County Executive Ike Leggett today announced that the County is issuing a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to select development partners to develop and execute mixed-use, public-private projects for downtown Wheaton.
“Wheaton’s time has come,” says County Executive Isiah Leggett. “With Silver Spring the County selected a highly qualified development team to work with community stakeholders to develop and execute a redevelopment concept that changed the face of downtown Silver Spring. In Wheaton we will do the same.
“This is exactly the best time to lay the foundation so we can catch the next up-swing in the economy. Wheaton is a unique community with lots of strengths. We want to build on those strengths and some efforts already underway to create a vibrant, prospering central business district anchored by Metro.”
The County is joining forces with Metro (the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority) to issue the RFQ. “This is an excellent opportunity for talented developers to help plan for the future of Wheaton without the need for heavy capital outlays in today’s constrained market,” says Steven E. Goldin, Metro’s Director of Real Estate. “We have one completed project in Wheaton as part of our Joint Development program, and look forward to adding this one to the list of 30 projects completed or underway at Metrorail stations throughout the metropolitan area.”
The County, partnering with Metro, will offer 11 acres of parking lots and Transit Station areas in 10 parcels for potential development sites. Selected development partners will work with all stakeholders in the community and will seek to aggregate additional lands to plan and develop high-quality, transit-oriented, mixed-use projects that will create places to live, work and shop in downtown Wheaton.
The deadline for responses to the RFQ by the private sector is March 19, 2010. The County and Metro will evaluate the responses and make a recommendation to the County Executive and the Metro Board by July. The aim would be to secure a partner by late summer.
“Without costing us anything in these tight fiscal times, we can begin to lay the groundwork for a strengthened revitalization of Wheaton that can be teed up and ready to go when the business cycle turns,” said Leggett.
# # #
Councilmember Valerie Ervin also praised the County Executive’s announcement on Wheaton revitalization:
“I am enthusiastic that the County and Metro are moving forward with a master developer agreement to revitalize the Wheaton Central Business District,” said Council Vice President Valerie Ervin who represents District 5, which includes Wheaton. “We cannot take a piecemeal approach to revitalizing this area because it often leads to a mismatch between what the community wants and what is actually realized. I am hopeful that this process will produce a plan focused on walkable, transit oriented development that will revitalize the central business district and maintain the quality of life in the surrounding residential neighborhoods.”
To view or download the RFQ solicitation document and background materials, go to http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/content/DGS/Dir/wheatonRFQ.asp .