Groundbreaking for Guardian Realty's 13-story residential tower at 8711 Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring was delayed yet again because of the developer's indecision in choosing a general contractor, according to multiple (frustrated) sources. The project had been set to break ground at the end of January, but fell victim to Guardian's protracted pursuit of lower bids.
Guardian had no comment when contacted for this story.
Described as far back as 2008 as being on the "fast track," the project has flagged in recent years. Originally conceived as a 13-story Class A office tower, with ground-floor retail space, the project was switched to residential after the down economy made leasing difficult. (Location might also have been a factor - potential tenants who declined to lease at 8711 include corporate titans Northrup Grumman, Siemens, and Hilton, who all took offices elsewhere in the area.)
Developers anticipate a heightened demand for housing in the area after Walter Reed merges with the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda. The site plan amendment, which left the original building's footprint almost entirely unchanged, was approved by Montgomery County planners in April 2011.
The new plan calls for 160 units in a thirteen story, 143-foot tall building on the 0.87 acre parcel, plus a bit of retail space (halved from 4,500 in the original plan). The WDG-designed building, which will open onto the forthcoming Fenton Street extension, also features a laudably adventurous "public arts plaza" designed by local artist Martha Jackson-Jarvis. The main feature of the plaza is a 75-foot "wave wall," a sort of flowing mosaic sculpture of varied textures that will "undulate like waves." Another, smaller, mosaic wall and a series of three-dimensional sculptures rounds out the space, and a mid-block pedestrian mall will connect the plaza to nearby Georgia Avenue.
At the April 2011 hearing for the site plan amendment, Brian Lang, representative of 8711 Georgia Avenue Parking Lot LLC, described the project as "liven[ing] up" a particularly "dark and dreary" stretch of Georgia Avenue. But before that happens, they'll have to actually build it.
Silver Spring real estate development news