Category Archives: Local Government

Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan Dissenter Speaks

Marc Elrich, the one Montgomery County Council member to vote against the Bethesda Downtown Sector plan explains his vote here.

What’s Hot in 2017: YIMBY!

Confused? Well, full confession – I wasn’t particularly familiar with this concept but basically it means:
“Yes in my back yard!” and is a movement about sustainability of energy, housing, technology, infill construction and the like. It is seen as a contrast to “NIMBY” – which stands for “Not in My Backyard.”

Someone I was discussing the Purple line with recently noted that it has seen a fight between these two groups and that they saw 2017 as a year when the YIMBY movement would go mainstream.

So what would that mean for Bethesda? Well, we have no shortage of infill construction but I would hope that developers would be pushed to increase energy efficiency, sustainability etc. as part of the YIMBY effort.

What do you think? Do you agree with the YIMBY concept? Is the Purple line a NIMBY v YIMBY fight or is that too symplistic.

As ever — email thoughts to raj@rajabout.com and we will publish the most interesting!

Saw this really interesting helicopter maneuver at Suburban Hospital – it looked like a test/ drill:

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Rezoning Single Family Homes (SFH): MoCo Councilman Riemer Provokes Strong Reaction

I noticed that MoCo Councilman Reimer recently noted an interest in allowing SFH to be rezoned to accommodate duplexes. This idea has already provoked strong reactions – take a look at this comment from Robert Dyer (CEO of Suburban News Network).

What do you think? Is Reimer right to consider allowing SFH’s to be rezoned?

Is the density a boon or a problem for our area?

Or do you agree with Robert Dyer?

Feel free to drop me a note at raj@rajabout.com and we will share the most interesting comments here at Bethesda Actually.

Investor Article 2017

Hi friends,

I am planning on writing a series of real estate investor articles this year for my client base. I will go ahead and post the ones with some relevance to Bethesda here. The first one, below, looks at the connection between Russian cyber attacks and real estate investment. Puzzled? Well read on and all will be revealed!

 

Russian Cyber Hacking and Real Estate Growth: Washington, DC Metro Market Investor Column 2017

The 2016 election campaign is finally, thankfully, over but as anyone paying attention to the news will know, the fallout continues. While the post-election discussions taking place are animated and wide ranging, there is one area in particular that should be of interest to real estate investors, namely the focus on Russian cyber actions during the election.

Puzzled? Trying to determine why those two subjects should be in the same sentence?

Well, consider what happened to the Washington, DC metro market after the horrific 9/11 attacks; the government massively increased its national security/ military/ intelligence spending and that drove economic growth in the region for several years. This growth had a positive effect on prices and some, including me, would argue allowed the Washington, DC metro market to ride out the Great Recession better than the rest of the country.

Now, post-election, cyber security seems to be positioned as the new “hot” issue for government action. Policymakers of all stripes are starting to recognize that other countries have developed significant capabilities in this area. If past is prologue, the natural response will be to dramatically increase spending to ensure that the US is the dominant country in the cyber/ national security space in the years to come.

Some commentators may be surprised at the suggestion that cyber security growth will take place in the Washington, DC metro area and not in Silicon Valley or even some of America’s emerging tech hubs. First, I do not want to suggest that there won’t be growth in those areas, clearly there will be. However, the DC metro area already has a thriving tech industry (it has been called the Silicon Valley of the east for a number of years) and can collaborate on cyber security with its neighbors in government/ intelligence and the military. This geographic proximity and intersection, combined with a highly educated workforce, ensures the DC metro market is perfectly positioned to lead the cyber actions job revolution. My belief, shared by others, is that the leadership in this sector will come from the DC metro area.

As the funding increases and these jobs come online (literally and metaphorically), the pressure on housing and house pricing will grow. The beneficiaries of this uptick in economic activity should be real estate investors, home owners and others involved in the real estate sector.

Of course, as in life, nothing is guaranteed and there are details to be parsed out, but I believe that the connection between cyber security and real estate growth should be looked at closely.

Warmly,

Raj

This note is part of an occasional series of investor related pieces that I produce for clients and prospective clients. I appreciate receiving feedback and welcome the opportunity to discuss any aspect of the US real estate market with you or individuals in your network. I can be reached at (240)486-3921 or raj@rajabout.com

All information in this paper (and the associated series of papers) is presented in good faith but its accuracy is not guaranteed. The author, Raj Purohit, is a licensed real estate salesperson in Virginia, Maryland and DC, and is not an attorney (in DC, MD or VA), accountant, financial or tax advisor. The information in this paper should not be used to influence any investment decision. Before making any investment decision, you are advised to consult with legal, financial and tax counsel.

Open Question: How will the Purple Line Change Bethesda

Recently I was discussing this issue with some friends and family and found that there was no real consensus on what the changes will be and whether they will be uniformly positive/ negative or somewhere in between. I thought it would be really interesting to get the thoughts of the community on this question.

Drop me an email at raj@rajabout.com with your feelings re: the Purple line and how it will change Bethesda – we will post a few of them here in the days ahead.

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Bethesda Library Part of Second Annual Food for Fines Program

Just a reminder for all of you library users who may have an outstanding fine or two :-)

See you at the library!!!

However your fines happened, we are pleased to be offering our second annual Food for Fine campaign!
Every canned good or non-perishable food item you bring to your library October 16–30 will reduce your existing fines or hold fees by one dollar. (Donations cannot be used towards other fees.) The Food for Fines program is part of our support forMontgomery County’s Community Service Week. All food will be donated to the Manna Food Center. Shelf-stable foods such as canned fruits, vegetables and meats, dried beans, brown rice, quinoa, low sugar cereals, baby food, formula, and vegetarian items will be accepted as donations. Unfortunately, we cannot accept home-canned items, opened foods, or foods past their expiration dates.
No fines but still want to get involved? No problem! All customers are welcome to drop off donations at our branches during this program.

 

 

Target Coming to Bethesda

SO it seems that Target is going to open one of its urban style stores on the first floor of The Shops of Wisconsin – better known as the Trader Joes complex.  While the Target will certainly provide some advantages to the community, it will also pose a challenge from a parking perspective. Things are already tough there and Target will increase the pressure for spaces. Now, it is true that the Bethesda shuttle runs to that spot – perhaps there is a way to increase the number of shuttles running particularly during peak shopping times? The real estate space being secured by Target is approx 35,000 it seems. What do you think? Benefit? Problem?

 

600 Unit Building Near Bethesda Marriott Pooks Hill?

We just heard that there is a fairly detailed proposal for a 600 unit residential building to be developed between the Bethesda Marriott and the Promenade Coop Building on Pooks Hill.  My friend and colleague, Peggy Bresler, just mentioned that there is an application for development with the county as well as a sketch plan (see below). We will provide more info as we get it.

Please let us know if you have any more details and feel free to get in touch if this is of particular interest. My email raj@rajabout.com

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Reflections on Last Weeks Shooting

I wanted to let a few days pass before I posted a note on the tragic shootings last week in Bethesda and Silver Spring. First, and most importantly, our thoughts are with the victims and their families. Such senseless acts of violence have become all too common and, after last weeks acts, it is clear we are not immune here in Bethesda. 

When you have been through a scary situation like this I feel that it is important to note that there were many people who stepped up and tried to make things a bit better. In particular there are 3-4 groups of people who deserve our thanks:

1. law enforcement – who acted quickly and bravely to bring the accused to justice

2. school teachers and administrators throughout the county who quickly implemented lock downs to try and protect our children

3. medical staff – dealing with the victims of the shootings to try and save lives

4. security staff throughout the county that assisted law enforcement in locking down gov buildings, schools etc.

It is very hard to see anything good coming out of this incident…maybe it will encourage our elected officials to push for better mental health care and tighter gun laws? I hope so but am not sure.

So I will end this post by thanking those who reacted and hoping those who can reduce the number of these incidents will do their jobs a little bit better.