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Aurora Backs Off? Silver Spring Stuck.

Aurora, Famous Footwear, Redevelopment, Silver Spring, Talbots

I got an email from our Village Manager that included a letter from Aurora Health Care asking that the public hearing for AHC inhabiting the old Talbots/Famous Footwear location be removed from the February 19th Plan Commission agenda.

Don't get too excited:

We look forward to bringing before the Plan Commission a more complete plan for a distinctive clinic that will offer important health care services close to home .. and contribute to a vibrant Silver Spring business district.  In the weeks ahead we will continue to reach out to village merchants, building owners, neighboring residents and others.  These conversations will help us craft the kind of project that village residents will embrace.

In other words .. AHC doesn't want to go into the Plan Commission half cocked.  They'll bring in consultants and lawyers and architects.  Probably a puppet show for any children in the audience.  All to convince us that a health clinic would be super duper.

I've received comments about how people perceive my reluctance for this Clinic, and want to clarify.  I'm not against having a health clinic on Silver Spring.  I'm not against Aurora.   However.  The Famous Footwear/Talbots spot is a huge opportunity.  HUGE.  It's the only large parcel currently completely available on Silver Spring. 

In baseball terms, Silver Spring needs a triple or a home run on that spot.  As I wrote a few weeks ago, any new business should be evaluated on the basis of several factors.  Uniqueness, Customer Count, Customer Spillover, Regional Reach, Night-time effect, and X-factor Enthusiasm.  The Aurora Health Clinic scores very low on that scale .. it's not awful, but it's about 15th on the list of things Silver Spring needs.

So if Aurora's big scheme is to try and make nice with the natives, dress up the building .. give us all a free MRI .. it's not going to change the fact that it's still a bad choice for a big opportunity.  Nothing personal, Aurora. 

I suppose they should get points for not just ramming it through, which they probably could.

Unfortunately, Whitefish Bay is stuck. There isn't a consensus on the Village Board to act aggressively act upon Silver Spring.  I assume this landlord is trying their best, but without a partnership with WFB, and yes, public TIF money, they are interested in any tenant who can pay the rent.   This means, the chance of getting that home run, is very small. 

2008 will be an interesting year for Silver Spring.   With the US and regional economy stuttering .. and, in theory, Silver Spring ripped up for streetscaping, further depressing business ..plus no aggressive moves by the Village to recruit business .. watch out for more store closures.

Who knows.  By 2009, Silver Spring may be so empty, we'll beg Aurora to come back.

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