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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, 01:56 PM
 
Location: Silver Spring,Maryland
884 posts, read 2,312,184 times
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As much as I enjoy going there-it isn't someplace where I go to shop. I've gone to walk around, or catch a free concert and had a nice dinner with dh. Actually thinking about getting a room at the Gaylord for a lil r and r.

Hopefully they will be able to find a good balance because I do think it is a nice addition.
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Old 10-19-2010, 01:59 PM
 
Location: DMV
10,136 posts, read 11,217,401 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bowian View Post
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.
You know when I read this, this reminded me of what happened/is happening to Laurel Mall. I agree with the idea of building a complimentary shopping center. Someone told me that they were going to do something like that near Oxon Hill Road. Not sure how true that is, but it would definitely cater to more demographics without changing the image of the development.
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Old 10-19-2010, 02:00 PM
 
Location: SE
331 posts, read 1,045,849 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bowian View Post
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.
You are so right. I remember that I was so looking forward and when I went there I was so disappointed. I didn't see not one store for me. My teens were excited though.
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Old 10-19-2010, 02:08 PM
 
Location: DMV
10,136 posts, read 11,217,401 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajsmith365 View Post
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?
I have no idea. It was supposed to open a while ago but plans kept changing. Those stores that I listed have been changed up quite a bit. Originally I heard they were going to put a Sam's Club over that but I'm not sure that is going to happen, but they are almost done with the BJs and they have built across the street, a Chick-Fil-A, Wawa, Subway and an urgent care and soon Chipotle is about to open next to the Subway. Seems like it will be opening sooner than later.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajsmith365 View Post
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.
That is another possibility as well. It would have been nice if they could have put something at that movie theatre because it's been vacant for years. In my opinion, Rivertowne has got a lot better over the years because the Old Navy, Staples, and some of those other stores that weren't there, but it definitely will need more to make it complimentary to National Harbor. But I think as long as you have places like Thirsty's Liquors, you will never be able to make a connection between National Harbor and Rivertowne.
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Old 10-19-2010, 02:42 PM
 
1,831 posts, read 3,734,235 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RaisedWell View Post
You are so right. I remember that I was so looking forward and when I went there I was so disappointed. I didn't see not one store for me. My teens were excited though.
I bet a lot of teens were excited, and a lot of adults were rolling their eyes. As soon as I saw the signs going up, I was thinking, "uh-oh."
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Old 10-19-2010, 02:47 PM
 
1,831 posts, read 3,734,235 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meatkins View Post
You know when I read this, this reminded me of what happened/is happening to Laurel Mall. I agree with the idea of building a complimentary shopping center. Someone told me that they were going to do something like that near Oxon Hill Road. Not sure how true that is, but it would definitely cater to more demographics without changing the image of the development.
It also reminds me of Landover Mall. How long did it take to go downhill? I remember it getting a little cheesy by the late 70s/early 80s.
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Old 10-19-2010, 04:04 PM
 
Location: South Florida
165 posts, read 491,578 times
Reputation: 105
Default Timely discussion...

Two gal pals and I went over on Saturday to watch OVO at The Plateau and then had dinner at Grace's Mandarin. It was nice. We killed some time buying costume jewelry at Charming Charlies--lots of chics in there. This was my 2nd trip--went in the summer for a special dinner with family. I now live off EW Hwy in Chevy Chase area so if not for a special occassion I would not drive that far out and certainly wouldn't drive through Chevy Chase and DC passing all the available options.

What strikes me about the place is it seems "unfinished"--across from the parking garage there is this area that looks as though the dirt has been removed and is waiting for the concrete trucks to come through and lay the foundation. It's like they have a good start but need to keep going.

There is clearly not enough of a mix when you consider places like G-town, Tyson's, Chevy Chase Pavillion/Friendship Heights, Bethesda, or RTC. All of those places have quirky boutiques and specialty shops, but they also have high and middle end stores.

I understand the thinking that maybe the developers had "destination" in mind, but they haven't put in the "IT" factor so it's not really a place that the average person will go out of their way to visit. Someone in a previous post mentioned a possible Disney Attraction--that might make it a destination.

Someone also mentioned RTC and I ran a 5K out there for the 4th and from what I can tell it was not built as a destination, but rather as the retail and entertainment center for the surrounding community. There are condo/apartment buildings that surround it as well as townhomes and SFHs. They have the requisite Starbucks, specialty running store, and other well known mall brand stores as well as office space etc. Maybe that's what Fort Washington and Oxon Hill needs--a Fort Washington Town Center. Come to think of it, why don't they have one already?

C.
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Old 10-19-2010, 06:51 PM
 
Location: Some T-1 Line
520 posts, read 816,105 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheasare View Post
Maybe that's what Fort Washington and Oxon Hill needs--a Fort Washington Town Center. Come to think of it, why don't they have one already? C.
I like the sound of that .

There's enough, small strip malls and empty land to do just that, build a Ft Wash Towne Centre. Or, just clean up the ones they have and, like meatkins said, get rid of the liquor stores and one of the hundred dollar stores and beauty marts.

No offense, but I think 7 beauty marts and dollar stores is a bit much.
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Old 10-20-2010, 08:41 AM
 
497 posts, read 511,946 times
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This just reinforces my belief as to why Maryland is run political idiots and is considered as not business friendly. The common resident asks for it.

The naysayers seem to not be able to comprehend the big picture. Consider for a moment that National Harbor is more that just about you. Just for moment look beyond your backyard.

If you look at National Harbor from a regional scale IT HAS BEEN VERY SUCCESSFUL.

National Harbor greatly helped balance the East-West Divide or better yet the Maryland/D.C./Virginia divide.

Let me just list a few points that may be give some of you an "ah ha" moment.

  • National Harbor has actually made D.C. and Va bit#ch and squirm (especially alexandria). They don't underestimate Prince George's or Maryland now.
  • Maryland is finally taking advantage of its Potomac river which it fully owns. It didn't make sense that virginia was making more money off Marylands river than Maryland.
  • Many restaurants and stores are from New York and actually skipped D.C. and Virginia to Choose Prince George's County Maryland, do you comprehend?
  • Gaylord National is one of only four of it's kind in the nation.
  • The millions of convention goers has promoted Prince George's and Maryland in a very positive light. I don't think people comprehend what kind of very important conventions go on there at Gaylord National.
  • National Harbor has actually lured companies and office jobs from Virginia, it is actually more than entertainment it is a business district in the making.
  • Cirque De soleil never before performed for the D.C. area in Maryland (not even the great Montgomery). It has in Tysons and D.C. but never Maryland until National Harbor, now it's 2 years in a row.
  • Prince George's now has a very strong office market to lure companies. It was one of the top considerations for the Northrup Grumman headquarters move.
  • Maybe most important the revenue impact is huge for PG so that residents are not so depended on for County funding
  • Maryland/D.C. finally has a timeshare (the only other was in Alexandria)
  • Some of the hotels have never been in Maryland until National Harbor, like Aloft or Westin, they would go to Virgina but never step foot in Maryland not even Montgomery.
  • Many of the stores and restaurants are for the first time setting foot the D.C. area many upscale. You will not find another location in the D.C. area or have to go all the way to Virginia for the next one.
  • D.C. and the feds have continuously dropped monuments in Virginia and Arlington even though its not part of D.C. yet D.C. government bitched and cried when the awakening sculpture was taken to National Harbor too bad. Maryland has been continuously shi**#ted on by D.C. and the feds in favor of Virginia. But we will get the National Childrens Museum too!
Thank you National Harbor for helping to balance out the unfairly divided D.C. area.

I cant believe you all area complaining. Does Chevy Chase and Bethesda cater to all of Montgomery County?

Does Mclean in Virginia?

Get a clue people its not all about you. Prince George's need areas that cater to different demographic and also has a region wide draw that means the wealthy too and Fort Washington is actually fairly wealthy so i don't see what the problem is.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ajsmith365 View Post
I was born and raised in Ward 5 of Washington, DC. In 2003, I moved to Fort Washington, MD. During that time, the big anticipation was the development of the National Harbor, a 300+ acre mixed-use development project located in Oxon Hill/Fort Washington that would give residents a place to shop, dine and just have fun.

Fast forward to 2010. The project has been completed for 2 or 3 years (well, mostly completed. Enough is open to make an assessment on the place), and I must say that I am completely disappointed for the following reasons

Dining: The restaurants are average, at best. They are either (a) overpriced and the service or food not worth the cost (trust me, I eat at, and do not mind pay for, Ruth Chris, Butterfield, DC Coast, and Chart House) (Bond 45 and Moon Bay fit this category), (b) Not good at all (McCormick and Schmick's fits this category), (c) good, but not diverse enough on the menu to make me a regular (Mandarin, Rosa Mexicana fits this category), or (d) inconsistent with their service/food/menu (Ketchup fits this category).

Retail Shopping: What retail shopping? I mean, it's like Milt Peterson and his organization thought the best way to keep the riff-raff out was to put in high-sididy, unrecognizable boutiques that are waaaay overpriced. They did not want any sneaker stores or any other stores that would attract young, "urban" people to the area. Everyone wears tennis shoes. Every demographic shops at Foot Locker, Ann Taylor, etc, or their comparables. There are no complimentary men's stores or women's stores in the area, and, if so, there is not enough variety. There may be, at best, 1 store where a man can buy a pair of jeans - and the jeans are $100+ bucks! The t-shirts are > $50. There is no electronics store, no bookstore, and no regular place to eat (ie., McDonald's, Johnny Rocket, a dang-on Cinnabon, or put a Fudgery in that place, please). If you count the number of stores open, they have a higher percentage of art galleries (I believe they are up to 5 art galleries) than they have clothing stores. That's 5 art galleries, 1 shoe store, 3 clothing stores for women, 1 furniture store (I don't know why), 2 handbag stores, and 1 jewelry store. Wow, I did not know that art was so popular.

Now, I know the economy is in the tanks, and it's probably taking some effort to get some businesses to commit to developing new space or expanding in this uncertain economic hell hole that we are in. But, c'mon, people, you cannot tell me that there could not be more diverse, brand recognizable, and economically reasonable stores that the National Harbor could not have gotten to commit to leasing there.

Parking: It's like they are trying to recoupe all of their development money ASAP by charging ridiculous amounts of money to do what -- walk around and look at buildings...because God knows the restaurants are not all that and you definitely cannot shop there. During Xmas time, they charge a flat fee of $10 bucks to view a half-baked Xmas play with fireworks. I can go downtown in DC, which is 20 minutes away, park for FREE on Constitution Ave, Penn. Ave., or any other street and watch the PRESIDENT light the NATION'S Xmas tree and view the 50+ other trees surrounding it (DC's and the other territory's trees are included). Even better...I can at least park for free (2 hours) down in Georgetown and Old Town Alexandria and get my shop/eat/socialization on -- and these are affluent areas with an abundance of selection and variety of stores to shop in. I may have to walk a block or 2, or 3, but I am going to be walking either way (not unless I invest in a Segway).

Now, not to sound cheap, but my wife and I travel, we make a very good middle-class salary, and enjoy entertaining ourselves and our 2 kids. We waited for this project and PG County still cannot get it right.

I'm sorry for ranting. I just wanted to get other people's perspective on the National Harbor. What is your overall opinion of the National Harbor? What are your likes, dislikes and what would you like to have seen done differently or added in the future? Who knows, maybe someone from the Peterson Corp. will read this and take heed.

Last edited by TheJetSet; 10-20-2010 at 08:50 AM..
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Old 10-20-2010, 10:11 AM
 
429 posts, read 979,353 times
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I recently purchased a house in Fort Washington a few miles from National Harbor. I also spent about ten days between three different hotels in National Harbor since I was in town for a conference and to close on the house.

My view is that, although National Harbor is not exactly what I might have wished it to be, it is overall a good thing for the whole area, not just PG County. As far as whether it is a success or a failure, I don't know what the specific goals of the planners were. For those who are disappointed in the retail and restaurant mix, my sense is that they were not looking to put in a mall that would replicate or compete with other local malls, but a shopping and dining that would appeal primarily to the thousands of people attending conventions at NH. I think secondarily it is probably aimed at day trippers and then after that perhaps local residents. On the other hand, these things are driven by the bottom line. If the retail/restaurant choices they've picked aren't making money, they'll have to change or face empty stores.

The following are a few of my thoughts on the project.

PROS:
--National Harbor helps the entire Metro area make better use of the Potomac River. I'm a boater and to me this is a major benefit. National Harbor creates a new destination on the Potomac and completes a triangular circuit with Old Town and the SW Waterfront (even Georgetown to a lesser degree). Traveling by boat to NH to have dinner or drinks or see a movie or fireworks is likely to be a frequent summer activity. I also think the water taxi to Nationals Games sounds like a great idea and is something I'm likely to try.

--The convention center at NH appears very busy. Presumably this creates jobs and gives exposure to PG county.

--The physical location is attractive. You can't "create" a 200+ year old neighborhood like Old Town, Georgetown, or Savannah. I think the NH complex looks good for new construction.

--It is convenient to my house in Fort Washington. When I have more houseguests than my house can handle, I'd feel good about putting them in a hotel at NH. It is safe, there's stuff to do, and transportation links to either DC or Old Town. I can pick them up by car or boat (although it would be better if we could walk or bike, see cons below).

CONS:
--The whole operation would benefit from better links to all the communities around it. I'd love to see Metro, but barring that, more and better bus service. I gather the hotels and tour companies already have shuttles and tour buses.

--Similarly, it bothers me that the whole thing is so walled off from the neighborhoods around it. I own a house only a few miles away, but walking or riding a bike is a better option from Virginia (using the pedestrian lane of the WW bridge) than it is from the rest of PG county. Creating a few more entrances and linking NH to the bike trails in the rest of the county (and expanding those trails) would make NH a lot more attractive in my view.

--Car traffic is heavy in NH on weekend evenings. Whatever the problem is, they need to fix it before it gets worse.

--As I mentioned before, the retail and restaurant mix doesn't really reflect my tastes and needs, but that was probably never their goal. I don't shop much in malls and I'll probably spend most of my dollars in restaurants in Old Town and the District, although there are restaurants in NH I'd visit occasionally.

--$3 an hour/$11 per day parking seems a bit high, but I suppose it is counterbalanced by the fact that there is plenty of parking available.

--So far, few of the restaurants make use of their outdoor space for Sunday Brunch.
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