Wednesday, July 28, 2010

We got the power

After hearing on the PEPCO hotline yesterday afternoon that it would be Friday before our power was restored, it was a pleasant surprise when our electricity came back on yesterday around 6pm.  How did you survive the power outage?  Are you still waiting for PEPCO to restore yours?

I got out for a bike ride last night while my house was cooling down for the night.  I saw a higher-than-average number of people out enjoying the nice weather, especially in Sligo Creek Park.  Personally, I didn't mind the power outage, other than the loss of power to our refrigerator, which was a bummer.  The PEPCO outage map is showing just over 1000 Wheaton residents without power, down from over 7000 yesterday when I checked.

In other news and notes, I saw an article today about the new library that has opened in Shaw.  I think this is an example of the sort of community hub that we could have had with a new library in Wheaton's downtown.  Regardless of your opinion on what Wheaton should have, I think you can agree that the residents of Shaw are getting a beautiful addition to their neighborhood.

The Gazette had a few Wheaton-related postings today.  A local developer, B.F. Saul, was awarded a contract by the county to redevelop the 12 acres of land around the metro.  I work in the architectural field and I have never heard of this developer before.  I checked out their website, and all I can say is...barf.  And apparently all they can say is, "We love to build large boring buildlings without any distinguishing characteristics.  Yay.  Go us."  They better get one hell of an architect to work with them on this, because I don't see anything in their portfolio of work that would indicate they can pull off a major redevelopment effort in Wheaton.

Also, the planning board is holding a public meeting tomorrow to discuss the Wheaton Sector Plan.  I've been working really long hours lately, so I'm a little doubtful that I'll get to attend, but I should really try to get over there for it.  Here's the info from the Gazette article, including directions on how to sign up to speak.  I saw a blurb a while ago saying that the redevelopment in Wheaton was going to focus on residential growth without any growth in commerical office space.  That seemed like a weird strategy to me (can you think of any bustling local areas that don't have any office space?).  The article on this hearing doesn't mention anything about that strategy, but I'll be interested to see if that resurfaces.  Here is a link to the county's website with information about the current sector plan.


  1. The reason they went with a more "residental" option is there is zero interest in class A office space in Wheaton, we have plenty of low level commercial, and MoCo is anti-industrial.

    So we get more apartments that no one will rent at the absurd prices the developer wants (Archstone anyone?) and instead they will simply warehouse more Sec. 8 renters to the joy of us all.

    But if they put in the bike lanes that are in the plan, I can forgive them that....

  2. Well, I wouldn't get too worried about the section 8 thing. According to a recent article I read, apartment occupancy across the DC area is just over 95 percent. I don't know what it is in Wheaton specifically, but with all the transit nearby, I think that apartments in our area will be fairly well occupied. I just think that to attract quality retailers to our neighborhood, Wheaton can't be a ghost town during the day with customers only in the evenings. I know that the economy still sucks, but I can't believe that there's no future market for commercial office space in Wheaton. There are all sorts of new buildings up 270 in the Gaithersburg area, and they don't have nearly the transit and amenities that we have.

  3. @ Wheaton

    The problem is one of perception---Gaithersburg (at least the office partk side) is seen as shiny and new and safe. Wheaton old, grungy and not so safe. If I was looking to relocate or start a bio-tech, or a .gov or a whatever and I wasnt going to Virginia it would be up the 270 corridor.

    I was at the Sector Plan working meetings where this was discussed and pretty much thats what the planning board said---they had polled around and no developer thought there was any market for Class A or B space here. They wont build where there isnt a market (being sensible capitalists and all...)

    On the other hand, Archstone is 20% vouchers; MetroPointe is a HOC administered public housing project, the Ambassador is HOC owned, Pembridge Square and Amherst Square are Mongtomery Housing Partnership owned and the Georgian Forest is HOC public housing as well. Wheaton Glenmont also has the highest level of scatterd sites (private Sec 8. vouchers) in the county, although we beat Montgomery Village only by a hair.

    So there is plenty of opportunity to keep that downscale air that keeps our property values low and the perception of crime and grunge high.

    Plus my power is out again, and I feel like Im in the Green Zone with 8 hours a day of rationed power

  4. I-270 is the tech corridor which is why government and biotech are building up there. The National Cancer Institute is currently building at Key West/Medical Center Drive and will be housed up there with other research offices by 2013. Wheaton has nothing to offer and the plans to build more apartment complexes in Wheaton/Glenmont makes no sense without having something to offer. No more public housing; offer more chain restaurants and stores that will help people like myself shop in Wheaton instead of heading to Rockville Pike. As far as the library, they made the right decision to keep it where it is. New homeowners in Wheaton may want it relocated but us Wheaton veterans have been going to that library for over 25 years like it where it is at.....