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Hogan breaks ground on development project in Bethesda

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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan throws ceremonial dirt at the groundbreaking in Bethesda. PHOTO BY SUZANNE POLLAKMaryland Gov. Larry Hogan throws ceremonial dirt at the groundbreaking in Bethesda.  PHOTO BY SUZANNE POLLAK  BETHESDA — Nine months after construction began in Bethesda for a Purple Line Metro station and two towers for office and residential space, officials, including Gov. Larry Hogan (R) joined together Aug. 9 for a groundbreaking ceremony.

The huge hole at the 7200 block of Wisconsin Avenue near its intersection with Elm Street marks the future spot of a new entrance to the Red Line; a Purple Line station; and 937,000 square feet of office, retail and residential space.

The project also includes a tunnel for the nearby popular Capital Crescent Trail.

The development includes 360,000 square feet of office and retail space, two residential towers with 456 residential units and 750 parking spaces.

When asked why the groundbreaking was held after work was well under way, Olive Carr, CEO of Carr Properties, the real estate investment trust backing the project, said it took “a lot of coordinating to pull this together.” He said the timing for the groundbreaking coincided with last week’s signing of WTTG Fox 5, the office space’s first tenant.

“Amazing things are happening on this corner,” Carr said, calling the development “an incredible partnership” between the state, Montgomery County and private companies. “It does take a village."

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New luxury residential development approved for Germantown area

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Scheduled to be completed approximately in the autumn of 2020, the Fairchild Apartment Development Plan was approved July 26 by the Montgomery County Planning Board to be built at the location of the parking lot across from the Germantown Regal Cinema along Aircraft Drive and Century Boulevard. 

This parking lot currently serves customers for IHOP, Red Robin, and Senor Tequila’s. The restaurant buildings will not be removed for the construction of the apartments. When contacted, managers of these restaurants were unaware of the apartment development plan. A worker at Red Robin said that although he was not aware that this construction would take place, a new apartment complex would be “awesome.”

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Takoma Park residents begin recall effort

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Takoma Park Govt logoTAKOMA PARK — With the City Council set to vote on the Takoma Junction redevelopment proposal on July 25, some residents are mounting a partial recall of the city’s elected officials over the project.

“There are those of us and there are many of us, who feel as though our council is basically ignoring us,” said Byrne Kelly, a Ward 3 resident who is leading the recall effort. “When we go before the council and we get our three minutes at the podium … they look at us with blank faces.”

Kelly explained that he was mounting the effort in response to what he called “gross silence” from the Council in response to a portion of the residents opposing the development proposal.

“We’re doing this for the Co-op, the public land, and the city,” he said.

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Hogan joins in for Marriott groundbreaking in Bethesda

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As a sign of the amicable relationship between elected officials and one of the state’s largest corporations, Gov. Larry Hogan and County Executive Ike Leggett joined in for a groundbreaking ceremony of Marriott International’s new headquarters in Downtown Bethesda last Thursday.

The ceremony served as a victory for state and local officials, who agreed to a combined $33 million in subsidies to the global hotel chain in order to keep them based in the County. On June 21, elected leaders and representatives from Marriott said the day was about honoring Marriott’s longtime commitment to Bethesda.

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Takoma Problems Persist

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takoma park logoTAKOMA PARK — Tensions between residents and the Takoma Park City Council remain high as the project to redevelop a city-owned parking lot adjacent to the Takoma Park-Silver Spring Co-op enters its fifth year.

“Our county and the world is already affected enough by our cars and our carbon footprint, without trucks adding to it all,” said 13-year-old Ward 2 resident Elizabeth Comfort-Cohen during the City Council's weekly meeting Wednesday. Comfort-Cohen, who goes by the Co-op on her commute to school, expressed concern the proposed Takoma Junction Redevelopment project could have on pedestrians and cyclists. “All I’m asking, council members, is that you think long and hard about the effect this project can make on the community and not just the government.”

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Activists still contest fate of historic African-American burial site

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While Westbard residents won their fight to stop a new development along Westbard Avenue in Bethesda, the fight for many continues, as the future of a historic burial ground on the property remains in limbo.

For months, residents from Westbard and members of the Macedonia Baptist Church, located on River Road in Bethesda, have lobbied the Housing Opportunities Commission – now owners of the property – not to develop on the site of the historic African-American burial ground.

While officials from the HOC have promised to not develop on the site of the burial ground some members of the Macedonia Baptist Church and Westbard residents said they do not trust HOC’s promise not to do so.

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Rockville continues with proposal for new Twinbrook development

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ROCKVILLE — Representatives from a company that plans to build a new neighborhood in Twinbrook said their new mixed-use development will be like Rockville’s very own French Quarter.

On Monday night the Rockville City Council unanimously voted to continue with proposed development in Twinbrook along Rockville Pike under the City’s champion project status designation, one of many steps needed before the project is finally approved. The City’s champion project status designation will allow the developers to build without providing an access road.

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"A Good Deal"

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County and governor push to get Amazon headquarters in MoCo

Amazon.com logo1With an estimated 50,000 potential jobs hanging in the balance, Montgomery County is among the 20 communities vying to be the location of Amazon’s second headquarters, the company announced last week.

Local officials were pleased to see that the County made the cut in a competitive field composed mainly of major cities, each of which is bending over backwards to woo the retailer with a seemingly endless arsenal of tax subsidies and other incentives. 

“As the only county in the country on the short list, having the ability to move forward for further consideration is a real honor,” said County Executive Ike Leggett (D). “I believe our initial proposal made an extremely strong case for Montgomery County as a great place to do business, and I look forward to working with Amazon to bring jobs and investment to the County.”

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Gaithersburg residents express concerns about development

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gaithersburg buildingGAITHERSBURG — Several Gaithersburg residents came to a work session at City Hall Monday night to voice concerns about the effects of a proposed property development.  At work sessions held on March 27 and July 10 last year, Mayor Jud Ashman and the City Council were briefed on a proposal from Maser Consulting to construct two six-story apartment buildings and a parking garage on the site of the Kentlands Apartments. 

At those sessions, officials and area residents expressed concern that the developments could have adverse effects on traffic, particularly in regards to a proposed ingress/egress entrance on Great Seneca Highway, school capacity, snow and trash removal and public green spaces. Residents of the Colonnade, a condominium association which would be abutted by the proposed development, have expressed concerns about the impact of the development on their quality of life. 

Jodi Kline, an attorney with Miller, Miller and Canby, who represents the applicants, said that Maser Consulting had negotiated with Colonnade residents and incorporated their concerns into the revised proposal that was presented Monday night.

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Takoma Park approves junction traffic study

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TAKOMA PARK — The Takoma Park City Council on Wednesday approved a traffic study which will further advance the Takoma Junction redevelopment process.

“The city’s study is to identify options to address safety concerns and mitigate traffic congestion at Takoma Junction and evaluate the extent of cut-through traffic in adjacent neighborhoods,” City Manager Suzanne Ludlow said during the Council’s Wednesday evening meeting. “The findings will be used to advocate for roadway and intersection improvements.”

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