Montgomery Planning Board explores prod for Glenmont redevelopment -- Gazette.Net


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The Montgomery County Planning Board considered creating a use-it-or-lose-it prod to spur redevelopment around the Glenmont Metrorail station during a hearing on a draft sector plan.

Commercial space around the Glenmont Metro station could soar from the current 273,000 square feet to almost 2.2 million square feet and residential units could jump from 3,100 to 8,900 under the draft sector plan presented to the board Thursday. But members suggested that none of that will happen unless property owners are pushed to redevelop.

With an interchange planned at Georgia Avenue and Randolph Road and a “a ton of money” spent on two parking garages to serve Metro, planning board member Norman Dreyfuss said high-density redevelopment is long overdue. He urged county planners to consider ways to encourage a race to rebuild Glenmont, which has not seen any significant growth since the last station on the Metro Red Line opened there in 1998.

“It should be a housing mecca for people who want to walk to the Metro and go downtown,” Dreyfuss said.

Under the draft sector plan, the highest density for redevelopment would be available to the Glenmont Shopping Center and neighboring properties. The 20-acre strip mall south of the Metro dates to 1959 and is surrounded by a large surface parking lot. But the property’s 13 owners never have joined together to redevelop.

County planners are exploring strategies to encourage assembling land for redevelopment of the strip mall, said planning supervisor Khalid Afzul. But the planning department has not proposed specific options such as a public/private partnership, use of eminent domain or other ideas presented during workshops by a consultant hired by the planning department.

Dreyfuss, who developed the Leisure World mixed-use seniors community about 3 miles north of Glenmont, urged planners to consider a use-it-or-lose it approach to zoning that would allow even higher overall density levels than proposed for Glenmont but would penalize property owners who drag their feet.

“I’d hate to see Glenmont 10 years from now look exactly like it does today,” he said.

Planning Board Chairwoman Françoise Carrier suggested that planners create a competition for developers to take advantage of the density opportunity.

“We over-zone everybody,” she said. “There’s a race, but you’re not going to get your zoning unless you move fast.”

County planners have recommended retaining the shopping center’s current commercial zoning, which would allow up to 1.4 million-square feet of retail and office space. But they would boost the residential element to allow a maximum height of 120 feet, which would encourage one or two buildings of 10 to 12 stories.

That would be in addition to the board-approved Glenmont Privacy World project north of the Metro, where the county hearing examiner is considering a proposal to replace the 352-unit garden apartment complex with a 1,550-unit mixed-use project.

The problem remains that the Glenmont market has not supported intense redevelopment, Afzul said.

“The market here is for stick construction of three to four stories,” not concrete high-rise, he said.

He noted that the Privacy World project has been approved to include up to 12 stories but the developer plans to begin with townhouses instead to test momentum for higher density multifamily buildings.

As for commercial space in Glenmont, Afzul said the market probably wouldn’t support anything beyond six stories, with medical offices or other services on top.

“We don’t think it’s Class A kind of office space,” he said.

Sale of state land for $23.3 million boosts Mid-Pike project in Rockville

The state Board of Public Works approved the sale of 3.7 acres of public land to Federal Realty Investment Trust for $23.3 million, adding the parcel to the company’s plan to replace the Mid-Pike Plaza strip mall with a 3.4-million-square-foot commercial and residential complex.

The property will be conveyed to Montgomery County, which immediately will sell it to Federal Realty. The parcel is the final acreage assembled by the company for its 24.4-acre transit-oriented Pike & Rose development. The company has announced plans for 420,000 square feet of retail space, 1.1 million square feet of build-to-suit office space, and as many as 1,600 residential units within walking distance to the White Flint Metro station.

The project will be the first to move ahead under the new White Flint sector plan.

Along with the sale approved Wednesday, the state board dedicated $21 million from the deal to build a public parking garage at the North Bethesda Conference Center next to the White Flint Metro. The garage will replace surface parking spaces to be removed for the construction of a new street.

Construction of the first phase Federal Realty project is scheduled to start this summer and is slated to open in 2014.

“White Flint is poised to become a great example of Transit Oriented Development — putting housing, retail and offices in walkable areas around transit,” Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) said in a press release.

The project was added to the state’s fast track program, which expedites permitting to support job creation at transit-oriented sites. The complex is expected to create 550 permanent jobs and generate an estimated $1.1 billion in new tax revenues over 30 years.

Transwestern takes management of 801,436-square-foot industrial portfolio

Transwestern announced Thursday that it has been retained by Cabot Properties to provide management and leasing services for a six-building portfolio with properties located in the Baltimore/Washington corridor.

The properties — in Jessup, Columbia, Elkridge and Landover — total 801,436 square feet.

Tom Gentner, senior vice president, and Brian Siegel, assistant vice president, will be the leasing agents for the 8241, 8242 and 8246 Sandy Court buildings, and Judith Lun will be the senior property manager for the entire portfolio.

The portfolio consists of the following six buildings totaling:

Ÿ 6600 Business Parkway, Elkridge; totals 172,200 square feet and provides ample parking and bays of 13,200 square feet each.

Ÿ 9645 Gerwig Lane, Columbia; totals 134,000 square feet of industrial warehouse space.

Ÿ 5801 Columbia Park Road, Landover; totals 125,469 square feet.

Ÿ Sandy Court II, 8241 Sandy Court, Jessup; totals 133,935 square feet.

Ÿ Sandy Court III, 8242 Sandy Court, Jessup; totals 170,410 square feet.

Ÿ 8246 Sandy Court, Jessup; totals 65,422 square feet.

Rockville and Gaithersburg battle over Sears Great Indoors annexation

Rockville’s mayor and city council will send a letter to Gaithersburg officials in opposition to Gaithersburg’s proposed annexation of land south of Shady Grove Road where a Sears Great Indoors store is closing.

The council decided Monday to draft a letter stating Rockville’s objections to giving the land to Gaithersburg because Rockville plans to someday incorporate the 13.8-acre property into its own boundaries, and that Shady Grove Road should be the southernmost boundary of Gaithersburg.

“The land use is not the issue here,” Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio said. “It is really a matter of encroachment.”

Gaithersburg is petitioning Montgomery County for 27.89 acres of land on the south side of Shady Grove Road. The Sears store occupies 13.6 acres of the site.

The land lies within both cities’ maximum limits, a boundary set by the county limiting the growth of certain municipalities, according to county planning staff.

“This is not a two-year problem or a five-year problem or a 10-year problem,” Rockville Councilman Tom Moore said. “This is defining what the shape of this city is going to look like forever.”

JBG buys DC office building for $64.7 million

The JBG Cos. of Chevy Chase announced that it bought a 154,584-square-foot office building near Dupont Circle in the District. The price was recorded at $64.7 million.

The Class A property, at 1233 20th St. NW, is a fully occupied, eight-story building. Tenants include the Embassy of Vietnam and The College Board.

Commercial real estate news items may be mailed to Robert Rand, The Business Gazette, 9030 Comprint Court, Gaithersburg, MD 20877; emailed to rrand@gazette.net; or faxed to 301-670-7183.