The Washington Post

Peterson Cos. pulls out of Rock Spring Centre project

In February the Peterson Cos., developers of National Harbor, announced a new partnership in which they would develop the retail and entertainment portions of the planned Rock Spring Centre project in Bethesda.

All that was left was to finalize the paperwork. But it never happened.

Taylor Chess, senior vice president of retail for Peterson, said that after months of discussions, the company could not reach agreement on a 99-year ground lease with the two families who own the 53-acre site.

“As we negotiated it over eight months, the devil is in the details, and the bottom line is we weren’t able to truly come together on the details,” Chess said.

Chess declined to elaborate on the disagreement, but said he still consider the 53-acre site, at Rockledge Drive and Rock Spring Drive in Bethesda, “a great piece of property.” In May, Chess played a role in announcing that luxury movie operator Silverspot would open a theater there, and he did not completely close the door on coming back to the negotiating table in the future.

“If the opportunity were to come for us to get involved again would rise we would take a look at it,” he said.

The landowners still have a partnership with DRI Development Services. Christian J. Spitz of DRI said the project would continue and that he had other companies interested in taking over the ownership stake that the Petersons considered.

“The only thing I can say is that the project is definitely going forward,” Spitz said.

Follow Jonathan O’Connell on Twitter: @oconnellpostbiz

Jonathan O'Connell has covered land use and development in the Washington area for more than five years.



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