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Puzzled by Hilltop Plaza Renovation in Bowie MD

Outback Steakhouse in Bowie MDOutback Steakhouse in Bowie is located in Hilltop Plaza, at the intersection of Defense Highway (Rt. 450) and Race Track Road.  It’s the one business that keeps us going back to that shopping center as they’ve lost one tenant after another:  T.J. Maxx, McDonald’s, Joanne’s Fabrics, Next Day Blinds and many other businesses we’ve supported there over the past 30+ years.

While there is a Longhorn Steakhouse and a Texas Roadhouse nearby, we tend to favor Outback because it’s a little closer to Crofton and the parking is usually good – correction, it WAS good before the renovation now underway. 

We’ve watched in amazement over the past few weeks as several islands have replaced parking spaces in the previously satisfactory parking lot.  Just look…

Hilltop Parking Lot

All of these islands in the photo are new… and, as I said before, they replace parking spaces at Hilltop Plaza.  Half the store-fronts seem to be empty now, yet we often have to park at the other end of the lot to dine at Outback Steakhouse.  Surely prospective tenants of those now empty store-fronts can see how lousy parking will be if/when they’re all occupied.

Why would any developer reduce parking capacity (at great expense) and why would any business lease space in a shopping center without adequate parking? 

I can’t imagine what they’re thinking, and I’d love to post an answer if anybody has one.

We’ll probably continue to patronize Outback Steakhouse in Bowie for the next few weeks because we find the 6–oz Outback Special to be a good value at less than $10 (you can hardly cook out in your back yard for that!), and the service is usually pretty good. 

When those other stores are occupied, however, we’ll probably dine elsewhere rather than deal with reduced parking capacity at Hilltop Plaza.  Maybe Outback should consider relocating to Crofton or Gambrills…

Now THAT would be a good idea!  I vote for the Villages at Waugh Chapel.

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