Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Not Getting It Right

“None of what’s been written in the blogs is right.”

That’s how the representatives from GGP responded to certain speculations made about their plans for The Mall last night according to Darrell Nevin. Darrell called me this morning and provided me a bleacher report from the Pre Submission Meeting for the first new development at The Mall since 2002. I couldn't attend because of a prior commitment.

I think they might have been referring to me when they mentioned "the blogs." Particularly this post, where I suggest that a new building would be constructed at the entrance of Little Patuxent Parkway and Sterrett Place. Can I take that back?

To be fair though, I think I may have been the first to report that the L.L. Bean store was coming down and that turned out to be true. That’s something, right?

I still think that the eventual reopening of the old main entrance is in the cards too.

Predictably, there were the usual HoCo loco community activists in attendance and many of the old guard were highly agitiated at the lack of detail and specifics in this pre submission meeting.

What part of "pre" don’t they understand?

This is the first step in a long process that basically says “we want to get something started so start lining up the hoops we’re going to have to jump through.”  It’s intended to be a very general announcement meant simply to convey to the community that they are preparing plans.

According to this story by Kevin Rector in Explore Howard, that simply wasn’t acceptable to some HoCo locos.

"Cynthia Coyle, of Harper's Choice and a member of the Columbia Association's board of directors, said she came to the meeting "with the greatest hopes" for the mall, but felt the planners' presentation was weak."

"Don't take away that we mistrust you," she said to the planners. "Take away that it's a bad presentation."

Well, I guess I shouldn't expect much more from Cindy. She just doesn't know any better, even though she likes to think she does. On the other hand, you would at least think that the development professionals in the room would know better. Apparently not.

"Cy Paumier, an urban design consultant who used to work for the Rouse Company, said he was underwhelmed.

"It's boring," he said. "It's very repetitive. We've heard most of this before."

Architect Bob Tennenbaum, who welcomed Paumier at Rouse in the late 1960s, agreed, questioning why the planners wouldn't provide more details.

All in good time Cy and Bob, all in good time.

It was a bad night for another perennial Columbia development naysayer, Alan Klein. Darrell told me Alan spoke for fifteen minutes during the Q&A yet he wasn’t even mentioned in Kevin Rectors story.

I'll bet he misses Larry
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