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View Poll Results: What do you think of the National Harbor in PG County?
I love it! It is fantastic!!! 10 17.54%
It's OK, and should get better as the economy recovers! 18 31.58%
It could be better...a whole LOT better. 22 38.60%
They should rename it "National Disaster". 7 12.28%
Voters: 57. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-19-2010, 09:51 AM
 
1,829 posts, read 2,114,136 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meatkins View Post
Thank you slowlane, I'm certain of that and personally I DON'T CARE how much extra I spend my pockets will survive. I'm tired of going to grocery stores in Oxon Hill/Fort Washington and have people talk to me like I'm a dog. When you come to the shopping centers there's trash everywhere, the Giant in Eastover told me one time that they don't even bring the carts inside while they are open, they just leave them out in the parking lot for the people to go get them and told me that's what I had to do. I don't support mediocrity, I don't support ghetto-ness, especially when I pay my hard-earned money.

If people in these areas are okay with the way things are fine, but that's why my wife and I are sitting here and planning our escape out of PG County. I'm tired of the sorry Fort Washington Giant that has looked exactly the same since I was born, I'm tired of seeing like 3 liquor stores at every corner in Oxon Hill and random people standing out there like they don't have anything better to do. I'm tired of the people who work at the local carry outs that don't even have any common courtesy to even greet you and they get an attitude when you ask them for something simple like a packet of ketchup.

So if it seems silly that I pay extra money to shop in VA than so be it. I will continue to take my family out to VA to shop and even get carry out food before I support these establishments until they decide to change. That's why I don't mind the National Harbor for what it is, because it shows that this county is at least trying to keep up with something. I do understand ajsmith365 concern though, given the economy and the local neighborhood, people aren't very likely to go there, and people from VA/DC can eat and shop at places like that in their own neighborhood, but I think it has to be a balance. You can't have teenie-bopper stores like the Blvd, which is what killed that shopping center, and then have upscale shopping. If they are going to put something that fits the clientele more than perhaps they should consider a chain like Macy's or Neiman Marcus or whatever appeals to locals because besides going out for a nice dinner (if you can afford it), most local residents won't shop there.
I don't blame you a bit, and I agree. With regard to the Blvd, I like to say that they just moved the old Landover Mall to outside the beltway. I think the residents were bamboozled, because I could have sworn that the developer promised upscale retail there. Also, the place provides easy access to riff-raff and attracts it with cheap, cheesy stores.

As you plan your move into NoVA, just make sure you move into the best area that you can. There are lots of nice spots, but not all of it is created equal.
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Old 10-19-2010, 11:16 AM
 
Location: Some T-1 Line
503 posts, read 442,166 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bowian View Post
With regard to the Blvd... the place provides easy access to riff-raff and attracts it with cheap, cheesy stores.

I will say this. I don't even focus on keeping the riff raff out anymore. To me, no disrespect, but it is pointless to do so. Riff raff is like cockroaches, they are all over. They break into upper class neighborhood homes just like they do middle class homes.

So long as you build something on an accessible route, they are going to be there. Look @ Pentagon City. The place was, and still is, lovely when they built it, and I've seen both good and bad elements there and in a lot of other places.

So, the National Harbor should not cut off their nose to spite their face. If you want to stay in business and build something that fits the demographic that you are servicing, you are going to have to have a middle ground somewhere. You control the riff raff with security. I'm not going to say, "I can't buy a 55-inch flat screen TV and nice furniture or a nice car because it is going to attract riff-raff to burglarize the place." You get what you want and carry a big stick.

Last edited by ajsmith365; 10-19-2010 at 11:37 AM..
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Old 10-19-2010, 11:35 AM
 
Location: Some T-1 Line
503 posts, read 442,166 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meatkins View Post
So if it seems silly that I pay extra money to shop in VA than so be it. I will continue to take my family out to VA to shop and even get carry out food before I support these establishments until they decide to change.
Amen to that! I do the same. I eat @ Chart House, , Phillips, Tenh Penh, Lauriol Plaza, Ben's Chili Bowl, Johnny Rockets. I shop in VA, G'town, and PG Malls (all of them). No Harbor. I have done the Nat'l Harbor thing for a minute, just walking and taking in the beauty, and it is beautiful. But, that has gotten old. I'm not paying to walk around and look @ buildings and the "Awakening" - I saw him @ Haines Point and been staring @ him for over 20 years. And, even though I can afford to do so, sometimes I like to eat @ an average place. Who wants to spend $50 - $100 bucks every outing. I enjoy Johnny Rockets or Ben's Chili Bowl. And, I bet people @ the Harbor would enjoy it, too. Just like they'd enjoy Macy's, Barnes and Noble, and other middle-class, but nice, stores.

Quote:
Originally Posted by meatkins View Post
...people aren't very likely to go there (National Harbor), and people from VA/DC can eat and shop at places like that in their own neighborhood, but I think it has to be a balance.
Right on! I don't mind having the Harbor either. But don't sell me any pipe dreams. I'm not a fool. I'm not going to pay for ghetto-ness, but I am not going to pay for a facade. Cater to the people. Maybe I'm dillusional. Maybe VA will shop there (doubt it, I've talked to them and people of a different demographic than me @ work and the consensus is that they HATE PG county. They love VA, MoCo, Anne Arundel. They've been to the Harbor and said they are not impressed. And, trust me, these people have MONEY, so there goes your high-end dollars. I don't know who Milt Peterson is going to sell them retail stores to, maybe Wale' or Chuck Brown & the Soul Searchers will keep them in business.

Quote:
Originally Posted by meatkins View Post
You can't have teenie-bopper stores like the Blvd, which is what killed that shopping center, and then have upscale shopping.
You are batting 1.0000, meatkins! The middle class is dying because they always get ignored. People in the middle, period, get ignored. Tall people get noticed because they're tall; short people get noticed because they're short. Smart kids get rewarded in school, dumb kids get extra help and a curve on the test. Middle people get nothing. Rich people get tax shelters, while poor people get welfare; the middle people just get taxed.

There is nothing wrong with having some middle class-type of stores. In fact, I bet you will see the rich come out and shop along with the working class. Contrary to popular belief, most rich people don't put all of their money into clothes and such -- thus, Foot Locker, Ann Taylor.
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Old 10-19-2010, 11:50 AM
 
1,677 posts, read 1,864,142 times
Reputation: 1535
Quote:
.... they need to keep people coming back as the novelty wears off. Thanks for posting this thread.
1) THAT is going to be the issue. My three friends and I came in April when we had our yearly reunion. And we did eat and BUY from several stores. But I haven't been since. Now, granted I WILL go back. It's just that I don't think I'm the normal 'shopper' either. Single no kids, but I DON"T go out a lot, and also don't have many out of town guests (twice a year). So a 'specialty' retailer isn't going to stay in business on my dollars. And even when I do spend I'm more an bargain hunter.

((We only went to NH because we'd already been to all the other options: Alexandria, Annapolis, Baltimore, etc.))

2) Would you compare what NH is trying/planning to do with what downtown/waterfront Alexandria has done? I was thinking that's what NH was aiming for.

Downtown Alexandria is a continual draw. So is downtown Annapolis. One question is do you think NH can have that kind of success. What to you think, feasible?

3) I don't know all the stores that will be at the new Woodmore Town Centre. I'm hardly ever down there. But even that is not really close to the NH area.

4) NH is more like in the Oxon Hill, Suitland, Clinton area. Is there any major mall shopping down there? (Forgive me but being in Bowie I confess I don't know much about that area at all. Suitland, Oxon Hill, whatever) No offense I'm SURE to the people who live in those places they're absolutely different. And I know they're not neighboring, But compared to the distance from Bowie. It's all the same.


Lastly, let me say I think this is a good, intelligent discussion without people getting angry. Love it. Looking forward to more comments. (Thanks for the gentle correction on HC vs. NH)
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Old 10-19-2010, 01:04 PM
 
Location: Some T-1 Line
503 posts, read 442,166 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by selhars View Post
1) ...a 'specialty' retailer isn't going to stay in business on my dollars. And even when I do spend I'm more an bargain hunter.
Again, not to say who's right or wrong, but I think that my point keeps getting proven over and over, again. You are like most of us, and we are all retail shoppers. Let's be honest and real, the tourists are going to be in DC. Every person on the planet, Americans, Europeans, Afrikans, Asians, etc. is a bargain hunter...unless we are on vacation, splurging. The splurgers are in DC, not NH. Go to any forum, most people are told to stay out of PG County, especially Oxon Hill. The majority of your repeat visitors are going to be local, so give the local people a reason to shop and splurge.

Example, Myrtle Beach is a specialty place; the whole darn town basically is. After Labor Day, it's a ghost town. BUT, they make enough money to sustain themselves year-round until the next season to stay in business. NH and the area is not a tourist area. Plus, you are competing with DC that offers nightlife, sports, culture (museums & such), shopping and a thriving, gentrified energy; whereas, people of a non-black background either do not know where Ft Wash & NH is, are told to stay out of there because of crime and other perceptions, or treat it as if the area is beneath them. They'll come and peep and check it out, but your business is going to come from the locals.

Quote:
Originally Posted by selhars View Post
2) NH is more like in the Oxon Hill, Suitland, Clinton area. Is there any major mall shopping down there? (Forgive me but being in Bowie I confess I don't know much about that area at all...)
Again, as meatkins and I live here, we can tell you that Ft Wash and surrounding residents cannot shop here. Bowie has numerous strips malls that you can fully shop at for hats, shoes, shirts, pants, home decor, etc. We cannot. That is why it was, in my silly opinion, critical that the project offer this type of shopping. I'd rather have 10,000 transactions of a $20 shirt than 100 transactions on a $100 shirt.

Quote:
Originally Posted by selhars View Post
3) Would you compare what NH is trying/planning to do with what downtown/waterfront Alexandria has done? I was thinking that's what NH was aiming for.
I think they were aiming for something like that. In fact, in the original rendering of the NH, they had envisioned people swimming and jet-skiing in the water (lol). I look @ it as they were aiming for an upscale Baltimore Harbor, or a development like Raleigh, NC's North Hills (www.northhillsraleigh.com), which has a mix of boutique stores and regular stores (they have a Target for Heaven's sake).

I also am glad that you consider this thread constructive. I hope others do as well and wish more would chime in (but, I could go like this just fine).

Let me ask this. I can cry and moan all day long, but what do you, bowian, meatkins and others think would make it a fantastic, or good, place. What could they do, or not do, to make it better and provide that balance of convenient shopping for locals while still maintaining a "regal", high-class persona that attracts a wider demographic that won't bring the value down?
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Old 10-19-2010, 01:11 PM
 
Location: Woodbridge
6,985 posts, read 4,371,174 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by selhars View Post
3) I don't know all the stores that will be at the new Woodmore Town Centre. I'm hardly ever down there. But even that is not really close to the NH area.
It's supposed to be a Best Buy, Costco, Wegmans, Petco and JC Penney's in addition to some hotels, office spaces, and some restaurants.

There's also a Ritchie Station Shopping Center being built in Capitol Heights off of I-95, two exits from there, that will have BJs Wholesale and rumored to have Kohls, Walmart, and move the Sears from Landover Mall to that location.

Quote:
Originally Posted by selhars View Post
4) NH is more like in the Oxon Hill, Suitland, Clinton area. Is there any major mall shopping down there? (Forgive me but being in Bowie I confess I don't know much about that area at all. Suitland, Oxon Hill, whatever) No offense I'm SURE to the people who live in those places they're absolutely different. And I know they're not neighboring, But compared to the distance from Bowie. It's all the same.
There really isn't much down here and that was my main point. We do have Rivertowne Shopping Center, Eastover Shopping Center, and to a further extent Marlow Heights Shopping Center and Iverson Mall, but none of those places are great shopping places. If anything they are mostly trashy shopping centers filled with liquor stores, teen bopper stores, dollar stores, discount clothing and other things that wouldn't attract middle class family to shop. I've been to Bowie a zillion times and let me just tell you that there is a MARKED DIFFERENCE between how the county treat the northern part and the southern part of the county.

Once you go north of Upper Marlboro/Capitol Heights, the county has much more to offer shopping-wise compared to this part, but down here we are pretty much forced to VA, traveling 30 minutes to Waldorf/Brandywine, or going up there to where you all live at. There is a clear bias towards the northern area as far as development. I think ajsmith365 has been (based on what I gather from his statements) hoping for similar development and the National Harbor had the hype of being that. Fort Washington has a higher than average median income ($80K), but doesn't have any eat-in chain restaurants (Applebees, Fridays, etc.) and has no major shopping. The money and the clientele to support those establishments are there. As a matter of fact for years there was a huge vacant space in the Swann Creek shopping center that many thought would attract a department store to the area, but Fort Washington just has not attracted any of those business. It can be nice down here because its much slower pace here than the northern part, it has potential for growth, but there just isn't enough here now to keep my family or a lot of families here. The only reason I'm even here is because of the low prices on properties and the opportunity to save for a house, but as soon as our money is up, there is nothing right now that is making us want to stay.
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Old 10-19-2010, 01:26 PM
 
1,829 posts, read 2,114,136 times
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Here is a story a out a former upscale mall that went bad. It was never a National Harbor, but its ills are germane to this discussion about what NH is, should be or could be.

Owings Mills Mall has numerous vacancies and county officials want to see it overhauled - baltimoresun.com

As for striking a balance, I would place a mid-range, town-center shopping venue not far outside National Harbor. A spot similar to Bowie Town Center, nothing cheap or cheesy. No Metro access.

Personally, instead of trying to make NH all things to all people, the Ft. Washington, Accokeek and Oxon Hill areas deserve their own nice shopping area. I think you have a lot of locals who want to keep the open space and peaceful feel. The more retail you add, the more that peaceful atmosphere will fade, unfortunately.
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Old 10-19-2010, 01:34 PM
 
Location: Woodbridge
6,985 posts, read 4,371,174 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajsmith365 View Post
I also am glad that you consider this thread constructive. I hope others do as well and wish more would chime in (but, I could go like this just fine).

Let me ask this. I can cry and moan all day long, but what do you, bowian, meatkins and others think would make it a fantastic, or good, place. What could they do, or not do, to make it better and provide that balance of convenient shopping for locals while still maintaining a "regal", high-class persona that attracts a wider demographic that won't bring the value down?
In my opinion, I think the National Harbor is trying to be like Reston Town Center because of the number of restaurants and the living/dining/shopping theme but it doesn't walk the line of reasonable priced/high-end retail like RTC. If they wanted to appeal to the local than they need to have more recognizable brands. Having a Macy's would be great because that's a popular brand, it is considered to be middle to high class retail, and there isn't one near (closest ones are in Springfield Mall in VA, Pentagon City Mall in VA or St. Charles Mall in Waldorf or Bowie Town Center in Bowie). I think they also need to have a more affordable restaurant. The opinions I've been hearing from you all and other people that I have talked to is that the restaurants down there are not really worth the price of admission. Well if that's the case, the average person, especially in these times aren't going to pay $100 for date night with a mediocre meal. If they want a nice classy restaurant that maintains the National Harbor's image, then try Cheesecake Factory or even California Pizza Kitchen. Those are two places that offer something different but still have the reputation for being middle/high-end. And finally if they want to at least attract more foot traffic, and make the area a go to spot, then bringing an Apple store or some type of electronic store. Those are things that would make the National Harbor bring more locals.
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Old 10-19-2010, 01:42 PM
 
Location: Some T-1 Line
503 posts, read 442,166 times
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Meatkins, Ritchie Station is sounding promising. Not in the neighborhood, but closer. I never knew what else they were building. Thanks for the knowledge. When is it going to open?

Bowian. Thanks for the article; I am going to read it after this post. I think you are right about a complimentary shopping space. They could do what PG Plaza, or "The Mall @ Prince George's Plaza" did and revamp Rivertowne, re-brand it as Rivertowne Marketplace or something like that and just do some exterior work and maybe add some more building spaces for stores all around (in a "U" shaped pattern). A while ago, they almost had Best Buy come in to where the movie theatre, but the space wasn't big enough.
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Old 10-19-2010, 01:48 PM
 
Location: Some T-1 Line
503 posts, read 442,166 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meatkins View Post
If they want a nice classy restaurant that maintains the National Harbor's image, then try Cheesecake Factory or even California Pizza Kitchen. Those are two places that offer something different but still have the reputation for being middle/high-end. And finally if they want to at least attract more foot traffic, and make the area a go to spot, then bringing an Apple store or some type of electronic store. Those are things that would make the National Harbor bring more locals.
Man, we must have similar tastes. My wife would love a Cheesecake factory, and at least we know the food would be good (hopefully it wouldn't vary).

Good store choices. I was thinking Apple, too. That would fit perfectly with what they are trying to do. I do not know what's going on with the Apple store down in G'town - G'town turned down their design because it did not conform to the look of the rest of the buildings, but the Harbor wouldn't have those restrictions. Agreed!
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