OTBA Statement on Takoma Junction Development

Updated Statement April 25th, 2018

The Board of Directors of the Old Takoma Business Association has voted to support the Combined Site Plan for the Takoma Junction Development Project with the following expectations:

-that thoughtful improvements should be considered to better serve the existing businesses, community and future customers
– and that the City Council will continue to hold the developer to the terms of the agreement and proceed with the process as defined.

Additional comments:

We know that these discussions have been difficult. To be clear, the Old Takoma Business Association values the TPSS Co-op’s important place in our community as a thriving small business. We also value the mindful development of the Junction which we know can be compatible with the Co-op’s continued success.  We are encouraged to hear that the Co-op and the developer are in discussions again as an expanded Co-op has been one of the project goals from the start.

Additional businesses in this shopping corridor will fill a gap in our commercial district, activate the street front, add increased density, vibrancy and customers which will benefit all businesses on the block. To continue to achieve this positive impact, we are cautious about increasing the set back of the building any further, especially in front of the proposed anchor restaurant, which may minimize its visibility and the positive contribution that an anchor restaurant will have on the entire project.

We would also like to make the following points:

Point 1: New commercial space will provide additional opportunities to meet the unsatisfied retail demand that exists in our community as supported by the recent Takoma Retail Market Analysis.

Point 2: The current density of businesses at Carroll and Laurel in Old Town, contribute to the success of all businesses in that area per the Takoma Retail Market Analysis

Point 3: The community spends a considerable amount of money outside of our community as supported by the Takoma Trade Area Overview – this is economic support that we can bring back to Takoma Park.

Point 4: Current leases for new buildings or newly renovated spaces in our community run from $43-$50SF and are currently leased primarily by independently-owned local businesses. Also, our commercial spaces are almost ALL fully leased at this time.

Point 5: The current density and scale of the proposed building is approximately the same size as 7000-7008 Carroll Ave (Trattoria Da Lina to Middle East Cuisine)

Point 6: Excessive set-backs and large parking lots do not activate a street front nor contribute to the vibrancy of a block – examples in our commercial district include the CVS on Carroll St, NW and the 6930 Carroll Ave office building.

Last point: The proposed public space in the site plan exceeds the size of the existing patio space at the Gazebo.

We are confident in your leadership to continue to guide the project and to demonstrate that Takoma Park is a welcoming place for both existing and new businesses and future development projects.

Updated Statement October 25, 2017:

The Old Takoma Business Association continues to support development at the Takoma Junction that maintains and builds upon the unique historic assets of the area, increases the economic viability of the businesses – both existing and new, and is sustainable for long term growth of the neighborhood and its businesses.  Development at the Takoma Junction will activate an underutilized space, bridge a gap in the commercial district and provide the additional density of businesses that will contribute to the success all of the businesses.

New commercial space will provide additional opportunities to meet the unsatisfied retail demand that exists in our community as supported by the Old Takoma Business Association’s recent Takoma Retail Market Analysis. Additionally, our recent analysis of leases also confirms that currently proposed rent for the development is being offered at market rate consistent with recently signed leases for new Takoma commercial space. The Old Takoma Business Association defers to the proposed Takoma Junction traffic studies for a full assessment of traffic impact and recommendations.

We request that the City Council hold the developer to the terms of the agreement and proceed with the process as defined in order to continue the positive growth of our commercial district and avoid any unnecessary delays that may negatively impact Takoma Park’s reputation as a desirable location to open a business.  To be clear, the Old Takoma Business Association values the TPSS Co-op’s important place in our community as a thriving small business. We also value the mindful development of the Junction which we know can be compatible with the Co-op’s continued success. We are confident in your leadership to continue to guide the project and to demonstrate that Takoma Park is a welcoming place for both existing and new businesses.

Statement December 1, 2014:
The Old Takoma Business Association supports development at the Takoma Junction that maintains and builds upon the unique historic assets of the area, increases the economic viability of the businesses – both existing and new, and is sustainable for long term growth of the neighborhood and its businesses.  We encourage ongoing dialog between all stakeholders to determine an acceptable plan to proceed.  We affirm that a development that satisfies the above criteria will be more beneficial to the community and its local businesses than maintaining the status quo.