Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Stumping for Investors in Shady Grove

Last week, the Montgomery County Planning Board passed preliminary site plan approval for the Residences at Shady Grove, a mixed income housing development slated for the Old Derwood Neighborhood on Redland Road at Yellowstone Way.

Keystone Real estate and Corporate Investment will head up development on what county officials hope will be the first of many projects within the larger Shady Grove Sector Plan, one that Keystone Managing Member and Gaithersburg Mayoral candidate, Richard Koch, promises "will transform this industrial use area to an urban village."

The four-acre project near Rockville's Shady Grove Metro will include 117 multifamily units (18 MPDUs), with another 36 townhouses acting as a bridge between the two types of homes, and three "affordable" single family cottages. Whether the units in this new urban village will be available for rent or to own still remains to be seen.

Assuming Koch scares up an investor and financing for the project - "a joint venture between my company, KeystoneREI, which provides the local development expertise and an opportunity fund which provides the equity financing" - Shady Grove residents could be looking forward to a LEED certified development described by County Planning officials upon site plan approval as a "safe and convenient" pedestrian neighborhood complete with "diverse housing types" and ample amounts of open space.

Potential investors might want to take note, however; that just last year Winchester Homes abandoned plans to develop their own townhouses at Yellowstone Way and Chieftain Avenue - a parcel adjacent to Koch's Shady Grove project that is owned and currently home to Derwood Bible Church. As church staff member Joan Furlani explains to DCMud, "We had been under contract with Winchester" but when the time came to say yes or no to development, the church "decided it just was not a good time to build homes."

Not surprisingly, Koch takes a different view on Derwood's housing potential. As a developer - but mostly as a candidate for Mayor - he expresses few doubts in the neighborhood's potential, explaining that the project will bring "financial, economic, social and public benefit" to the area and serves as a shining example of "my successful leadership skill and ability to work with existing communities and the public sector to obtain approval of exemplary projects."

We'll be waiting at least 12 months to find out the future of this project, as Koch expects it will take at least that long to secure additional development and building permits, as well as to determine how the project will be financed. On the more certain side, the answer to whether Gaithersburg residents are more credulous than investors lies just around the corner on Election Day, November 3rd.


Anonymous said...

Is this "the" Richard Koch who used to work for Avalon Bay?
congtact me at randy@creaserobrien.com

Sydney on Oct 30, 2009, 1:15:00 PM said...

Yup. Same guy.

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