Metro’s board of directors will vote Thursday on a proposal to rename the White Flint Metro station “North Bethesda.”
Montgomery County has indicated it is willing to pay $332,000 in public money for sign changes that would be needed if the name changes.
Metro’s staff is recommending to its board of directors to approve the name change. In writing why they acknowledged that currently North Bethesda does not have much of a “sense of place,” but added:
“That said, noteworthy developments such as Pike & Rose have started to adapt the namesake into their branding and identify as being located in the city of North Bethesda. We will continue to see this take hold throughout the county. Should the Board wish to approve the jurisdiction’s request, it is likely that the new name will become synonymous with the surrounding community over time and customers will find it sufficient for wayfinding.”
Friends of White Flint led the charge to change the station’s name. Fingers crossed!!
Governor Hogan announced yesterday that the State of Maryland has surpassed 1 million COVID-19 booster shots. All Marylanders 18 and older are eligible for boosters. Both federal and state health officials recommend that all adults get COVID-19 booster shots. Hogan said that the state has both the supply and the capacity to provide a free vaccine to anyone who wants one.
To date, the state has administered 9,395,285 COVID-19 vaccines, including 1,004,758 booster shots. According to official CDC data, 99.9% of seniors and 88.9% of adults have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The state also has administered 117,644 vaccinations to 5- to 11-year-olds, representing 22.7% of that age group.
To find a vaccine clinic, visit covidvax.maryland.gov or call the state’s multilingual call center, available seven days a week, at 1-855-MD-GOVAX (1-855-634-6829).
There are so many events in the Pike District — live music, karaoke nights, happy hours, open mics, etc. — it’s hard to keep track of it all. But you don’t have to because the Pike District has done the research for you.
Valid Stay Dates: November 14, 2021 – December 28, 2021
Letters to North Pole Package enjoy a stay filled with fun and surprises.
Let your little one write their own personal letter to Santa on stationary and mail it to the North Pole from our special mailbox in our lobby. The Bethesda North Marriott Hotel brings enchantment to your little one with our Letters to North Pole Package our package includes-
Guest Room – 1 King or 2 Doubles
Surprise Milk and Cookies in the Room
Breakfast for two in The Corby Kitchen ( Children under 10 dine free)
Stationary for you to mail your letter to Santa in our North Pole Mailbox.
The county and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority agreed to a memorandum of understanding on the 20.2 acres of WMATA-owned land surrounding the Red Line station about a year ago, and officials with both WMATA and the county say they’re almost ready to solicit proposals from developers for the site. The ultimate goal is to strike a joint development agreement with companies to manage the complex process and finally bring a surge in new construction to the neighborhood that officials have long sought.
But before things can move forward, Metro is working with real estate firm JLL to get a more granular view of the property’s potential, according to Liz Price, WMATA’s new vice president of real estate and parking. Specifically, Price said Metro wants to understand the “highest and best use” of such a large site, and whether County Executive Marc Elrich’s vision of a life sciences-focused campus there is actually achievable.
Elrich, a Democrat seeking his second term in office next year, has spent months arguing that the location is perfect for a four-year university hub focusing on biotech, given its proximity to federal agencies and health care resources. Price said that is certainly a possibility, but not a guarantee — and with an estimated 5 million square feet of development possible at White Flint, she wants to be sure before going farther down that road.
“There is no doubt it’s a prime location,” Price said. “And now that JLL has taken a look at it, we’ll be reviewing those results with the county shortly.”
Montgomery County failed in its bid lure Amazon, the e-commerce giant that opted to build its second headquarters in Arlington, Va.
But top county officials have an alternate vision for the area surrounding the White Flint Metro station — a “life sciences hub” that exploits the presence of the close-by National Institutes of Health and Food and Drug Administration.
“My goal is to produce a signature project that restates Montgomery County’s case as the leading life sciences center in the country,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc B. Elrich (D) in an interview. “(White Flint) is sitting on the Metro. It’s right down from the Beltway, and there’s a ton of under-developed property there.”
Elrich has hired Tom Lewis, who served as chief of staff to former Maryland House Speakers Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) and Casper R. Taylor Jr. (D-Allegany), to the newly created position of development ombudsman.
In June, Lewis retired from Johns Hopkins University and Medicine, where he spent 16 years as vice president for government and community affairs, a post in which he served as a conduit between the school, state and local government, the private sector, and communities surrounding the campus.
If confirmed by the county council, Lewis would have a similar job nurturing the White Flint project.
“Tom brings this unparalleled level of experience within the state working on these issues, working for one of the premiere global research organizations [and] NIH and FDA on joint projects,” said Chief Administrative Officer Richard S. Madaleno Jr. “Tom was part of the Hopkins team that worked on the Maryland bid for Amazon.”
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), the agency that provides rail and bus service in the D.C. region, owns a large, undeveloped parcel adjacent to the White Flint station — and in the coming weeks the agency is expected to solicit requests from potential developers.
WMATA has engaged Jones Lang LaSalle, an internationally-known real estate consultant based in Chicago, to guide its pursuit of partners and a development vision.
Had Amazon chosen Montgomery County, the company was expected to build an 11 million-square-foot complex on several parcels in the North Bethesda area — including potentially where White Flint Mall long stood.
Elrich said he envisions a vibrant, walkable life sciences complex of comparable size, a development that would resemble Kendall Square, a mix of tech companies and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology buildings in Boston.
“It’s an enormous opportunity for place-making,” he said.
Although the bid for Amazon’s “HQ2” fell short, Lewis said he was drawn to the post because of the potential to use White Flint to “magnify” the existing biotech industry in Maryland.
“It’s exciting for lots of reasons,” he said. “And it fits in with some of the work I’ve done in the past.”
Long before the pandemic, Montgomery County has nurtured biotech companies that take advantage of research happening at nearby federal labs. Several county firms, including Novavax, played a role in the development of COVID-19 vaccines.
Elrich said he has been in communication with four universities about establishing an academic presence in White Flint. In June, the county, the University System of Maryland and Montgomery College signed a memorandum of understanding to expand on the region’s “leadership role in life and regulatory sciences education and innovation.”
“There’s no reason Montgomery County can’t — and shouldn’t — be the nation’s undisputed center for life and regulatory sciences,” said University of Maryland System Chancellor Jay A. Perman. “It has a thriving community of industry leaders; a strategic location near federal labs and agencies; and the full partnership of Montgomery College and the University System whose expertise in biotechnology and advanced computing is second-to-none.”
Elrich said he has spoken with top Maryland officials — including Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R), Commerce Secretary Kelly M. Schulz and Transportation Secretary Greg Slater — about the need for state support.
“In my mind, it’s really important that the state play a role in some of the transportation needs in the (MD 355) corridor,” he said. “They had an amazing transportation investment for Amazon because they understood that — in order to make this work — you were going to have to deal with some of the transportation bottlenecks.”
If confirmed by the county council, Lewis’s new post will bring him into regular contact with Yaakov “Jake” Weissmann, another former chief of staff in Annapolis.
Weissmann, who served under Senate Presidents Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) and Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City), is an assistant chief administrative officer, overseeing “economic development and business advancement activities.”
Melanie Wenger, Montgomery County’s longtime director of Intergovernmental Affairs, also served as Miller’s chief of staff in Annapolis.
Good news for local golfers, tennis players and pickleballers: A PGA Tour Superstore, first of its kind in Maryland, is heading to White Flint Plaza. Owned by one of the founders of Home Depot, PGA stores offer clothing, accessories and equipment for all three sports plus lessons, practice bays, repair services and trade-ins. Doors will open in 2022 right next to the upcoming Aldi grocery store, filling out the rest of the space that previously belonged to Shoppers Food Warehouse.
No-frills supermarket chain Aldi is planning a winter opening for its new store at White Flint Plaza on Nicholson Lane. The German grocer, known for its low prices, treasure-hunt products and lean-and-mean store design, is taking only one-third of the space that previously belonged to Shoppers Food Warehouse.