Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Bethesda Drunk Tank For Sale or Lease

Now here's a deal that should pique the interest of any Bethesda developer looking for a challenge. Montgomery County has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for redevelopment of the 2nd District County Police Station in downtown Bethesda. In the coming weeks, the County will be accepting designs that seek to transform the half-century old police station into a mixed-use project overlooking Wisconsin Avenue.

Neil A. Shorb, Director of the Montgomery County Police's
Management and Budget Division, told DCMud that the county is seeking to replace or severely overhaul their dated facilities at 7359 Wisconsin Avenue.
"The bottom line is that this structure was built 47 years ago, and does not meet the facility needs for a modern police station, both in size and functional configuration. The current facility has significant issues with its major building systems. Another major issue is the lack of parking—both secure and non-secure.”
With the loss of their stationhouse and adjacent parking lot - together totaling 21,400 square feet - the Bethesda PD will be looking for a new place to hang their batons at the end of the day. Developers offering a mixed-use development with the cops relocating themselves will be given a long term lease - with the County acting as landlord. However, developers with the means to build the boys in blue a new clubhouse at another site in the immediate area will be offered a juicer deal that sees the County offering “simple conveyance of the Site" - i.e., the title to the land and free reign to do with it what they wish.

Of course, even the most savvy of real estate entrepreneurs should take a glance at the County’s 90-odd page document outlining just what makes a police station a police station before deciding to build one. Chances are they didn’t have to pony up for a “Weapons Cleaning Area” or “Fingerprinting Alcove” next to the Sub-Zero in their last designer kitchen.

However, the County doesn't have its' heart set on moving quite yet either. It will also entertain offers that can update the station and leave it fully operational, while converting other portions of the site into retail or residential space. As Shorb explained:

"We are not necessarily giving up this station. Rather, we are soliciting opportunities to find a location to meet our facility needs as described in the RFP. This includes remaining on-site, acknowledging that the current site is too small, and additional land would need to be acquired to meet our needs to remain at the current location.”
With a prime location in Bethesda’s Central Business District, the County and the cops are seeking to lead by example with the project. They’re insisting that affordable housing must constitute at least 20% of any residential units that wind up on the site. Submitted proposals will then be further judged (ahem) according to five evaluation criteria:

1. Overall quality of the development vision: 20 points
2. Meeting of County’s objectives for the Site (a mixed-use development, the inclusion of affordable housing and "a high quality" consistent with the quality of other projects in the Central Business District): 40 points
3. Expertise and financial capacity to implement the vision: 15 points

4. Overall benefit to the County: 15 points
5. Proposed timeframe for completion of the development: 10 points

That should effectively rule out meth labs and massage parlors. Proposals are due on October 10th by 2 PM. Final selection will take place in December. Lacey



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