Archives 2022

Progress at 915 Meeting Street, Upcoming 16-Story Building, in Pike & Rose

From The MoCo Show

Progress continues to be made at 915 Meeting Street in Pike & Rose as above-grade work is in its early stages at the state-of-the-art, LEED Gold-targeted building featuring 9,600 square feet of ground floor retail, approximately 25,000-square-foot flexible floor plates and 700 dedicated parking spaces.

The building, designed by Gensler, will incorporate a vibrant architectural design that includes numerous amenities, such as a rooftop conference center with collaborative common areas, WiredScore-targeted connectivity, a fitness center, and resource-efficient sustainable and wellness features. Rendering available below.

Located in the Pike & Rose neighborhood of North Bethesda, 915 Meeting Street will sit within the transit-oriented, LEED Gold-certified neighborhood of Pike & Rose and its more than 400,000 square feet of retail, services, dining, and entertainment offerings. The new construction comes following the success of Pike & Rose’s 300,000 square feet of existing office product, which includes tenants such as Bank of America, JLL, Industrious, OneDigital and Federal Realty’s corporate headquarters.

915 Meeting Street broke ground in late 2021 and has made significant progress. The building is 40% pre-leased to Choice Hotels, who plans to relocate approximately 400 corporate employees from its current headquarters beginning in December of 2023. Bernie McCarthy, executive managing director, and Danny Sheridan, managing director at JLL represented Federal Realty, and Steve London, vice chairman at Savills represented Choice Hotels. 

“It’s been gratifying to see Pike & Rose become an established neighborhood and the real estate of choice for multiple uses,” said Don Wood, chief executive officer for Federal Realty. “The continued demand for office at our mixed-use developments, coming from world-class companies like Splunk and NetApp at Santana, Partners Healthcare and PUMA at Assembly, and now Choice at Pike & Rose, validates our track record of delivering a high-quality product that capitalizes on the highly amenitized environments we have created.”

Friday Night Salsa Tonight

Friday Night Salsa, a free salsa dance party series by Víctor at All Out Danza, is coming to the Pike District. It will take place in a pop-up park at Grand Park Avenue and Banneker Street, by the Montgomery County Conference Center garage from 6 to 9 pm.

Food and beverage vendors will be on-hand to bring a variety of food options and attendees 21 and older can indulge in a selection of beer, wine, and cocktails.

All are welcome to bring their own chairs and blankets to set up in the park or relax in our Adirondack chairs and dine at our picnic tables.

For up-to-date information and to check for weather-related changes, visit www.pikedistrict.org or follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram!

Yes, it has been awhile since we posted a blog

Our executive director, Amy Ginsburg, has been laid up by Covid for about ten days, so she hasn’t posted in awhile. Now that she’s fully recovered, the posting can begin again. And her first post is an article in today’s Bethesda Beat that discusses the candidates for county council in District 4. It’s an important election for North Bethesda, so get informed and be sure to vote by July 19 at the poll, through a mail-in ballot, or during early voting July 7 to 14.

Before the county council candidates, check out this article in Bethesda Beat on the County Executive candidates.

From Bethesda Beat

District 4 County Council Candidates

Al Carr

Carr, of Kensington, became the fifth Democrat in the race when he decided not to seek re-election to his current office as the state delegate representing District 18, — a seat he’s held since 2007 — and instead decided to run for the District 4 council seat.

He said in a previous interview with Bethesda Beat that the county needs a better coordinated response to mass flooding events, which can displace residents and endanger their safety. 

Carr has also been a champion of advocating for more transparency in the operations of local government, including entities like the Housing Opportunities Commission, an organization that focuses on affordable housing. He believes the county needs stronger ethics laws and that local government needs to do better at engaging residents when it comes to decisions such as those involving future development.

He said his experience in the General Assembly — and prior to that, as a member of the Kensington Town Council — means he would be a good fit for a County Council that will have at least five new members. 

Amy Ginsburg

Ginsburg, of North Bethesda, serves as executive director of the Friends of White Flint, and this is her first attempt at running for public office. 

In interviews, she has touted her success in making North Bethesda a more walkable, pedestrian-friendly area as new development has popped up and the population has grown.

But she’s also been critical of the county’s efforts at economic development in recent years, noting that many younger residents can’t find jobs close to where they live in the county. There needs to be a greater review of the county’s regulatory and licensing processes to attract small and medium-sized businesses, along with larger companies, she said.

Ultimately, the county takes a lot of time studying possible solutions to its problems — like bus rapid transit for transportation, for example — without taking any immediate action to fix issues, she said. Immediate solutions could include adding more separated bike lanes, increasing express bus service and other quick actions that could relieve congestion, Ginsburg said.

Troy Murtha

Murtha, of North Bethesda, and a law student at George Washington University, says he understands his long odds for election as a younger candidate in a crowded field.

Still, he’s focused on issues like increasing the level of affordable housing and economic development. He’s also concerned that the county has not moved fast enough on transportation issues and proposed solutions — and notes that by the time that related studies are completed, they may no longer reflect the reality of what is needed in Montgomery County.

The community engagement process for Thrive Montgomery 2050 — the county’s proposed update to its general master plan — has not been robust enough, Murtha said. He’s concerned about how the plan might displace communities of low-income residents. 

He’s also interested in investing more money into preventative health care, especially for lower-income communities. Murtha, who works as a volunteer EMT, said he sees the cost of the government not providing such services whenever he serves in that role.

Kate Stewart

Stewart, who lives in Takoma Park and has been the city’s mayor since 2015, has particularly focused on affordable housing during her campaign. 

She has said it’s important not only to encourage the construction of more housing, but also to preserve older buildings so that they stay affordable, along with implementing rent stabilization and other similar policies. Takoma Park is the only municipality in the county with a rent stabilization law.

Stewart said the county did not do a good job of informing renters countywide at the start of the coronavirus pandemic about whether it was safe to be in public spaces — like the elevator or the laundry room, for example. 

She also has touted her work with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, and with other local mayors and the state District 20 delegation in ensuring tenants’ rights, implement policies supporting clean energy, and helping school principals navigate the pandemic.

John Zittrauer

Zittrauer, a Silver Spring resident and bartender at Denizens Brewing Co., has been frank about his campaign and what it would mean if he were elected. He’s said multiple times on the campaign trail that he’s lived on tight budgets, and that his career in the service industry would provide a perspective different from that of current council members.

In interviews, Zittrauer has said that county officials need to do more to help the homeless population. He believes part of the solution includes creating housing policies that help renters, such as those pertaining to moderately priced dwelling units and social housing. Helping the homeless also requires that elected officials and local health experts consider whether to establish a safe injection site in the county for people addicted to dangerous substances, he said.

Like Murtha, Zittrauer said better public outreach was needed for Thrive Montgomery 2050. Instead of using conventional methods of outreach, more could have been done to meet community members where they are, he said. 

He also believes that the county needs better transit options that can connect the upcounty and the downcounty.

HomeSense Announces Opening Date 

From The MoCo Show

Signage is up at the upcoming Homesense at 12013 Rockville Pike in Rockville, the former site of A.C. Moore. The discount home furnishing store will be opening on Thursday, June 16th, according to the Homesense website. The store will be open from 8am until 10pm on opening day.

Homesense is owned by the same company that owns HomeGoods, Marshalls, and TJ Maxx. Cosmopolitan magazine describes Homesense as “HomeGoods on steroids.” The chain sells furniture, rugs, lighting, kitchenware, home décor, and books.

According to it’s website, “We travel the world to bring savvy home curators an ever-changing selection and exceptional savings for every corner of their home,” and “explore a new home décor store with aisles of unexpected finds, and an ever-changing selection of famous brands and global discoveries—all with genuine value. Homesense is part of the HomeGoods family.”

Two seven-story, mixed-use buildings with 500 units proposed in North Bethesda

From Bethesda Beat

A new development proposal in North Bethesda includes 500 apartments and a half-acre of open space, aiming to “transform” the “suburban-styled area” into “a more urbanized, walkable community,” according to project plans.

Last month, Federal Realty Investment Trust submitted a development application to the Montgomery County Planning Department to redevelop the property — now home to a mostly vacant retail building and a surface parking lot — on East Jefferson Street with two seven-story mixed-use buildings.

About 583,016 square feet would be dedicated to residences (up to 500 units), according to Planning Department documents, and approximately 103,965 square feet of existing retail space would be retained. The project would include 702 parking spaces, mostly in structured garages, documents say.

Another key component of the project is a half-acre neighborhood park, which will include seating and gathering options and open space, documents say.

The project will be conducted in two phases to honor an existing Panera Bread lease on the property, Planning Board documents say. The documents do not say how long the lease lasts.

The first phase would include up to 300 units and a private courtyard. The first phase would also include the new park.

The second phase would include up to 200 units and provide 5,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. The second phase would also include a “road diet” on East Jefferson Street to “promote bike and pedestrian movements,” project plans say. The changes would include reducing the speed limit and reconfiguring the roadway, including adding bike lanes and separated turn lanes.

About 15% of the units would be designated as affordable housing.

A date for Planning Board consideration has not been set, according to online records.

The next phase of the Western Workaround

The next phase of the construction of the Western Workaround along Old Georgetown Road between Grand Park Avenue and Executive Boulevard has begun, or will begin any minute now (depending on when you’re reading this post.)

Please see the illustrations below to see how this project will temporarily affect drivers and pedestrians and how you’ll get around the work zone. (Click the image for a higher-res PDF.)

What’s going on a Josiah Henson Museum

The Josiah Henson Museum and Park had a very successful spring season with the piloting of group visits, hosting the Association of African American Museums, throwing a Community Open House for their neighbors and hosting the start of the Parks Playhouse series with An Evening of Spoken Word.  

June looks to be another exciting month at JHMP. On Saturday, June 18th, they will be celebrating Josiah Henson’s Birthday. The day will include free admission, hands-on activities and refreshments.

On June 25th, they will continue our Yoga in the Park series in the morning, and follow it up with activities focused on the History of Play between 12pm and 4pm.

Finally, they were invited to participate in the Fox 5 News Zip Trip on Friday, May 27th.

Montgomery County Council Approves FY23 Operating Budget and FY23-28 Capital Improvements Program

Last week the county approved a approved the County’s $6.3B FY23 operating budget budget as well as the capital budget known as the CIP. Some of the transportation projects in the CIP (Capital Improvements Program) of special interest to people in the Pike District include the following: construction of the White Flint Western Workaround Road Project in FY23 and improving the walkability of this area; continuing the design, land acquisition and construction of MD 355 and Veirs Mill Road Bus Rapid Transit; and continuing planning for the New Hampshire Avenue Bus Rapid Transit Corridor and the North Bethesda Transitway.

Read more about the operating and CIP budgets here.