It’s the store #2508, as the Bestbuy’s official site says with a message – “opening soon”. 

And that “soon” means really soon – early next month, according to published reports.  

The store will replace the recently defunct household store “Linens-n-Things’. The retail space has been vacant for a number of months. 

I see it’s an exciting news for the “geeks” in our neighborhood – they don’t need to drive miles to get their favorite gadgets, as well as for average residents to get simple electronic / electrical stuff. The nearest BestBuy to our part of the town is located in Laurel. 

But the news of the opening isn’t that exciting for many nearby residents, especially those living in the neighboring Autoville area. The problem? it’s the blue wedge at front, that the store is planning to outfit – the size is too big and is causing an eyesore, complain the residents. They think the blue wedge is part of the store sign. The wedge is 27% of the size of the store’s frontal view. The recently adopted Rt1 sector plan only allows stores to have sign no more than 10% of the fontal view. The BestBuy developers had a meeting early this week and are trying to negotiate a compromise with the residents. Some residents have worried that granting such an early exception to the sector plan could open the door for numerous future exceptions.

On the meeting, I asked council member Marcus Afzali, who represents the area. He said he is optimistic about a settlement.  The outcome of the meeting was that residents expressed their STRONG objection to a sign that would not conform to the sector plan.  We are now waiting for the response from Best Buy – will they just say ok and keep with their current sign (which I would love), will they go for a battle at the city and county level and go for the full blue wedge (I can’t imagine they would), or will they try to see if they can get a compromise proposal of some sort (most likely, though again I’d rather they just say ok to the signage they already have) – said Marcus.

We’ll see what happens, but I think neither Cherry Hill residents nor Best Buy want a prolonged fight at the City and County level that will last for months.  Hopefully in 30-60 days this will just be a distant memory. 

Proposed Sign - the Gazette

Proposed Sign - the Gazette

BestBuy’s recent move to College Park is part of an aggressive action to fill a vacuum of electronic retail stores in the area. “With the fall of Circuit City in January 2009, Best Buy had little, if any, competition in the Washington area. None of its closest competitors, such as Walmart or Target, offered its vast selection of TVs, cameras and computers. Retail experts expected Best Buy, which has 42 stores in the Washington area, to tuck a few Circuit City sites into its portfolio.”, reports the Washington Post in a recent article. 

The opening is a good news for the city officials too. “[The store will] add a nice little boost to our city tax revenue.” – says council member Marcus Afzali,