Friday, September 27, 2019

Another Montgomery County job center lost

Montgomery County continues
to become the bedroom community
for job centers elsewhere in region

The developer of 1800 Research Boulevard in Rockville, a property approved for an office development, is requesting a master plan amendment to flip it to residential. FG Office Group, LLC, a Lerner shell company, is seeking to build a 350-unit residential building with courtyards and two "amenity spaces." One will be a pool, and the other a green space with patio and picnic areas.

Previously, the site had been designated for a 210,981 SF office building. The site would seem ideal for a biotech or medical research company, given its proximity to the I-270 biotech corridor, Shady Grove Hospital and The Universities at Shady Grove. But Lerner says it has concluded there is no market demand for office presently. Lerner adds that it has been unable to find tenants for their existing Fallsgrove office building on Shady Grove Road.

The moribund Montgomery County economy continues to stymie the office market. Some developers have even been forced to move their own headquarters into their new office buildings because they are unable to sign an anchor tenant.

Montgomery County hasn't attracted a major corporate headquarters in over twenty years. The end result is that a planned job center at Fallsgrove, similar to changes at King Farm, Bethesda, Wheaton, Silver Spring, and elsewhere in the County, will now be permanently lost. So even if the County changes leadership and policies to be more business-friendly down the road, those new jobs can't be placed here to reduce the number of County residents driving to job centers in Northern Virginia and the District.


Anonymous said...

"a 210,981 SF office building"

That's trivial compared to the amount of office space being added here in downtown Bethesda.

For a much more lucid analysis of the challenges our county faces, I recommend reading Adam Pagnucco's column this week.

Anonymous said...

Thought you might find this interesting.

Robert Dyer said...

5:09: That's not trivial at all when, like King Farm and Clarksburg, Fallgrove was master-planned to have a significant number of jobs placed nearby. All 3 planned job centers have now collapsed in the moribund Montgomery County economy.

The office space in downtown Bethesda is trivial compared to what it should have been by now. Not a single new Class A building scored a major corporate HQ; all are being filled by small, lesser-known-to-no-name tenants, many with taxpayer subsidized rent under that new County program. Halo effect = Zero.

I've read Mr. Pagnucco's column - it's on a different facet of the economy, but no less important. Different topic does not equal "more lucid."

5:19: I thought you might find this interesting, Mr. WeWork Is A Big Score for The Wilson:

"WeWork's Downfall..." CNN

"WeWork Collapse..." New York Magazine

"WeWork is a collapse in the making..." GuruFocus

"Inside the Crash of WeWork's Magic Millennial Real Estate Kingdom..."

Anonymous said...

Yes, the struggles of WeWork, the largest incoming tenant at the Wilson Building, have been in the news for several weeks now.

Why is this the first time you've bothered mentioning this?

Robert Dyer said...

5:41: I was waiting for you to float one of your hanging softballs down the center of the plate so I could turn on it, and knock it out of the park like that.

WeWork! LOL

Robert Dyer said...

What's worse than being in the business of leasing office space in Montgomery County? Being an overblown subleasing company disguised as a tech firm leasing office space in Montgomery County.


Anonymous said...

King Farm is so bad, not even The Dough Roller could hang in.

Anonymous said...

It's over for at least a generation. The younger affluent generation of the DMV has chosen DC and Arlington as the "must have" destinations. The jobs follow.

Apart from the old age home known as lower MoCo, MoCo 2019 is the PG County of 1999 - a place of diversity and a stepping stone for those who want to move up.

Anonymous said...

@ 6:59 AM. Well there goes Maryland then. Bring your passport..

Anonymous said...

When has Montgomery County ever been attractive to the "younger affluent generation"?

Anonymous said...

8:11 AM Bethesda attracted a younger crowd not long ago. I'm amazed how quiet the downtown streets are now, even on weekends.

If you mention Bethesda to folks living in the region, they'll say "older folks, right?". They wouldn't have said that 10, 15 or 20 years ago.

It was MoCo's version of Arlington. Of course there's always been more post college folks in Arlington because NoVa had more jobs and more housing options (more duplexes, older apartments, rental houses, new condos etc.)

And then there's the NIMBY crowd in the adjacent neighborhoods of Bethesda who resist any change and don't understand how a downtown works.

Anonymous said...

You're upset that people haven't moved away so younger people could move in? that people who bought in the suburbs don't understand why people who don't live there want to make it a downtown?
Or is it that life moved on and left you behind?

Anonymous said...

8:11 AM - Never. Maybe back when Hot Shoppes drive in was hopping? But, never.

Anonymous said...

There's already a TON of office space the entire length of Research Blvd - I don't think there'd be additional demand for that right now. (Of course there have been lots of residential units built within a mile or two radius of there as well, so...)

Anonymous said...

10:16 AM It's easy to say "never" if you're new here or don't want to acknowledge the decline.
Again, even just 10 years ago Bethesda nightlife was more popular and wasn't seen as an older crowd.

The lack of arts/entertainment options, all the bar/restaurant closures and the NIMBYs in adjacent SFH neighborhoods aren't helping. The Bethesda Downtown Plan doesn't address any of the problems (remember- their one arts/entertainment recommendation was for a "black box theater"- something that's not needed, no one has asked for and won't draw in younger crowds) I assume the NIMBY crowd like it because it's quiet and will be dark majority of nights.

Anonymous said...

Is it true that Crown Books closed?

Barryrock said...

Wework?? they may not survive, they are struggling to raise money and need to go public. But you notice Wework isn't looking up-county? I wonder why? Lerner doesn't do biotech, and I'm sure its already been floated and looked at, that site has been sitting there for a while. Biotech is the only thing there that is vibrant and has a low vacancy rate. Bethesda IS on fire, but its the only market that can claim that. Silver Spring CBD, maybe.

Anonymous said...

10:16 AM I meant Never. YOU might have thought so, but it wasn't the reality for most. Only in your rose-colored memories.

Anonymous said...

It is only people new here that are claiming downtown Bethesda always catered to older folks.

Maloney Concrete said...

When Roger Berliner said Bethesda was going to "get hip" in the Washington Post a few years ago, who knew he meant hip replacements? Several new senior housing developments later and the decline in the "nightlife economy", here we are.

Anonymous said...

Bethesda used to have quite a nightlife scene even 10 years ago. You had Relic on Fairmont, then Parva on Woodmont, and Blackfinn and Hanaro both drew crowds. 4935 (forgot its previous name) even had table service in their upstairs nightclub level. Now almost all that is gone -- only Hanaro survives, but they no longer do parties at night. 4935 is just a restaurant with the upstairs level rented out for bar mitzvahs and the like.

Robert Dyer said...

12:31: Actually, WeWork is on the verge of being toast, and their planned IPO imploded after they filed their documents. Bethesda is only on fire with residential - every new office building delivered in the post-recession period has flopped, and had to go to Plan B or even Plan C to get leased up with somebody, anybody. Often at taxpayer expense.

Residential never really cools off in Montgomery County, but that has largely been driven by the perception that we had top schools, which is increasingly no longer the case.

The main reason biotech was our one success is a combination of smart decisions made prior to the MoCo cartel seizing power in 2002, and the fact that such companies get many tax breaks. Virginia is rapidly catching up to us in biotech, and will likely pass us if we stand pat. We would have great demand for other sectors if we changed our policies to be more competitive with Northern Virginia, and finally build the new Potomac River crossing to Dulles Airport, which has the destinations and frequency of flights international corporations require.

Anonymous said...

No one "seized power" in 2002, you kook. Nine County Council members were elected, including four freshmen.