Updated: Feb 19
Forestville, a change is happening!
Forestville has changing demographics. To natives of the area, Forestville is known for Forestville Mall (now Centre at Forestville), Penn Marr Shopping Center, and Marlo Furniture. Forestville has served as a shopping hub for county residents, locals, and beyond.
Roses, Forman Mills, Turning Natural, and Save-A-Lot grocery store have provided light in what was a blight and defunct Forestville Plaza for many years.
Recently, Royal Farms has joined the commercial landscape, with a location on Donnell Drive and second location under construction, on Marlboro Pike.
Lidl, a German grocer, is opening its third location in the county in Forestville on Marlboro Pike at Boones Lane.
Target is a big draw! It essentially serves as a one-stop-shop selling groceries, clothes, home goods, and beyond.
Despite some perceptions, Forestville has always been a location where businesses open. Forestville is even more desirable to do business than much more affluent areas of the county, such as Fort Washington and Accokeek. The brick-and-mortar buildings speak volume, pun intended! As a child I remember my grandparents shopping at Burlington Coat Factory and Super Fresh, what is now Shoppers, and driving across the street to Forestville Mall to go shopping at K-Mart, what is now Target, and wonder through the mall to get snicker doodles and eventually to JCPenney.
What makes Forestville an attractive commercial market? Forestville is minutes from the Capital Beltway, Joint Base Andrews, and Washington, D.C. via Pennsylvania Avenue. There is also great access to transportation and affordable housing.
With many new planned developments sprouting up along Pennsylvania Avenue in Upper Marlboro, such as Parkside Westphalia and Westphalia Town Center, Forestville serves as draw for local shopping and dining. Some locals may not prefer to shop at Penn Marr Shopping Center or Centre at Forestville due to quality of stores, product, clientele, or customer service, but that dynamic is slowly changing just as the demographics. Many of the new homebuyers are transplants from different parts of the country and beyond. With the housing market explosive in DC, many are looking for more affordable homes and amenities with quick access to the nation’s capital.
Target, Lidl, and Starbucks are game changers to this area. These businesses will serve as a catalyst and shape the retail landscape and typically have a customer-following-base and afford a higher quality of tenants to follow pursuit.
While businesses continue to thrive in Forestville, we must continue to keep our shopping centers clean, free of litter, and loitering. We must also demand the management companies and county officials take pride as well.
As the market continues to change, I recommend our county officials work with, Petrie Richardson Ventures, the developers of Centre at Forestville and Woodmore Towne Centre and Rosenthal Properties, the developers of Penn Marr Shopping Center, and encourage redevelopment and reimagining in Forestville. Both developments have entirely too much surface parking and yearn for a resurgence. If these developments add a housing component, convert parking lots into parking garages and create a main street space, it will continue to attract educated people, higher incomes; nonetheless, create more foot traffic, ultimately demanding a higher caliber of businesses and services in the county. The great thing about this vision, it will not displace residents.
Forestville, change is happening!