Although the Kimco plan for the Wilde Lake Village Center has faults, we want to see the project move forward for the future of Wilde Lake Village. However, we strongly oppose demolition of the Central Building part of the horseshoe shaped building enclosing the Village Green Courtyard.
Kimco proposes demolition to open up the courtyard, exposing the stores to the parking lot to make store leasing easier. Yet in fully leased stores in Kimco's three Village Centers, Hickory Ridge, Kings Contrivance and Dorsey's Search over one half of the stores cannot be seen from parking. Kimco's reason for demolition to expose stores to the parking lot is unnecessary.
The July 19, 2010 the Wilde Lake Village Board's own county-required Village Community Plan clearly states in two places that, the Village Green Shopping Center buildings and Village Green open space "shall be upgraded" (meaning the Central Building not demolished).
The Village Board reinforced this statement in writing on October 18, 2010, which states that, "The Board supports maintaining the north and south buildings as depicted in the (Kimco) plan. The Board supports upgrading the building west of the courtyard". (The Central Building). This was ignored during the review process. The Village's own five member Architectural Advisory Panel opposed demolition, but again was ignored.
The Kimco plan went before the county Design Advisory Panel (DAP) in October 2010. We attended and took detailed notes. The final DAP Summary and Motions report was too brief and omitted important points of agreement made by DAP members that "demolition of the central building will destroy all of the good attributes of the courtyard".
Throughout urban history it has been shown that people prefer to gather in courtyards, plazas, squares, or greens — that are enclosed by buildings on three sides — because they create a sense of place, meaning a person's feeling of pleasant enclosure, like a large outdoor room. This was the design concept for Wilde Lake Village Green.
The architecture of the two-story buildings on three sides of the courtyard is an ideal enclosure for the courtyard. Demolishing the Central Building forever opens the courtyard to a large parking lot destroying the sense of place and exposes it to traffic noise. The courtyard does not need to be enlarged because the Kimco plan provides two new passive social spaces, at the apartment building and on Lynx Lane's with David's Café.
After the Giant building is demolished, the Central Building's exposed brick wall can be opened-up by easily widening through-the-building access walks and views into the courtyard along with new street level shops.
The Wilde Lake Village Center was the first when Columbia opened in 1967. Jim Rouse was deeply involved with the first village center. Jim Rouse is honored and beloved as Columbia's founder, yet one third of the original Wilde Lake Village Green's building is about to be demolished. Demolition is not the way to honor Jim Rouse. Modern, 21st Century and Forward Looking.
The Wilde Lake Village Center is, quoting county planning staff, "…an attractive, innovative, pedestrian-based social space…where the Central Building acts as the western side of this courtyard". We agree with the desire for a "modern, 21st century and forward looking" village center. The Kimco plan satisfies this desire through new retail and apartment buildings on three sides of the parking lot. Upgrading the Central Building is visually a small part of the total project.
Make your voices heard and urge the Zoning Board to approve ZB 1096M on the condition that the Central Building not be demolished, and instead be upgraded.