Sunday, January 17, 2010

Will Kimco Get It?

The nasty weather today was good for Barnes & Noble in Ellicott City. I dropped in around four this afternoon, between games, to grab a map of Northern Virginia. The place was packed. After an unsuccessful search in the map section I worked my away around to the café. A hot cup of fresh coffee was very much on my to do list.
The line was too much for this old dog and, coupled with the fact that I still needed to find the map, I booked. I exited the store and considered my next move. I was parked about 20 feet way. I could also see the Staples store across the sea of surface parking. It really wasn’t that much of a walk even on a nasty day.

Better yet. Next to the Staples store is a Safeway, with a Starbucks. I set off on foot.

I should note here that I was walking across a Kimco shopping center. From the looks of things I’d have to say it’s a pretty successful Kimco shopping center. There is one major vacancy from a shuttered Linens and Things but otherwise it’s full. What it isn’t is pedestrian friendly. The walk from the Barnes & Noble to Safeway is all street and no sidewalk. There isn’t even a crosswalk linking the standalone book shop to the rest of the shopping center.

Granted, Kimco didn’t develop Long Gate Shopping Center. Still, they’ve owned it for over six years so you’d think they might have noticed the lack of connectivity by now. Apparrently not.

That’s a little disconcerting considering that these are the same folks who will be laying out a plan for redeveloping Columbia’s iconic Wilde Lake Village Green. Sure, these are different properties; Long Gate is four times larger than Wilde Lake and nobody is proposing putting residential units in Long Gate…yet.

Not all developers are equal. There are varying levels of competencies and areas of expertise. I’m starting to question whether Kimco really gets it in Columbia. In this article by Larry Carson in The Sun today, Kimcos project director, Geoff Glazer actually blamed the proposed Town Center redevelopment program for his lack of success at Wilde Lake

"The downtown is clearly my competition. I've got to clearly separate myself from what downtown is," to entice merchants, Glazer told about 200 residents at a meeting Monday night at Slayton House. "

You think it might be a better idea to embrace the Town Center plan and think how you might best capitalize on that instead?

For everyone’s sake I hope they figure it out. If they don’t, it will take a lot longer than two years before anything significant occurs at Wilde Lake.

And by the way, I noticed today that the wifi at Barnes & Noble is now free. Wasn’t always so. Nicely done.


Anonymous said...

1) the council made downtown their competitor when they removed GGP gatekeeper status in a bill they unanimously passed against citizen input (non dev interests)

2) Longate is horrendous to navigate, either by car or on foot. As long as Kimco makes a buck, they don't care about design.

3) Absolutely, all developers are not alike. Therein lies the fundamental basis for new opposition to the Doughoregan proposal now being handled by Rutter and LDD who have a reputation that precedes them.

Anonymous said...

I avoid Long Gate just because of its hideous parking lot.

The one thing about it that really drives me nuts is the exit onto MD 103/Montgomery Road: the storage space at the signal is so short that, instead of flushing out the lot when there is a green, everyone save for the 10-12 vehicles already queued in the two left turn lanes is stuck back at the "ring road" trying to navigate the intersection where not only do they have to stop for incoming traffic, but creep over the speed bumps from hell placed right at the stop sign.

I hate that entrance so much that I'll use the one at Long Gate and go around the block, which has its own problem: the way the ring road goes right in front of the Safeway, Staples, and Target entrances, you go 50 ft, wait half a minute for pedestrians, go another 50 ft, wait, go, wait...

The real pity is that I guarantee you that those people in the housing going up across MD 103 from the B&N won't want to walk to the supermarket right across the street. There isn't even a ped xing at the MD 103 signal to the lot, much less any way safe way to get across the rest of the lot.

Anonymous said...

It's not just Long Gate that's utterly stupidly laid out. Look at Columbia Crossing or Dobbin Center (across the street from Columbia Crossing). Wherever you try to go, you're perpetually making left turns across a line of backed-up traffic trying to head the other way.

Anonymous said...

Who owns the Chatham shopping center?

Anonymous said...

How about that Gateway Overlook shopping center? Where everything seems designed to maximize the chances for drivers to contend with each other, something which MD drivers WILL rise to the occasion for, 100% of the time. Why not just put gladiator weapons out for drivers to grab before they have to work out a 4-to-1 merge situation?

Sarah said...

Gateway Overlook is horrible!!! Has anyone tried walking from Costco to Trader Joe's or Perfect Pour? Between the Costco gas station and the speeds of the drivers, you take your life into your hands.

shaunbwilson said...

Word on the street is that part of that Linens N Things will be leased by Target this year to build a fresh-food grocery store like they've been testing in Philly. (See:

I hope that's true.

Anonymous said...

I try to avoid Long Gate Shopping Center whenever possible. It's kind of like a casino where it's difficult to get out.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:48, that's some funny stuff.

Tom said...

Sounds like Yogi Bera lives in Howard County. "I don't go there because nobody can get there." Yes, a successful community does have some draw backs. I suggest you move just 100 miles from here. You can get in any parking lot, but half the stores are closed. Count your blessings Howard County.

Anonymous said...

Hey, that term 'successful' is an eye-of-the-beholder thing, rather than an absolute as Tom seems to think.

Anonymous said...

Bitch Bitch Bitch
Nothing's perfect.
Perhaps we can learn from our mistakes. Isn't that more reasonable?