The Ripley District is defined as the triangular parcel of downtown Silver Spring between Bonifant Street, Georgia Avenue and the B & O Railroad. 1050 Ripley marks the first major construction project within the district’s borders since 1993 and is to be the centerpiece of the forthcoming district. A Washington Planning Company press release illuminated some previously unknown but anticipated details about the 306,114 square foot apartment and retail center, including the inclusion of “a state-of-the-art fitness center and pool, a stadium-style movie room, billiards lounge, rooftop terrace, as well as an underground parking garage.”
While 1050 Ripley is certainly biggest thing headed to the neighborhood-in-training, it is by no means the only development underway to invigorate the area. According to the Silver Spring Central Business District Sector Plan released earlier this year, key touchstones of the Ripley District also include the Paul S. Sarbanes Transit Center and Metropolitan Branch Trail, which will begin in a new Ripley District plaza and run for 8 miles before ending at Union Station.
The plans on hand also call for the addition of more pedestrian and vehicular access to the Metro and the extension and/or widening of several thoroughfares, including Dixon Avenue and Ripley Street itself. Virginia developer Kettler had shuttered their own proposal for another high-rise residential and retail facility on Ripley Street. That project - the Midtown Silver Spring - has not gone forward, despite receiving preliminary approval.
For some, the slow gestation of the Ripley District is taking too much time. Pyramid Atlantic, a local print artisan, recently moved their storefront from the Ripley area to more high-visibility space on Wayne Avenue. It remains to be seen whether rebranding a once unappealing area – ala “North Bethesda” (Rockville) and the "Atlas District” (H Street NE) - will sink or swim as a marketing strategy for Silver Spring’s next emerging neighborhood.