Wednesday, July 25, 2007

SilverPlace funding vote postponed

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A vote on funding for SilverPlace, the prospective new Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission headquarters in downtown Silver Spring, was withdrawn from Tuesday’s Montgomery County Council agenda and will not reappear until the council reconvenes in September.

The Montgomery County Planning Board wanted more information on the proposed special appropriation to the Park and Planning capital budget before voting to send it to the council, according to Mike Riley, project manager for Park and Planning. One appropriation would have called for $9.3 million to be placed in the capital improvements program and the other, $6.4 million, would have increased a transfer of money from the county’s general fund to the capital budget.

‘‘The planning board asked the council to pull it until they were more comfortable,” said Riley, adding that he hoped the issues would be addressed for the next council meeting in September.

In January, Park and Planning staff selected a group of developers, including the Bozzuto Group, Spaulding & Slye and Harrison Development, and the architectural firm RTKL to build and design the project. The new headquarters will be located at Park and Planning’s current location at 8787 Georgia Ave. and will also include retail, office space and affordable housing.

Jeff Kaufman, the project manager for Bozzuto Group, said that the planning board wanted more flexibility in the contract language to allow for modifications of land size and value.

‘‘It’s more of a question of how big the headquarters building is going to be and what that means in terms of the land value,” he said. ‘‘Not everything is figured out, so how do you ... make sure you have formulas and directions so as issues present themselves you have ways to solve them.”

Currently Park and Planning has employees in three locations: downtown Silver Spring, on Brunett Avenue and in overflow rental space on Spring Street. The new development would consolidate the headquarters.

Valerie Berton, a Park and Planning spokeswoman, said in May that the project is tentatively scheduled to be completed in the winter of 2010.