"It's great," Gaithersburg planning director Jennifer Russel said of a breakthrough that will allow Geisco, an international computer service, to set up shop on a 212-acre site west of I-270.
The breakthrough came with a Montgomery County Council action last week that allows Gaithersburg to annex the site.
Geisco's plan to build an office complex on Quince Orchard Road had been skewered by county restrictions that limit construction to the current traffic capacity. Although Geisco plans to widen the road, company executives are not sure they will use all the land, and want the option to subdivide and sell part of the property later. When county officials wouldn't give Geisco the assurance that the property could be subdivided later, Geisco backed away from plans to build on the site.
In September, Geisco asked Gaithersburg officials to make the land part of the city, which is not encumbered by the county traffic restriction. City officials, in turn, gave Geisco their assurance that it could sell any unused land.
Charles G. Dalrymple, a Geisco attorney, estimated property taxes will be 20 cents higher for every $100 in assessed value because the land is in the city. But he said company officials believe extending the city limits to encompass the land was a better proposition than being locked into having to develop a large tract with the current uncertainty in office construction and financing.
The approved zoning allows Geisco to build up to 1 million square feet of offices.
But, Dalrymple said, actual construction is years away. The road expansion project, which will take some bends out of Quince Orchard Road and extend it through the Geisco tract, should be finished by next spring, he said.
In other action at last week's Council meeting, Martin Frank was appointed to Gaithersburg's planning board.