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.”
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