During the , Chris Todd of Alliance Realty presented his company’s plans to develop the property currently known as the BB&T Building at the intersection of Blueridge and Georgia Avenues into a mixed-retail space with 255 apartments. Now, just two months later, those plans are defunct, leaving a hole in Wheaton’s redevelopment.
Alliance Realty had contracted with AvalonBay Communities to take over the project after Avalon dropped its own plans to transform the space into a mixed residential-grocery project--as just a few blocks south on Georgia Avenue.
Patch spoke with two employees of Alliance Realty—at the Reston, VA office and Alliance’s national headquarters in Phoenix, AZ—to find out why the company abandoned the project. Alliance’s home office referred the matter back to Reston, where an executive assistant shared that “no one associated with that project is still with the company and no further information will be available until a new development manager is hired.”
Pete McGinnity, manager of Wheaton Redevelopment for Montgomery County’s Department of General Services said that there is no requirement for public notification of the cancellation of the project since it was a negotiation between two private parties. However, when asked if he has experienced this type of situation in Wheaton before, he responded, “I’m a bit surprised about it, since they went to the point of meeting with a local citizens group [at the October WRAC meeting].”
McGinnity was quick to point out that two other companies associated with redevelopment in Wheaton, Patriot Realty and Washington Properties, have presented to WRAC and other community groups as a part of the process in the past and have moved forward with their projects.
“In this economy, there are more factors than ever for developers to consider, and they each have their own project management styles,” McGinnity said.
While no actual demolition or construction has occurred at 11501 Georgia Avenue, the effects of the redevelopment plans for the space are already being felt by nearby businesses such as , which has .
The building and site now revert to original owner AvalonBay Communities. Calls to AvalonBay’s headquarters were referred to the company’s public relations team in New York. In an email from Kreab Gavin Anderson, senior advisor Richard J. Wolff stated “the Company will continue to market the parcel at Georgia and Blueridge in Wheaton.”