Thursday, May 8, 2014

Eyesore of the month (year? forever?) in Glenmont

So what’s the worst eyesore around the Glenmont Metro station?

Is it the big vacant lot overtaken by weeds at the southwest corner of the busiest intersection in the area? No. This former site of the long-closed Glenmont Elementary School at least serves a purpose. It’s the staging ground for construction of an interchange where Randolph Road will be buried beneath Georgia Avenue so commuters won’t even have to see Glenmont as they speed by to work. Eventually it will be the new home for Glenmont Fire Station 18, which temporarily relocated to Wheaton last month as part of preparations for the interchange construction.

Is it the empty house on Vixen Lane a block behind me, with the blue tarp on the damaged roof that has survived through years of foreclosure actions, the owner’s death, estate short sale listings, and a deal that fell through last year? No, at least the tarp is held in place by a bunch of wooden beams.

Is it the Glenmont Shopping Center, where the multiple owners rent out part of the 500-space parking lot every summer to a furniture dealer who unloads a tractor-trailer and stands a bunch of sofas on their ends to block out drivers’ view of the strip mall? No, at least the Ghetto Stonehenge goes away at some point and most of the 196,380 square feet of retail space is occupied and the Staples, CVS and Shoppers grocery always seem to have more customers than the cashiers can handle.

So who is the worst slum lord with the most visible, most prominently located, most offensive eyesore?

Well, that would be WMATA, the owner of this dump, a boarded-up former KFC next to the Metro station that has been closed for almost three years.

On the front and sides, it’s covered with graffiti. Really uncreative graffiti.

Out back, you can take a dump in one of two toilets amid a bunch of other junk.

KFC abandoned the prime location at 12415 Georgia Avenue, which greets commuters as they pass the last stop on the eastern leg of the Red Line. The fast food chain pulled the colonel’s face of the sign, stripped the equipment and left the site’s fate to the landlord.

This finger-licking grease pit was shuttered in May 2011, when a Ride-On bus crashed through the front window one morning during rush hour.

And the landlord is the Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Authority, the regional government entity that runs Metro.

I’ve lost track of WMATA’s attempts to sign a new lease for the spot, which the agency acquired in 1982 with KFC as the tenant. The agency seems not to care about the site, except to send somebody by a few times a year to trim the landscaping and spread some mulch.

The property consists of a 3,360-square-foot building on an 18,787-square-foot concrete pad site. It would actually be a perfect location for a daycare center that neighbors clamored for during the process leading to passage of the new Glenmont sector plan.

A for-lease banner went up last year and came down weeks later after a storm left it flapping in the wind. A for-lease flyer was posted at some point on the WMATA website and is still there if you type the address into the search engine.

But the property isn't listed in current offerings.

So does this mean WMATA found someone to open a new fast-food joint or “restaurant space,” as the flyer describes it? Does WMATA have something creative planned? Housing maybe? Probably not, because WMATA has already given Montgomery County a small parcel across the street next to the Metro garage, where the Housing Opportunities Commission plans to build apartments for seniors.

So who knows what’s happening with the old KFC? I never got anybody from WMATA to respond to my repeated inquiries for my commercial real estate column that the Gazette of Business ( ended last month.

At this point, I’m just a pissed-off neighbor.

But maybe if enough pissed-off neighbors call, we can find out what’s happening.

Try contacting:

JANELLE ALLADIN-RIEMAN, Principal Realty Specialist
PHONE: 202-962-2139  

STANLEY WALL, Director of Real Estate and Station Planning
PHONE: 202-962-2616

PHONE: 202-962-1051


  1. Whew! You scared me when I first glanced at this. I thought you were going to be ranting about the water tower. I always liked that tower. I'm pretty sure I climbed it with some friends or maybe with the fog of time or was that a cloud of smoke clouding my mind I only imagined doing that. Anyway, exactly that tower is how I imagined the alien spaceships looked when I read War of the Worlds when I was a kid. And that was before the KFC was even built. Funny, before I kept kosher I always liked Kentucky Fried Chicken, but I don't remember ever stepping foot into this branch even though it was the closest one to our home. So it looks like the Martians won out after all. Thanks for this little brother, Your only bro, Leibel Goldreich

    1. The water tower was recommended for historical preservation designation during the process of rewriting the Glenmont sector plan that passed this year. But WSSC killed that because they recently put $1.5 million into restorations, including replacing the ladder. My guess, it eventually will be torn down as part of a parcel to redevelop the properties between Layhill Rd. and the Metro station. Belmont TV closed recently when the landlords sold the property.

  2. Sonny, if they do decide to tear it down, please let me know ahead of time. I'd make a special trip into town to get a piece of it as a souvenir, maybe a piece of the ladder and incorporate it into a bunk bed or something. - Still Leibel Goldreich (I don't know why Blogspot didn't allow me to choose WHICH Gmail acct to sign into here - I'm stuck with appearing as Leib33 instead of my full name :-(

  3. From Leibel Goldreich. Then I could definitely say that I climbed the Glenmont water tower. Part way up at least. Ok, so at least just part of it period.