Archives December 2015

Thanks in advance for your help, time, and support!

Happy New Year, everyone.  Amy, here.

As you know better than most folks, Friends of White Flint ensures that our community will develop into a walkable, thriving neighborhood. We advocate for the full implementation of the 2010 White Flint Sector Plan, and we are helping to craft the White Flint 2 Sector Plan. We create and promote the businesses and events in our area, and perhaps most importantly, we make sure that your voice is heard.  Of course, we also keep you up-to-date with all the news of the Pike District through our daily blog and weekly e-newsletter.

As you make your last minute end-of-year donations, will you make a small contribution to support our important work? We’ll even give you a $10 AMP gift card as a token of our appreciation and enter you into a drawing for a pair of seats to the President’s Box at Strathmore for the performance of your choice. Please help us out with a small donation. A $10 or $25 gift will truly make a difference and have a tangible impact.

You can make a non-tax-deductible donation to Friends of White Flint to support our advocacy work by clicking HERE.

You can make a tax-deductible donation to our sister organization, the Pike District Community Fund, to fund education and outreach by clicking HERE.

Thank you in advance for your generosity and support!

Amy head shotAmy Ginsburg, Executive Director

Office Park Obsolescence

A recent report from Newmark, Grubb, Knight and Frank, one of the largest commercial real estate firms in the world, showed that traditional office parks do not “offer the experience most of today’s tenants are seeking,” and the suburban office market is confronting “obsolescence” on a “massive scale.” The report stated that more than 7.5% of all office space nationally may no longer be salvageable, though a number of those buildings can be saved with some changes.

One of the five areas examined in the report is Reston, Virginia. The authors noted that office space in the immediate vicinity of Reston Town Center were competitive (i.e., ones located in the kind of community we’re trying to create in the Pike District) but properties away from metro and in buildings without amenities like gyms are not leasing well.

Some other key findings from this report include:

Obsolescence is just a part of the normal life cycle but technology has accelerated the pace of obsolescence.

There are six factors of obsolescence: amenities, age, parking, location, floor plate size, and building size.

Convenient location and access to building and neighborhood amenities are critical factors.

 

 

What should we do with Executive Boulevard?

The many empty office spaces along Executive Boulevard in White Flint 2 are far from unusual in the DC Metro area. According to this recent article in The Washington Post, re purposing older office buildings is a vexing issue for many areas. In fact,  there are about 71 million square feet of empty office space in the DMV.

The article states, “Some of the vacancies are the result of federal sequestration cuts, which forced government agencies and contractors that occupied older buildings to downsize or shut down. Others are signs of a broad shift by businesses to more modern office space, often near mass transit or other millennial-friendly amenities.

“It’s a nationwide problem,” said Barbara Byron, director of the Office of Revitalization in Fairfax County, which recently formed a committee to figure out how to fill 20 million square feet of vacant office space — an amount three times the size of the Pentagon.”

The White Flint 2 plan will attempt to determine how to revamp Executive Boulevard. What are your ideas for revitalizing the office buildings on Executive Boulevard?

Please Support Friends of White Flint

Happy Friday, everyone.  Amy, here.

As you know better than most folks, Friends of White Flint ensures that our community will develop into a walkable, thriving neighborhood. We advocate for the full implementation of the 2010 White Flint Sector Plan, and we are helping to craft the White Flint 2 Sector Plan. We create and promote the businesses and events in our area, and perhaps most importantly, we make sure that your voice is heard.  Of course, we also keep you up-to-date with all the news of the Pike District through our daily blog and weekly e-newsletter.

Will you make a small contribution to support our important work? We’ll even give you a $10 AMP gift card as a token of our appreciation and enter you into a drawing for a pair of seats to the President’s Box at Strathmore for the performance of your choice. Please help us out with a small donation. A $10 or $25 gift will truly make a difference and have a tangible impact.

You can make a non-tax-deductible donation to Friends of White Flint to support our advocacy work by clicking HERE.

You can make a tax-deductible donation to our sister organization, the Pike District Community Fund, to fund education and outreach by clicking HERE.

Thank you in advance for your generosity and support!

Amy Ginsburg, Executive DirectorAmy head shot

And the walls came tumbling down…

Enjoy these photos of the demolition of White Flint Mall taken and published by Greater Greater Washington. And here is a link to GGW’s blog post on the Mall.

And here’s a bonus photo from Pike District resident Pam Gates.

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Making a Place a Place You Love

You may have heard of a concept called “placemaking.” While it sounds like a trendy, made-up word, it’s actually the definitive foundation of the White Flint Sector Plan. No doubt you’re eager to learn more, so here’s a quick Friends of White Flint primer on placemaking.

According to Wikipedia, placemaking is a multi-faceted approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces. Placemaking capitalizes on a local community’s assets, inspiration, and potential, with the intention of creating public spaces that promote people’s health, happiness, and well being.  According to Friends of White Flint, placemaking is how the physical parts of an area — buildings, parks, paths, etc. — and the people who live, work, and play there create that lovely, warm, fuzzy feeling of community.

Placemaking doesn’t simply toss together a square of green grass, sidewalk cafe, and apartment building and call it a neighborhood. Placemaking creates a Quality Place, a space where, according to Better Cities and Towns,  “people, businesses, and institutions want to be. Such places often are alluring; they have pizzazz.”

Placemaking, says the Project for Public Spaces, shows “planners, designers, and engineers how to move beyond their habit of looking at communities through the narrow lens of single-minded goals or rigid professional disciplines. … Experience has shown us that when developers and planners welcome as much grassroots involvement as possible, they spare themselves a lot of headaches. Common problems like traffic-dominated streets, little-used parks, and isolated, under-performing development projects can be avoided by embracing the placemaking perspective that views a place in its entirety, rather than zeroing in on isolated fragments of the whole.”

Isn’t that the true mission of Friends of White Flint? Residents, homeowner associations, businesses, government planners, and developers collaborating to revitalize our community, morphing aging strip malls and acres of asphalt into our home, our place.