“Great Hopes for Hipness” in White Flint

“Great Hopes for Hipness” in White Flint

Last Saturday’s Washington Post article “Montgomery County looks to get hip” announced that various county officials are looking into ways to make Montgomery appeal to the Millennial Generation/Generation Y, and White Flint is seen as an important asset.

The author explains, “The county has great hopes for hipness in the massive White Flint redevelopment along Rockville Pike. While developers envision high-rises and high-end stores, there are also plans for smaller, moderately priced living spaces, with walkable streets and coffee shops, yoga studios and casual dining.”

Friends of White Flint’s executive director Lindsay Hoffman is also quoted in the article: “What we’re hoping for is that [White Flint] will be the alternative downtown…with a variety of housing options at a variety of price points.”

County officials see attracting the Millennial Generation as a way to stay competitive with nearby jurisdictions, as well as grow the tax base to help support a population that is aging in place. This initiative may also create a better return on investment in terms of public education if those who were raised in Montgomery move back; according to school officials it costs around $180,000 to educate a child from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Check out the full article here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/montgomery-county-looks-to-get-hip/2013/02/16/2d477284-7577-11e2-95e4-6148e45d7adb_story.html

Amy Donin


One comment


My wife and I were discussing this piece over the weekend. While some may recoil at the term “hip” and think of places like H Street and 11th Street in Columbia Heights, I think there’s little question that to attract more younger residents and compete with places like Clarendon, Montgomery County needs to do more to make points within it a destination.

Part of that would involve relaxing the 50/50 rule for restaurants and bars, which has long since outlived its usefulness. No doubt any proposals to do that will result in gnashing of teeth from older County residents who will conjure images of Adams Morgan along Rockville Pike, but the reality is that providing more nightlife options and relaxing the restrictions will lead to a greater diversity in establishments and more enjoyable experience for visitors and residents.

Part of the answer also lies in recruiting diverse establishments to open in the County. Silver Spgin has been mostly successful with this approach, with places like the AFI Theater, Fillmore and Round House Theater downtown to compliment and increasingly interesting and diverse stable of restaurants and shopping establishments.

For a place like White Flint to be successful, developments like Pike and Rose and North Bethesda Center can’t simply subsist off of the North Bethesda Market retailer model: all national chains, nothing unique and nothing that would entice someone to hop on the train from, say, Woodley Park and come up for a visit. These developments need unique offerings, such as outposts of restaurants from known local chefs, the previously announced jazz club at Pike & Rose, unique bars, boutique shopping and so forth in order to be successful.

White Flint and other MoCo neighborhoods might never become “hip”, but there’s no reason why it couldn’t compete with a place like Ballston for residents and dollars.

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