The Frederick Board of Aldermen voted last Thursday evening to rezone the Frederick Towne Mall property from mixed use to commercial, thus ending a long, emotional struggle about the fate of this important little corner of Frederick.

If events unfold as expected, a new Wal-Mart will occupy the space of the once-bustling mall. If so, it will be the giant retailer’s third representation in Frederick.

Many people are understandably disappointed by this decision because they believe it flies in the face of a unique “small-area” plan devised by the Frederick Planning Department and embraced by the Golden Mile Alliance. A lot of effort went into this plan, which is intended to make the Golden Mile more inviting and accessible to shoppers, pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists.

The vision for the mall property was also unique, in which a mix of residential, commercial and recreational space was to take shape — a rejection of the monolithic big-box-store concept that dominates much of today’s commercial landscape.

Unfortunately, the mixed-use plan drew little or no interest from potential investors, who said that such an idea was financially untenable. The property, they argued, was suited for commercial use only, and a big-box design was the way to go.

Only Wal-Mart showed an interest, and it was persistent.

In addition, time has taken its toll. The mall property has been ostensibly vacant for years. It is a depressing eyesore and a waste of prime commercial land that could support jobs, generate tax revenue and contribute to the local economy.

Despite that, some aldermen and other city officials were understandably conflicted and in a quandary about how to proceed. Some of those who were initially against the rezoning, however, slowly relented as the economic realities became more evident — and the months and years kept rolling by.

Our hope is that a new Wal-Mart will spur economic activity on the Golden Mile and help revitalize that section of the city — that it will be good for other businesses on the strip, as opposed to making things more difficult for them.

We also hope that the plans for the property will hew as closely to the letter and spirit of the small-area plan as possible. We encourage city officials to press the future occupant for any and all contributions it can make in support of this plan.

It would be a real tragedy if this decision turned out badly over time. That’s possible, but we do believe it was made in good faith and after much debate and soul-searching by city officials whose alternative was basically to continue to do nothing and hope for the best.

One thing is certain. The new residents of the mall property should be a major force in the social and economic revitalization of the Golden Mile. We hope it plays out that way.

(40) comments

sej58

The median income for Frederick County will continue to decline with a 3rd Walmart in the area. A BIG detraction for businesses that pay family supporting wages to this area. Way to go!

siix001

With all the new rezoning, can residents who rent apartments around the area, expect rent to spike even more then it already has?

qoph

I suspect all these Wal-Mart haters would shop there more if they could ever find a space in the parking lot....

richardlyons

Nice try. But no.

watson4sherlock

Store Wars: When Wal-Mart Comes to Town

Whereas Wal-Mart employees start at the same salary as unionized employees in similar lines of work, they make 25 percent less than their unionized counterparts after two years at the job. The rapid turnover - 70 percent of employees leave within the first year - is attributed to a lack of recognition and inadequate pay, according to a survey Wal-Mart conducted. Yet this can work to the company's advantage, since it is more difficult for unions to organize when there is constant employee turnover.

See http://www.pbs.org/itvs/storewars/stores3.html

catcher

Dream on. This "solution" is a quick fix for the developer, whose plans have flopped over and over again. It was the developer who ran the retailers at FTM out in the first place. The FNP can live in hope that everything will work out, but some of us are grownups. As for the people who keep posting as if there were no Walmarts elsewhere in Frederick, sheesh! I wonder where you'll want to put the fourth one and the fifth one.

watson4sherlock

Other large stores like Costco, Home Depot, Target, and Macy’s would also have to abide by the DC proposal. But the new $12.50 minimum would be an especially dramatic change for Walmart, which currently pays workers 28 percent less on average than other large retailers, even as it reaps profits of nearly $450 billion a year. In contrast, Costco will have no problem meeting DC’s requirement if it passes — the average Costco worker currently makes $21.96 an hour.

See http://www.care2.com/causes/walmart-hates-higher-wages-so-much-its-willing-to-close-stores.html

dressthebird

Not $450 Billion in proftis, but revenue. However, 2011 profit of $15.7 Billion is hefty. http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500/2012/snapshots/2255.html

watson4sherlock

Exclusive - Wal-Mart's everyday hiring strategy: Add more temps
Jun 13, 2013 1:17am EDT

(Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc has in recent months been only hiring temporary workers at many of its U.S. stores, the first time the world's largest retailer has done so outside of the holiday shopping season.

A Reuters survey of 52 stores run by the largest U.S. private employer in the past month, including one in every U.S. state, showed that 27 were hiring only temps, 20 were hiring a combination of regular full, part-time and temp jobs, and five were not hiring at all. The survey was based on interviews with managers, sales staff and human resource department employees at the stores.

The new hiring policy is to ensure "we are staffed appropriately," when the stores are busiest and is not a cost-cutting move, said company spokesman David Tovar. Temporary workers, he said, are paid the same starting pay as other workers.

See http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/13/us-walmart-hires-temps-idUSBRE95C05820130613

president8444

Sholman85 where is your money to open anything with your friends who comment against WALMART.put up or shut up.Louie a great comment writer ,no money just mouth aplenty as many . read the no money people.

watson4sherlock

Just like the owners of the mall property who have not money to develop the property and need a developer to come in and get something going.

newtofc

dbjanda1 has a great idea, albeit too late. A Cabellas or a Bass Pro Shop would be a perfect match for Frederick and would be a draw from far and near.

sholman85

This is another step in the "lets smooth over this mess" chapter of the developer and city's efforts.

Karen Young said "I've talked with the representatives from Walmart and they promise to be good corporate citizens." I want to see her campaign contributors once they're made public here soon.

The city could have said no, plain and simple. They didn't. The only one with half a pair to stand up and say anything was Alderman O'Connor, who still voted yes to this mess.

There were alternatives in Buchannan Partners and Foulger Pratt. The disinformation that there was no alternative was a lie. Those of us against this were working with AMC Loews and Whole food as well to bring the alternatives to the mile. The City and developers could have cared less and proceeded how they wanted.

The Developer gave "donations" to the Golden Mile Alliance which is a city sponsored organization. The City also advised the Neighborhood advisory Councils they could not collective speak out against this as a group.

Suppression and money exchanging hands.

This is what we're left with.

Remember that come election day.

louie

What a disappointed bunch of "leaders." No vision. No regard for the long planning period and public comment that went into developing a small area plan. It's all out the window with one mindless vote.

dbjanda1

Think Nordstroms, Cabellas or Trader Joe's if you don't like shopping at WalMart...It doesn't cost anything and you'll save more...By the way, Trader Joe's is a subsidiary of Aldi's and they're on the Golden Mile already...Me

arevalobelisario

"...a rejection of the monolithic big-box-store concept"? Wal-Mart IS one.

"...it will be good for other businesses on the strip, as opposed to making things more difficult for them"? What do you think will happen to any mom-and-pop store in the area?

"...generate tax revenue and contribute to the local economy."? Have you considered the welfare-state created?

"...was made in good faith"? Not likely, given the way the current administration has worked thus far. Love business, hate people.

I like you, hope something good does come out of this, but I'm not holding my breath.

notfrnx

It would be interesting to see how many of you end up shopping at the Walmart on 40. IMO the problem with Americans these days, is all we do is complain about issues, never take active steps to fix them. Don't want Walmart there, start a campaign to keep people from shopping there. If you're successful, the company would have no choice but to close. I may shop at Walmart 4-5 times a year, only out of necessity. Even Target is a better option. K-Mart is doomed. Let the complaining begin.

louie

I don't shop at Wal Mart, ever. My fear is they will also run the Giant Eagle out of town.

dressthebird

" I may shop at Walmart 4-5 times a year, only out of necessity." I'm curious - what is this unique product?

notfrnx

Usually laundry detergent and contact solution. It's still expensive at Walmart but sometimes twice as much anywhere else. Otherwise, Giant Eagle has been and always will be my go to store.

watson4sherlock

There are several things at General Dollar that are cheaper than at Giant Eagle especially in paper, cleaning, and health products. I don't know about contact lens solution. Dollar General has Rexall products.

richardlyons

I am sure folks in Middletown and Myersville are thrilled. Such a convenience. As for us who live nearby we are stuck with Walmart for the next quarter century. When is election day?

louie

I live up the mountain and I am anything but thrilled.

wzyq104

We know what Mayor McClement's next job will be with the rest of the Aldermen after the November election: http://www.youtube.com/watch?nomobile=1&v=mdA-XEsKQpQ

adtwiggiv

Another Walmart? Located right on the "Golden Mile"? That'll bring in the high tech companies (sarcasm). It would have been better (and less expensive to taxpayers) to let it sit empty until a more progressive business decided to locate in Frederick. One with a social conscience. Frederick deserves better and should have higher aspirations for the common unity of the area. Why not try to raise that area up rather than flatline it?

mburns

please explain to me how the taxpayers are paying anything toward this or any other project? That is just not true. The property value is most likely in the toilet, with the demolition of old buildings, brand new structure being built I'd guess that the value would increase and so will the taxes being paid to the city, the added jobs will create more income tax for the city, and the taxpayers don't pay for the improvements WAL MART will.

WAL MART may not be anyone's preferred choice, but under the circumstances this was the only viable option.

adtwiggiv

Are you serious? Walmart wages are so low that workers have to rely on food stamps and other government aide programs. Services funded with our tax dollars. The amount of taxpayer subsidies outweighs any gain in tax revenue.

dressthebird

The "Mayor" is not interested in facts. How's the meth production in Thurmont - surpassing last year's by now probably.

rbtdt5

what do the other retailers on 40 pay?

mburns

So I see now you want to tell a private business the hourly wage they pay their employees? If you don't like the wages an employer pays don't work there. If the workers rely on food stamps and government aide, do you think they rely on it more with a job at WAL MART versus being unemployed??

Or, when Home Depot closes, or Boscovs because the area gets worse you'll be in far worse shape

Upton Golfer

Maybe IBM, Google, Apple or Microsoft could have moved in there instead of the evil Wal-Mart.

president8444

People stopped shopping at the Fredericktown Mall. What do we expect.No comments from these to lay their money on the line and open anything,just garbage written. No help.Just abuse.I shop Wal mart .Hope they buy more from China so Obama and kerry can spend more borrowed money on foreign countries, billions too.LUCY LUCY approves as do dems.Not Blaine. gotcha.

Upton Golfer

Only quality merchandise is made in (mainland) China.

LucyLucy

"It would be a real tragedy if this decision turned out badly over time. That’s possible, but we do believe it was made in good faith and after much debate and soul-searching by city officials whose alternative was basically to continue to do nothing and hope for the best."

Seriously FNP you call it soul-searching WE call it they sold their souls to the DEVIL Walmart, a BILLION dollar corporation who saw a board dumb enough and greedy enough to allow them to come in and build a 3RD freakin Walmart. Like I say a board DUMB ENOUGH and GREEDY ENOUGH...Walmart has already lined the boards pockets already that is a fact, and they were dumb enough not realize by voting for the rezoning they would be committing political suicide. How many of the Alderman are running for Mayor, how many campaign funds saw a large donation after the vote, well Karen's probably saw it before the vote.

Hope for the best....REALLY ain't none of those Aldermen live anywhere near the 3rd Walmart so of course they will hope for the best and screw the rest of the people that live on and around the Golden Mile, because they sure as heck won't be coming to the 3rd Walmart to buy their groceries or an 8 dollar shirt now will they? NOPE so of course they hope the best because if the best doesn't happen they don't have to look at the ghetto they just voted to be built.

No instead they decided the best thing for the ghetto was to just go ahead and build a pretty ghetto, for the pretty ghetto people to have jobs at for $8.00 and hour and buy $8.00 shirts at and be treated like scum and mistreated..because a job at Walmart is better than picking fruit in the fields, isn't that right?

"The new residents of the mall property should be a major force in the social and economic revitalization of the Golden Mile".....REALLY FNP REALLY?

We the TAXPAYERS will be subsidizing that store to the tune of about 1.5 million dollars for food stamps and medicaid for the employees, so for you to say Walmart will revitalize anything other than lining their own pockets, so they can pay their CEO in day more than an employee makes in one year, shows just how uninformed you are. Walmart will do as little possible as little as they can legally get away with doing, so the rest will fall on us the taxpayers once again to maintain and take care with our TAX DOLLARS. There is nothing in the plan that forces Walmart to do anything other than plant a few trees and place a few benches, if that.

Does anyone at the FNP do any research before they write these editorials, because if you had actually done ANY research on Walmart you would not be applauding this decision.

Or perhaps you just don't realize what ass-kissers you are to the Youngs...because Blaine will now have place for his hookers to hang-out and Karen just voted for that place to be built, didn't she?

primrosefeather50

A new Wal-mart provides another reason to avoid the Golden Mile.

usgov

Whole Food Markets would've been a welcomed addition to WestFredGhetto.

Upton Golfer

A Wegmans's would have been a better retailer than Wal-Mart to put tehre.[wink]

Upton Golfer

Yes, I wrote "Wegmans's".[beam]

notconcerned

Bravo all around - nice to see some optimism for a change....lets start saving money and living better!

watson4sherlock

I priced Walmart earlier this year and I would not save money on what I buy. I will not be shopping at Walmart.

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