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How gorgeous is BF Saul’s Building A?

Last week at a public meeting and a couple of days ago at the White Flint Implementation Committee meeting, BF Saul introduced the public to their plans for their site located on the west side of Rockville Pike between Marinelli and Nicholson (where the McDonald’s currently offers Big Macs and nuggets.) And now, we’re happy to share these drawings with you.

Building A is heading for site plan approval and boasts 330 dwelling units (rental units) as well as 15,000 square feet of non-residential space. The architects aimed to maximize pedestrian feel with an iconic pedestrian plaza. Building A features a green roof and neutral colors. A low water feature will create white noise so outdoor diners won’t be disturbed by the cars driving on the Pike. The water feature is designed to be equally attractive in the winter when it’s too cold to run water. Building A will be anywhere from 210′ to 260′ away from the Grand.

And now, without further delay, the drawings of Building A!


MCDOT wants Saul Centers to scale their project back

Yesterday, reported that the Maryland State Highway Administration and the County Department of Transportation have expressed concern about Saul Center’s proposed project on Rockville Pike.  The redevelopment of the Metro-Pike Plaza would offer three mixed-use buildings on the west side of Rockville Pike, between Nicholson Lane and Marinelli Drive.  Woodglen Drive is slated to extend north, between the Saul Property and The Grand apartment building to connect with Marinelli.

The concern stems from three streets that would run east-west from the extended Woodglen Drive to Rockville Pike – transportation officials are balking at building out these additional intersections when only one was designated in the White Flint Sector Plan.  Both county and state agencies are involved because Rockville Pike, or MD355, is a state road while the others are governed by the county.  Read the full piece on here and see our history and information on the proposed project here.



So, we want to know what you think.  The added access between Woodglen and Executive could come at a hefty price tag – millions of dollars per intersection.  Is it worth it?  Let us know.


BF Saul presents improved design for Metro Pike Center

BF Saul proposes a pedestrian plaza along the west side of Rockville Pike.

BF Saul proposes a pedestrian plaza along the west side of Rockville Pike.

After public outcry over their earlier proposal, developer BF Saul is back with a new design for a mixed-use complex that will replace the Metro Pike Center shopping center and Staples at the intersection of Rockville Pike and Nicholson Lane. Over 60 people came to the monthly White Flint Implementation Advisory Committee meeting at the Shriver Aquatic Center to see it, though concerns remain about how the pedestrian-friendly the new buildings will be.

The Bethesda-based developer first revealed their plans to build 5 towers containing 1.4 million square feet of housing and 200,000 square feet of office and retail space on the combined 12-acre site in May. Residents complained that there was little street-level retail, discouraging people from walking around.

This time, however, 4 of the 5 towers will have ground-floor shops and restaurants, putting it along both sides of Rockville Pike and parts of Marinelli Road and Nicholson Lane. The developers hope this will create more sidewalk activity.

“We received a lot of good, constructive criticism about how to activate those public spaces,” said lawyer Robert Dalrymple from Linowes and Blocher. “One of the best ways to do that is through street level retail, which we are proposing.”

Site plan of BF Saul's proposal to replace Metro Pike Center with 5 mixed-use towers.

Site plan of BF Saul’s proposal to replace Metro Pike Center with 5 mixed-use towers.

BF Saul proposes creating a grand promenade along the west side of Rockville Pike, complimenting a linear park on the east side above the Red Line, which runs so close to the surface that buildings can’t be built directly above it. It will contain a plaza with fountains, gardens, trees, benches for sitting and gathering, and outdoor seating for restaurants.

The promenade will have an “active, lively urbane” feel, “attracting people to come and encouraging them to linger,” says Michael Vergason, landscape architect. It will get wider closer to the Metro, taking advantage of a high point on Rockville Pike with long views.

Beyond the plaza will be 2 300-foot residential towers closer to the White Flint Metro station that share underground parking. A third, 200-foot office tower closer to Nicholson Lane will sit atop a “podium” of parking that will make it appear taller.

In keeping with the White Flint Sector Plan’s call for a new street grid, BF Saul will extend Woodglen Drive north from Nicholson to Marinelli, with 2 smaller streets linking it to Rockville Pike. Woodglen will be lined with street trees and apartments with “real doors,” giving it a quiet, residential feel while masking the above-ground parking garages.

“There are going to be steps and stoops and pots and plants to make Woodglen a nice residential street,” says Daniel Ashtary, architect with Silver Spring-based Torti Gallas and Partners, who is also designing the Gables development next to Wall Park.

On the east side, there will be 2 residential towers measuring 300 and 240 feet tall with underground parking surrounding a shared driveway. A new street will run behind them, connecting the Pike to Citadel Avenue.

Residents had many questions about traffic, pedestrian safety, and the need for larger, family-sized apartments in the area. One man asked if current businesses, like Staples and Kinko’s, will be able to come back after the shopping center is demolished.

Brian Downie, Senior Vice President of Development for BF Saul, didn’t rule it out but said the new development will emphasize more restaurants “because that’s what activates the street.”

Neighboring property owners expressed concerns about the extension of Woodglen Drive, which would connect this project to JBG’s North Bethesda Market to the south and Federal Realty’s Pike + Rose to the north.

“It’s a really important street,” added Evan Goldman of Federal Realty. “I’d like to see some focus on that.” He recommended that BF Saul work with the Grand Apartments, which is directly behind their project, to nudge Woodglen to the west so it could connect with streets in Pike + Rose.

Greg Trimmer of JBG suggested making the promenade a little narrower and giving the extra width to Woodglen so it could accommodate wider bike lanes or sidewalks. This would also make the promenade more attractive to retailers. In downtown Silver Spring, there’s no shortage of empty retail spaces behind gorgeous pocket parks, simply because the distance from the street discourages pedestrians from walking over.

However, the new design has promise, and it’ll be exciting to see how it continues to evolve. Downie says the “market will dictate” when construction begins. BF Saul will file a sketch plan with the Montgomery County Planning Board later this summer; if the approval process goes smoothly, construction could begin within 2 years, and the first building could open within 5 years.

Be the First to See Saul Centers’ Plan for their White Flint Properties

Saul Centers Inc. owns some pretty prominent land in White Flint and, on Tuesday evening April 30th, we’ll get our first peek at their plans for it.   Saul owns three properties along Rockville Pike, between Nicholson Lane and Marinelli Road.

The first is Metro-Pike Center on the west side of the Pike.


Across the Pike, Saul holds the land that now houses Staples and Casual Male XL …


As well as the corner parcel at Nicholson Lane and the Pike, all the way back to and including the former Fortune Star Buffet restaurant.


The public is invited to a plan Pre-Submission Community Meeting on Tuesday evening at 7:30pm at the Bethesda North Conference Center, 5701 Marinelli Road.  They will be meeting in the White Oak Conference Room.  Don’t worry if you can’t make it — stay tuned to for all the latest!

A little history of the Pike District

For those of you who grew up here and/or hung out in the Pike District of 40 years ago, here’s a little bit of history. Do you remember of the Rainbow Inn? Check out this document from the Maryland Historical Trust.

The Rainbow Inn was located at 11520 Rockville Pike, which is now a strip mall with Palm Beach Tan, Mirage Nails, and Stella’s Bakery and will one day be Saul Center West.

According to the document, “This is a massive, two-story frame structure, with several adjoining wings, etc. The main block is a hip-roofed, three bay section that faces east. An imposing, two-story, pedimented portico projects from the center section. There is a central door here, that is flanked on each side by large, 6/6 windows. The other bays also have large, 6/6 windows. A massive brick chimney stack exits from this slope of the roof, south-of-center. The north and south end slopes feature double dormers. To the SW rear, is a slightly-lower wing of similar design. All in all, an imposing edifice left over from the early-20th Century Rockville Pike “estate era .. ” Now used as a rather seedy-looking motel.”

I’m pretty sure my friends and I at Woodward High School in the late-70s believed The Rainbow Inn featured ladies of the evening, though we never tested the theory nor had any proof, so we we could easily have been mistaken.

Updated Development Map from the Implementation Committee

At last night’s White Flint Implementation Committee, Nkosi Yearwood reviewed the current approved development in White Flint.

Pike and Rose:  Finishing Phase 2. New office building going before the Planning Board in April.

North Bethesda Market Two: Approved for some time for development, no word from JBG Smith when development might begin.

Saul Centers: Preliminary, sketch, and site plans for building A approved and things continue to be put in place to start construction.

East Village at North Bethesda Gateway: Site plan approved a couple of years ago. Looking to get financing for 600 residential units with ground floor retail.

Gables: Hope to begin construction this year.

North Bethesda Center: Parcel G 300 apartment building recently approved, breaking ground 2018.

White Flint Mall: nothing to report

Pepco: new substation being designed with mandatory referral. Presenting to the Implementation Committee next month.




Upcoming White Flint Area Meetings

The White Flint Implementation Committee will meet on Monday, February 12, 7 p.m., at Wall Local Park/Kennedy Shriver Aquatic Center. The agenda is below:



White Flint Development
Pike & Rose
Nobe 2
Saul Centers
East Village at North Bethesda Center
Gables White Flint
North Bethesda Center
White Flint Mall
Pepco Substation

New members

County Executive FY19-24 CIP for White Flint

White Flint 2 Sector Plan

White Flint Downtown Committee (Brian Downie/Francine Waters)

White Flint Implementation Coordinator Report (Dee Metz)

Other topics

The White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee will meet Tuesday, February 13 at 8 am at Snyder Cohn.

Luxmanor community featured in the Washington Post

From The Washington Post

Near Rockville, a neighborhood grows without losing its friendliness


Richard L. Kadish said he knew that his wife wouldn’t be in favor of purchasing the five-bedroom, five-bathroom Colonial on a quiet, tree-lined street that he discovered in 1983 in the Luxmanor neighborhood next to Rockville.

The couple, newly relocated to the area from New Jersey, had just spent money renovating a house near Norbeck and Bel Pre roads in Rockville when a trip to the local Sears took Kadish through Luxmanor and right past his “dream house.”

“Without telling my wife anything I called up the broker and asked what she wanted for the house,” said Kadish, the founder of Capreit, a real estate development and investment company. “I toured the house and just loved it.”

He eventually persuaded his wife to take a look at the house and she, too, was swept away.

“We’re in such a nice neighborhood,” said Kadish, as he sat in his sunporch, which is “basically a toy room for the grandkids.”

Mall redevelopment: With homes on lots that are a half to two-thirds of an acre, Luxmanor offers potential residents plenty of space in a mature and friendly community, said Mark Fitzpatrick, an agent with Choice Real Estate Group.

The neighborhood took shape in 1938, when a collection of residents fought the planned closure of a bus line, Fitzpatrick said. Today, residents of Luxmanor are close to major interstate arteries and have access to a number of shopping options. The eventual redevelopment of the former White Flint Mall site will add to the attractiveness of the community, Fitzpatrick said.

“You can scoot out to nearby parks, movie theaters, and you have easy access to the Metro. Luxmanor has the feel of an established neighborhood with all of the kinds of things people look for.”

Catherine Kapikian said she remembers when the road leading to her four-bedroom, three-bathroom Colonial was a dead end. Some 50 years later, Kapikian said she is in awe of how the neighborhood has grown over the years.

“When my boys were young we always wanted a sidewalk,” she said, standing on the side of what is now a paved and open street lined with houses sporting manicured lawns.

And the joys don’t stop there, she said.

“I often will have eight deer at a time in my yard,” Kapikian said. “They can be a pain, but it’s symbolic that the neighborhood is warm and inviting.”

Gordon Franks, who grew up near Luxmanor, said that he jumped at the chance in 1998 to purchase a 3,500-square-foot, four-bedroom, four-bathroom rambler.

“I love the fact that I’m close to everything. My kids can walk to school and the neighborhood is full of friendly people,” Franks said. “If you’re out walking and come across someone unfamiliar, they wave and stop and talk to you. It’s not like Mayberry, but it’s pretty close.”

Kapikian said she agrees with this assessment.

“Practically no one has moved off of my street in 50 years. We’re all getting up in age, but everyone who bought when the houses were new has stayed,” she said.

“New families are starting to move in and there’s a bittersweetness to it.”

Living there: The neighborhood is nestled just south of Montrose Parkway and Executive Boulevard, with the heart of it between Old Georgetown Road, Tuckerman Lane, Tilden Lane, and Cushman Road.

In the past 12 months, 12 properties have sold in Luxmanor, ranging from a 2,237-square-foot, four-bedroom, four-bathroom rambler for $800,000 to a 6,571-square-foot, five-bedroom, six-bathroom Craftsman for $2,442,000, said Fitzpatrick of Choice Real Estate Group.

There are eight houses for sale in Luxmanor, ranging from a 3,096-square-foot, five-bedroom, four-bathroom Colonial for $999,000 to a 9,000-square-foot, seven-bedroom, eight-bathroom house for $2,495,000, Fitzpatrick said.

Luxmanor is nestled just south of Montrose Parkway and Executive Boulevard, with the heart of it between Old Georgetown Road, Tuckerman Lane, Tilden Lane, and Cushman Road. (Justin T. Gellerson/For The Washington Post)

Schools: Luxmanor Elementary, Tilden Middle and Walter Johnson High.

Transit: Luxmanor is about 10 minutes by car from the White Flint station on Metro’s Red Line. The community is also served by Montgomery County’s Ride On bus lines 38, 42, and 81.

Crime: In the past 12 months, there have been 61 assaults, 22 burglaries, 14 robberies and 14 reports of stolen vehicles in a larger statistical area of which Luxmanor is part, according to the Montgomery County Police Department.

What you missed at Monday night’s Implementation Committee Meeting

Nkosi Yearwood

There will soon be an application to allow Saul Centers East to have an animal boarding facility.

The next White Flint 2 worksession is Thursday, April 27th in the afternoon.

Francine Waters, White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee

BID (Business Improvement District) enabling legislation was passed by the state legislature and is awaiting the Governor’s signature. The legislation calls for 51% of property owners instead of 80% to vote yes to form a BID. The WFDAC will provide a report to the county by October outlining possible BID scenarios.  The council will eventually take up this issue.

Dee Metz, County Executive Office

Ride On extRA will begin in October along Route 355.  There will be two stops in the Pike District — at Marinelli Drive and at Security Lane

Construction is on schedule for Market Street, Executive Blvd., and the conference center garage, and the plan is to be finished with construction at the end of 2017.

Friends of White Flint and Coalition for Smarter Growth had a productive meeting with MCDOT staff to discuss pedestrian safety improvements in the Pike District.

Pepco Substation

Pepco personnel discussed the new substation they will be building at the corner of Marinelli and Nebel Street, 11650 Nebel Street. (The land used to be a sports club/gym and was sold to Pepco.) The purpose of the substation is to ensure sufficient electrical capacity; the Parklawn substation runs out of capacity in 2020. The building will blend in to the surroundings and be pleasing to the eye. There will be a mandatory referral in late 2017/early 2018 for the substation.  The conceptual design will be done in 2017 with the detailed design completed in the summer of 2018 followed by breaking ground. The substation will be in-service in 2019.



Say No to Bus Service Reductions in the Pike District

Your help is needed. Give Metro feedback on its proposed FY2018 Operating Budget and the Capital Improvement Plan by taking the WMATA survey

As we discussed last week, Metro has proposed reducing service to White Flint metro, increasing headways during rush hour to eight minutes and during non-rush hour to fifteen minutes. The budget also continues the current practice of ending every other train at Grosvenor. In addition, Metro is considering fare increases.

Now we want to talk about the proposed reductions in bus service. WMATA wants to modify the C8 route by eliminating route segment between Glenmont and White Flint stations.

There are also service cutbacks on bus lines that affect the Pike District/North Bethesda, including the J7 and J9 (I-270 Express) and J 5 (Twinbrook-Silver Spring.) Many people rely on these buses

Advocate against the bus reductions. Take the survey and provide comments by clicking here: Here are some talking points you can use, but as much as you can, please use your own words and style when you write your comments.

WMATA should not eliminate the portion of C8 that goes from Glenmont – White Flint.

Drastic service cutbacks could all too easily launch both a Metro death spiral and a subsequent Pike District death spiral.

Metro enables workers to reach their jobs at the North Bethesda Marriott, NRC, and dozens of other offices and businesses.  It is the reason thousands of people will choose to lease the new apartments being built at Pike and Rose, the Gables, North Bethesda Center, East Village, and Saul Centers and is reflected in the Pike District property values.  It is an essential amenity that attracts businesses to the Pike District and is the foundation of the Pike District economy.

Hundreds of millions of dollars are being invested in this area by dozens of property owners and by Montgomery County, and significant additional investment is planned over the next twenty years.

A central tenet of the Pike District/White Flint redevelopment is easy access to transit, primarily Metrorail. In fact, the 2010 White Flint Sector Plan has a non-auto driver mode share (NADMS) requirement of 51% for residents and 50% for employees, which can’t be achieved without Metro.

Transit-oriented development requires frequent, reliable transit. Service reductions to the White Flint metro station are unacceptable.

All red line trains should go to Shady Grove rather than ending every other train at Grosvenor. Weekend headways of thirty minutes are simply untenable.

Please advocate for our metro station. Take the survey and/or comment by February 6th!