Approved Silver Spring retail-residential project plans will bring urban oasis' to Georgia Ave.
Outdoor plaza with art wall will help brighten up Silver Spring street, applicant says
The Montgomery County Planning Board on Thursday approved amendments to a plan that will bring 160 residential units, retail space and an outdoor urban oasis to a "dreary" section of Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring.
The applicant, Brian Lang, originally proposed 148,278 square feet of office space for the site at 8711 Georgia Ave., but he altered his proposal Thursday to remove office space and instead provide residential units.
"Since we originally received our approvals, we spent years and endless hours marketing the office tower only to lose potential leases to companies such as Northrop Grumman, ... Hilton and now Siemens, mainly to other areas outside of Silver Spring," Lang told the Planning Board.
Lang said he rethought his strategy in the wake of the recession. Realizing the office market is a few years from returning to Silver Spring, he opted to change his plan to instead provide Class A residential units. The homes will help accommodate new residents brought to the area by the merging of Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., with the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, he said.
The approved preliminary plan, site plan and project plan amendment lay out plans for 160 dwelling units and 2,400 square feet of retail in a 13-story, 143-foot tall building on 0.87 acres of space in Silver Spring. A public art plaza, which will include a mosaic wall, will go in along the future extension of Fenton Street, the plans say.
"This particular section of Georgia Avenue is a little dreary and dark," Lang said. "... We expect to liven things up a little bit. We're going to bring a new sense of vibrancy to this area of Silver Spring."