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

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

Did you miss last week’s Online Community Meeting?

Last Thursday, we had an informative and interesting online community meeting that was incredibly well-attended. We were honored to have both Councilmember Andrew Friedson, Robin Ficker, and Marcelo Cortez from MCDOT join us as our guest speakers.

Robin Ficker and Andrew Friedson gave spirited arguments for why you should vote for either Question A or Question B on how property tax limits are calculated. They also answered numerous questions from our audience. Their conversation was live tweeted by several people and organizations in which @White_Flint was tagged.

Marcelo Cortez updated everyone on the progress of the Western Workaround construction.

If you couldn’t attend our meeting, fear not. You can watch the recording at your leisure.

Hope to see you online at our upcoming Community Meeting

On Thursday, October 8 at 7 pm, please join Friends of White Flint at our virtual community meeting.

Councilmember Andrew Friedson and Robin Ficker will discuss and take questions on their property tax ballot amendments, Question A and Question B.

Montgomery County Department of Transportation will give a quick update on the Western Workaround construction.

To register for what promises to be an interesting and education online meeting, please visit https://cutt.ly/FOWF-Meeting.

A special thank you to Federal Realty for being the tech power behind this meeting.

Will we see you online May 19 at our Community Meeting?

Friends of White Flint and Montgomery County Planning Department will hold an online public meeting at 7 p.m. on May 19 to discuss the Advancing the Pike District project.

This project builds on the vision established by the 2010 White Flint Sector Plan and will analyze elements of urban design, economic development, and transportation in the Pike District. This project is intended to spark further implementation by identifying short-term opportunities for success that can be implemented within the next 2-5 years to further the development of White Flint.

The meeting will be streamed online and will be posted to the project webpage following the event. A link to the online meeting will be posted on our blog and on the Planning Department’s website before the event.

If you have questions you’d like to pose to the Planning Department, click here.