Friday, July 4, 2008

another vision for falkland's north parcel

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY! We know you're probably out celebrating that sweet, sweet American independence. Don't forget your forefathers who gave you the right to barbeques, fireworks and the right to take pictures in Downtown Silver Spring.

A rendering of how Park and Planning envisions the redevelopment of a portion of the Falkland Chase apartments.

The debate over whether to preserve the Falkland Chase apartments at 16th Street and East-West Highway has raged for over two decades. It's a fight littered with successes for the pro-preservation camp (rulings in favor of saving the complex in 1985 and 2007) and the pro-development camp (a portion of the complex was demolished to build the Lenox Park Apartments in 1992). In recent months, everyone from the Post's Marc Fisher to Thayer Avenue has weighed in on what to do with the New Deal-era apartment complex.

On Thursday, the Planning Board will finally decide if Falkland Chase is eligible for historic preservation. If they say no, owner Home Properties can move forward with their plans to redevelop the North Parcel with a mix of apartments and retail, including a potential Harris Teeter supermarket.

What's the cost of bringing Harris Teeter to Downtown? And what else is the Planning Board looking at next week? so much more AFTER THE JUMP . . .

Home Properties' proposed Falkland North shies away from the street, discouraging pedestrian access to the site.

I've previously said that Home Properties' plans aren't very promising as they are now. With superblocks, sweeping driveways and little street presence, the proposed Falkland North tower discourages pedestrian activity on a site next to a Metro station. When the site was re-zoned for higher density in 1993, Park and Planning had no idea if redevelopment could even happen, but when the 2000 Silver Spring CBD Sector Plan came out, they made it clear that short blocks and a strong street wall were musts. In preparation for Thursday's hearing, Planning staff created the above rendering to show how the North Parcel was intended to look.

A current Falkland Chase resident who's been working with Home Properties has told me that the developer's largely revised their original plans for Falkland North, but the jury's still out on whether it'll be a positive contribution to the CBD. If the Planning Board chooses not to call the complex a historic landmark, hopefully whatever replaces it will be worth the years of contention that led to this point.

ALSO: The Planning Board will also review the Gene Lynch Urban Park, so named for the former Board commissioner who passed away last February. One of two parks intended to replace the current park above the Silver Spring Metro station, which will be redeveloped as the Paul Sarbanes Transit Center, the park will occupy the current bus turnaround behind the Discovery Building at Colesville Road and Wayne Avenue.

Notable features will include seating areas, a bike station, and a memorial to Lynch. His family wanted to commemorate Lynch's role in the revitalization of Downtown Silver Spring and, as a result, all of the below-the-Beltway neighborhoods who took part in the planning process will be listed on a plaque in the park.

9 comments:

Woodside Park Bob said...

Looking at the two drawings, the developer's original plans look like a lot more attractive place to live than the Park and Planning staff's drawing, which looks pretty ordinary. I don't see the advantage of cramming in a lot of buildings right along the street rather than something that looks like buildings behind a park that preserves at least some of the natural environment.

Anonymous said...

The old plan is simply ugly and would cause too much traffic problems because it had only one entrance. It also looks like the huge apartment buildings standing solo along Rockville Pike.

The new plan is urban, walkable, and inviting. I like it.

Thomas Hardman said...

Walkability is good, of course, as is an intergradation or intermixing of private residential elements and public and semi-public space. But as always, I am curious about what these people can do for entertainment.

For example, let's say the place is rebuilt, let's say families are living there, and lets say that some of those families have teenagers. Are there enough local facilities where they can go be kids in a way that doesn't wind up with them hanging out on Ellsworth universally sporting whatever the trendy countercultures will at the time think is anti-fashionable? Or are there amenities in the local parks? Or is it simply understood that however the local parks are expected to be used, the kids can reasonably be expected to devise some utter misuse of the amenities which will either get them banned or get the parks removed for being "attractive nuisances"?

Or will these apartments be meant mostly for dual-income/no-kids yuppie types? Will they be affordable to people who aren't high-income professionals? What percentage will be MPDU or even subsidized units?

Dave Murphy said...

I'm actually just a little relieved to see that there's a decent alternative to the Falkland Tower. There needs to be more varied street activity that close to the Metro station.

It's important to keep this in mind for the inevitable reconstruction of Summit Hills, which (hopefully) will be abutting the Woodside Purple Line station. Dense doesn't have to mean a 2,000 person version of the North Dallas Special. It should mean a variety of buildings that make an area into a community.

retgroclk said...

Parkland-- for what- so neighborhood kids can play softball, or touch football, or so they can party and leave the land covered with trash.

Gimme a break- most kids are glued to their computers-- I can go to Sligo Creek Park- and the only people using open space are those playing soccer.

Those who claim they want parklane are only living in the past- they are remembering when they use to play ball in the park or fly a kite or just walk- today that is all a memory,.

Today- we pave over green land, build high rises, then we try to create new green land-
I think it is time to stop the building and slow down until we have a clearer idea of where we want to go.

Thomas Hardman said...

Good remarks from the retgroclk.

It does indeed seem to be hard to get kids out of the house nowadays. Then again, what is there outside for them?

Okay, I was raised in the house where I presently reside. When we moved here, there wasn't anything to do other than go hang out at the stores or play ball or (once they invented them) frisbee. We had television and generally weren't allowed to watch what we wanted to watch and weren't interested in what the parents were watching.

Now, with limitless choices of media, sure, the kids would rather enjoy that media, possibly because the media is full of messages about how if they go to a park, Cujo will eat them or the bums will get them or they'll wind up being sold as tattooed love slaves in Dubai, or whatever. But enough cynicism from me, I suppose.

Honestly, we do need to stop just doing things via a sort of well-thought-through reflex of "well it's what we've always done, it's what we do" when it comes to community planning. What are we going to do when it becomes effectively unaffordable to run intensely mechanized factory farms and then ship mass-produced produce cross-country? All of those parklands might wind up pressed into service as food gardens. We might in fact actually need them for that.

Anonymous said...

retgroclk said...
Parkland-- for what- so neighborhood kids can play softball, or touch football, or so they can party and leave the land covered with trash.

Gimme a break- most kids are glued to their computers-- I can go to Sligo Creek Park- and the only people using open space are those playing soccer.

Those who claim they want parklane are only living in the past- they are remembering when they use to play ball in the park or fly a kite or just walk- today that is all a memory,.

Today- we pave over green land, build high rises, then we try to create new green land-
I think it is time to stop the building and slow down until we have a clearer idea of where we want to go.

July 06, 2008 12:39 PM

Thomas Hardman said...
Good remarks from the retgroclk.

It does indeed seem to be hard to get kids out of the house nowadays. Then again, what is there outside for them?

Okay, I was raised in the house where I presently reside. When we moved here, there wasn't anything to do other than go hang out at the stores or play ball or (once they invented them) frisbee. We had television and generally weren't allowed to watch what we wanted to watch and weren't interested in what the parents were watching.

Now, with limitless choices of media, sure, the kids would rather enjoy that media, possibly because the media is full of messages about how if they go to a park, Cujo will eat them or the bums will get them or they'll wind up being sold as tattooed love slaves in Dubai, or whatever. But enough cynicism from me, I suppose.

Honestly, we do need to stop just doing things via a sort of well-thought-through reflex of "well it's what we've always done, it's what we do" when it comes to community planning. What are we going to do when it becomes effectively unaffordable to run intensely mechanized factory farms and then ship mass-produced produce cross-country? All of those parklands might wind up pressed into service as food gardens. We might in fact actually need them for that.

July 06, 2008 7:34 PM


RE: If this is your sarcastic way of saying that Silver Spring is not worthy of Modernize Upscale Development and should be reduced to an open land/deserted/forest region then you and others that belive in sabatoging economic/business/revenue growth for Silver Spring and other areas of Montgomery County and Maryland need to be commited to a psychiatric dysfunction institution because there is no way in hell that Silver Spring or any other part of Montgomery County is going to retroceed back to the 1800's where 95% of Montgomery County was Deserted Open Space/Forest with pockets of Swamp Land...........

People in Northern Virginia are doing just fine with all of their Modernize High Rises, Upscale Shopping Malls, High Tech IT Fourtune 500 Office Buildings, Well Planned Highway and Rapid Transit Projects, but as soon as Developers in want to build the samething in Eastern Montgomery County in respects of what developers are doing in Northern Virginia the anti-Progressive Beauracrat Communist wants to find schemes to Block Developers from Modernising Silver Spring and other parts of Montgomery County and Maryland through their age old tired Historical Preservation Scams and building height BS Scams.....

Patrick T Metz said...

Now that's more like it - I'm all for more density near the Metro, but it's got to be done in a way that encourages folks to actually walk and actually stop driving. The developer's plans force people to choose between driving to Ellsworth Drive retail and walking dangerous. deserted sidewalks alongside six lane highways.

Anonymous said...

Patrick T Metz said...
Now that's more like it - I'm all for more density near the Metro, but it's got to be done in a way that encourages folks to actually walk and actually stop driving. The developer's plans force people to choose between driving to Ellsworth Drive retail and walking dangerous. deserted sidewalks alongside six lane highways.

July 08, 2008 10:25 AM

RE: Your partially correct. They can densify the area in Silver Spring, but to make it dense by dictating people to not drive is not only INSANE but Impossible. It doesn't matter how much you people hate modernize civilization of people driving cars; there is no way in hell that you or anybody else can prevent other people especially young people to abandon their cars despite Local Politically Connected Gas Price Guaging...