Live blogging from Montgomery County Planning Board meeting on March 19, 2009.
Presentations by property owners and developers about their proposals for developing in the new White Flint. Continuation of March 5 hearing, because not all proposals were able to be presented in the available time.
Perry Berman and Jack Fitzgerald for Fitzgerald properties on Nicholson Lane and Rockville Pike. 40 acres. Need a sense of place, not just at the core and along Rockville Pike, but in each district of the Sector. Other plans have that. Need to fit all together into the whole. Bob Wulff for B.F. Saul, master developer for Fitzgerald parcels. Agree with staff that Wf is an extraordinary opportunity, cutting edge of growth. When markets get back to normal, this is the next growth point, the next downtown. Just need to get the markets prepared to go.
[break in reporting for meeting on parks]
Bob Wulff: price sensitivity by businesses who want to lease space in WF. Adding exactions means we have higher costs that we have to pass on. Above ground parking structure = $20,000 a space, below ground = $40,000.
Chrmn Hanson: costs of exactions are changed when they are spread over 30 years by a special assessment district, rather than imposed at the start in a lump sum. One of the ideas floated is to change the way exactions are imposed, as for example, putting in bonus densities; if you do more, you get more. If we calculated the public use requirements to vary with density (FAR), that would change the economic calculations as well. That’s the sort of thing we’re thinking about. Research shows parking requirements within 1/2 mile of transit station is half what our standards require. Changes the FAR requirement economically. A lot of moving pieces here.
Jack Fitzgerald: we’re building a little 6,000 sq ft car showroom. It will be Toyota’s first LEED-certified building in the U.S. Our permits to the County were $100,000. I was shocked. The $39,000/yr people? We need those people. We can get those people financed on a new car. Our customers are taking care of us; they’re buying used cars instead of new cars, but they’re buying and they need those cars fixed. I’m making money (I can’t say that too loudly). I’m grateful to you for the great job you’re doing, but now you have to find a way to keep us solvent.
Eisinger properties, between WF Mall and WMATA bus garage, south of Nicholson Lane. Currently leased to FDA for laboratory space. Pretty much all residential. Affordable housing units. “aPAD” designs; section Plan unit size = 1,200 sq ft — the aPAD unit is 380 affordable sq. ft. Like living on a sailboat, but people get very creative with what they do with it, so it doesn’t feel that small. Modular so it can be redesigned, combined, and build up for different size families. Available and affordable for people. Sales in first building will direct how to assemble the next phases of the development. 25% of MoCO households are residents living alone = 85,700 people. 200,000 household in MoCo meet the salary requirements for aPAD ownership. Example of similar development on Massachusetts Ave., in D.C. There’s a need for this in society today. (Cmsnr Presley: costs for scaling?) Well, we designed from inside out, like commercial building, where you build the shell and wait for tenants to decide what to demand. New wave. Only way to handle this. Seeing projects fail because they don’t have our flexibility. Can be expanded. Targetting young, small families, with few or no kids. (Chrmn Hanson: important to have children in neighborhoods. People pay more attention when there are children in the neighborhood. Question is whether to require a mix of housing types in the Sector.) Plenty of projects in Plan to fill that gap. If there’s no demand for small units, we won’t build the small units. Opening in 2015. This area is a good place for this type of unit. (Hanson: thinking about a coherent neighborhood in WF, and that makes sense, but don’t want to encourage a whole neighborhood which is highly specialized. Cmsnr Cryor: how long leases for that building? How much movement?) It’s a condo. We were told it wouldn’t sell, but the smallest were the first to go when we completed it. When a unit becomes available, another owner usually buys it. (Cryor: how stable will the building be?) Based on demand. Seen 1-3 year leases. Don’t see more than 3 years. For an affordable housing project, 3.0 FAR isn’t viable. Compensable density bonus for additional affordable housing; we’re asking for an additional 1.0 FAR as a bonus because we have so much affordable housing. Shift low-income housing designation from WMATA garage site (where not likely to get any housing because Metro won’t move) to our property.