Co-op Owners, Shoppers and Community Members,
At 7:40pm last evening, the Co-op received a letter from Neighborhood Development Company (NDC), our landlord on the adjacent City-owned parking lot. The letter that does two things:
- Demands that the Co-op immediately cease use of the City lot for deliveries; and
- Invokes a 30-day termination clause from the parking lot sublease signed in 2018 which, if carried out, will evict the Co-op from using the City lot starting May 16
NDC’s demands would violate our sublease of the City lot, as well as our 2018 Cooperation Agreement with NDC. In that agreement, the Co-op has agreed not to oppose a proposed development on the lot, in exchange for certain accommodations that will allow us to continue operating during the application process, as well as during construction and operation of the development. Both our lease and the Cooperation Agreement protect our ability to take deliveries, now and in the future.
As you know, since 2018 the Co-op has complied with the terms of our Cooperation Agreement with NDC, which requires us not to oppose NDC’s proposed development. We intend to continue to abide by our obligations under the agreement while it remains in force, i.e., while NDC’s development application remains pending with the City and the County Planning Board. We must, however, object to NDC’s current efforts to undermine our agreement and disrupt our current operations by ejecting us from the City lot.
By depriving us of our longstanding access to the City lot for our deliveries, NDC would disrupt a successful business and major City employer that has served Takoma Park since 1998, when we moved to the Junction from Silver Spring at the City’s invitation. The Co-op takes in $10 million in annual revenue, provides 50 good-paying jobs with Union protections and excellent benefits, and supports the City government with annual property taxes. We also have a long record of service to the community, for which the City recently gave us formal recognition during a Council meeting.
Given the longstanding support we have received from the City, we are particularly concerned that the sole basis of NDC’s termination notice is a set of incorrect and/or unsubstantiated claims, posted March 10 in a “Fact Sheet” on the City website, that our current deliveries are illegal and/or unsafe. Despite repeated written requests to withdraw, correct, or substantiate those claims, the Fact Sheet has remained on the City’s website for more than a month after our request, and at this writing has not been taken down.
Therefore, we have written to NDC, demanding that NDC withdraw its demands. We also asked the City Manager, Mayor and City Council to order NDC to withdraw its demands and restore our access to the City lot, as required by our lease and Cooperation Agreement with NDC; and we asked the City to withdraw or support the incorrect and unsubstantiated claims in the Fact Sheet, which are unfair and harmful to our business.
We need the support of our members and shoppers. Please write or call your Council representative and the Mayor to support our requests.
Mike Houston, General Manager
Diane Curran, TPSS Board of Representatives President