Monday, November 17, 2008

SilverPlace Splits with Developer, Forges Ahead

The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission's (M-NCPPC) new headquarters - tentatively titled SilverPlace - has incurred a few shake-ups over the past few months, but is otherwise inching toward fruition in the center of the Silver Spring Central Business District.

While plans for the site have grown much more specific since DCMud last reported on the development, one major detail has done a volte face: the Montgomery Planning Board (MPB) has nixed a 2006 proposal by SilverPlace LLC that had served as the development's template until last month. A press release issued by the County stipulates that the "Planning Board and SilverPlace LLC were unable to reach agreement on key terms, such as land pricing."

In the same session that the deal was declared kaput, the MPB also clarified their intentions for a new mixed-use headquarters. First and foremost, it will be built before any proposed residential component. Secondly, it will consolidate all staff offices, whereas they currently operate no less than four buildings for the same purpose. Thirdly, it will meet the standard for LEED gold certification. Lastly, the project will eventually be mixed-use with residential and infrastructure components that mesh seamlessly with the Silver Spring suburbs surrounding the parcel at 8787 Georgia Avenue.

Of most import to the development community, however, is the MPB’s plan to “reduce the public cost of the project by selling part of the property to a private developer” – a plan which is sure to irk Harrison Development, Spaulding and Slye, and Bozzuto Group, the firms behind the SilverPlace moniker. It has also been further asserted that the housing component will include a minimum of 30% affordable and AMI housing.

Dan Hertz of the M-NCPPC told DCMud that the County is not actively seeking out proposals from other developers at this time, but will be “going to our board on December 4th and going over the timeline with them on that day. It depends on the market and our ability to make progress on the office building portion.”

The project is also expected to receive a budget appropriation from the County Council in December. The MPB will be holding a Community Meeting at their current headquarters this Wednesday, November 19th at 7:30 to brief the public on the recent changes incurred during the development process.

The MPB had still been acting in concert with the SilverPlace LLC as recently as June, when they jointly participated in a week-long community design workshop. Despite Silverplace LLC’s departure, the site is still expected to develop into 300 new units of housing and public park/garden featuring an array of “mature oak trees.” Lacey



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