Monday, November 22, 2010

NoBe Gateway: White Flint Blowin' Up


After receiving positive feedback from the Montgomery County Development Review Committee, developers of "North Bethesda Gateway" in White Flint expect their Sketch Plan to go before the Planning Board sometime in January, marking the beginning of what will likely be a multi-year public approval process. While construction, or even detailed architectural renderings, are some time off, developer Hilary Goldfarb of ProMark Real Estate Services says even the first nibble of action is "very exciting." The project involves a unique partnership of three local property owners (Jack Fitzgerald, Lake Waverly, and JWW) who've joined forces in the planning process in order to maximize entitlements and enable the transfer zoning rights amongst their separate parcels. As the plans stands, roughly 11 acres of office buildings and surface parking lots will be redeveloped into nearly two million s.f. of retail, residential, and office space in compliance with the White Flint Sector Plan.

The Sketch Plan is a rather new requirement in the Montgomery County Planning process that further drags out the frustration of developers, but extends the tantalizing spectatorship of real estate development junkies. Goldfarb explained it as literally the "very first step in a several year process." Although the Sketch Plan only offers a basic understanding of the overall development concept, with many details likely to change, it also provides an interesting chance to witness a development project slowly transform from a zygotic aerial diagram (this one drawn by architects at WDG) to full-grown actuality (one hopes). Upon completion of the first two phases of North Bethesda Gateway, developers intend to deliver three office buildings, a hotel, extensive ground-floor neighborhood retail options, and a variety of rental and condominium housing opportunities situated in three distinct multifamily buildings. Developers seek to create a pedestrian friendly atmosphere with this redevelopment; by including several large public plazas in their plans, streetscape improvements, and extensive landscaping, the project will provide a walkable transition from the White Flint Metro to White Flint Mall.

Given that the development site is adjacent to the White Flint Mall, White Flint Plaza shopping center, and less than a quarter mile from the White Flint Metro, as well as bounded by Rockville Pike with the North Bethesda Marketplace just across to the West, developers believe they have the epitome of a transit-oriented urban infill project in the works. The development, though still in the embryonic stages, joins a wealth of activity in the area's development pipeline. JBG's North Bethesda Phase II, and Federal Realty's Mid Pike Plaza are in line on the train of development that Goldfarb insists will eventually make White Flint "the economic engine of Montgomery County." Chew on that Bethesda.

Montgomery County, MD Real Estate Development News

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Chew on that Bethesda". Cute. Truth is, from Tenleytown all the way up to beyond Montrose Road, this Red Line Corridor is a great urban/suburban success. Beats the sterile environment of Tysons Corner even with that new above ground silver line coming thru. I look forward to the day when I read that White Flint Mall is being razed! What a waste of land!

Anonymous said...

Whoa now, anon. There are few urban planning types that think of Wisconsin Ave as a success. Have you visited White Flint? Its traffic-choked 12 hours out of the day, and I haven't seen a pedestrian there since 2004. Let's just say there's room for improvement.

John H on Nov 22, 2010, 4:54:00 PM said...

Rather than "the epitome of a transit-oriented urban infill project", I see two islands of high rises surrounded by multi-lane arterial streets. Each high-rise has a driveway, mostly on the perimeter, though I don't know if these will be adequate for loading docks and parking, retail deliveries, and relieving congestion on Rockville Pike. The central pedestrian spine begins with the hotel entry traffic circle, and is divided by a street and possible parking entry that lie between the offices on the west end, and the majority of the retail around the plaza to the east.

Brooks Butler Hays on Nov 22, 2010, 5:01:00 PM said...

Point taken John. I was attempting to convey the developers excitement, but certainly it is all a work in progress. I think the point is that given the great increase in density provided by several large developments all in the preliminary planning stages or under construction in NoBe/White Flint, there is hope that what is currently very much commuter and suburban area, will become more mass transit oriented and urban in feel as some of these projects come to life

Michael said...

Personally I like the idea of maximizing the growth and development in and around White Flint (between the mall and up to Montrose) and would love to see building heights taller than what's being proposed. Why shouldn't NoBe have structures of significance - why should Rosslyn be the only locale with a "big city" skyline? Anon #2 has a point about pedestrian traffic. Rockville Pike, despite all the planning in the world, will never become another M Street in G'town, Newbury Street in Boston, etc; there is a bit of a difference walking these two streets in winter or on a hot summer day that doesn't translate to the Pike. If development is going to be encouraged perhaps a transportation option, similar to the DC Circulator, should be considered as a complement to Metro. This might address some of the traffic concerns on Rockville Pike and could serve as a transportation link to other parts of MoCo..

Critically Urban on Nov 22, 2010, 11:55:00 PM said...

Anon #2: Are you measuring success based on how slow traffic is traveling?

The plan is to reconstruct Rockville Pike through White Flint to make it slower, safer, and less like a highway. More like Wisconsin through downtown Bethesda or Georgia thru downtown Silver Spring, but hopefully better than both of these examples.

Anonymous said...

NoBe? WTF?
Do people have a case of abbreviation envy? All these abbreviations are SO stupid. Everones so hip hop all of a sudden noma nobe DMV stpd

Anonymous said...

LaMe

Ken on Nov 23, 2010, 3:33:00 PM said...

"NoBe" was tongue in cheek. Don't take it seriously. Thanks

Brooks Butler Hays on Nov 23, 2010, 3:36:00 PM said...

The award for First Developer to Use the Nick-name "NoBe" in a Power Point" goes to JBG ... http://www.montgomeryplanning.org/community/whiteflint/documents/JBGNOBEpresentation.pdf

Michael said...

I use the abbreviations more because I find them humorous, in the way I find parts Rockville identified as North Potomac. So in addition to NoBe, MoCo, abbreviations used for various parts of WDC (another one) I offer the following for future DCmud blogs:

SoRo, SoGa (depnding on how you look at a map), NoCheCha, WeWe, EaPo, NoGro, SoTwin.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"Chew on that Bethesda". Cute. Truth is, from Tenleytown all the way up to beyond Montrose Road, this Red Line Corridor is a great urban/suburban success. Beats the sterile environment of Tysons Corner even with that new above ground silver line coming thru. I look forward to the day when I read that White Flint Mall is being razed! What a waste of land!

Nov 22, 2010 2:41:00 PM

RE: Total Sarcasm from a Virginian tax payer. That was a good joke about White Flint Mall, I can actually picture you laughing as you typed that BS Comment.

I tell you what; the Day they raze White Flint Mall will be the Day after Every Shopping Mall and Freeways in Northern Virginia is razed.....

Anonymous said...

Critically Urban said...

Anon #2: Are you measuring success based on how slow traffic is traveling?

The plan is to reconstruct Rockville Pike through White Flint to make it slower, safer, and less like a highway. More like Wisconsin through downtown Bethesda or Georgia thru downtown Silver Spring, but hopefully better than both of these examples.

Nov 22, 2010 11:55:00 PM


RE: If that is a subliminal message of wishing to reduce the lanes of Rockville pike then I will advise that you wake up from your fairy tale dream.....

 

DCmud - The Urban Real Estate Digest of Washington DC Copyright © 2008 Black Brown Pop Template by Ipiet's Blogger Template