The Washington Post

Developers in White Flint are trying to remake the neighborhood into a more walkable, urban place, and the owners of one of the biggest parcels — Mid-Pike Plaza — have unveiled their newest plans.

Federal Realty Investment Trust, the publicly traded real estate investment trust, invited about 100 residents and partners to its corporate offices off of Rockville Pike last week to see the concept and designs for the second phase of its massive overhaul of Mid-Pike Plaza shopping center into a mixed-use neighborhood called Pike & Rose.

The next stages for Pike & Rose — the company calls them Phases 2a and 2b — are to include seven more buildings, all of which would have retail space. Two of the buildings would have apartments, two would have offices, one would be a hotel and two would be retail only.

Though county approvals are still required, the first Phase 2 buildings could be completed as early as 2016.

Construction has already begun on the first portion of the project, three buildings along Old Georgetown Road that are to include an 86,800-square-foot office building, 493 apartments in two buildings (dubbed PerSei and Pallas) and 228,000 square feet of retail headlined by a luxury movie theater and restaurant venue by iPic Entertainment. Those buildings are on pace to be completed in mid-2014.

Although its specialty is retail, Federal Realty is building the apartments and office building itself, something Evan Goldman, vice president of development, said the company is doing more of as it focuses on mixed-use projects emulating Bethesda Row and its Santana Row property in San Jose, Calif. “We built all of Santana Row by ourselves,” Goldman said.

He said the company chose to build the apartments at Pike & Rose because it knows the market so well.

“It’s right in our back yard, and we didn’t want to share any of that value with someone else,” Goldman said.

Federal Realty is one of nearly a dozen developers with major plots of land in the 430-acre White Flint section of Rockville Pike, nearly all of which coalesced around a plan to replace strip shopping centers with more-dense development, create a new grid of streets and add new public transit, sidewalks and bicycle lanes.

But having teamed up to support a new plan for White Flint, the developers of White Flint are now beginning to construct projects that will compete with one another.

The JBG Cos. built 397 apartments atop a Whole Foods grocery store, but has not begun construction on a much larger phase planned to include a competing theater to iPic.

Lcor has completed one apartment building, secured financing for a second and is building a headquarters for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The owners of White Flint Mall — Lerner Enterprises and the Tower Cos. — plan to redevelop the shopping center into a town center project.

Ultimately Pike & Rose is expected to have 1 million square feet of office space, 470,000 square feet of retail, 1,600 residential units, a 300-room hotel and more than 4,000 parking spaces.

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