I've posted this before but its so far back in the blog now its lost. I often get asked for a few of the same restaurants over and over. Cheescake Factory and P.F. Changs are at the top of the list. Then there are the high end grocery stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joes.
Why don't they come? What stops them from opening up here? Well here are the requirements they look for:
Population - The biggest factor. The entire population for Charles County is estimated around 156,118, Calvert 90,595, St. Mary's 111,413. Places like the above mentioned restaurants want a daytime population of somewhere in the area of 300,000 within a 3-5 mile radius of the location. Currently the estimated daytime population of the mall within 5 miles is estimated at just under 80,000. They want the restaurant packed at lunch and dinner. They want dense urban areas.
Demographics - workforce, high school and college graduates, number of households, average household incomes, retired or working, age, race, sex. Our incomes are good but not enough houses. Also mentioned by some that we didn't have enough college graduates. Did you know you needed a diploma to buy food?
Roads - Are we close to the beltway? How many vehicles per day pass the site?
Government - Are they easy to work with? Do they want growth? Are they business friendly? Any incentives to come to the area? How long will the process take to get our site approved?
Attractions - What pulls people to the area? Historic sites, large venues, sporting arenas, tourism, casinos, amusement parks.
Land - They want high profile corner sites with traffic lights and ease of access for their patrons. They want sites along Crain Highway and we are running out of them. Many that are out there have wetlands running thru them and you can't build near that. Storm water regulations take up more of the land so you either build a smaller space or have to buy a larger site.
So we either have to build houses and apartment and become a densely populated area which is not going to happen or stay a little country, a little city and be happy.