Friday, January 19, 2018

Ralph Lauren closes in Chevy Chase, as the ultra-rich flee MoCo (Photos)

MoCo's Rodeo Drive
looking more like
Skid Row

Yet another store has closed on Wisconsin Avenue in Chevy Chase, the stretch many once referred to as "Montgomery County's Rodeo Drive," leaving a barren strip of shuttered storefronts and smashed out bus shelters. The closures have directly corresponded to the exit of many of the County's wealthiest residents, who have sought refuge in lower tax jurisdictions around us. Studies have shown many of them have resettled in Loudoun, Fairfax, Frederick, and Howard counties.

Ralph Lauren has closed its doors at the Collection at Chevy Chase, where high-end retailers have fled along with their fabulously wealthy clients. Such clients usually sustain these posh boutiques through economic bubbles and recessions alike, so their downfall has been solid evidence that those clients are largely seeking greener pastures - and pastures that let them keep more of their green.

The grand windows of Ralph Lauren are now papered over. Letters announcing the store's name above the stately entrance have been pried off, leaving worn shadows behind.

Next to go will be DePandi at 5518 Wisconsin, which is currently holding a closing sale. The front windows of the shop are plastered with the GOING OUT OF BUSINESS and EVERYTHING MUST GO! signs so ubiquitous around Montgomery County these days. The high-end suit shop was opened five years ago by famed master tailor Eduardo DePandi.

Montgomery County is in real trouble, as the County's $120,000,000 budget shortfall - and structural budget deficit - prove. We haven't attracted a single major corporate headquarters in two decades. MCPS has been in a steep decline since 2010. Thirteen nightspots have closed in downtown Bethesda since County Council President Hans Riemer's "nighttime economy" initiative instead tanked the nighttime economy. The County has lost over 2000 retail jobs since the turn of the century, according to the Maryland Retailers Association. Even Riemer's former chief-of-staff and the Washington Post have taken to calling our private sector economy "stagnant" and "moribund."

Montgomery has fallen well out of the Forbes "Top Ten Richest Counties in America" list. We can see that on Montgomery County's "Rodeo Drive" these days.

Smashed-out bus shelter on
Wisconsin Avenue. Stay classy,
Chevy Chase!

54 comments:

Anonymous said...

"The Collection" is a ghost town. Most of it is vacant now.

Anonymous said...

#TheDarkSideOfTheCollection

Although the site is way too small, it would be really funny if Amazon built its second headquarters here.

Anonymous said...

Did you call 311 to report the damaged bus shelter, Robert?

Baloney Concrete said...

They’re fleeing to the imaginary Republican boomtowns Dyer refuses to name.

Anonymous said...

Wasn’t it only recently that this blog was alleging “criminalization” of the homeless? Now today Mr. Dyer is bemoaning the fact that we have to put up with so many poors that we’ve been knocked off of some arbitrary list of places with a high median income.

Anonymous said...

Who shops in stores anymore? As a millennial, I actively go out of my way to avoid setting foot in a retail store unless absolutely necessary. This purge is long overdue and I welcome future closures.

Chevy Chase is a dead area, and it is not due to lack of retail options. Rather, Chevy Chase's demise is due to a complete failure to adapt and cater to a younger market. For example, there are no interesting bars or restaurants. I attribute this to the sky high commercial rents up and down Wisconsin Ave proximate the Metro, and the overly corporate feel of the area. It has a similar feel to the area around UDC/Van Ness Metro on Connecticut Ave in DC. Even a few blocks down Military Road on Connecticut Ave offers a much more diverse setting. This is a symptom of bad development more than bad tax policy, as you appear to suggest.

Anonymous said...

@7:24 - I am not a millennial but completely agree.

Anonymous said...

Most of the store closings aren't voluntary, the Chevy Chase Land Co. is refusing to renew their leases so they can redevelop the center into a retail destination more appealing to a wider audience beyond the top 1%.

I'm surprised the author didn't realize this since its been in the works for years. Or maybe it was intentional? I will say that every time I visit, every story seems to be twisted and squeezed to fit the author's 'the County Council is evil' narrative, with key facts being left out and a lot of highly questionable claims added in.

Also, the rich aren't fleeing. Montgomery County has more high-income households now than it has in its entire history.

Anonymous said...

YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!

"CNBC Ranks Montgomery County Second in Amazon Sweepstakes; Former County Economic Development Leader Is Key Figure in Amazon Site Selection".

While the real media is reporting the facts, you in your Fake News world are in full denial that the economic and demographic factors of Montgomery County are attractive to major corporations looking to grow and expand. You, meanwhile, can only conjure up a measly bookstore coming soon. GET YOUR CRAPPY FACTS STRAIGHT! Montgomery County is alive and well.

Robert Dyer said...

7:37: CNBC also said we have a large STEM workforce. LOL. They're also a Fake News organization politically-aligned with the Wall Street faction of the Democratic party, just like our County Council.

There isn't a single corporation interested in moving to Montgomery County. Jeff Bezos is looking for a secondary office, and he is a far-left, Wall Street globalist Democrat, which makes him a minority even in MoCo. He does fit well with our crooked councilmembers, who get take money from Bain Capital and Danaher Corporation, two pioneers in outsourcing jobs to China.

7:37: What is your definition of "high-income households?"

You're saying that CCLC is trying evict hugely successful retailers who are drawing foot traffic to their property, and replace them with lowbrow businesses that aren't recession-proof? You, sir, majored in creative writing!

7:24: Young women don't like Jimmy Choo? Now that's news to me. Young women don't like P.F. Chang's, Lunchbox, Cheff Geoff's, Maggiano's, Rosa Mexicana, Sushi-ko, Range...???? This is news to me.

Anonymous said...

"CNBC also said we have a large STEM workforce. LOL"

Dyer, you're an idiot if you think that is not true.

Anonymous said...

Rosa Mexicano (correct spelling) was in DC and closed some time ago.

Anonymous said...

Young people don't really hang out in Chevy Chase.

PF Chang, Maggianos, and Chef Cheoff's, Cheesecake, etc. are all chains that don't specifically cater to the millennial demographic.

Rosa Mexicana has been closed for a couple years.

Range is stagnant.

Sushi-Ko is fine dining, but again, not specifically geared towards young people.

There is nothing cool about Chevy Chase. I only go to get the oyster happy hour at the decidedly fuddy duddy Clyde's or to buy cheap wine at World Market.

I don't normally comment, but you're really out of touch here man.

Anonymous said...

To: Dyer @ 7:51
From: 7:24

Jimmy Choo -- Yelp Rating: 3 Stars. SUCKS.
P.F. Changs (Meiwah?) -- Yelp Rating: 3 Stars. SUCKS.
Lunchbox -- Yelp Rating: 3 Stars. SUCKS.
Cheff Geoff's (Lia's?) -- Yelp Rating: 3.5 Stars. SUCKS.
Maggiano's -- Yelp Rating: 3.5 Stars. SUCKS.
Rosa Mexicano -- Pretty sure this is closed now, but when it was open it SUCKED.
Sushiko -- Yelp Rating: 3.5 Stars. SUCKS.
Range -- Yelp Rating: 3.5 Stars. SUCKS.

The market has spoken. The whole area just sucks. It is a deadzone full of boring retail, high HOA fee condos, and retirees.

Anonymous said...

"Hugely successful retailers who are drawing foot traffic to their property"

Sounds like you don't spend much time in Friendship Heights. They weren't, and that is why the shopping center is being re-done.

Robert Dyer said...

8:12: NO KIDDING! That's what my whole article is about, Saul Alinsky! You were the one who claimed the stores weren't failing, but being forced out by the landlord.

8:09: I specifically was talking about young women, not overall audience ratings. Young women love Jimmy Choo and PF Chang's, and that's a fact. A lot of young women live in Friendship Heights, in older buildings like Highland House.

Anonymous said...

Rosa Mexicano closed 3 years ago. I guess Dyer doesn't go south of Western Avenue very often.

Anonymous said...

Robert, have you been to downtown DC on a Saturday evening lately? I think if you were to compare the restaurants/nightlife scenes in Chevy Chase with, say, the area around CityCenter, Shaw, Union Market, Navy Yard, or the Waterfront (all of which cater to a reasonably upscale crowd), you would see how utterly deficient Chevy Chase is. Customers are more mobile than ever (due primarily to Uber and Lyft) and they will travel for a better experience. A full gut job is necessary in Chevy Chase if it ever intends to gain a foothold in the regional competition for retail/nightlife customers.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Dyer, you have completely gone off your rocker. I honestly feel sad for you. All you do all day is complain about anything you can think of. I used to think this was just an act, but you seem like a legitimately unhappy person.

Anonymous said...

8:50 AM What's happening in Chevy Chase is a big deal. That has been our luxury retail mecca.
Dyer is covering our rapidly changing city.

Anonymous said...

8:40 AM You need the restaurants/bars/music venues and you need the audience.
You're not going to get the millennial crowds if you don't have jobs for them.

Anonymous said...

That store was a nice store. Too bad. They should make it a giant entertainment complex with all bars and restaurants.

Roald said...

Everyone seems to forget there's a wonderful Clyde's right there.

Anonymous said...

I think a nice row of banks would be great for this strip of retail stores. We need more tellers and coin machines.

Anonymous said...

Clydes is for old people.

Anonymous said...

@10:23: Old people and families. There are always screaming children when I have been there, hence why I no longer go.

Anonymous said...

I lived in the area for the last 10 years. I moved to VA two years ago to get to of MOCO - for many reasons - the county is very poorly run, everything from schools to roads and police, hell even the parking meter Nazis in Chevy Chase and Bethesda was reason enough to bail out - housing prices are insane, and yes, Chevy Chase is as boring as it gets!

Anonymous said...

"MoCo is poorly run. They enforce parking violations too efficiently."

Robert Dyer said...

2:00: So did Bell, California. #LockThemUp

8:50: Are all the people criticizing Trump "legitimately unhappy people?" Think about it.

9:24: And Sushi-ko, one of the top 100 restaurants in the D.C. area.

8:40: So you're finally admitting the nighttime economy initiative failed? Better late than never.

8:31: Thanks for the update, Saul Alinsky.

Anonymous said...

That entire strip has been a failure. Weird. The old Chevy Chase Center was great except the old Giant where homeless people would come in and start eating hot chicken right out of the container.

Anonymous said...

The center of gravity of the city has changed in the past decade. The rejuvenation of central DC is excellent for DC, and less excellent for the suburbs. The Chevy Chase collection developer miscalculated the change.

Anna said...

Actually, efficient enforcement of parking violations was not part of the misappropriation of public funds charges in the Bell, CA case.

Ridiculous to compare to MoCo. That's like saying you and Ariana Grande look alike because you both have ponytails. Pfft.

Anonymous said...

Fool Dyer!!! Ralph Lauren and these overpriced stores aren’t a measure of county’s wellbeing. Idiot!!! The real estate market in Chevy Chase is great and houses are bought and sold well and quickly. The rich neighborhoods are doing just fine.

Anonymous said...

Dyer, have you ever shopped at any of the stores in The Collection (except Giant, obviously)?

Robert Dyer said...

12:17: I'm afraid your anecdotal sense is trumped by my actual statistics, which indicate "rich flight" from Montgomery County to lower-tax jurisdictions around us. Secondly, people who own $1 million homes in Bethesda and Chevy Chase are not the level of rich that we're talking about here. Many of those people are living on credit, daddy loans, a wing and a prayer, just getting by and keeping up the appearance of affluence.

The people we are losing are ones who shoulder enormous amounts of the overall tax burden in the County. Council staff has acknowledged that 21 taxpayers alone account for tens of millions in tax revenue received by the County.

Also, the tax changes are likely to lower home prices, as the County's extreme property taxes can no longer be deducted over the limit. As the County has staked its AAA rating on the ability to raise taxes every year, this will indeed be entertaining to watch play out.

Robert Dyer said...

9:08: Indeed, it was good timing for CityCenterDC and other developments. But we would still have suffered "wallet drain" even without DC's gentrification, er, revitalization, as a majority of the wealthy who have left have gone to suburban counties rather than into central DC.

11:19: Over-the-top ticketing by Bell police, directed by the Mayor and Council, was indeed one of the illegal actions that led to their arrest and conviction.

AG and I have more than ponytails in common; she once wore a pair of men's glasses exactly like Tarnation Bob's on the Tonight Show.

http://www.mtv.com/news/2934102/ariana-grande-favorite-performance-jasons-song-fallon/

Anna said...

As I said, it was not parking violations that got them in trouble. It was minor moving violations, vehicle condition citations and impounding cars they went wild on.

Tarnation Bob's glasses? So also your glasses? ;)
All personalities aside, she has a phenomenal voice.

Anonymous said...

"But we would still have suffered "wallet drain" even without DC's gentrification, er, revitalization, as a majority of the wealthy who have left have gone to suburban counties rather than into central DC."

Is there empirical evidence to support this statement?

Anonymous said...

"Daddy loans"? Are you sure you want to go there, Dyer?

Anonymous said...

"I'm afraid your anecdotal sense is trumped by my actual statistics"

Hey, Dyer - Opposite Day is on Thursday, not today.

Robert Dyer said...

11:16: No problem, because your anecdote was trumped by my actual data.

11:12: Considering I've never had a "daddy loan," I don't have a problem going there.

10:42: Yes - fewer MoCo rich refugees fled to DC than to the surrounding suburban counties.

Anna said...

Where are you getting your info about the super-rich leaving MoCo?
I'm seriously asking because I haven't seen any evidence of that. The elite-rich don't decide where to live based on taxes.
I remember one couple, both received huge bonuses one year, lamenting their MD tax total. Both worked in VA, so I mentioned how much less it would be if they lived in VA, closer to work.
They laughed and said, "Yes, it would. But then we'd live in Virginia, so...no, not worth it." No idea why their bias, but the sentiment was clear.

Robert Dyer said...

7:00: I linked to it in one of the past articles linked to in this article. I also cited it in that previous article, and gave the breakdown of how much money went to each county around us from MoCo. I can't rewrite the same article each time, which is why I linked back to the old ones for reference.

Anonymous said...

There are three links in this article. All go back to other articles by Dyer, the links in which all lead around in cirlces going back to the same two or three articles bynDyer. It's like a game of Three-Card Monte.

The only outside source provided, doesn't actually say what Dyer claims it does.

Anonymous said...

Robert Dyer said:
"I'm afraid your anecdotal sense is trumped by my actual statistics"

To the new people wondering where these outlandish claims are coming from:
For the record, Robert Dyer has never, ever quoted "actual statistics" from a reputable source such as the Census Bureau, BLS, S&P, JLL, FNMA, Costar, etc. He has also never directly interviewed a qualified expert and named them as a source.

Anna said...

That's what I noticed too, 9:05AM. Circular links.

Robert Dyer said...

9:05/10:06: Total horse****. The statistics for "rich flight" from MoCo came directly from a study that used actual data to show where Montgomery's rich moved to, and to tabulate exactly how much money they took with them to that jurisdiction (meaning it no longer flows into MoCo's budget). The study's authors term it "unimpeachable IRS data." You doubt the IRS? That will earn you a seat at the kids' table at the next County Democrat dinner!

I understand your rage and frustration at having to face the consequences of the failed leadership you support and work for. You are triggered and melting down. It wasn't supposed to end this way - your Communist ideology was right, and local media should have continued to strive for atta-boys from our corrupt elected officials, not to expose their corruption and impotence.


1:02: Direct link - to "unimpeachable IRS data." Just as I said - the above article has a link to this article, which has the link to the "unimpeachable IRS data." First you were wrong about the new tax law, now you are questioning the authority of the IRS?

http://robertdyer.blogspot.com/2016/07/louis-vuitton-closes-in-chevy-chase-as.html

Anna said...

I was NOT wrong about the new tax law. And I AM NOT questioning the authority of the IRS. Why do you make things up like that? You're being a bully. Taking personal shots at me? You are sticking your toe into serious, legitimate defamation territory here. Consider yourself notified.

So I FINALLY found which one of the myriad of links which went to a non-Dyer site. Right-wing leaning site, no surprise. Here's the link.
TaxMigration Dyer COULD have just posted the little link again. But...it's either he wanted your clicks, or he likes having others jump thru his hoops.

Here's what you failed to point out.
The majority of our GAINED wealth was from states with higher taxes than ours, NY, NJ CT. So, it's a trend to move to a lower taxes state.
Look at Virginia. They gained wealth from MD, DC and also NY & NJ
Compare counties? It shows the wealth moving from close-in burbs to outside burbs. It's also been progressive since 1992.

Many ways to look at stats.

Robert Dyer said...

6:09: Nothing you said disproves what I have written. That revenue is gone, and we can see how much went to competing jurisdictions around us on the website I linked to. It's time to get our tax burden in line, so that we can recover our lost revenue from "rich flight" and corporate headquarters avoiding us for the last two decades.Then maybe we won't have a structural budget deficit.

Anna said...

Many ways to look at stats. You choose to see only one side and assign blame to those you do not like. The county is experiencing the same things as other like counties all over the country.

This is what to expect as boomers retire, a huge group that will continue to screw with stats. The next group that will control how things go are millennials. They'll be the ones catered to for the next 40+ years.

Unimpeachable facts can be manipulated to give the results you seek. Remember an average of $10 per person can be one person with $100 and 9 people with $0.

Robert Dyer said...

8:01: No, we are not experiencing the same things as other counties - the counties all around us had net gains in jobs over a decade, while we suffered a net loss. Even Culpeper County had a net gain! We should be the engine of the Mid-Atlantic economy, but we're functioning at about the level of a lawnmower motor right now, thanks to having elected officials who know squat about how international business works in the year 2018.

Anna said...

Thank you for proving my point.

Compare counties? It shows the wealth moving from close-in burbs to outside burbs. It's also been progressive since 1992. The same things as other like counties all over the country.

Robert Dyer said...

9:01: Fairfax is not an outside burb. Neither is Arlington, nor D.C. MoCo got whipped by everyone from Howard County to Culpeper to Stafford to Spotsylvania. Urban, suburbs, exurbs.

Anna said...

You just can't see past your blinders. You're so wrapped up in and limited by your right-wing hate and Council envy. Sad.

But predictable from someone who can't admit they're wrong, thinks everyone is conspiring against him and most recently, refuses to tell us about Republican boom-towns.