and I don't feel a need to store a year's supply of toilet paper at my house (nor do I have the space!).

The more I thought about it, though, the more strongly I started to feel that this is a bad move for Wheaton.  To frame my argument against Costco, I'm going to paste in the goals announced late last year for the updated Wheaton CBD Sector Plan (more info at 

Here is the list of goals from the planning board's website:
-Focus new development and revitalization efforts near the Metro's Red Line
-Reinvigorate Wheaton's downtown by creating a walkable community with a distinct identity
-Create a vibrant mix of jobs and housing
-Preserve Wheaton's ethnic diversity
-Design quality public spaces inviting to pedestrians
-Foster an environmentally sustatinable community

First of all, I want to say that I whole-heartedly support these goals.  Wheaton is already well on its way to many of them, and the neighborhood's unique vibe combined with all the great potential that exists is one of the main reasons I moved here.  If you take these goals and think about whether Costco will really help Wheaton to acheive any of them, you'll start to see why I have a problem with this.

As I started to collect my thoughts on all of this, I realized that I was going to create the mother of all posts if I talked about all the different issues that I see with bringing Costco in.  So, I'm going to let this post stand as-is, and I'll organize future posts about Costco around each of the goals listed above.

Until then, I'll leave you with two images.  The first image is the google street view of the Costco in Beltsville (only a 17 minute drive from Wheaton!).  The second image is from the planning board's presentation about the updated sector plan for the Wheaton CBD.  Which one do you think we should be aiming for?


  1. Pictures speak louder than words. And I didn't realize that the Beltsville Cosco was so close.



  2. Hi Eve. Thanks for the comment. I didn't realize the other Costco was so close either until I drove by it the other weekend by accident. I was going to go back and take some of my own photos of it, but I decided to just go with the google street view, which still gets the point across.

  3. Hey there, its not that far away though with traffic it can take 25 minutes from Kensington which is probably breaking point for some.

  4. Costco in Beltsville is just a mess traffic-wise. That's the only thing that worries me about Costco in Wheaton - that property is already a problem to get into, and adding a large, popular warehouse store to it is not going to be a walk in the park. Plus I still don't quite see how they are going to shoehorn a giant Costco onto that property along with the parking required to service it.

    Another blog (I think "Just Up The Pike") brought up the thing about having a Costco near a Metro station, and I can't say I'm too worried about that. Such a situation has existed at Pentagon City for years, with a Costco even closer to a Metro station than what is proposed here.

    I have a feeling that in the end, Costco in Wheaton will be fine, because at least in my mind, downtown Wheaton and the Mall are separate beasts, and one can succeed or fail independently of the other.