A Bethesda Beat article featuring our community meeting

From Bethesda Beat

Elrich seeks developer to build White Flint life sciences, tech campus

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich envisions a mix of bioscience companies, startups, technology companies and a university presence near the White Flint Metro station. But first, he needs to find a lead developer, he said.

Elrich described what he has in mind to more than 100 people who attended a virtual meeting Thursday night. The nonprofit organization Friends of White Flint, which advocates for the White Flint/Pike District, hosted the forum.

Elrich said the county has entered a memorandum of understanding with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to develop land adjacent to the Metro station.

Elrich said the area is “perfectly positioned” for growth in life sciences and technology due to the site being close to federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, as well as its accessibility due to proximity to Metro’s Red Line and the Beltway.

“We’ve got the land. We’ve got the transportation. We’ve got the industry … and I’m willing to drive purpose-driven development,” he said.

Elrich said a focus on the life sciences and computing industries will help with job growth, which has been lacking in recent years compared to the Northern Virginia suburbs.

“In Montgomery County, we’ve been in a 10-year stall where virtually no jobs are coming to the county. And if you don’t have jobs, you’re not gonna get any housing built,” he said. “There aren’t people demanding housing. … And so, if we’re gonna get both of those things unstuck, we need to do something deliberate.”

Elrich said he is concerned about the net loss of private business in the county, as well as the fact that fewer people age 25 to 44 are choosing to live here.

“None of these are a good trajectory to be on,” he said.

Elrich said the aim is to ensure businesses that offer high-paying jobs come to the corridor.

“I do not need more minimum-wage jobs in Montgomery County. That is not gonna foster a lot of economic growth. It’s not gonna foster people who have the incomes who can live in the apartments that will be built,” he said.

When asked about potential tenants for the area, Elrich said he first needs to send a proposal to a developer. He said he is not sure of the timeline for getting a developer, but said it could potentially happen in six months.

“Unfortunately, I don’t control markets, but everybody tells me there’s interest. And I’m not talking about people I know casually. I mean, developers have said flat out there’s an interest in being here. So that to me is encouraging,” he said.

Elrich said three universities “expressed interest” in being partners for the project, but he did not say which ones. He said he is getting ready to talk with representatives with one of the universities for the fourth time.

Asked about the future held for the former White Flint Mall site, Elrich first said, somewhat lightly, “you’ll have to talk to Alan Gottlieb,” referring to the chief operating officer of Lerner Enterprises, an owner of the former mall site.

Elrich then added more seriously that he doesn’t see Gottlieb “sitting on the sidelines.”

“I’m sure that he’s talking to people who’ve been talking to people and is aware that there is a growing interest in life sciences for that area. And he is rather uniquely positioned in the sense that he has a boatload of land that he can configure,” Elrich said.

Join Marc Elrich at the FOWF Community Meeting Thursday night

Join Friends of White Flint for a fascinating presentation by County Executive Marc Elrich on his plans for an innovative biosciences campus at the White Flint metro station. The online meeting will be held Thursday, March 11, 7:00 pm. Register for the meeting by clicking here.

See and share the invitation at: http://www.whiteflint.org/wpx/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/FOWF-Community-Meeting-March-11-4-1.pdf

More than 120 people have already registered. Don’t miss out — register today!

Join us for an online community meeting with County Executive Marc Elrich

Join Friends of White Flint for a fascinating presentation by County Executive Marc Elrich on his plans for an innovative biosciences and quantum computing campus at the White Flint metro station. The online meeting will be held Thursday, March 11, 7:00 pm. Register for the meeting by clicking here.

See and share the invitation at: http://www.whiteflint.org/wpx/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/FOWF-Community-Meeting-March-11-4-1.pdf

One last chance to support Friends of White Flint in 2020

Friends of White Flint makes sure you are informed about everything happening in our area, and we advocate for a transit-oriented, walkable neighborhood. Whether it’s working for pedestrian improvements, supporting local businesses and placemaking initiatives, testifying on policies that affect us, or educating the community, Friends of White Flint strives to create the vibrant community we all want.

Will you make a donation to support our essential work? Whether it’s $10 or $100, we are incredibly grateful for your contribution. Click here to make your donation easily and safely.


Friends of White Flint had a surprisingly busy year advocating for pedestrian improvements, tracking the Western Workaround, testifying on the new growth policy, supporting local business,  nurturing relationships with elected and government officials as well as with residents, creating a new improved website, and keeping the community informed about what’s happening in our community through online meetings, social media, our daily blog, and our weekly e-newsletter.— one of our most important tasks.

This year we enjoyed tangible progress in the fulfillment of the White Flint sector plan:

  1. Foulger Pratt and Promark started construction of its East Village apartments on Nicholson Lane.
  2. LCOR is ready to open its Arrowwood apartments near Harris Teeter.
  3. Willco continues to move its Wilgus Tract/Northpark at Montrose project through the Planning Board approval process.
  4. Federal Realty is leasing its new office building and even opening a new restaurant at Pike at Rose.
  5. The Planning Department is focused on the White Flint area with its Advancing the Pike District initiative. (Please visit our blog for an update.)
  6. Finally — after years and years and years of advocating — we’re going to see the elimination of the hot right/slip lanes at Old Georgetown Road and Route 355.
  7. The Western Workaround project is considerably further along than in 2019 as we create a grid of streets, sidewalks, and bike lanes in the Pike District.
  8. The new Growth Policy/Subdivision Staging Policy is favorable to smart growth construction and eliminated the dreaded moratorium.
  9. Placemaking efforts, including drive-in movies,  Market Park, and other initiatives, were launched this year in response to the pandemic.
  10. Beach Drive opened to pedestrians and cyclists every weekend. (Yes, technically not within our borders but darn close.)

I’d also like to share just a couple of email snippets I’ve received over the year that demonstrate the importance of Friends of White Flint in the transformation of our neighborhood into a walkable, vibrant, smart growth hub:

“Thank you, Amy. Your call paid off, the entrance to the trail at Woodglen and Edson looks great. I hope this is a new beginning and we can all work to keep it looking great.” Resident Member about our work getting MCDOT to clean up the Trolley Trail.

“Thanks so much for the excellent newsletter. I was very interested in the maps – so much so that I went to the video to see the original pictures. Your coverage is top notch.”Resident Member 

“By the way, thank you for all your great efforts in keeping Friends of White Flint in the spotlight, staying on top of current events and actions, and coming up with great agendas for community meetings.  You do an awesome job and we do appreciate you!!!”Resident Member

Thank you for your support!

Actually, 2020 Was A Good Year For White Flint, Despite The Pandemic

2020 —  what a year!  A very short sentence that’s bursting with anxiety, Zoom calls, Covid restrictions, elections, and chaos. Friends of White Flint, despite the pandemic and its economic fallout, successfully pivoted so we could continue our essential advocacy and education work without interruption. 

Tracking the Western Workaround, advocating for pedestrian improvements, speaking at the North Bethesda rotary via Zoom, testifying on the new growth policy, supporting local business,  nurturing relationships with elected and government officials as well as with residents, creating a new improved website, etc.– Friends of White Flint had a surprisingly busy year. And of course, one of our most important tasks — keeping the community informed about what’s happening in our community — continued through online meetings, social media, our daily blog, and our weekly e-newsletter.

This year we enjoyed tangible progress in the fulfillment of the White Flint sector plan:

  1. Foulger Pratt and Promark started construction of its East Village apartments on Nicholson Lane.
  2. LCOR is ready to open its Arrowwood apartments near Harris Teeter.
  3. Willco continues to move its Wilgus Tract/Northpark at Montrose project through the Planning Board approval process.
  4. Federal Realty is leasing its new office building and even opening a new restaurant at Pike at Rose.
  5. The Planning Department is focused on the White Flint area with its Advancing the Pike District initiative. (Please visit our blog for an update.)
  6. Finally — after years and years and years of advocating — we’re going to see the elimination of the hot right/slip lanes at Old Georgetown Road and Route 355.
  7. The Western Workaround project is considerably further along than in 2019 as we create a grid of streets, sidewalks, and bike lanes in the Pike District.
  8. The new Growth Policy/Subdivision Staging Policy is favorable to smart growth construction and eliminated the dreaded moratorium.
  9. Placemaking efforts, including drive-in movies,  Market Park, and other initiatives, were launched this year in response to the pandemic.
  10. Beach Drive opened to pedestrians and cyclists every weekend. (Yes, technically not within our borders but darn close.)

I’d also like to share just a couple of email snippets I’ve received over the year that demonstrate the importance of Friends of White Flint in the transformation of our neighborhood into a walkable, vibrant, smart growth hub:

“Thank you, Amy. Your call paid off, the entrance to the trail at Woodglen and Edson looks great. I hope this is a new beginning and we can all work to keep it looking great.” Resident Member about our work getting MCDOT to clean up the Trolley Trail.

“Thanks so much for the excellent newsletter. I was very interested in the maps – so much so that I went to the video to see the original pictures. Your coverage is top notch.”Resident Member 

“By the way, thank you for all your great efforts in keeping Friends of White Flint in the spotlight, staying on top of current events and actions, and coming up with great agendas for community meetings.  You do an awesome job and we do appreciate you!!!”Resident Member

Friends of White Flint makes sure you are informed about everything happening in our area, and we advocate for a transit-oriented, walkable neighborhood. Whether it’s working for pedestrian improvements, supporting local businesses and placemaking initiatives, testifying on policies that affect us, or educating the community, Friends of White Flint strives to create the vibrant community we all want.

Will you make a donation to support our essential work? Whether it’s $10 or $100, we are incredibly grateful for your contribution.

Click here to make your donation easily and safely. Thank you so much for your support!

Will you support our education and advocacy?

Friends of White Flint, despite the pandemic and chaos of 2020, continues to make sure you are informed about everything happening in our area and to advocate for a transit-oriented, walkable neighborhood. Whether it’s working for pedestrian improvements, supporting local businesses and placemaking initiatives, testifying on policies that affect us, or educating the community, Friends of White Flint strives to create the vibrant community we all want.

We know it’s been a rough year for many people and businesses, but if you can, will you make a donation to support our essential work? Whether it’s $10 or $100, we are incredibly grateful for your contribution.

Click here to make your donation easily and safely. Thank you so much for your support!

Some of our favorite slides from the Planning Dept.’s presentation at last week’s meeting

The Planning Department gave a detailed presentation about their Advancing the Pike District initiative, including placemaking, pedestrian improvements, and statistical analysis. You can view their entire presentation, but if you only have a few minutes enjoy our favorite slides.

We’re especially excited about the Pike District Connector which extends the Bethesda Trolley Trail.

Only a few more days until our online community meeting

Please join us for a one-hour community Zoom meeting on Thursday, November 19 at 7:00 pm. Register at https://cutt.ly/FOWFNov19. Walker Freer and Atul Sharma from the Planning Department will update us on a

  • proposed extension of the Trolley Trail through the Pike District
  • pedestrian improvements at the intersection of Route 355 and Route 187
  • the Advancing the Pike District initiative
  • development data over the decade since the passage of the White Flint Sectors Plans

We’re also excited that Councilmember Hans Riemer will join us at 7 pm for a few minutes to welcome everyone and answer a couple of questions from our members.

Please join us Thursday November 19, 7 to 8 pm

Friends of White Flint is hosting an online community meeting on Thursday, November 19 from 7 to 8 pm that promises to be both interesting and informative.

Walker Freer and Atul Sharma of the Planning Department will update us on their Advancing the Pike District initiative, which includes an extension of the Trolley Trail, pedestrian improvements, and placemaking. They will also give a brief presentation on some fascinating data from the passage of the White Flint sector plan in 2010 through today.

So grab a beverage and a snack and join our online community meeting November 19 at 7pm. Register at https://cutt.ly/FOWFNov19