Montgomery council expected to issue order for Silver Spring land swap -- Gazette.Net


This story was corrected at 3 p.m. on Jan. 10, 2014. An explanation follows the story.

Montgomery County is expected to move forward with a land swap that will net 21 small apartments for the homeless in a new building in Silver Spring.

The swap is part of the Progress Place Project, which will have the current property on Colonial Lane developed into a high-rise residential building.

According to county officials, the County Council will issue an executive order of declaration of surplus, which allows officials to dispose public property at a market value disposition, at a council session on Jan. 14.

During a Silver Spring Advisory meeting on Dec. 9, Greg Ossont, deputy director of the county’s Department of General Services, said the county is moving forward with the project. “It is an exciting project. It creates a lot of opportunities for the Ripley district in between railroad tracks and Georgia Avenue ... just south of the transit center,” Ossont said.

Progress Place is a facility owned by Montgomery County that houses Shepherd’s Table — a nonprofit that provides the homeless and those in need with basic services including meals, social services, medical support and clothing — and Community Vision, which provides support, advocacy, education and training for the homeless in the county to empower them to achieve independence. The services are based out of a property on Colonial Lane in Silver Spring, and the county has planned to move it to a location about a block away behind Fire Station 1 on Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring.

The project was first planned to be a three-story building, but because the facility could be built to five floors, the Montgomery County Council had asked county officials to find a way to add about 20 units each on the fourth and fifth floors, a request that is projected to cost about $10.2 million, according to a Dec. 3 county document.

“We’ve taken a lot of time and a few steps back to evaluate the need and evaluate the cost of housing, and had a lot of conversations with the County Council on this matter. We are happy to move forward,” Ossont said.

The developer, Bethesda-based Washington Property Company, would replace the actual building with a new facility, which would add 21 personal living quarters, “very small micro-units with their own bathroom and shower and small kitchenette,” according to Ossont.

County officials also said that the lease term of these apartments will be similar to that of a regular apartment building, and they are single-occupant apartments.

The current facility on Colonial Lane does not have any living quarters.

The new facility will be planned, designed and constructed by the developer, which will relocate the current facility at no cost to the county, and in return the county would transfer three properties that make up the current site to the developer.

The three properties — 1014 Ripley St., 8206 Colonial Lane and 8210 Colonial Lane — are valued at about $11 million, according to officials documents. The base building estimate for the new three-story facility is about $13.5 million.

“We are going to pay for that residential [part] and developers are going to pay for the new facility,” Ossont said.

According to officials, property negotiations are underway, but they confirmed that Washington Property Company plans to build a high-rise residential building.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the number of apartments that will be created.