Your Music Scoop in the Pike District

From the Pike District newsletter

Music in the Pike District:  It’s Good for Your Health! Whether you’re listening to a live orchestra, vibing to an artsy acoustic group or jamming out to some hard rock, live music is always a great way to spend your Saturday night. But did you know it can also be good for your health? According to Variety magazine, watching live music increases your sense of self-worth by up to 25%, and may even extend your life expectancy by up to nine years!

You’ll want to keep planking, of course, but consider adding a little live music to your “me time.” Fortunately, you can catch tons of live music right here in the Pike District! We’ve put together a list of some great options coming up, so here’s to your health!

The Great Outdoors. Here’s a great opportunity to take out some food, take in some music and take over the lawn at Strathmore! Live from the Lawn has a list of free outdoor concerts this summer. On July 17 catch Band of Us, a soulful take on alternative rock. Order dinner online from Slapfish, grab it to go and feed your soul under the stars.

Get Amped Up!This one will really get you some cardio! Charm City Junction, together with Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble, combines Americana and Irish music on July 27. TheWashington Post named Footworks’ show one of the best dance events of the summer. Can’t make this show? Amp has a full lineup of artists that bring great entertainment to your doorstep!

Make a night of it and hit the new Fogo de Chao for an after-dinner drink or Brazilian papaya cream dessert, an unreal blend of fresh papaya and vanilla ice cream topped with a black currant liqueur.

Monday Night! Not only does Quincy’s have a rocking happy hour menu Mon-Fri from 11:30am to 7pm, but Industry Music Mondays returns every week! Whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, Quincy’s has the Monday night set-up for you. From 6:30pm to 9:30pm enjoy music with Bobby, a one-man local performer who records his own backing tracks and performs live classic rock and modern pop! Stay up late for Industry Karaoke from 9:30pm to 1am with Leo the Drummer and his treasured industry specials. If you’re one of the top songsters, you win a prize! Grab your friends and make your Monday’s as fun as your Friday’s at Quincy’s!

Keeping It Fresh! Cold craft beer and a different band every Saturday night. Head over to 7 Locks Brewery where changes are always coming to what’s on tap and what’s tapping your toes, too! 7 Locks has a rotating selection of more than 10 beers on tap, and partners with a rotating selection of food trucks, as well.  Saturday nights the musicians come out to play, usually with a different band each week.

Good food, good music and good for your health! The Pike District has all three, making it one of the best places in Montgomery County to live, work and visit!

Maier Warner selected for Pike District Placemaking and Branding contract

As this week’s White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee meeting, it was announced that Maier Warner was awarded the county contract for placemaking and branding in the Pike District. Kris Warner from Marier Warner Public Relations/Marketing explained their plans, which include social media, a website refresh, placemaking events, placemaking infrastructure, and other marketing will be part of their placemaking and branding campaign.

Maier & Warner is a motivated team of marketing and public relations professionals dedicated to providing high-quality communications strategies. They bring creative thinking to bear in a variety of business areas including commercial and residential real estate, economic development, land use and design, retail marketing, and general institutional, government and corporate needs.

We’re the 77th best place to live nationwide! (Not that it’s a surprise to those of us who live, work, and play in the Pike District)

From Bethesda Beat

North Potomac and North Bethesda Rank Among Best Places To Live in Maryland

Potomac, Bethesda and Kensington also place in the top 10 on Niche list


A new online ranking names North Potomac as the best place to live in Maryland, while North Bethesda came in third.

Seven Montgomery County communities were among the top 10 in the state, according to the report, released by Niche, a website that classifies regions nationally. Potomac placed fourth, Darnestown sixth, Bethesda seventh, Kensington ninth and Travilah, a North Potomac neighborhood, was 10th.

The two other locales in the top five were Howard County’s Columbia and Ellicott City.

Other county communities also made it onto the list: Rockville ranked No. 11, Somerset was No. 12, South Kensington came in at No. 13 and the Town of Chevy Chase was No. 14.

To compile the rankings, Niche looks at education rates, crime, public school ratings, cost of living, job opportunities, diversity, local amenities and other factors, according to its website. It pulls data from the census, government organizations and reviews from residents.

On its national list, North Potomac ranks 43rd and North Bethesda ranks 77th among more than 15,000 cities, towns and neighborhoods.

Here’s our report card:



Friends of White Flint and the Pike District is in the NY Times

Check out this terrific article about the Pike District in the New York Times.  Friends of White Flint, Pike and Rose, the Gables, and East Village are all mentioned in the article.  Don’t want to click through to read the piece? We’ve included it below.

NORTH BETHESDA, Md. — Congested and derided, the Rockville Pike thoroughfare, which connects Bethesda and Rockville, troubled local residents, officials and developers for years.

“I’ve lived in this area most of my life, and people would ask where I was from,” said Amy Ginsburg, executive director of Friends of White Flint. “I wasn’t really from Rockville, and I wasn’t really from Bethesda. There was no sense of place, just shopping centers and horrible traffic up and down the pike.”

Her organization, a nonprofit funded by residents, businesses and property owners, promotes so-called smart-growth development. The movement generally advocates a mix of land uses, higher building density and walkable neighborhoods close to public transit to create stronger communities.

Aiming to bring better-planned growth to the area, Montgomery County adopted the White Flint Sector Plan six years ago. The plan, which took its name from the nearby White Flint Metro rail stop, called for smarter growth and the building of pedestrian-minded urban nodes along a 1.7-mile stretch of Rockville Pike.

Now, at a major intersection here, Federal Realty Investment Trust has begun the task of transforming a suburban corridor that has long struggled to establish an identity.

 A publicly traded real estate investment trust based in Rockville, Federal Realty is putting the final touches on the roughly $270 million first phase of Pike & Rose, a multistory development of brick and stone at the northwest corner of Rockville Pike and Old Georgetown Road that began opening in 2014.

Meeting Street at the intersection with Rockville Pike, in the Pike & Rose development. An REI store is going up on the left, and to the right completed retail outlets include Chipotle and Starbucks. CreditJustin T. Gellerson for The New York Times

The project contains a mix of apartments, retailers, offices and parking garages around new streets, fountains and public gathering spots. A second phase, costing some $205 million, is underway that will roughly double the project’s size.

Pike & Rose is replacing an old 280,000-square-foot shopping center surrounded by surface parking. As much as 3.4 million square feet could be built on the parcel, just the type of density that the White Flint plan envisioned.

Traffic is still bad up and down Rockville Pike. But under the long-range White Flint plan, developers and county officials intend to slim the road into a less-traveled, tree-lined boulevard. New roads, to be built at a cost of $600 million, would foster public transportation, walking and cycling.

Officials anticipate that residential and business growth could generate some $7 billion in net economic activity over the next 30 years, said Roger Berliner, a member of the Montgomery County Council. Mr. Berliner himself moved into a top-floor apartment in the PerSei building at Pike & Rose.

“It’s all right here, and every demographic wants it,” said Mr. Berliner, motioning to the urbanlike surroundings during a lunch at the California-themed Summer House Santa Monica in Pike & Rose. “So if we can enhance the quality of life and create a $7 billion benefit, the White Flint plan will be a big success story for our county.”

Two years ago, backers of the White Flint plan branded the area the Pike District to highlight the corridor’s changing character.

Already, office workers and residents are venturing across Rockville Pike on foot to visit Pike & Rose restaurants and tenants like iPic Theaters or the concert hall AMP. Walking had been such an alien concept in the area that a pedestrian safety campaign began last month to prevent accidents.

Block 7 of the Pike & Rose development will house retail on the ground floor with a Hilton hotel and luxury condominiums above. CreditJustin T. Gellerson for The New York Times

“We do believe that Pike & Rose will be the anchor of the Pike District,” said Chris Weilminster, executive vice president of Federal Realty’s mixed-use division. “We sit in a really nice position at the top of a hill, and we’re setting a high level of expectation in regard to the merchandising and retailers.”

Pike & Rose’s 160,000 square feet of retail space is fully occupied, as are its 80,000 square feet of offices. Condominiums, apartments and a Hilton Canopy Hotel are part of the second phase, which will begin opening in late 2017 or early 2018. Among the tenants signed to occupy the development are REI, the retailer of outdoor gear; Pinstripes, a restaurant and entertainment venue; and a Porsche dealership.

The project’s apartments are currently 93 percent occupied, but rental rates in some cases have fallen short of what was originally anticipated, according to comments made by Federal Realty’s chief executive, Donald C. Wood, during earnings conference calls this year.

Mr. Wood blamed an overhang of new apartment supply in the area and the nuisance of continuing construction at the site for the shortfall. But an average rental rate of about $2.40 a square foot in its Pallas apartment building still represents a roughly 20 percent premium to the market, he told analysts.

“The reality is that there’s more apartment supply in the market than we’d like, but long term we’re very bullish,” Mr. Weilminster said. “It’s only going to get better with time.”

A handful of other developers have lined up mixed-use proposals in the White Flint plan area that in coming years could add some 5,000 residential units, 1.2 million square feet of office space and 1.6 million square feet of retail space. Most call for new apartment buildings with bottom-floor retail space, as well as green space or other recreational elements.

Foulger-Pratt and ProMark Real Estate Services plan to break ground next year on a project that will add 614 apartments and 38,000 square feet of retail space over two phases about a half mile south of Pike & Rose. Likewise, in early 2017, Gables Residential expects to begin construction of more than 400 apartments in three buildings and 24,000 square feet of retail space to the immediate south of Pike & Rose.

The bar at City Perch, a restaurant in the Pike & Rose development. Credit Justin T. Gellerson for The New York Times

Jorgen Punda, Gables’ regional vice president for investments for Boston and metropolitan Washington, predicted that new apartment supply should begin to tail off in 2018 as the company prepares to open its development. He also suggested that Pike & Rose provided a glimpse of Rockville Pike’s live, work and play potential.

“I think we’re at the beginning stages of a transformation,” he said. “A number of office users and residents in the area are finding the new walkable amenities to be a benefit.”

A $31 million judgment in August 2015 against Lerner Enterprises, the owner of the former White Flint Mall, has put one big proposed mixed-use project down the road in limbo, however. After the White Flint plan was adopted, Lerner emptied and razed most of the 800,000-square-foot mall to make way for a huge mixed-use project that it planned to develop on the site.

But Lord & Taylor, a mall tenant that still operates on the otherwise vacant parcel, sued Lerner, claiming that it failed to keep a 1975 agreement to essentially operate the property as a mall until the department store’s lease expired in 2042. An appeals hearing is scheduled for late October.

Weak office demand in suburban Montgomery County has also influenced development decisions. JBG Companies scuttled plans for an office building and added more apartments to its proposed mixed-use project in the area, for example.

But landing a plum office tenant like Marriott International, the hotel operator, could help recast the Pike District as a preferred office destination, Mr. Berliner and Ms. Ginsburg said.

Marriott’s headquarters now occupy 900,000 square feet a few miles south. It is looking for a new location and wants to be within walking distance of the Metro and amenities. Developers and officials in other Maryland markets, and in Washington and Virginia, are also courting the company.

“If Marriott doesn’t move here, it won’t break us,” Ms. Ginsburg said on a late summer morning in a Pike & Rose coffee shop. “But it will make us if they do.”

Pike District Discussed in National Magazine

The Commercial Real Estate Development Association published an article “Retail Streetscape Redevelopment” that featured the Pike District in their spring magazine. (You can read the part about the White Flint area below.)

Landowners Come Together in Maryland

rendering of street view

Property owners in the White Flint sector of Montgomery County, Maryland’s Rockville Pike corridor have proposed turning part of “the Pike” — now a typical suburban commercial strip highway — into a walkable boulevard, and have created a special revenue district to help fund the transformation.
White Flint Sector Plan, Montgomery County Planning Department

Two hundred miles to the south, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Rockville Pike is well-known in the National Capital Region for its miles of shopping centers and traffic congestion. The White Flint sector of “the Pike” is a 430-acre area along both sides of the corridor.

The owners of major retail outlets in the White Flint neighborhood started making plans for redevelopment more than a decade ago. What made this effort different from others was that several large, independent owners decided to work together and with the county to transform the streetscape. They proposed turning a key part of the Pike into a walkable boulevard and eliminating over 80 percent of their surface parking spaces. The Rockville Pike makeover is a jumbo-sized example of a retail streetscape renovation.

The renovated Pike — as envisaged by these property owners, the community and the county — will have a landscaped center median wide enough for two lanes of bus rapid transit (BRT). The renovation will put utilities underground and add hundreds of new trees. A majority of the owners, led by Federal Realty Investment Trust, The JBG Companies and Lerner Enterprises, voted to raise about $100 million for streetscape improvements in the public right-of-way using a special revenue district. The district framework will allocate increased property tax receipts to pay for the streetscape renovation. The developers will invest well over $1 billion more in public space and streetscape improvements on their own land, in mall renovations and in new commercial and residential construction.

Montgomery County’s plans for the sector provide for the separation of local traffic from regional traffic on the new Pike and for the expansion of the adjacent street network. All streets will be “complete streets” designed to be used safely by cyclists, pedestrians and transit riders as well as motorists. The plans envision a mixed-use neighborhood with public spaces.

While the plans also call for BRT, the county acknowledges that the funds for it are not yet in hand or even identified. The county says that while BRT on the Pike may be an early part of the project, the entire BRT project will take 20 to 30 years and will cost much more than the streetscape renovation.

Federal Realty Investment Trust has completed the first phase of its mall reconstruction, a walkable mixed-use development known as Pike & Rose, and is starting the next phase. JBG has multiple projects open or under construction. The county has received and approved many proposals for additional development in the sector plan area.

Part of the sector plan met a bump in the road when Lerner Enterprises, owner of White Flint Mall, lost a suit brought by a tenant over the closing of the mall for redevelopment. As of press time the case remains under appeal.

Evan Goldman, a vice president at Federal Realty, was the public face of the effort to win support for the special revenue district and streetscape renovation, which included a social media campaign. Most of the nearby neighborhood associations have become supportive of the project. Goldman’s advice to other owners and developers is “Don’t underestimate neighbors’ desires for really great communities.”

Streetscape renovations can turn a corridor into a “place” by improving land values, connecting sidewalks to storefronts and improving the value proposition for retailers. Retail streetscape redevelopment is also good for local governments. The new business activity creates revenues for the municipality from higher property tax, sales tax and income tax receipts, without new taxes or a general rate increase. Goldman estimates that Montgomery County will collect at least $6 billion in additional tax revenues in the next 35 years as a result of the Pike makeover.

Owners and developers elsewhere could use a similar approach to finance streetscape renovations in their own communities. Goldman notes that “If a few owners control much of the property in a neighborhood, and if they have a record of working together, the chances are better that they could pull off a project on the scale of the Rockville Pike makeover.” It helped that the Rockville Pike developers were well-capitalized, had some major leases expiring in properties that were showing their age and had a commitment to the region, but these factors are not all required. A clear lesson from the Hackensack and Rockville Pike stories is that the streetscape redevelopment model, combined with innovative financing, offers commercial property owners and developers an excellent opportunity for leadership — and for increasing the value of their own properties.

Urban Land Institute to provide recommendations on Pike District branding

The Urban Land Institute, an urban planning nonprofit, will join the White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee today to lead a Technical Assistance Program to discuss how to brand the developing area around the White Flint Metro station as the Pike District. The name Pike District was chosen by a group of developers, businesses and residents in 2014, but isn’t widely used by locals yet. The panel’s goal is to propose a number of recommendations to help brand and identify the Pike District.

Many Friends of White Flint board members and Friends of White Flint executive director, Amy Ginsburg, will be participating in the ULI Technical Assistance Panel today and tomorrow.

Friends of White Flint on the TV News

It’s hot and humid enough to wring water from air, so today we have a very short blog.

On yesterday’s Fox5 news, there was a story about the litigation over White Flint Mall and what the future holds for the White Flint area.  Check it out here.

Also posted yesterday was a video about the White Flint Mall, #PickthePike, and our area on Montgomery Community Media.  Check it out here.