Brookfield owns the rights to develop the plaza, and has plans for a building of up to 290' tall that would frame and separate from noisy traffic a new central park. Their development plans also include restaurants and retail to activate the space. They've created a campaign called Bethesda Connected to promote the project.
Not so fast, says Clark Enterprises, whose headquarters currently has prime visibility on the plaza. Clark has launched a campaign, Protect Bethesda Open Space, that has appealed to concerns by residents that there is a lack of parkland and open space in downtown Bethesda.
It's hard to argue that Brookfield can't execute its plan - they have the legal grounds and right to do so. Clark's primary hope, then, is to generate enough support for its proposal, and sufficient opposition to the Brookfield plan. Central to their appeal may be their standing as one of the highest-profile hometown firms.
I've reported on this a number of times, but the campaigns are heating up again. Several mailings to downtown residents in July have been followed up by events and happenings at the plaza.
|Clark Enterprises sets up|
for live concert last night
colors in his
mural as Clark's band plays
You can be sure that the plaza, along with Pike & Rose and Carr Properties' development planned for the current Apex Building site, are going to be in the competition for the prize of the new Marriott headquarters. Could public opposition to the 290' building (an opposition currently unmeasured by scientific polling, by the way), trump Brookfield's ground lease rights and clear economic development appeal in currently-moribund Montgomery County?
Stay tuned. And pass the donuts.