Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A (short) history of developemnt in downtown Silver Spring

The Silver Spring War and Rebirth: The Fall and Rise of an American Downtown
“Location is destiny”
By Gus Bauman
(An edited version of what was presented at the Makeover Montgomery Conference, April 14-16, 2011, Silver Spring Civic Building)


1956 (June) The National Interstate Highway System Act signed – I-495, etc., looms large in the future

1960 (February) Wheaton Plaza (now Westfield Plaza) opens, ushering in a new era of mall shopping

1964 (August) Capital Beltway final segment opens

Mid-60’s Civil unrest accelerates, culminating in the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, III (1968)

1970’s “White flight” and business abandonment of cities becomes a flood

1978 (February) First Metrorail Station in Maryland opens in downtown Silver Spring


1984 (Friday, August 24) Demolition of the 1938 Silver Theatre and Shopping Center art deco elements begins - as historic designation hearing scheduled for September 5 of the same year

1984 (August 27) County issues demolition Stop-Work Order for demolition

1985 Silver Theatre closes, leaving downtown with a movie house

1986 (December) Regional mall, office towers, and hotel project proposed for CBD’s core (Silver Triangle) by local developer

1987 (September) Hech’t Department store leaves downtown Silver Spring for Wheaton Plaza

1988 (September 29) Planning Board approves Silver Triangle project after contentious hearing

1988 (November 8) County voters defeat referendum that would prevent funding of County garage necessary for Silver Triangle project

1988 (December) Group opposing Silver Triangle approval files lawsuit to overturn Silver Triangle approval

1989 (June) Nordstrom backs out of Silver Triangle project – but, Macy’s remains

1989 (July 5)
Circuit court overturns Planning Board’s approval of Silver Triangle project

1989 (September) JCPenney, last remaining major retailer in downtown Silver Spring, closes its doors

1989 (December 14) Planning Board approves new Silver Triangle with revisions and conditions

1980’s Several office towers built near Metro Station – NOAA’s headquarter was not to complete consolidation until later (1993)

1990 (September 11) County Executive election process debates Silver Triangle project; supporter wins

1991 (January 7
) Maryland high court reverses Circuit Court decision,
reinstating 1988 Silver Triangle project approval

1991 (March)
Planning Board holds hearing on Draft Silver Spring Central Business District (CBD) Sector Plan

1991 (June) JC Penney sings on with Macy’s at Silver Triangle project


1991 (December)
County-initiated mediation leads to compromise plan for radically revised project (Silver Spring II)

1992 (January) Macy’s files for bankruptcy protection

1992 (February)
Urban Land Institute (ULI) submits its Downtown Silver Spring Report evaluating the Silver Triangle site, to County

1992 (April) City Place opens at Hecht’s site

1992 (August)
County adopts Urban Renewal Plan for CBD core, 29 acres of downtown’s 360 acres

1993 (April)
County adopts CBD Sector Plan for the Revival of Downtown Silver Spring

1994 (February) Per the Sector Plan, County places Silver Theatre and Shopping Center on Historic Preservation Master Plan as JCPenney, in financial turmoil, withdraws from Silver Triangle II project

1994 (December)
Silver Spring Alternatives Working Group - 21 members – issues Report to the County Executive on retail development alternatives for east side of urban renewal area (as Macy’s emerges from bankruptcy protection)

1995 (January) Greater Silver Spring Committee- 19 members – issues Report to new County Executive recommending termination of County’s development agreement with Silver Triangle developer

1995 (January 9)
County and Silver Triangle developer terminate relationship

1995 (May) County issues Request for Expressions of Interest for portion of the east side of the urban renewal area – 14 acres

1996 (February)
Silver Spring Redevelopment Advisory Board – 48 members – recommends County negotiate with Canadian development Company for American Dream retail/entertainment proposal

1996 (November) County terminates development agreement with American Dream developer for inability to secure required private financing

1996 (December)
State designates Silver Spring Enterprise Zone – to be administered by Cunty - offering employment and property tax credits

1996 Report indicates that over 220 businesses have left the area in the last decade; office vacancy reaches 39%; storefront vacancy exceeds 25%


1997 (February)
Silver Spring Redevelopment Steering Committee – 31 members – appointed by County Executive to advise County and developers on concepts for urban renewal area

1997 (May)
County Executive enters into exclusive negotiation with joint venture development team to craft “town center” project plan

1998 (April)
County sings development agreement with joint venture developers for town center concept – “Downtown Silver Spring” – on urban renewal area’s east side; and agrees to purchase, restore and expand Silver Theater into film complex, securing agreement with the American Film Institute (AFI) to operate it

1998 (October) Discovery Communications agrees to move to Silver Spring on urban renewal’s west side

2000 (February) County adopts Silver Spring CBD Sector Plan, a refinement of
the 1993 Plan

2000 (August – October)
Phase I of Downtown Silver Spring project opens with several retail stores

2002 (January) State designates the Silver Spring Arts & Entertainment District, offering financial assistance and certain tax benefits

2003 (March – April)
Discover Communications; AFI Silver Theater and Cultural Center opens; and, Round House Theatre have their grand openings

2006 (June)
Typifying new development in the area, Phase I of United Therapeutics headquarters and labs opens

2007 Typifying arts-centric growth, the Maryland Youth Ballet moves to Downtown Silver Spring

2011 (Fall) Fillmore Silver Spring (music hall) set to open at vacant JCPenney building under public –private partnership agreement

Latter part of 00’s & early 10’s Public investment intensifies with the construction of the Silver Spring Innovations Center (2004); County Court House; Fire Station; various facilities at Montgomery College (Health and Sciences Center, Cafritz Foundation Arts Center, Cultural Arts Center); Silver Spring Civic Building and Veterans Plaza; Transit Center set to open in 2012; and Library in 2013


Over the last decade, over $450 million in public investments leveraged to support some $2 billion in private investments; approximately 2,500 new residential units built – and over 1,500 approved and underway; dozens of new restaurants; 3 hotels open; more planned

CBD tax base grows 62%

Zip code 20910 becomes highest median home price area in Greater Silver Spring’s eight zip codes

Office vacancy rate second lowest in county



Updated December 2011: Also see a 'video tour' of downtown from the historical preservation perspective HERE.



Sligo said...

"1985 Silver Theatre closes, leaving downtown with a movie house"

Not sure if this is meant to read "without a movie house", but if so, it wouldn't be entirely correct. The Roth's Silver Spring West on Georgia did not close until 1991.

Unknown said...

Investment has always been a

خدمات منزلية said...

حقين شراء الاثاث المستعمل بالرياض
شركات رش الحشرات بالرياض

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