Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Most Convenient Target

Liz Bobo thinks that Kimco Realty Corporation, the owner of the Wilde Lake Village Center, should be giving the remaining tenants in the beleaguered shopping center a break on their rent. According to this story by Jennifer Broadwater in the Columbia Flier, Liz told a gathering of merchants that she wonders “if Kimco wants this village center to fail. ... I don’t see any kind of an outstretched hand at all to help you guys.”

A noble and populist gesture to be sure but I’m left to wonder who is offering to help Kimco?

Kimco didn’t cause Giant to close its grocery store at Wilde Lake. The loss of the anchor store has certainly had an adverse effect on the profitability of the retail center as other stores followed suit and left the center. Yet even as the cash flow from rent receipts declined, the landlord has continued to maintain the property as it did when it was fully leased. I doubt that their lender has offered to reduce their mortgage payments during this transitional time and I’m certain that the county has not offered to reduce their property taxes either.

It’s easy to demonize a landlord. Liz is trying to make Kimco look like Snidely Whiplash when the company insists on collecting past due rent. The fact of the matter is that Kimco has been trying for four years to come up with a plan to breathe new life into Columbia’s first village center only to be continually thwarted by the insistence of Liz and others like Wilde Lake’s Columbia Council representative, Phil Kirsch, that any new development includes a grocery store. It should be very obvious to anyone who has followed this retail saga that this is simply not going to happen.

Since Liz recently demonstrated her acumen at getting state earmark money for a private homeowners association perhaps she could the same for the merchants at Wilde Lake instead of berating the company that is actually trying to rectify the problem.


Anonymous said...

So now you're against giving breaks to small businesses. Predictable. Kimco sounds very rigid and backward, for example, they filed an 89k lawsuit against one business for breaking a lease when Kimco didn't come through with the promised foot traffic.

Anonymous said...

anon 11:45,

Interesting. I the promised foot traffic stipulated in the lease you speak of? That would be an interesting development. Then again, if it's not, I suppose there is no promise.

Freemarket said...

Bobo does not have very good business sense so it's frustrating when she involves herself in business matters. Remember when she wanted to stop the WCI tower by having GGP just buy the lot back? I wish the world really was as simple as she views it.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Liz a landlord herself? Has she offered her tenants a break in the rent, in light of the tough economy?

John Bailey said...

Hopefully the voters remember this in the primary on September 14th.

Anonymous said...

Good point, Anonyous 2:32 PM. Liz and Lloyd own four rental properties, all in Wilde Lake, I believe. A little bit of demagogue, a little bit of slumlord. But, that's our Miz Liz!

Anonymous said...

You all miss the point. The Revered Rouse's plan was sustainable for a finite time, as long as those who bought into his suburban pyramid scheme could generate enough income to sustain his creaky infrastructure. Now that all of those residents are either gone to Florida or tansitioning to Social Security, it just ain't so, and the riff-raff that have moved in lately can't sustain this pie-in-the-sky model.

So it really doesn't matter what Bobo (I love that name!) or anyone else will do. It's time to call in the bulldozers, or just be content with becoming the foremost East Coast suburban/urban slum.

In interweb terms: FAIL!

Anonymous said...

If Bobo is a leader, what is she willing to do, other than point fingers?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if she is really that stupid or just plain nasty to those tenants.

Anonymous said...

The problem with Liz Bobo's leadership style is that she never takes a position in favor of any development proposal - whether that proposal is good, bad or indifferent. Instead, Liz is quick to state her "concerns," which almost always are negatives about a proposal. Whether it's the construction of Route 100, the General Plan Amendment of 2009, Wegman's, or any other project, no matter the size, Liz has always voiced her "concerns." Someday, we all may be shocked when we hear her say something like, "I fully endorse the construction of...."

Gimme A Break said...

Let's talk about Kimco's role in the demise of WLVC.

The WL GIANT was the smallest (18K sf) and highest revenue producing grocery market (per sf) in the company. GIANT had no reason to close the store until Kimco wanted to jack the rent up.

Reasonable people might ask why Kimco would risk losing the anchor of a somewhat run down retail center that was serving an average to below average Howard County demographic. The answer lies in the financial incentive offered by revelopment and upzoning of a "failed" retail center.

Security Development has also seen the light at Normandy Plaza on Route 40. After making it untenable for the SAFEWAY to continue, they are asking the County for.... ta dah.... upzoning for hundreds of new residential units to support a new retail center.

Isn't it amazing how the smart developers just seem to have a sense of how to make their commercial centers more profitable?

wordbones said...



If you truly believe that Kimco and Security didn't try everything they could to keep these grocery stores you really don't understand this business.

Safeway and Giant made the decision to leave these shopping centers based on their own strategic business decisions. I seriously doubt that even a significant reduction in rent would have kept them in these locations. The rent they pay is only a small portion of their total operating costs (labor, inventory, utilities, etc.).


Anonymous said...

Thanks GAB. Very enlightening.

Anonymous said...


Although your assertions sound great, they are in complete disagreement with the facts. Giant Food closed their Wilde Lake location with almost a year left on their lease. They in fact continued to pay the rent for the balance of the lease with the doors closed.

Kimco did not force Giant out, Giant ran.