Washington Property clears space for luxury apartments
Rendering courtesy of Washington Property Co.
Washington Property Co. of Bethesda has started demolishing a block of south Silver Spring to make room for a new mixed-use luxury apartment building, which will extend the downtown renaissance to the Ripley District.
Montgomery County awarded site plan approval to 1050 Ripley St. in July, which will add a 17-story residential building to an area glutted with upscale condos and wipe out 30,000 square feet of commercial space despite a dearth of office construction in Silver Spring's tight market.
Despite thousands more luxury apartments and condos planned by competitors, the builder views the Ripley project as the next step in creating a balance of development within walking distance of the Metro. The new apartments will boost Silver Spring as an option for residents and companies seeking to relocate or expand there, said Charles K. Nulsen III, president of Washington Property Co.
"It really brings to the downtown Silver Spring market something it really needs," he said. "It will bring more 24-hour vibrancy to downtown."
The 318-unit building will include 7,400 square feet of street retail and luxury amenities include a fitness center and pool, stadium style movie room, billiards lounge, cyber-cafe, rooftop terrace and underground garage parking. The project will include 48 apartments reserved as Moderately Priced Dwelling Units.
The building will rise on a lot just west Georgia Avenue, south of Ripley Street and the Metro, west of Colonial Lane and east of the subway and CSX rail lines. The area was occupied by car repair shops and other light industrial uses before the developer began assembling the parcel in 2006.
The proposed 300,000 square foot building is one of two high-rise projects—each pushing $100 million in cost—planned for the Ripley district. The other is a 310-unit apartment building that is under development by Home Properties, based in Rochester, N.Y. The project includes 5,380 square feet of ground floor retail a 369-space garage.
Home Properties also has begun construction on 1200 East-West Highway in south Silver Spring, where it plans a 14-story apartment building with 247 units and 10,600 square feet of retail space. The company also owns the Falklands Chase apartment complex at the District line, where it is battling possible historic preservation designation to demolish part of the project and replace it with 1,010 high-rise apartments and 60,000 square feet of retail, including a new grocery store.
And, the Bethesda-based Tower Cos. has taken the Blairs apartment complex off the market and plans a massive renovation and expansion project.
Yet with all these plans, Nulsen said that Silver Spring is not at risk for having an imbalance between upscale multi-family housing and office development, which has been frozen by approval delays and market conditions.
"The commercial market has not been responding to where [tenants] will pre-lease these buildings," he said. "Downtown Silver Spring has three office buildings that are pretty much designed and approved and they are just waiting for the market [to turn] to be built."
In the meantime, residential developers are simply making up for lost time in the 20 years when only one high-rise building was constructed through the end of the last century, Nulsen said. The bottom line is that Silver Spring is a prime location that will attract residents and business from throughout the region, he said.
"Because of downtown Silver Spring's location and the Metro, it can tap all segments of the market," Nulsen said. "It can tap people who commute into the District and who commute into Bethesda and want someplace less expensive to live. What we're going to develop is going to be the quality of anything you see in Bethesda and not have quite the rent premium that Bethesda's [central business district] dictates."
Baltimore County park gets
tenant for 100,258 square feet
Service Express Inc., headquartered in Spartanburg, S.C., has signed a lease to occupy 100,258 square feet of warehouse space at the new Hollins End Corporate Park in eastern Baltimore County.
The distribution and consolidation freight company joins Federal Express Ground Package System Inc., which signed a long term lease for 125,000 square feet in the park, according to developer Preston Capital. Service Express will relocate in September from the Troy Hill Corporate Park in Elkridge, where it occupies 67,000 square feet of space.
The Hollins End Corporate Park is a redevelopment project, including a fully renovated 279,000-square-foot warehouse building, plus several new ground-up construction buildings, totaling over 400,000 square feet.
"The lease by Service Express is another confirmation of the superb location of this park. We are 4 minutes to I-95 and 2 minutes to I-695," said David Scheffenacker, president of Preston Capital Management.
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