FORESTVILLE, Md. (WJLA) - Less than one year ago, the Forestville Plaza Shopping Center was, by all accounts a dump. It was a crime magnet and a filthy home for squatters.
A revitalization, though, is in the works, and it began Thursday with the opening of a Roses discount store in the once-blighted complex.
The North Carolina-based discount chain saw an opportunity to reach its target audience when it decided to open along Forestville Road near Pennsylvania Avenue.
"We fundamentally had faith in the community and faith in the strength in the marketplace here and began a redevelopment process," developer Mike Amann said.
Developers, businessmen and community leaders praised a new streamlined zoning and permitting process that was initiated by Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker, which allowed for the store to open in time for Christmas.
Baker says he couldn't be hapier to welcome the store, which opened just a day before the doors open at the new Tanger Outlets at National Harbor.
For local residents who have needed jobs and retail, the arrival of Roses is long overdue.
"This is the best thing that could have happened over here," Forestville resident Beverly Anthony-El said. "I think it means everything. This community needed this. It's progress."
And once the doors opened, it was up to Ricardo Footes, one of the store's 82 new employees, to make sure the crowd had all it needed.
"They took us, started us off, and kept us here," Footes said. "It has been great working with this company."