Falkland Chase apartments redevelopment gets green light
Developers will build a mixed-use complex on the northern part of the site
A plan to build an apartment complex that will include retail stores, a public garden and 1,250 multi-family and townhouse units has gotten final approval to be built in downtown Silver Spring.
But some preservationists say that the site is historical and should have been protected.
Home Properties, the Vienna, Va.-based developer of the Falkland Chase apartments in Silver Spring, will redevelop the northern portion of the site on 16th Street and East-West Highway. The two other parcels of the property were designated as historic last year. Developers received the go-ahead for the new multi-use project from Montgomery County Planning Board Thursday.
"We believe this project is a balance of competing county objectives and that it does provide a public benefit," said Raquel Montenegro, associate director of government affairs/legislative for the Maryland-National Capital Industry Association.
The development will include 70,000 square feet of retail space and some internal, private streets and underground garages. It will also feature 65,545 square feet of on-site public space, including a garden, a plaza with a water feature and pedestrian areas. The developer's primary off-site contribution to the public will be the restoration and beautification of a stream that runs through the southern portion of the Falkland-Chase property.
In March 2009, the Montgomery County Council ended a contentious battle between the developer and preservationists by adding two-thirds of Falkland Chase to the Master Plan for Historic Preservation but leaving the north parcel open for redevelopment. Falkland Chase was originally built in 1936 and 1937 and was dedicated by then-First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt as the second housing complex in the country built under the New Deal Federal Housing Authority. The south and west parcels contain 270 garden-style apartments.
Though the site plan passed unanimously, it was not without opposition from some community members.
Mary Reardon, of the Silver Spring Historical Society, opposed the project because she considers the present development an historic landmark.
"When the north parcel is demolished, it will be a sad day for preservation," she said.
Lorraine Pearsall, president of Montgomery Preservation, also opposed the project for similar reasons.
"The historic significance of Falkland Chase has been exhaustively documented," she said. "We have always maintained that Falkland Chase should be protected in its entirety."