Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Children's Inn at NIH puts Woodmont House up for sale

The Children's Inn at NIH has put the Woodmont House group home at 8324 Woodmont Avenue on the market for $3,495,000. A task force assembled by the charity recommended putting the facility up for sale after concluding fewer families needed the use of it. Woodmont House was opened in 2010 as a residence where patients in less-critical phases of treatment at NIH could stay with their families.

Now, the charity says, there is an increase of more-critical patients who need to be closer to the treatment facilities on the campus. Those who still need the accommodations Woodmont House provided will be housed in a duplex on the NIH campus, which the NIH has made available to Children's Inn to purchase.

The Woodmont House received a special exception in zoning from Montgomery County when it was approved, and that exception is now being touted in the real estate listings as a selling point. While it seems unlikely a charity or government would pay such a high price to acquire Woodmont House, it does show the uncertainty of awarding such exceptions if they convey to the next owner. A less costly property could become a halfway house or drug treatment center, posing a far greater danger to nearby residents than the Children's Inn facility they supported eight years ago.

More likely, a developer will acquire the site for a small condo building, but you never know. The seven-bedroom, nine-bath home's special exception for a non-conforming use allows for "countless options!" according to the listings. Neighbors will want to monitor this story going forward.

Another intriguing angle on this sale: Pharmaceutical giant Merck contributed more than $5 million to the purchase and operation of Woodmont House. Now, after only seven years, it is being put up for sale. Merck still gets the tax deductions, but those dollars didn't go as far as they could have elsewhere in this case, unless the full value was already spent on those served at the house.

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