Governor Martin O'Malley and Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown today joined Montgomery County officials and private sector partners to break ground on Maryland's first "Fast Track" approved project that will bring transit oriented development (TOD) to the White Flint area. Known as the Pike & Rose project, it will be built by Federal Realty Investment Trust and will ultimately transform 24 acres of asphalt parking lots and an auto-oriented strip retail center into a vibrant, walkable community with housing, retail, office and public spaces located in close proximity to the White Flint Metro Station.
"Four years ago, together, we passed our Transit Oriented Development legislation so we could fight sprawl, cut back on pollution, and revitalize communities like White Flint -- while at the same time, creating jobs and spurring growth. Today, we're taking a big step toward reaching those goals," said Governor O'Malley. "This is our first ever Fast Track project and our first groundbreaking under the White Flint Transit Oriented Development Plan. With this first phase of the Pike & Rose project we are creating a sustainable development that will generate a projected 550 permanent jobs, bring in $3.7 million in tax revenue and increase transit ridership in the Washington region, home to some of the worst traffic congestion in nation."
"The Pike & Rose project is a great example of what is possible when the State, county and local governments work together with the private sector to lay a strong foundation for job creation and economic development," said Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown, who chairs the FastTrack initiative. "This mixed-use, transit oriented development project shows that through innovative programs like FastTrack, we can expedite the business development process while maintaining standards for smart growth and environmental protection."
Montgomery County has ambitious plans to concentrate transit oriented development around the White Flint Metro Station. In March of this year, the State and the County co-designated the White Flint Sector Plan area as a TOD. The overall plan allows for 17.6 million square feet of development, which would generate $6.9 billion in tax revenues over 30 years. Currently in the White Flint area, about 26 percent of people commute by transit, biking and walking. Under the White Flint Sector Plan, that percentage is projected to nearly double reaching 50 percent after implementation.
"Today's Pike & Rose groundbreaking, part of the White Flint Transit Oriented Development Plan (TOD), represents another successful public-private partnership taking place here in the County," said Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett. "This effort will bring with it new jobs, tax revenue and increased transit ridership -- all the elements you look for in an environmentally-friendly, smart growth development. I join with the Governor and Lt. Governor in congratulating Pike & Rose, Federal Realty Investment Trust and the entire team on this important milestone in the transformation of White Flint."
The O'Malley Administration's "Fast Track" program is designed to make it possible for selected projects to obtain necessary state permits and approvals in an expedited manner. This is due to multiple agencies working concurrently, as opposed to consecutively, to get the permits and approvals issued. For the Pike & Rose project, the State provided expedited review and approval of State Highway Administration permits and expedited negotiations involving the sale to the developer of 3.7 acres of excess state property required for the TOD project.
In June of this year, the Board of Public Works approved the sale of the state property and dedicated $21 million of the proceeds to go toward construction of a public parking garage at the North Bethesda Conference Center. The garage will replace surface parking spaces to be removed for the construction of a new street related to the TOD development.
Maryland is expected to grow by roughly one million residents in the next 25 years. Across the state, there is enough underutilized land within a half-mile of Maryland's 112 transit stations to theoretically absorb all those residents. Transit oriented development concentrates development around transit stations to take advantage of transit investments the state has already made. This translates into more transit ridership, less sprawl and reduced traffic congestion.
To promote TOD, Governor O'Malley and Lt. Governor Brown sponsored legislation in 2008 that made TOD part of the mission of the Maryland Department of Transportation. Under the legislation, once a site is designated as a TOD, MDOT can use its resources and property to support it. Projects may also qualify for a variety of benefits, including eligibility for Sustainable Communities tax credits, preferences in State leasing and predevelopment planning funds.