Freedom of Information: Making Up Your Own Mind

Through the Freedom of Information Act, we have requested and received written updates from each party in the Junction Redevelopment negotiation: the developer NDC and the Co-op.  We encourage you to read the documents below and come to your own conclusions.

We think it is important for the community to recognize that the Co-op, which has received some preferential treatment in the development agreement, must also act reasonably to reach an agreement. The story is more complex than that of a “David (Co-op) versus Goliath (Developer)” negotiation.  NDC is a small, minority owned developer in the metro region with a track record of supporting and helping their tenants thrive.

Some in the community believe that the Co-op has been treated unfairly or the city should intervene in this business negotiation and effectively subsidize the Co-op by using the government to force the developer’s negotiating position.  We disagree.  While we agree that the Co-op is an important part of our community, we also think that other small businesses that have invested in our community should be treated relatively equally.  The City Council should not be picking winners and losers.  We think that the Co-op and the developer have every incentive to work together towards a successful result: a new revitalized shopping district with the Co-op as a beloved, local, and profitable anchor tenant ready to pay rent to the developer on Day One of the Grand Opening.  Suggestions that the developer or the City are trying to act unreasonably and not support the Co-op during construction are unhelpful and do not have any basis.

In our view, the documents below support our view that NDC has been acting in good faith and trying to bring solutions to the negotiating table.  We hope that the Co-op will do the same, although it does not appear that they have offered constructive alternatives to date.  We have been informed that NDC has accepted the idea of mediation to resolve the negotiation and we hope that the Co-op will also agree to participate.

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July 2016 Update

After years of work, the City Council is very close to signing the Development Agreement. The City Council needs to hear from you to move this forward.  Please take a look at the new Takoma Junction Development Agreement FAQs.  Here are the upcoming milestones.

Please use this link to submit supportive public comments. to the City Council.

  • July 13 – Council Meeting
    Staff presentation outlining elements of the Development Agreement and Ground Lease with NDC (for more information, see the Development Agreement Questions and Answers Sheet.)
  • July 18 – Open House with the Developer – Mark Your Calendar
    This event is a great opportunity for the community to learn more about the agreements as well as the anticipated development process.  If you have any questions or feel like you have received misinformation, this is a great chance to get the facts and understand the goal and the process.  We really urge you to come and attend.  Event is at 7:00 pm at the Takoma Park Fire House Meeting Room (entrance around back!)
  • July 20 – Council Meeting – PLEASE COME!  Mark Your Calendar
    This will provide the public an opportunity to comment on the Development Agreement and the Ground Lease.  PLEASE COME TO ASK THAT THE CITY COUNCIL APPROVE THE DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT.   Public comments are accepted when the meeting begins at 7:30 pm.   Also, please use this link to submit supportive public comments. to the City Council.
  • July 27 – Council Meeting
    Resolution authorizing execution of the Development Agreement and related documents.

Learn more at the city Takoma Junction Redevelopment Website.

Please feel free to email us with any questions or comments.

An Open Letter to the City Council:

We are residents of Takoma Park and patrons of the Takoma Junction businesses.

We are writing to ensure that you hear from voters who want to create a thriving, sustainable Takoma Junction.  Our elected council started an open request for proposals (RFP) process, which resulted in four viable proposals.  These potential developers have presented their design concepts to the Council and attended community open forums to gather community feedback.  The concepts presented are promising, will be refined with community input, and we urge the Council to see this process through to completion.

* We need to embrace the right amount of change in the building that is eventually constructed at the Junction. That means respecting the historic nature of our community while also being open to innovative designs that integrate well with the surroundings.

* Developing Takoma Junction is in line with Takoma Park’s emphasis on sustainability and environmental stewardship.  In addition to creating new community amenities, it  will open opportunities to improve walkability for pedestrians, safe access for bicyclists, and car friendliness in the junction.  A traffic and parking study should be part of the development process.

* Like many Takoma Parkers, we hope the Co-op can continue to improve and thrive, including during construction.  All four of the proposals already under consideration include a vision with the Co-op as an anchor tenant.  With a revitalized junction full of new retail and residential space, community uses, and more shoppers, the Co-op will be able to maximize its impact and contributions to the community.

* We need development that adapts Takoma Junction to emerging needs while respecting history. Multiple firms are willing to spend what appear to be sums in the double-digit millions to turn a parking lot into a great community asset.  After studying Takoma Junction for decades, our elected council started an open RFP process, and it should stick with that process. It won’t get any easier if we wait.

Please do not let this opportunity slip away.

Please sign this letter and let the Council hear your support!  It’s vital that the Council hears your support.