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Re: [WardOneDC] New legislation giving Target the jitters

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  • William Jordan
    The Council in many ways are only responding to our love of solving challenging problem via magic bullets , like single beer bans, banning fire crackers and
    Message 1 of 5 , May 16, 2005
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      The Council in many ways are only responding to our love of solving challenging problem via "magic bullets", like single beer bans, banning fire crackers and the like.  

      William

      Dominic Sale wrote:
      Whatever the intent of the legislation, it's just one more reason for companies to think twice about doing business in the District of Columbia.  To remain a competitive commercial center, we should be moving toward fewer restrictions, not more.  All I know is that this continuous economic tinkering by DC Council must have Lenin smiling from his tomb.

      William Jordan <whj@...> wrote:

      The legislation can be found at
      http://www.dccouncil.washington.dc.us/lims/getleg1.asp?legno=b16-0215

      I have not figured out whether this is typical Council feel good legislation designed to get headlines in the press but would never become law, enforceable law or withstand the mayor's veto.   My guess is that this is probably serious because committee chairs Ambrose and Evans are on board.   The law does not deal with labor laws or supporting small business but has the council setting  building and streetscape design standards that seem OK.

      Initially, I thought Council Member Catania was trying to use it as a way to kill the baseball stadium  deal thru the back door or and examble of his continued hostility to development in Columbia Heights.   I just don't know yet.

      William

      Dominic Sale wrote:

      D.C. Council members target big-box retail ban

      Eleni Kretikos

      Senior Staff Reporter

      A week before hundreds of Washingtonians head to Las Vegas to tout retail opportunities in the region at the industry's biggest trade show, word of an anti-big box bill is raining on their parade.

      D.C. has introduced a bill prohibiting big-box stores from opening in the city. The bill, sponsored by six D.C. Council members and authored by the staff of Councilman David Catania, I-at large, is aimed squarely at Wal-Mart.

      With retail talk hitting a fever pitch in the city, the move comes as a discouraging blow that may have enormous unintended consequences.

      The bill's intent, says Catania spokesman Ross Weber, is to keep Wal-Mart out of D.C. because of its labor practices and to protect small business owners.

      If passed, the legislation introduced April 4 would prohibit construction of retail stores that exceed 80,000 square feet and devote more than 15 percent of their space to nontaxable merchandise, such as grocery items. A public hearing on the bill has not been set yet.

      City officials, who had aggressively pursued Wal-Mart and are in negotiations with other big-box retailers such as Costco and Wegmans supermarket, are scratching their heads and looking to assuage retailers.

      "Anyone who's looking at D.C. is looking at this and thinking, 'What in the world is going on?'" says Susan Linsky, special assistant in the D.C. Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. "I don't think some supporters of this bill ever intended for it to be interpreted so broadly. They didn't realize what was at stake."

      At stake is the reputation of a city severely underserved in retail, battered by years of neglect and trying to make itself whole again. A perception that D.C. does not welcome retailers could have a devastating effect on its ability to bring in more of them.

      Also at stake are projects such as Northeast's $58 million Washington Gateway, a site that has been dormant for years and is the focus of efforts to finish a lease with Costco -- the warehouse club's first in the city.

      "It's one more thing that would demonstrate it's difficult to do business in Washington," says Barbara Lang, president and CEO of the D.C. Chamber of Commerce. "You don't need a piece of legislation that impacts everybody to handle Wal-Mart."

      City sources say even Target, which does not appear to be affected by the bill, is concerned. Target will anchor the DC USA project in Columbia Heights, is the leading tenant for Skyland Shopping Center in Southeast and is looking for more locations.

      "Last year, the city was sideways upset because Wal-Mart decided not to come," says David Ward, president of H&R Retail. "Now they want to introduce legislation to make sure they can't come. It's hollow. Everything in the District is convoluted and most things require government involvement or [tax increment financing]. The District has 100 ways to keep Wal-Mart out anyway, so why put in this extra step?"

      Suddenly, it's a bandwagon

      D.C. is the latest in a string of communities in this area and elsewhere that are trying to stop Wal-Mart from coming in.

      The retail behemoth has come under fire from labor unions, which see it as a threat to livable salaries and health benefits. The discounter has been sued for labor law violations and gender discrimination.

      Montgomery and Prince William counties recently sought to cap the size and location of big-box stores. Prince George's County had a split decision -- with tougher restrictions on properties outside the Beltway, but more lenient rules inside it.

      However, the suburbs have dozens of spots for big boxes, but the District has a limited number -- only about 10 sites, Linsky says -- where retailers that size could locate.

      "The market will dictate whether they will be here or not," says Eric Rubin, principal at Madison Retail Group in D.C. "God bless them if they can find a site that works and pay for it."

      'we need this'

      For years, city officials have pressed hard for more stores, hosting summits and bus tours to get retailers to notice the incomes and the needs of residents at all price levels. This year, Linsky says, the city again has more than 50 meetings scheduled with retailers in Vegas for the retail trade show of the International Council of Shopping Centers.

      "They are trying to stop retail in certain areas that need this retail," says Gary Rappaport, president of the Rappaport Cos. in McLean. "It's pretty hard to get an 80,000-square-foot store next to MCI Center. It's a direction the city should not be taking."

      It doesn't take much to send retailers elsewhere.

      "If we try to control them too much, they aren't going to come here," says Len Harris, vice president of leasing for Vanguard Realty Group. "I understand everyone wants to paint Wal-Mart as bad because they're the biggest. They're like the Yankees; everybody hates them. But we need this. We're so underserved; how can we afford to do this?"

      E-mail: ekretikos@... Phone: 703/816-0320



      © 2005 American City Business Journals Inc.



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    • Dominic Sale
      ...and banning spray paint, and banning video games, and banning cell phones while driving... and the list goes on. I couldn t agree with you more William.
      Message 2 of 5 , May 16, 2005
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        ...and banning spray paint, and banning video games, and banning cell phones while driving... and the list goes on.  I couldn't agree with you more William.  It's the politics of the least common denominator, and until people start to take notice, their freedoms will continue to be eroded.  This Council appears to have no qualms about poking its nose into everyone's business (literally and figuratively.) 

        William Jordan <whj@...> wrote:

        The Council in many ways are only responding to our love of solving challenging problem via "magic bullets", like single beer bans, banning fire crackers and the like.  

        William

        Dominic Sale wrote:
        Whatever the intent of the legislation, it's just one more reason for companies to think twice about doing business in the District of Columbia.  To remain a competitive commercial center, we should be moving toward fewer restrictions, not more.  All I know is that this continuous economic tinkering by DC Council must have Lenin smiling from his tomb.

        William Jordan <whj@...> wrote:

        The legislation can be found at
        http://www.dccouncil.washington.dc.us/lims/getleg1.asp?legno=b16-0215

        I have not figured out whether this is typical Council feel good legislation designed to get headlines in the press but would never become law, enforceable law or withstand the mayor's veto.   My guess is that this is probably serious because committee chairs Ambrose and Evans are on board.   The law does not deal with labor laws or supporting small business but has the council setting  building and streetscape design standards that seem OK.

        Initially, I thought Council Member Catania was trying to use it as a way to kill the baseball stadium  deal thru the back door or and examble of his continued hostility to development in Columbia Heights.   I just don't know yet.

        William

        Dominic Sale wrote:

        D.C. Council members target big-box retail ban

        Eleni Kretikos

        Senior Staff Reporter

        A week before hundreds of Washingtonians head to Las Vegas to tout retail opportunities in the region at the industry's biggest trade show, word of an anti-big box bill is raining on their parade.

        D.C. has introduced a bill prohibiting big-box stores from opening in the city. The bill, sponsored by six D.C. Council members and authored by the staff of Councilman David Catania, I-at large, is aimed squarely at Wal-Mart.

        With retail talk hitting a fever pitch in the city, the move comes as a discouraging blow that may have enormous unintended consequences.

        The bill's intent, says Catania spokesman Ross Weber, is to keep Wal-Mart out of D.C. because of its labor practices and to protect small business owners.

        If passed, the legislation introduced April 4 would prohibit construction of retail stores that exceed 80,000 square feet and devote more than 15 percent of their space to nontaxable merchandise, such as grocery items. A public hearing on the bill has not been set yet.

        City officials, who had aggressively pursued Wal-Mart and are in negotiations with other big-box retailers such as Costco and Wegmans supermarket, are scratching their heads and looking to assuage retailers.

        "Anyone who's looking at D.C. is looking at this and thinking, 'What in the world is going on?'" says Susan Linsky, special assistant in the D.C. Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. "I don't think some supporters of this bill ever intended for it to be interpreted so broadly. They didn't realize what was at stake."

        At stake is the reputation of a city severely underserved in retail, battered by years of neglect and trying to make itself whole again. A perception that D.C. does not welcome retailers could have a devastating effect on its ability to bring in more of them.

        Also at stake are projects such as Northeast's $58 million Washington Gateway, a site that has been dormant for years and is the focus of efforts to finish a lease with Costco -- the warehouse club's first in the city.

        "It's one more thing that would demonstrate it's difficult to do business in Washington," says Barbara Lang, president and CEO of the D.C. Chamber of Commerce. "You don't need a piece of legislation that impacts everybody to handle Wal-Mart."

        City sources say even Target, which does not appear to be affected by the bill, is concerned. Target will anchor the DC USA project in Columbia Heights, is the leading tenant for Skyland Shopping Center in Southeast and is looking for more locations.

        "Last year, the city was sideways upset because Wal-Mart decided not to come," says David Ward, president of H&R Retail. "Now they want to introduce legislation to make sure they can't come. It's hollow. Everything in the District is convoluted and most things require government involvement or [tax increment financing]. The District has 100 ways to keep Wal-Mart out anyway, so why put in this extra step?"

        Suddenly, it's a bandwagon

        D.C. is the latest in a string of communities in this area and elsewhere that are trying to stop Wal-Mart from coming in.

        The retail behemoth has come under fire from labor unions, which see it as a threat to livable salaries and health benefits. The discounter has been sued for labor law violations and gender discrimination.

        Montgomery and Prince William counties recently sought to cap the size and location of big-box stores. Prince George's County had a split decision -- with tougher restrictions on properties outside the Beltway, but more lenient rules inside it.

        However, the suburbs have dozens of spots for big boxes, but the District has a limited number -- only about 10 sites, Linsky says -- where retailers that size could locate.

        "The market will dictate whether they will be here or not," says Eric Rubin, principal at Madison Retail Group in D.C. "God bless them if they can find a site that works and pay for it."

        'we need this'

        For years, city officials have pressed hard for more stores, hosting summits and bus tours to get retailers to notice the incomes and the needs of residents at all price levels. This year, Linsky says, the city again has more than 50 meetings scheduled with retailers in Vegas for the retail trade show of the International Council of Shopping Centers.

        "They are trying to stop retail in certain areas that need this retail," says Gary Rappaport, president of the Rappaport Cos. in McLean. "It's pretty hard to get an 80,000-square-foot store next to MCI Center. It's a direction the city should not be taking."

        It doesn't take much to send retailers elsewhere.

        "If we try to control them too much, they aren't going to come here," says Len Harris, vice president of leasing for Vanguard Realty Group. "I understand everyone wants to paint Wal-Mart as bad because they're the biggest. They're like the Yankees; everybody hates them. But we need this. We're so underserved; how can we afford to do this?"

        E-mail: ekretikos@... Phone: 703/816-0320



        � 2005 American City Business Journals Inc.



        To unsubscribe, email WardOneDC-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com






        To unsubscribe, email WardOneDC-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com





        Visit WardOneDC - http://wardonedc.com


        To unsubscribe, email WardOneDC-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com






        To unsubscribe, email WardOneDC-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com





        Visit WardOneDC - http://wardonedc.com
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