Monday, March 23, 2009

Future Uncertain for Silver Spring Transit Mixed-Use

While work bristles along on the much anticipated, $70 million Paul Sarbanes Silver Spring Transit Center in downtown Silver Spring, progress on the proposed private development at the site is doing anything but. Despite being awarded rights to pursue three towers worth of mixed-use projects – including a 469-unit apartment building, a 196-room hotel and 25,000 square feet of ground floor retail at Colesville Road and Wayne Avenue - following completion of the Transit Center, developer Foulger-Pratt is tight lipped on exactly when the once project will leap off the drawing boards and into the public realm.

“There are three towers that will be built around the Transit Center, someday…but we’re not exactly sure what the towers are going to be. At one point, it was a hotel, an office building and apartments, then hotel, office building, condos. But at this point, we know one of them will be a hotel and that’s all I can say because we don’t know yet,” said Steve Sowash, Director of Preconstruction and Estimation for Foulger Pratt. “Right now, we’re not even projecting a start date on it.”

Though Foulger-Pratt, also serving as general contractor on the Transit Center proper, were once thought to be planning to dovetail their start on the private portion of development with the projected late 2009 completion of the center, that plan appears to have fallen by the wayside. In a refrain all too familiar to area developers these days, Foulger-Pratt is laying the delay at the feet of Old Man Economy.

“[An early 2010 start] is too optimistic…[Our schedule] is contingent on the market in general.“ said Sowash. “Nothing’s even been submitted [to the Planning Board]. We responded to an RFP several years ago for three towers around the Transit Center. It was something that the County had awarded us the right to do, but, then again, it’s all market driven.”

Architects Zimmer Gunsul and Fransca remain attached to the project and Foulger will once again serve as general contractor if and when the developer gets shovels in the ground. In the meantime, the Transit Center is still on schedule to wrap up construction later this year. Montgomery County’s Division of Building Design and Construction is expected to provide an update on project during the first week of April.


Anonymous said...

That Sowash guy sounds pretty smug. When you respond to an RFP, you have even more of a duty to follow through on it, not less. If it was there own land, I don't care if it lay fallow, but they wasted the county's time (and land) by not striking while the iron was hot.

Anonymous said...

Have you been to that site lately? They have barely finished demolition so there is no way on God's green earth that they will open that facility by the end of 2009. My money says at least July 2010 before the first users start enjoying the facility.

Anonymous said...

How did "Anonymus" come up with Sowash sounded "smug". Here's a thought for you, if developers are so greedy and evil based on your premise and all they want is money then based on that premise obviously Folger Pratt would be starting right now, or maybe,..maybe,... it has to do with the fact it is a 3 way partnership between Folger Pratt, the County and WMATA and trying to get WMATA on board with the County and Folger Pratt is perhaps a not so easy task. And maybe if you build a project it should be financially sound, unless of course you would like to repeat in a few years what is happening right now to our economy, due in large part to people, lenders and equity ventures paying to much for real estate and the market not being able to support the price paid for the ground.....maybe that is the case, not smug, maybe....or maybe you just like to complain and the facts are irrelevant....

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