Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Silver Spring Transit Center MOU Approved

Last week, the Montgomery County Planning Board reached a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of Public Works and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) regarding the massive mixed-use development project slated for the site of the Silver Spring Metro station, clearing the way for the issuance of bids for this $75 million development. The new Paul S. Sarbanes Silver Spring Transit Center, as the project is called, broke ceremonial ground last November, and is expected to be completed in 2009.

The Silver Spring Metro station is one of the busiest transit centers in the Washington area, currently serving 27,000 Metro riders, 32,000 bus riders and 1,100 MARC train riders daily, a number that is expected to increase to 97,000 patrons per day by 2025. Under the MOU, the Planning Board agreed to exchange its 35,000-sf Metro Urban Park (located on the current site) for an 11,633-sf park at the transit plaza entrance and an 11,590-sf park just off site. In addition, the Planning Board made clear it expects the county and WMATA to build all “essential elements” for the Center (escalator canopies, shade tress, light fixtures, etc.), and for any necessary additional funding to be sought from Federal and/or state governments.

If project plans hold, the development will transform the 5.7 acres around the metro station into a new three-story transit hub, with the first two levels for buses, and the third for metro’s Kiss and Ride, taxis, and some parking. The project will also feature two residential buildings containing 469 units, a 196-room hotel, 25,000 sf of street-level retail adjacent to Colesville Road and Wayne Avenue, and a public plaza. When completed, the Center is expected to significantly enhance access to existing Metrorail, Metrobus, Ride-On, MARC rail, bus and taxi, and the Metropolitan Branch Trail, as well as the planned Purple Line. The private development is being handled by Silver Spring Metro Center Partnership/Foulger-Pratt Development, with architecture by Zimmer, Gunsul and Frasca.



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