Barry’s decision put on hold

No news is no news in the Barry’s Magic Shop case. Barry’s, you’ll remember, is the last remaining magic shop in the DC area and the building it leases was recently coerced from its owner under threat of eminent domain by Montgomery County. If redevelopment officials get their way this unique business will be torn down to make way for a highly dubious sidewalk plan.

On the 9th the County Council held a hearing to discuss the fate of the shop. I wish I’d known about it in time to be there in person. Fortunately, at-large Democrat Steven Silverman continued to defend the shop:

Council members said they were concerned that the plan for the sidewalk has been in the works since 1995, while the county just bought the Barry’s Magic Shop building from Mr. Taylor and his wife in May.

“You could have a situation where they would be displaced and you could end up with a project that doesn’t get approved or built for years, and that’s what I’m having trouble getting my arms around,” said council member Steven A. Silverman, at-large Democrat.

“Why would you demolish a building until you knew exactly what the cost would be or what you want to put in there?”

Full story here. A final decision date has not yet been set.

I’m glad to see Barry’s continue to receive sympathetic press, but the focus is disappointing. The emphasis is on small business losing ground to corporations, which is a tangential point at best here. Contrary to the Home Depot analogy quoted in the article, there’s no Mega Corporate Magic Warehouse moving into the neighborhood and driving little old Barry’s out of business. It’s the government taking Barry’s shop through the abusive threat of eminent domain. That part of the story has been obscured in almost all of the media coverage.

For more background on the case, see my previous post.