Burtonsville Crossing Shops May Be Eligible for Government Assistance
The shopping center’s parent company has yet to reveal a plan for the vacant spaces.
By most accounts, Burtonsville Crossing, a shopping center near the intersection of Route 198 and Route 29 in Burtonsville, is losing business.
However, there might be financial help for the handful of independently owned businesses left in the shopping center.
Steve Silverman, director of Montgomery County’s Department of Economic Development, said a group of business owners recently appealed to the county for assistance.
“We’ve been pressing Edens & Avant, the owners of the shopping center, to reduce rents while this process goes on,” said Silverman. “They have been unwilling to make substantial rent reductions at this point.”
A spokesperson for Edens did not specifically comment on possible rent discounts, but did give Patch this statement:
“Edens & Avant is committed to Burtonsville and we look forward to continuing our collaborative relationship with all local stakeholders for the success of our retailers and the community at-large.”
Silverman said that there is a loan program for businesses in Montgomery County. Ideally, companies that receive the loan are either looking to hire more people or to expand their business, like Addis Ababa, an Ethiopian restaurant in downtown Silver Spring that the county loaned $40,000 to enclose their outdoor patio.
“We are basically looking at the financials of the businesses that have asked us for support to see whether it makes sense to use taxpayer dollars to assist those businesses,” said Silverman.
The names of the businesses seeking aid are not made public until an actual loan is awarded. Right now, the department is still reviewing applications.
Silverman said the first test is to determine the survivability of the businesses. The loans are generally $50,000 or less, so he must figure out exactly how far that money will go for each business.
“If somebody’s on a downward trajectory where the $50,000 may get them to survive another two or three months, that’s not likely to be a loan that we would make because they’d still be in the exact position in three months that they are today,” said Silverman.
“The county does not tend to put money into businesses that might not survive,” he added.
In September, the shopping center will only have 13 retailers out of a total of 28 spaces available. A spokesperson for Sally’s Beauty Supply, which closed its Burtonsville Crossing location on Aug. 15 after 10 years, told Patch that their company determined the center no longer experienced enough foot traffic.
With businesses closing or moving, Burtonsville Crossing’s parent company, Edens & Avant, has yet to reveal plans to fill the anchor spot, previously a Giant grocery store.
“We’ve said over and over again to Edens that if they have short-term plans, we want to be supportive,” Silverman explained. “They have not come to us with any specific plan.”
In August of 2010, Edens & Avant sent a letter to County Executive Isiah Leggett to appeal for financial help from the county, according to the Gazette. In that letter, the company admitted they were in a "dire situation" with the loss of their anchor.