Wednesday, April 29, 2009

FDA Office Gets Residential Revamp in Rockville



Developers AvalonBay Communities are nearing the end of two years plus of planning for the redevelopment of the US Food and Drug Administration offices at 12720 Twinbrook Parkway in Rockville. The 32-year-old, 50, 235 square foot "office/flex industrial building" currently on site will soon be razed to make way for the Avalon at Twinbrook Station – a new, SK&I-designed residential complex that will add 240 units to the rental market.

"We've been presenting this plan to the neighborhood for the past two years and, essentially, now we’re [entering] the formal approval process. The City of Rockville was going through an entire…master plan recreation for Twinbrook neighborhood,” said John Cox, a Senior Vice President at AvalonBay, of the project’s origins. “When they created the new Twinbrook neighborhood plan, [the City] endorsed our use on the site.”

With the backing of both the local community and city planners, the development team will deliver more than two hundred apartments – ranging in size from 450 square foot studios to 1200 square foot two-bedroom "lofts" – with 12.5% set aside for affordable housing. The bulk of Twinbrook Station will top out at four-stories, but also include a portion that steps down to a three-story “townhome fa├žade along the majority of Halpine Road.” It’s a design scheme that has allowed the developers to conceal the project’s parking garage by surrounding it with residential units on three sides – with the exception being a portion abutting the future site of 7-story office building currently in development by Uniwest Commercial Realty.

AvalonBay will soon be submitting their final site plan to the Rockville City Council for approval and is planning for construction to get underway late next summer. “I don’t believe there is a scheduled hearing date yet, but, obviously, we’ve had numerous meetings with [City Council] staff and public committees,” said Cox. “We’re thinking [we’ll start in] probably the third quarter of 2010.”

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