Friday, August 3, 2012

Downtown White Flint takes shape

Part One: Development

The 2010 White Flint Sector Plan aimed to create a thriving mixed-use center, with the highest intensity closest to Metro and along Rockville Pike. As planned, the new downtown will offer new parks and public spaces, including a community recreation center and public library. A new urban street grid will be constructed and pedestrian and bicycling access improved. Ultimately, Rockville Pike will be transformed into a boulevard with street trees and improved crosswalks.

More than 14,000 housing units are ultimately planned for White Flint, along with nearly 13 million commercial square feet, phased in over the next 25 years. At the time of the sector plan approval, there were 2,300 housing units and 5.5 million square feet of commercial space in White Flint.

Since the completion of the sector plan, new projects have been completed and others are underway. For example, in 2011, JBG’s North Bethesda Market added a 24-story apartment building and retail, including a Whole Foods supermarket. North Bethesda Market includes 397 apartments, and 200,000 square feet of retail space. The apartment tower is the tallest building in Montgomery County.

A new 14-story office building on Marinelli Lane is nearing completion and will be occupied by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. It is the second building constructed by LCOR, which has approval to build a total of 1,350 residential units; 1.1 million square feet of office space, and 280,000 square feet of retail just east of the metro station. A third building, which includes 341 apartments, broke ground this summer.

Also breaking ground this summer was the first phase of Federal Realty’s Pike and Rose development. Pike and Rose will replace Mid-Pike Plaza with 3.4 million square feet of mixed-use development. The first phase includes 492 housing units and close to 390,000 square feet of commercial uses. The North Bethesda Market II project may soon get underway. This project is located just north of North Bethesda Market and will be constructed by JBG. North Bethesda Market II received approval in March for 414 residential units and 368,000 square feet of retail.

Other projects in the pipeline include redevelopment of White Flint Mall and North Bethesda Gateway. As proposed, White Flint Mall may ultimately include 5.2 million square feet of buildings - including 1 million square feet of office space, 1 million square feet of retail space, 2500 residential units and a 300-room hotel. The current three-level mall is about 800,000 square feet. Located southeast of the intersection of Rockville Pike and Nicholson Lane, the 11-acre North Bethesda Gateway project is envisioned to include 667,000 square feet of residential and one million square feet of commercial uses.

All of these projects require intensive coordination to move forward. In the next installment, we’ll look at how the County is juggling the complexities of urban redevelopment in White Flint including new roads, public facilities, and urban services. 

View White Flint Development in a larger map