Montgomery housing agency pushing major mixed-use project in White Oak -- Gazette.Net


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The Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission wants to tear down its aging 96-unit Holly Hall seniors’ apartment complex in White Oak and replace it with a 475,000-square-foot mixed-use complex.

The new housing project is described as a “major gateway mixed-use development in accord with the goals of the White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan” in a letter housing commission executive director Stacy L. Spann sent to the Planning Board.

If approved, the new complex could be the first development to move forward under the master plan, which county officials hope will bring thousands of new high-paying jobs in the biotech and health fields to an area that has been bypassed by recent private development.

The Holly Hall proposal is among the list of outstanding issues that the board will consider Wednesday, when it meets in a final work session scheduled before recommending the White Oak master plan to the County Council.

The housing commission, which owns the county’s public housing projects and runs its affordable housing program, is seeking a new denser zoning designation to allow it to proceed with its plan for Holly Hall, which sits between the Beltway to the south and the National Labor College to the north. At 475,000 square feet, the proposal would dwarf the 287,000 square feet allowed under new zoning recommended for the 4.4-acre site by planning staff.

The commission wants to demolish the existing 120,000-square-foot apartment building at 10110 New Hampshire Ave. and redevelop the property to serve mixed-income renters. The new project would be anchored by a larger market-rate rental housing complex that would preserve and subsidize the 96 units set aside for low-income seniors.

The Holly Hall project is separate from the neighboring Labor College, where the housing commission pulled out of an plan to acquire the 47-acre campus in partnership with Reid Temple African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Spann wrote that the higher zoning density is needed to make feasible a mixed-use project that would support affordable living for seniors.

His letter to the board said, “These residents live on very modest incomes; thus the revenue produced by those units often does not even account for the total expense of operating that unit. So, the increase in density we are requesting is particularly necessary to promote viability of redevelopment. HOC would use the preponderance of the new density to add market-rate units to cross-subsidize the replacement units and to help diversify the stock of rental housing in the Hillandale and White Oak areas.”

Leggett seeks new transportation rules to allow Percontee life sciences project

The Montgomery County Planning Board is considering relaxed transportation capacity standards proposed by the Leggett administration to provide more flexibility for the development of a life sciences village in White Oak.

The department drafted an alternative review process — which the board will discuss when it meets Wednesday — that is designed to address the fact that the Fairland/White Oak policy area that covers most of the eastern county has inadequate road capacity, according to the county’s 2012-2016 subdivision staging policy. That could block ambitious plans for new development anticipated under the White Oak Science Gateway master plan.

“The implementation of the desired vision for the White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan (as proposed) is challenged by the scale and expense of the transportation infrastructure necessary to facilitate future development plans,” Gregg Ossont, deputy director of the Department of General Services, wrote in an Aug. 6 memo to the board.

The White Oak area could be transformed under the master plan, which would allow commercial development to grow to more than 25 million square feet from the existing 11.2 million square feet. The number of jobs could soar to 70,312 from the current 27,688. And the number of housing units could more than double to 15,688 from 7,118.

The department’s plan would create an Implementation Working Group to develop an alternative mechanism that create an “equitably shared transportation funding program that adequately finances the necessary infrastructure improvements and creates alternatives that will encourage non single-occupant vehicle trips.”

The group would also devise an adequate infrastructure financing and construction phasing plan to “ensure planning, design, and construction of the transportation infrastructure to serve the new development in a timely manner, as well as a procedure for allocating implementation costs to individual projects.”

Finally, the plan would reduce staging requirements for bus and other transit alternatives. The administration proposes that a minimum 25 percent non-auto driver mode share must be attained for redevelopment and new development within the master plan area, rather than 30 percent as the planning department recommended.

Washington Property Co. leases 47,000 square feet in downtown Silver Spring

Bethesda-based Washington Property Co. announced that it signed leases for more than 47,000 square feet at the downtown Silver Spring Plaza office building.

The 243,582-square-foot property — at 8757 Georgia Ave. — serves as headquarters for Social & Scientific Systems, which renewed its 88,230-square-foot lease in November.

The new leases signed at the 14-story building are:

• CLINIC, an urgent care medical center, which leased 22,152 square feet.

• Corinthian Colleges Inc., which renewed for 22,152 square feet.

• Dr. Robert Mantoni, who renewed and expanded his dental office for a total of 3,052 square feet.

The firm also leased 14,434 square feet to Vanguard Realty Group at 1390 Piccard Dr. in Rockville.

“We are on track to have an excellent year leasing our office portfolio of over 1.5 million square feet, while developing 1 million square feet of residential space,” Derek Hendon, president of WPC Management, LLC, said in a press release.

The company leased more than 238,000 square feet last year.

Subaru selects Frederick office park for new regional training center

Subaru of America Inc. signed a lease for 10,080 square feet of space at the Riverside Technology Park in Frederick to open a regional training center, according to Baltimore-based St. John Properties, Inc., which owns the building.

The facility, at 8430 Spires Way, will provide instruction for between 10 and 24 employees on any given day to support Subaru dealerships throughout the mid-Atlantic area.

The 490,000-square-foot office park sits on 44 acres between Interstate 270 and Interstate 70 on Monocacy Boulevard.

Danny Severn, leasing associate with St. John, represented the landlord. The tenant was represented by John Wilhide, John Boote and Ken Zirk of CBRE.