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Old 04-16-2010, 08:15 PM
Howard Hartman Howard Hartman is offline
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Default Planning Board Approves Mixed Use Residential, Retail Development in Downtown Wheaton

                     FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 16, 2010

Montgomery County Planning Board Approves Mixed Use
Residential, Retail Development in Downtown Wheaton

SILVER SPRING – Coming soon: a new building combining a state-of-the-art grocery with residential units, retail space, public use space and a parking garage on the site of an old store in downtown Wheaton. Thanks to Montgomery County Planning Board approval yesterday of the first set of plans for the Wheaton Safeway, planners are realizing a major goal: sustainable, pedestrian-oriented redevelopment near transit.

On Thursday, the Board approved a project plan and preliminary plan for Wheaton Safeway, an 18-story building with 500 units and 59,500 square feet of commercial space. The new, mixed-used building will be built at Georgia Avenue and Reedie Drive in Wheaton’s Central Business District. The developer, Safeway, Inc. and Patriot Realty, must still submit a more detailed site plan application for Planning Board consideration.

A stone’s throw from Metro’s Red Line, the project represents a great example of forward-thinking redevelopment in an auto-focused area characterized by hundreds of yards of surface parking. The Wheaton Central Business District is the focus of a current sector planning effort that seeks to encourage great urban design, pedestrian links to the Wheaton Metro station and environmentally friendly development.

The plan calls for the consolidation of 13 lots into a single lot of 83,849 square feet. The building will consist of three towers of residential units rising above the base level and green roof courtyards adapted as common areas for residents. A street-level plaza landscaped with trees will offer public seating and be activated by the main entrance to the grocery store, a small retail space and the residential building entrance. At about 7,600 square feet, that public use space will comprise 10 percent of the development and a contribution of almost $1 million to another public amenity in the Wheaton Central Business District.

The project is notable for the speed at which the application went through the development review process. Plan reviewers completed the application in five months and worked swiftly with the applicant, representatives of other reviewing agencies and members of the Wheaton downtown community to resolve issues and bring a complete package before the Board. Planners hope the same expedited review strategies can be used on other applications, such as the Live Nation Music Hall proposed for downtown Silver Spring.

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