Category Archives: Real Estate

Breaking News: Amazon Bookstore Coming to Bethesda

Looks like a few folks (including our friends at Bethesda Magazine) have heard that Amazon will be opening a bookstore in the Urban Country space.

Wonderful news although I wish they had take the Barnes and Nobles space!!!

 

 

Beyond Bethesda: National Park Seminary Transforming a Sorority House to a Colonial

Hi friends,

As you know it is rare that I post about “things” outside of Bethesda but once in a while I can’t resist :-)

In this case I wanted to let you know about an amazing and unique property that my colleague Gus, at Keller Williams Capital Properties, is going to be listing in a couple of weeks.

National Park Seminary was a resort hotel from 1887 to 1893, a school for young women from 1894 to 1942, and a U.S. Army medical facility from 1942 to 2004.”

Gus’s client has been working with his team to renovate, historically, one of the original sorority houses from the school phase of NPS and it is almost ready to put it on the market as an incredible single family home.

I have taken a few pictures of the property just to give you a flavor of the work so far (and the immediate area) and will also make sure that I post a short note to let you know when it is being held open for the public to take a look.

Let me know what you think of the property and of course you are welcome to come to the open!

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Reflections on Capital of the Future/ Where We’ll Live Cont.

Capital of the Future/ Where We’ll Live Cont.
Another interesting list is titled: Retirement Spots: The most members of the 65-and-up crowd will settle in these counties by 2040 (by % of total population):
Howard County (22.8%), Frederick County (22.4%), Fauquier County (21.9%), Charles County (21.4%) and Anne Arundel County (20.5%).
I found this one quite interesting, again for the places not on it. I did think that MoCo and Fairfax would be on this list. I have had a lot of clients recently looking to buy retirement property in Virginia (Alexandria, Fairfax and Arlington) as a tax hedge for estate planning.
What do you think? Any surprises on this list for you?

Reflections on Capital of the Future Cont.

The Washingtonian Special titled “Capital of the Future” included a fascinating piece titled “Where We’ll Live” based on projections for 2030 based on data from Maryland Department of Planning, Uni of Virginia Cooper Center, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and the Urban Institute.

There were three sub categories that I found really interesting. The first:
“Must Love Kids” looked at places with the most residents 19 and younger in 2040 (by percentage of the total population) and listed the top 5 as:
Loudoun County (31.9%), Stafford County (30.6%), Prince William County (29.7%), Spotsylvania County (28.2%) and King George County (28%).
This did surprise me a little — I actually thought Montgomery County would sneak onto that list. I spend a lot of time looking at real estate throughout the county and have felt that there has been a big spike in young county residents, a spike that has coincided with the increase in housing density.
Anecdotally,  here in Bethesda where I live and have my office, there are a lot of new apt. and condo buildings coming online and I am seeing significant numbers of families with young kids in these homes.
I would watch this prediction closely, we may well see MoCo and others making a push up the list in years to come.
What do you think?
If you have a young family would you consider condo or apt. living?
What neighborhoods and counties seem most kid friendly to you?

First in a series: Reflections on “Capital of the Future.”

First in a series: Reflections on “Capital of the Future.”
I recently dug out an old copy of the Washingtonian from April 2015 that featured hopes, dreams and predictions for our regions future. It struck me that it might be quite interesting to pull out various nuggets from the magazine and see if the ideas seemed plausible, possible, on track or unrealistic two years on.
I know bits of this series will be about the world just outside Bethesda but we are in an increasingly connected area and I think that this series has real relevance for Bethesda.
I’d love your thoughts on each idea/ vision — do you share it, love it or hate it?
Let’s start with a piece from “Capital of the Future” on White Flint and Montgomery County for Millennials (and their kin) which begins:
“Why should the big city get all the young people? That’s an argument behind an argument to rebuild a stretch of Rockville Pike as a 24 hour play ground for car free millennials.”
The piece goes on to discuss the White Flint Sector plan and concludes with this comment from Lindsay Hoffman, former director of Friends of White Flint: ” If you asked me the one thing I’m afraid of, it’s that we’re going to build all this and no one will come.”
So friends, what do you think? Two years on from this article, is the White Flint development living up to the hype?
My take is that a lot is going right at the moment, the Pike and Rose development particularly with the new brew pubs, restaurants, condos and hotels is a big draw and is changing the area dramatically, and, I believe, positively.
The White Flint area is proving to be a big draw for newcomers and others simply looking for a change of scene.
I have had good discussions with investors who are looking to buy property in the surrounding community to take advantage of the growth and development.
The only real concern I have at this moment is whether White Flint can deliver on their post-car transportation vision. More support is needed for metro and we need to see more money put into bike lanes and rapid transport.
What do you think? Do you like the direction White Flint is going in or do you have concerns?
Please let me know!
As an aside, see link below for more info and remember I am always happy to discuss White Flint and the real estate implications (residential, commercial and investment) one on one.

Bethesda Real Estate Investing Meetups

Hi friends,

I have been asked by a few people to start a Bethesda Real Estate Investing meetup that is grounded in easy to understand systems and models. This is something I am happy to do but just wanted to get a sense from folks what other specific things are missing from existing seminar/ meet ups etc.

So! Please give me a call at (240)486-3921 or drop me an email to raj@rajabout.com with your thoughts.

1. Do you have strong feelings about format, timing, content, size etc. Now is the time to make your voice heard.

I want to make sure that this meetup/ seminar series is incredibly useful to attendees and that we can work together to build strong investment portfolios.

Cheers,

Raj

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Washington Post Covers Element 28

I noticed that the Washington Post recently covered the new Bethesda apt building “Element 28″ and touched on the broader growth of high-rises in a piece titled: “High-end, transit-oriented apartments rise in Bethesda.” 

It got me thinking about the future a little bit….and I wanted to share this thought with you:

I hope that the spike in apartment buildings and new residents leads to a renewal of community in Bethesda. The risk is that things go the other way and we become more siloed but I believe that with some effort, imagination and constructive engagement with local gov., we can build a Bethesda that captures the best of years past with new energy and dynamism for the future.

Grosvenor Metro Development (North Bethesda)

Hi friends,

I wanted to take a minute and forward this notice to you:

Grosvenor Metro Development
Planning Board to Hear Testimony on June 29
Make Your Voice Heard, In Person or In Writing

On June 29, the county Planning Board will hear public testimony on staff’s draft plan for the remaining undeveloped land at the Grosvenor-Strathmore station. A copy of the draft plan is at the Parkside management office, which you are welcome to consult in the office. To consult an online copy, go to http://montgomeryplanning.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Public-Hearing-Draftlowres.pdf.

The agenda for the 29th will be posted two weeks beforehand (go to http://montgomeryplanningboard.org/agendas/). Information about signing up to testify or submitting written testimony will be at that same site.

The most critical issue to be decided is DENSITY, which will affect both the number of dwelling units to be built and the building heights.

NUMBER OF DWELLING UNITS: Staff is recommending a FAR (floor area ratio) of 2.5, or approximately 1,145 dwelling units. The developer is pushing for a FAR of 3.5 (1,650 dwelling units) or a FAR of 3.0 (1,400 dwelling units).

BUILDING HEIGHTS: With a FAR of 2.5, the site would be filled with residential buildings except for one small green community gathering place up by the Metro entrance (to be called a “civic green”). The residential buildings would be stepped up from 4 stories facing Strathmore Park across Tuckerman to higher buildings (maximum 16 stories) midway up the slope and culminating in two “signature” buildings at the top of the slope, by the Metro station. These two buildings would be 260 feet high, or approximately 26 stories each. If a FAR of 3.5 or 3.0 were approved, the two high rises would be higher still, and the other buildings on the site could also be higher than under the staff proposal.
For a fuller picture, please review the draft plan itself. And then write to the Planning Board expressing your opinion, or sign up to testify on June 29.

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.

Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan Cont.

Reactions to the Sector Plan are coming in. Here is one take from our friends at Bethesda Magazine. Of particular interest was a point on additional development:

 

The plan opens the door to about 4.2 million square feet of additional development.

That might sound like a lot, but the county planning director and the chair of the Montgomery County Planning Board assert that the proposed Bethesda plan is modest in scale.

To put the number in context, county staff reports show that 23.6 million square feet of development existed in Bethesda as of September 2014. Ongoing and approved projects add up to another 4.6 million square feet. Included in that number is a roughly 940,000-square-foot redevelopment plan for the site of the Apex building at 7272 Wisconsin Ave.

What’s not included? Marriott International’s proposal to construct roughly 400,000 square feet near Woodmont Triangle for the company’s headquarters and a flagship hotel. That project will consume some of the 4.2 million square feet of new building space allowed by the Bethesda plan.

It will be interesting to get a variety of takes on this and other aspects of the plan. Feel free to email me at raj@rajabout.com