Hines buys two properties in the Pike District

North Bethesda I and II

Commercial Property Executive reported that real estate company Hines announced the acquisition of North Bethesda Place I & II from JBG Cos. The amount was undisclosed but Bisnow reports the purchase price was $54.6 million.

The two adjacent buildings, located just three blocks away from the White Flint Metro station on the Red Line, sit at 5515 Security Lane and 11400 Rockville Pike. Current tenants include JBS International, the National Cancer Institute and Whole Foods Market Group’s regional headquarters.

Immediate neighbors include the mixed-use North Bethesda Market development, which offers a Whole Foods Market, LA Fitness, Brio, Starbucks, and more retail and dining options.

The two buildings total in excess of 345,000 square feet of rentable office space. The current combined occupancy of the properties is 49 percent, which Hines is looking to turn around with major improvements.The 11-story North Bethesda Place I totals 160,846 square feet and was built in 1972. Bethesda Place II, completed in 1980, is an 11-story, 184,721-square-foot building with three of its floors allocated for a parking garage. Both properties saw upgrades and renovations in 2009 and 2003, respectively, and were renovated once more in 2015. Hines is planning capital improvements, including the completion of already running refurbishments and the addition of a conference center and a fitness facility.

“We are in the process of developing architectural plans for the comprehensive repositioning of the campus and taking it to a new standard of excellence…With new tenants already showing interest, we look forward to adding value by returning the buildings to stabilization,” said Scott Martinson, Hines managing director, in a prepared statement.

Image courtesy of JBG/Story courtesy of Commercial Property Executive

Updates on North Bethesda Market II

Greg Trimmer presented JBG’s amended site plan for the North Bethesda Market II development project, located at Rockville Pike and Executive Boulevard, at this month’s White Flint Implementation meeting. The original site plan was approved in early 2012, however, there have been a few prevailing factors that have stopped the project from moving forward.

The first challenge JBG faced with this project was the office market. The original site plan included a 200,000 sq. foot office building as a main building. After much deliberation and analysis of the office market in the area, JBG decided to take the office building out of the plan. The second challenge was the residential pipeline. There are many high-priced apartments being constructed in the area causing high competition between developers to provide unique and exciting amenities to attract future residents. Even with these challenges, JBG has remained committed to creating this site and now is moving forward with the project.

Even though there are a few changes to the site plan, JBG still upholds its 5 main goals for the development project: a sense of place, design excellence, pedestrian focus, connection with North Bethesda Market I, and integration of uses.

The NoBe II project is designed from the inside out with the main plaza, featured in the picture below, as the heart of the plan. An upper plaza was added to the plan, which will consist of half public space for community members and half private space for residents., giving the plan two outdoor spaces. The plazas will provide space for the community members to participate in various activities and programming. Overall, there will be about 18,000 sq. feet of public space. Working with Olin Studios, JBG hopes to add aesthetically pleasing features such as water fountains and LED paneled steps to make the development unique.


NoBe II Residential Tower

Though JBG decided to eliminate the office building, they will add a small residential building to add more residential space to the development.  This building will be a 12-story building, including retail on the second floor. This will be a condominium building with 80 residential units. JBG hopes to attract young professionals with these 1 and 2 bedroom apartments. The residential tower, the iconic element of the project, remains the same and will have only rental units. The residential tower is currently designed to be the county’s tallest building. The retail on the first floor of the residential tower will face Rockville Pike but it will be setback from the road, as the dedication of the right of way from the county has already been given.

The 2-story retail building will also remain. The lobby of this retail building will face Executive Boulevard, while the retail stores themselves will face inside towards the plaza. In addition, JBG hopes to use the roof for addition space for programming and activities for both residents and community members.

The existing office building on the corner of Woodglen Drive and Executive Boulevard will remain intact during the first 2 phases of the project. JBG will reevaluate the building after a few years to possible have a phase 3, said Greg Trimmer. This all depends on the how the office market changes in the coming years.

Phase I of NoBe II will include the construction of the residential tower.  Phase II will include the new residential building, as well as the retail building. Phase III will eventually deal with the existing office building on the corner of Executive Boulevard and Woodglen Drive. JBG hopes to start Phase 1 by 2015.

Updates from the July White Flint Sector Plan Implementation Committee Meeting

Here are the updates from the White Flint Sector Plan Implementation Advisory Committee meeting from Monday, July 14th:

Nkosi Yearwood began the committee meeting by discussing updates on one development project: Pike and Rose construction of Phase 1 is moving forward very nicely. The plan of Phase II is going to the Planning Board on July 24th. No other new plans are being submitted to the Board.

There will be an Implementation Committee meeting in August to discuss the bikeway improvements on Woodglen Drive. The meeting will take place on August 11th.

Francine Waters then provided the committee with an update from the White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee meeting that took place last Tuesday. Cliff Cohen is the newly-elected Chair of the Committee as well as Brian Downie as the newly-elected Vice Chair of the Committee. Cliff set forth the goals of the committee to include maintenance and beautification of Rockville Pike, the streetscape of Rockville Pike, the establishment of a unified zip code, the creation and maintenance of a website for White Flint sector, the hire of an intern, public services and human services in the White Flint sector, and the search for a structure for funding to maintain all of the programs. The next Downtown Advisory Committee’s meeting will take place in September. (Read our post on that meeting by clicking here)

The public charette focused around the branding and name of the White Flint sector was also brought up by a committee member. There are no further details on the charette right now but it will provide a space for the public and community members to give their input on the branding and name of the sector. Stay tuned on the blog for more details about the charette and learn more about the plan by clicking here.

County White Flint Implementation Coordinator Dee Metz then provided her report for the Committee.  The Phase 1 of Pike and Rose had its first tenants move in at the end of June. Phase I has taken about four years to complete, which is record time for many development projects.  Currently, DOT is working on resolving bikeway facilities throughout the sector. The Woodglen Drive plan will be presented in August at the Implementation meeting. They are currently working on Nebel Street bikeway facilities, roadway, and utilities.  They hope to present a plan by this fall.

In addition, the county is working on amending the site plan of the North Bethesda Marriott Hotel and Conference Center to move the county garage plan forward. The amendment will separate the private project of the hotel from the public project of the conference center, allowing the county to design the garage.

Greg Trimmer from JBG then provided the committee with a presentation on the North Bethesda Market II amended site plan.  JBG provided minimal amendments to the plan.  The plan retains the plaza in phase I and retains the residential tower. They will add an additional residential building south of the plaza, which will add more residential units to the plan. The last phase of the plan will add to the existing office building, but only when the market improves.

Ed Meder from Gables Residential provided a presentation on the Gables White Flint plan. The site plan for this project will go in front of the Planning Board soon. There are many challenges Gables faces with this development project. First off, they will need to make the site go from a triangle shape to a rectangle shape. This means that traffic along Executive Boulevard and Old Georgetown Road has to be realigned around their site (this is the western workaround that you’ve heard us mention).  In addition, the county has to come to terms with the right of way to be purchased around the site. Plus, the shared parking lot for the Gables White Flint property and the aquatic center will have to secure funding first before the Gables White Flint development project can even begin. This project will provide small-scale buildings, which adds to the mix of scale throughout in the sector.

Stay tuned for a more detail report on each of these projects!

What’s In and Out in White Flint


Yesterday, Bethesda Now reported the news that Gaithersburg restaurant Quincy’s Bar and Grille will be opening a location in White Flint.  Featuring casual fare and live music, the newest Quincy’s will be located at 11401 Woodglen Drive, between Executive Boulevard and Nicholson Lane. It’s the mid-rise building with a shopping strip on the ground floor and it’s part of the second phase of JBG’s North Bethesda Market II.  Quincy’s is expected to be open by August 1st – read more about it on Bethesda Now by clicking here.


The White Flint Staples, on Rockville Pike and Nicholson Lane, has closed.  Back in March, the corporation announced its plan to contract its retail presence, focusing more toward online sales.  No word on what will occupy the space, which is slated to be part of Saul Centers’ redevelopment but not in the very short-term.  We hear that Staples’ lease is still in effect despite their decision to close but I’m hoping the space won’t sit empty for too long.  But, for your Staples fix, you need only travel 1.6 miles north on the Pike for their nearest location.


North Bethesda Market II Getting Back on Track

On Tuesday evening, JBG presented its latest thinking on the redevelopment of North Bethesda Market II, the block between Rockville Pike and Woodglen Drive, with Nicholson Lane to the north and Executive Boulevard to the south (excluding the Exxon station on the corner).  The site is planned to hold not only White Flint’s tallest building at 300 ft but the tallest building in the county.  And, with it’s unique architecture, it’s one of the projects we’re asked about most.


Unfortunately, I missed Tuesday’s public meeting because I had the great fortune of being the featured speaker at Action Committee for Transit’s monthly meeting (thanks, ACT!), so I’m grateful that Aaron Kraut of Bethesda Now was there and posted a comprehensive piece on the plan.

The gist is that we’re looking at two phases of construction, with a modified balance between office, commercial and residential space.  The first phase will include a two-story retail building at the corner of Rockville Pike and Executive Boulevard.  A 150-foot tall, 80 unit residential building and a public plaza are also planned for the first phase.  The public plaza looks to be a draw with an “interactive fountain, wide staircase with public art and landscaping and could be closed off and transformed into a concert venue, outdoor movie festival or farmers market. Pilot said the space, which will be open to vehicle traffic, could easily fit 250 or 500 people.”  The second phase will bring the iconic 25-story residential tower, where units will range from modest studios to luxury penthouses.  A third phase, which will be market dependent and way out in the future, will address the mid-level office building on Executive and Woodglen that presently houses Paladar Latin Kitchen.

As for a timeline, Bethesda Now reports: “Attorney Steven Robins, from the Bethesda-based firm of Lerch, Early & Brewer, said the group hopes to submit its amended plans to the Planning Department in the next couple of weeks. That would put JBG in front of the Planning Board in the fall and could mean the start of first phase construction in February 2015.”  Read Aaron Kraut’s full recap and see new images by clicking here.

Image courtesy of JBG

North Bethesda Market II Ramping Back Up?

North Bethesda Market II has been proposed with one of the most unique architectural designs for White Flint redevelopment, thus far.  So, we were excited to receive an indication that this on-hold project might be coming back to life soon.  JBG is hosting a public meeting to “review amendments to previously approved plans and to discuss the proposed mixed-use development” that is North Bethesda Market II, on the property bounded by Rockville Pike, Nicholson Lane, Woodglen Drive and Executive Boulevard.


According to the announcement (which indicates the property as being in Bethesda!), JBG will be seeking amendments to the original plan that propose “a reduction of the commercial component and an increase to the residential component while maintaining the same overall development concept and architectural direction.”  This is no surprise.  With commercial and office space sitting empty throughout the county, developers are rethinking their plans.  Our hope, though, is that White Flint will grow to be a solid commercial center so we hope developers aren’t being short-sighted in rescaling their balance between commercial and residential.  Montgomery County might not be attracting as much business right now as it hopes to, but that’s why county leaders are promising to take steps to shift that trend.

The meeting will be on Tuesday, June 10th from 7pm to 8pm at the Bethesda North Conference Center, in the Linden Oak Room.  RSVPs are appreciated, but not required, by emailing ecgeare@lerchearly.com (please put North Bethesda II Community Meeting in the subject line).  Can’t make it?  Don’t worry – your Friends will be there and we’ll post an update on the blog to keep you abreast of the news.

Updates from White Flint Sector Plan Implementation Advisory Committee January Meeting

Here are some updates from the White Flint Sector Plan Implementation Advisory Committee Meeting on January 13th:

The discussion started with a focus on Woodglen Drive and Executive Boulevard. Committee members are concerned with the issues surrounding the shared-use path on Woodglen Drive.  There has been some confusion after the county permitting department made what appears to be a mistake when dealing with Paladar Kitchen and Rum Bar.  Although the sidewalk on Woodglen Drive should have been kept at 8-feet wide to allow for pedestrians and bicyclists, the permitting department told Paladar that 6-feet wide was sufficient.  So, Paladar’s outdoor seating furniture was purchased to these specifications.  Many argue that 6-feet wide is not enough, especially considering obstacles like street signs that create pinch points already.  All parties are negotiating how best to proceed.  Also, we updated you yesterday on the improvements to Woodglen Drive, which will include a bike lane right where Paladar sets its Valet stand.  That will need to be addressed, as well.

The discussion then lead to an update from the County Executive’s White Flint Implementation Coordinator, Dee Metz. The Capital Improvement Budget (CIP) for 2014- 2015 year was discussed. This implementation meeting took place before the budget was released. Dee Metz told the committee that White Flint should expect to receive a significant amount of money from the county. Since this meeting, the budget was announced.  Take a look at this blog post to learn more about what aspects are part of the Capital Improvement Budget and how you can get involved in ensuring that all WF projects receives a fair share of funding from the county.

The focus then went towards discussing the MCPS Board of Education Letter to Chair of the Planning Board. Back in October, the MCPS Board of Education sent a letter to the Chair of the Montgomery County Planning Board. This letter was sent to the Chair to reaffirm the Board of Ed’s position on the locating the school site on the White Flint Park North site. The Board of Education is in favor of co-locating the elementary school with the White Flint Neighborhood Park at the White Flint Park North location. After this letter was sent to the Board of Ed, the Garrett Park Estates/White Flint Park Citizen’s Association met and discussed the letter. Check out this past blog post to learn more about what was discussed at that meeting.  The issue is ongoing and we’ll keep you posted.

Francine Waters from Lerner Enterprises (and a member of the Friends of White Flint Board of Directors) discussed the organization, Communities for Transit. This is a private, non-profit organization in Montgomery County that focuses on educating and advocating for Bus Rapid Transit in Montgomery County. Communities for Transit has worked with FoWF and Coalition for Smarter Growth in the past. The organization recently created a video explaining what Rapid Transit will look like for Montgomery County. You can check out the video here.

The meeting ended with a note about the urban design and health. Nkosi Yearwood sent out two documents, Intersections of Health and Built Environment and 10 Principles for Building Healthy Places, that speak to the connections between the built environment of cities and the health of it’s residents. As the redevelopment in White Flint proceeds, it is important to understand how the urban design can impact the health of those in the area. We hope to provide a walkable, recreational, accessible community that will greatly improve the quality of life for our residents. It is important to remember why this redevelopment is happening and who this redevelopment is for.

The next Implementation Meeting is scheduled for 7pm on Monday, February 10th in the Multi-Purpose Room at Shriver Aquatic Center.

The timeline: Cranes over White Flint

Part of an occasional series looking at how the new White Flint will come together.

Cranes are rising over White Flint as the vision of the White Flint Sector Plan becomes a reality. But while some projects are humming along towards opening day, others are proceeding more slowly. In our next Timeline post, let’s take a look at the status of four local developments in various stages of planning and construction.

North Bethesda Market II could have the tallest building in Montgomery County. Rendering from STUDIOS Architecture.

Gables Wall Park: Groundbreaking in 2015

While Montgomery Parks looks at renovating Wall Park, located at Executive Boulevard and Nicholson Lane, developer Gables is moving forward with plans to build apartments next door.

“Our project is moving forward slowly but surely,” writes Eddie Meder, development associate at Gables. The Planning Board approved Gables’ sketch plan for the project in October, meaning they will next have to submit a preliminary and site plan, with more detailed information about how the development would work, and get it approved. That process could take up to a year.

Meder hopes to hold another public meeting in the spring to let everyone know what’s going on with the project. The goal is to start construction in “mid-to-late 2015,” he says, adding, “Of course, that may be a little optimistic.” Executive Boulevard cuts across the proposed building site today, and it’ll have to be moved as part of a project the county and state are working on called the Western Workaround, which is scheduled to start around the same time.

East Village: 2015-2016

Foulger-Pratt and ProMark have teamed up to build East Village at North Bethesda Gateway, a project at Rockville Pike and Nicholson Lane aimed at younger Millennials. They plan to replace a 1960’s-era office building with two mid-rise buildings containing 640 apartments and 36,000 square feet of retail space.

Both the apartments and the retail spaces will be smaller than average, to keep rents low. The developers hope that will draw younger renters who can’t afford some of White Flint’s more high-end buildings, and “local, authentic” retailers that don’t need a lot of space.

The developers originally planned to break ground by the end of 2014, but this week, Rob Eisinger at ProMark told us that they now anticipate doing so in late 2015 “assuming the site plan process goes smoothly.” That means the first building may not open until the end of 2016.

Metro Pike Center: Wait and see

Standing at Rockville Pike and Nicholson Lane today, you’ll see a Staples and a two-story strip mall with a David’s Bridal in it. But Bethesda-based BF Saul, which bought the two properties, plans to replace them both with high-rise apartments and offices over shops along a new linear park.

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.

Dubbed Metro Pike Center, the project’s had a few design changes after residents complained about there not being enough street-level retail proposed along Rockville Pike. A “sketch plan” outlining general features of the project is now under review at the Planning Department, says Brian Downie, Senior Vice President for Development at BF Saul, who anticipates having a public hearing before the Planning Board next February.

But it’s unclear what will happen after that. If their sketch plan is approved, BF Saul will have to submit a more detailed site plan later before breaking ground. “We don’t have any set project timeline,” Downie wrote in an email to FOWF. “That timeline takes shape as the application moves forward.”

We also asked Downie what’s happening with Woodglen Drive, which will extend from its current end at Nicholson behind Metro Pike Center to Marinelli. Evan Goldman of Federal Realty, which is building a segment of Woodglen at their Pike + Rose development further north, wants BF Saul to scoot their proposed street over to make the connection.

Downie says it’s staying the same for now, writing, “The [street] alignment in our drawings tracks the alignment settled almost six years ago,” when the property’s former owner, Holladay Corporation, submitted plans for a similar project. Changing the street may also also require permission from the owners of the Grand, an apartment building behind Metro Pike Center.

North Bethesda Market II: Eventually

One of the most anticipated projects in White Flint may be the furthest away from happening. North Bethesda Market II, located at Rockville Pike and Executive Boulevard, would contain Montgomery County’s tallest building, at over 330 feet tall, along with a movie theatre and a plaza designed for events and festivals. It’s a more energetic version of its sister development, North Bethesda Market, located across Executive Boulevard and home to the county’s current tallest building.

Montgomery County approved the project in 2012. But if you’re waiting for shovels in the ground, you may not wnat to hold your breath. “We don’t have anything to share on NoBe II at this time,” writes Greg Trimmer, principal at developer JBG, in an email to FOWF. “We are fully entitled, but have not yet submitted for permit.”

Paladar Adds New Brunch Offerings

Paladar Latin Kitchen is quickly becoming a White Flint staple.  Since opening at the end of summer, their outdoor patios were regularly packed in nice weather.  And, as the temperature drops, they’re offering some new items to entice you in for brunch.   Served both Saturday and Sunday from 11am-3pm, the new items include a variety of bottomless mimosas and three new entrees.  Check them out below:



Bottomless Mimosas
Choose Traditional (fresh orange juice and cava), Strawberry (blended strawberries and cava) or Peach Basil (blended peach, basil and cava).

Chipotle Honey Chicken & Cornbread
Crispy chicken drizzled with our sweet and smoky chipotle honey glaze with warm cornbread, two eggs over easy, and fresh herbs.

Maple Pulled Pork & Fried Eggs
Sweet & savory pulled pork seasoned with our mojo marinade and real maple syrup, served with warm cornbread, two eggs sunny side up, jalapenos, radish, and fresh herbs. (Pictured above.)

Scrambled Eggs & Chorizo Tacos
Crumbled chorizo sausage and scrambled eggs with pickled jalapenos, Chihuahua cheese, cabbage, and our fresh aji verde sauce.

maple-pulled-porkMaple Pulled Pork & Fried Eggs – new on the Paladar Brunch Menu

And, while you’re there, register for your Paladar Rewards Card.  Aside from the usual benefits (earning points for rewards), a scan of the card during brunch entitles you to half off one of the above new food items.

Friends Around Town

Your Friends have been out in the community over the last month and we’re grateful to our partners for engaging us in these fascinating opportunities.  Dan Reed and I were both panelists during a Montgomery Housing Partnership breakfast focused on social media in community engagement.

Rob with speakers

Rob Goldman (President of MHP), Brandon Jenkins (Popularise.com/Fundrise.com), Dan Reed (FoWF and JustUpThePike.com), Lindsay Hoffman (FoWF) & Evan Glass (Moderator & MHP Board Member)

Montgomery Housing Partnership’s mission is to expand and preserve affordable housing in Montgomery County – something that will become an issue in White Flint if the county truly wants to draw a younger demographic.  MHP doesn’t just advocate, they also walk the talk by “acquiring, rehabilitating, building and managing quality affordable housing.”

Friends of White Flint was very proud to be part of Coalition for Smarter Growth’s Walking Tours and Forum Series.  “White Flint: From Drag to Desirable” was the topic that kicked off this season of walking tours – and to a sold out crowd!  Nearly sixty people joined Stewart Schwartz of CSG, Nkosi Yearwood of the Planning Department, Tommy Mann from Federal Realty and me on a beautiful morning’s trek through the past, present and future of White Flint.



Photos by Aimee Custis for Coalition for Smarter Growth


The tour was a great way to feel and see the differences between streets that solely car-focused, as opposed to those that consider all travelers.  Features like tree buffers, bike lanes, benches and trash cans equalize priorities among pedestrians, bikers and drivers.  Many of our main White Flint streets still have a long way to go in becoming truly walkable.

Friends of White Flint also hosted a Developer Showcase on April 30th in the Whole Foods Rockville café.  It was an opportunity for the community to browse new projects in White Flint’s future, and meet the people behind the ideas.   Paladar Latin Kitchen, Montgomery County Parks Department (Wall Park), LCOR (North Bethesda Center), Lerner Enterprises (White Flint Mall), and Federal Realty Investment Corp (Pike & Rose) were all available to chat, show their plans and share guacamole.  Friends of White Flint member Chevy Chase Land Company was also present with information about their plans for Chevy Chase Lake.



Over 100 visitors checked out the exciting plans for White Flint and appreciated seeing the images up close.  If you weren’t able to join us that rainy morning, let us know if you’d like us to host a similar event on an upcoming evening!

Finally, Friends of White Flint has begun a monthly presence at the Pike Central Farmers Market!  Find us among the food trucks and produce and learn more about your community while you browse!



And, wherever you see us – don’t hesitate to share your thoughts on the plans for White Flint.  We’re here to have a positive and consensus-building conversation.  Join in!