Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Centex's Symphony in MC

After years of discussion and revision, Centex's Symphony Park project in Montgomery County may have reached its coda. Named for its proximity to the nearby Strathmore Music Center, Symphony Park, which will offer 112 one-family, attached townhouses, will go before the Montgomery County Planning Board tomorrow with recommended approval from the Development Review Division.

The new development will reserve half of its 18.61 acres for open green space, including a pond and overflow space for the music center. Centex received preliminary approval in March of last year, but has since undergone revisions to improve its aesthetic value and pedestrian accessibility.

"It is an intersection of two properties and it's of great interest. It's a high profile property, especially since Montgomery County owns the land next to it. The Strathmore Music Center next door has a festival each year on the land that we would own, so we ended up giving them five acres. It was negotiations like that that took a while. We spent a lot of time figuring out how to make this land work best for the county," said Keith Tunell, Director of Community Development in Maryland for Centex.

The developer does not yet own the land at the intersection of Rockville Pike and Strathmore Avenue, but will purchase it from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association if the project receives final approval. The site is currently occupied by the ASHA office building that the developer will eventually raze to make room for the new development.

Near both the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro Station and the Rock Creek Hiker-Biker Trail, the project will offer 373 parking spaces and two types of townhouses, one traditional and the other with internal courtyards. The developer said the project's setting is ideal given its surrounding amenities.

"It is certainly for fans of the arts, it's a very commuter-friendly property. There is the Metro right on the other side, we are also keeping a lot of it green and a park-like setting between us and Strathmore. It's a harmonious connection and great property for quality homes," Tunell said.

Tunell said that if the project is approved, the team will submit a certified site plan in the next few months, raze the building in the winter, and begin construction next summer.


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