BY: Kate Jacobson
December 18, 2012 | 12:00 am
A national organization is citing Montgomery County's ongoing redevelopment of White Flint as a good example of walkability and effective private investment for a suburban project.
The Urban Land Institute, a nonprofit research organization in Washington, issued a report examining suburban developments around the country, highlighting the best methods and challenges municipalities face. It offers case studies on eight community developments across the nation, including White Flint.
Partnerships among the private sector, high walkability throughout the area and creating development that anticipates new transit development makes White Flint a good case study when looking at effective suburban development, said Rachel MacCleery, vice president of ULI Infrastructure Initiative.
"It's an example of the private-sector development community coming together to think in different ways about the infrastructure challenges that a community faces," she said.
The White Flint project will redevelop 430 acres along Rockville Pike, creating residential, commercial and retail space.
Francine Waters, managing director of transportation and smart growth for Lerner Enterprises and executive director of the White Flint Partnership, said in the report that property owners will play a major role in funding the improvements.
Landowners agreed to create a special property tax district, as well as pay for new roads and upgrades to existing roads.
"With public transportation, with the new network of streets, with the greater accessibility and more mobility, the value of the property rises incredibly," she said.
Another positive for White Flint, said MacCleery, is that the project anticipates increased public transportation with its design, creating functional sidewalks and pedestrian-oriented plazas that can implement mass transit such as the county's proposed rapid bus system. Metro's Red Line already stops at White Flint.
The redevelopment of the area, which includes an overhaul of the Mid-Pike Plaza shopping center into a mixed-use neighborhood called Pike & Rose, includes multiple phases -- one of which is underway.
Under construction are three buildings along Old Georgetown Road that include a 86,000-square-foot office building, almost 500 apartments in two buildings and 228,000 square feet of retail space.
Other areas studied by the ULI were Dublin, Ohio -- a suburb of the state capital, Columbus -- and the Aurora Corridor in Shoreline, Wash., just outside Seattle.