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Reports: Wal-Mart Could Open on Rockville Pike By Late 2013

The store is the second Wal-Mart proposed near the city's borders in less than a month.

Wal-Mart is proposing an 80,000-square-foot store at the Pike Center on Rockville Pike, The Washington Post reported late Monday.

"The Rockville store would replace more than half a dozen shops, including , Office Depot and , whose leases would not be renewed," The Post reported. "A restaurant, new M&T Bank branch and Jared jewelry store would remain."

Chevy Chase-based JBG Rosenfeld also plans to request that the property, between Twinbrook Parkway and Randolph Road, be rezoned from commercial to mixed-use in 2013 to allow 200 to 250 apartments to be built there, according to reports in The Post and The Gazette.

The county has not tried to lure big box stores like Walmart, Steven A. Silverman, director of the county's Department of Economic Development, told The Gazette.

Monday's news comes less than a month after Wal-Mart announced plans to open a store in Aspen Hill on the former BAE Systems site at Aspen Hill Road and Georgia Avenue, The Post reported on Sept. 26.

The Post published conceptual drawings and floor plans of the proposed 118,000-square-foot Aspen Hill store, which would open in 2013 and provide about 300 jobs.

Silver Spring-based , which built in downtown Silver Spring, owns the Aspen Hill property.

“We've proven that there is not an office market in Aspen Hill,” Lee told The Gazette. “It is an I-270 office building that is obviously not on I-270. The point is that the master plan is not working.”

The county government employees union opposes the proposed Aspen Hill store and launched a campaign against County Council President Valerie Ervin (D-Dist. 5) of Silver Spring over the proposal.

In an Oct. 2 editorial, , writing that its "over-the-top rhetoric is becoming an embarrassment."

An Oct. 5 editorial in The Gazette said a Wal-Mart "is not entirely in conflict with the long-term vision" for Aspen Hill, but that the proposed store would require a master plan amendment—a process that could take up to three years to receive approval from the County Council. The Wal-Mart could threaten mom-and-pop stores, the editorial said.

Jim Coyle October 19, 2011 at 06:19 PM
A Walmart on the traffic choked Pike would be a disaster especially that the City is looking at ways to improve the Pike including reducing the impacts of traffic. The County would be totally irresponsible to allow this Walmart at that location. I hope the City objects to this in every way possible.
Mauricio October 21, 2011 at 02:28 PM
Yesterday JBG held an open house at the Legacy hotel to explain the project. This big box store will severely affect traffic not only on the pike, but mainly on side roads (Bou, Chapman, Twinbrook). It will also hurt small businesses, without a doubt. I spoke with a traffic rep at JBG who was trying to sell me the story that because Wal-mart will be close to Twinbrook Metro it won’t have a big impact on traffic. The fact that Twinbrook is close by will have no positive impact on traffic. I hope MoCo’s development council is not naive enough to buy that story. Then I talked to another JBG rep and told them I couldn’t believe they were proposing another strip mall after what they have been promising for White Flint and Twinbrook they guy said “well, this is not really a strip mall…we are putting in a green roof on it!” Are you serious??? To top it off, yet another JBG rep said “oh this will only add 20 cars to the congestion that is already on Rockville Pike” and then she pointed me to the traffic rep who clarified that they expect over 450 additional cars during peak hour! So let’s see, we have about 3 peak hours of “rush hour” in the morning and 3 in the evenings. So this will result in an impact of about 2,700 additional cars a day, during those peak hours! MoCo development council: I beg you not to go through with this terrible idea. Outside of the money factor, this proposal by JBG doesn’t benefit anyone.
Jeff Hawkins October 21, 2011 at 02:41 PM
A Wal-Mart at that location would be a disaster.
Jim Coyle October 21, 2011 at 04:48 PM
The estimates for Walmarts in most locations is an increase in 30 thousands cars a day! Can you imagine that volume at that constricted location on the Pike. In addition, a Walmart presents the absolute opposite image contained in the proposed Pike Plan. A similar Walmart was in the early 1990's for the southern end of King Farm. The County and City objected to that. It would have ruined the King Farm development plan. Now the County and City need to join again in opposition to this proposal or the Pike will be completely destroyed as far as traffic congestion is concerned.
Jeff Hawkins October 21, 2011 at 05:38 PM
Jim, It's mind boggling that someone would try to "shoehorn" a Walmart into that location. It make no sense at all. Certainly it will be shot down. Thank goodness the King Farm Walmart didn't make it.
Theresa Defino October 21, 2011 at 07:50 PM
I absolutely hate the idea of a Wal-Mart in that location. I will never shop there. The company has a horrible record of worker abuses, including locking workers in overnight and not allowing unions. It is the larger private employer in the country. It also recently announced it was cutting back on health care benefits for part-time workers and increasing costs for them and all others The wait time to get coverage is a YEAR after working there. Maryland passed a law, later struck down, in 2005 just to get Walmart to offer benefits to its workers. This is not the kind of business we want in MoCo, and the fact that the shopping center owner would so cavalierly just cancel the leases of the shops that have successfully operated there for years--such as the bagel place and CiCi's pizza--is just appalling. The healthcare cutbacks were just announced. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/21/business/wal-mart-cuts-some-health-care-benefits.html
Doug R October 21, 2011 at 08:11 PM
Mr Coyle, You hit the nail on the head. This proposal JUST outside the city limits would DIRECTLY challenge the vision being put forward in our new Rockville Pike Plan. This is a horrible idea for this site for numerous reasons, the least of which is the proximity to Twinbrook! That proximity is precisely why an auto-centric proposal is the worst possible proposal at this site both for the County AND for the City of Rockville. Sounds like the opposition lining up to this is fairly unanimous.
Theresa Defino October 21, 2011 at 08:25 PM
to Doug--Ike Leggett does NOT oppose this. And it also includes residential units, which will not be subject to Rockville's APFO because it is not in the city limits. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/wal-mart-plans-to-open-store-on-rockville-pike/2011/10/17/gIQAZL7msL_story.html
james October 22, 2011 at 04:09 PM
rockville pike traffic is already a disaster. if this is aproved it will ruin rockville pike and alot of small business in the area.Another example of the councils lust for revinue.
Rob October 25, 2011 at 06:48 PM
My two cents: Walmart doesn't enter a market where it is not needed or will be successful. Period. We cannot admit in Montgomery County that people NEED a Walmart in that area, because it would mean that not everyone is "above average" to take a reference from the Prairie Home Companion. Not everyone can a) afford a Costco membership or b) drive to Costco to get discounts on food, clothing, prescriptions. What message are we sending to people who need Walmart? Live somewhere else? That's already the message we sent to Hilton and VW who located their headquarters, and their highly paying jobs in Northern Virginia.
Jeff Hawkins October 25, 2011 at 07:13 PM
Rob, I don't think anyone is disputing that Wal-mart wouldn't make a profit. I'm sure they have done their research. I think the question is location and at what cost to the already terrible traffic in that area. I could be wrong, but I doubt if Wal-mart gives a hoot about the traffic. It's much like Wal-mart wanting to build a store right next to a Civil War battlefield in Virginia. They are NOT always right. This is not Wal-mart headquarters, it's a store in the wrong place.
Radu October 30, 2011 at 02:47 AM
Rob, I can't believe you just compared Walmart with Hilton and VW headquarters.. yet few words later mentioned "highly paying jobs". Not the case with Walmart. And to say Walmart is for poor people (well, no so directly) is demeaning not only to them but to the idea of social responsibility. Walmart only sells the idea of cheap products. If you read about their marketing strategy you realize why people coming for the advertised $19.99 toaster end up buying the $29.99 one they could buy in any other store. Clever? Yeah, devilishly so. And even the ones who, pinching their pennies, still buy the $19.99 one because they can't afford better, end up coming back for another one a year or two later because the "old" one broke. So would they have been better with a good one in the first place? I don't believe that quality raises directly proportionate with price, but an educated consumer I don't think it shops at Walmart, no matter where it stands on the affordability ladder. I don't want to make this post too long so I'm not going to talk about cheap food, obesity and high medical costs in the long run. And if you read Theresa's post you understand why Walmart is an affront to the idea of social responsibility. I think Walmart doesn't fit Rockville because of traffic reasons and cultural reasons.
Theresa Defino October 31, 2011 at 02:29 PM
If you are against this, the time to be heard is now. Please come to the County Council public hearing tomorrow night and show your support for Council President Valerie Ervin's bill that would try to hold Wal-Mart and others accountable for wages, benefits and require working with communities before they come in. Call 240-777-7803 to get a slot to testify. This is project is not within Rockville city limits. Contact our County Council rep, Phil Andrews at 240-777-7906 or email him at councilmember.andrews@montgomerycountymd.gov. Give the whole council your thoughts: county.council@montgomerycountymd.gov The hearing is on this bill: http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/content/council/pdf/bill/2011/Packets/20111011_4.pdf Here's a Washington Post story from Sunday: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/md-politics/prospect-of-more-wal-marts/2011/10/18/gIQA4wFWTM_story.html
Steve November 21, 2011 at 01:26 PM
Hey folks. Ever actually shopped at a Walmart? There's only one in MocCo so you probably haven't. Low quality products? Nope, same items, same brands as the "mall stores" and big-box stores, just lower prices. Really. Workers get paid less? A bit, but it's better wage than being unemployed. A store only for "poor people"? NOT. I shop there, I have a good paying job but I do save money. Heck, my doctor shops there. Closing down mom & pop stores? C'mon, are there really any mom & pop stores left in the area? The traffic would be an issue, but the Pike is already choked with traffic anyway so how is this going to be any different. People complained about the Walmart I shop at before it was built. Now they shop there.
Doug R November 21, 2011 at 08:22 PM
Steve, you are entitled to your opinion no matter how wrong or misleading it seems to be to many of us. I HAVE shopped at Wal-Mart in my hometown in Pennsylvania--many there have not as much choice in the matter as they used to because after Wal-Mart built a mega-store right on the edge of my small town, one-by-one the hardware store, JC Penney, gift store, pharmacy, general store, and clothing stores on our once CHARMING and VIBRANT Main Street all went out of business. These were family-run small businesses that had been the cornerstone of our community for more than 100 years. Wal-Mart destroyed my hometown community. They drive everyone else in competition out, pay far less, blight communities, and then price-gouge when no else is left to compete. Their business model is about as moral as theivery. And I beg to differ on the "quality" assertion. You CLEARLY have not shopped at Wal-Mart if you honeslty beleive they carry "same items, same brands"--sorry but that is simply flat-out untrue. They carry crap. Their garden section is embarassing (or should be) for the poor quality tools and garden materials they carry. It's pathetic, and NOT that much cheaper. Are there really any Mom & Pop stores left in the area? You don't get to Rockville very much, do you?
Jeff Hawkins November 21, 2011 at 08:34 PM
Doug, Kudo's..............

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