The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission is still on track to move its headquarters from Silver Spring to downtown Wheaton, but perhaps not to Parking Lot 13 as previously proposed.
Instead, Park and Planning is looking across the street, to take over the site currently occupied by the Mid-County Regional Services Center at 2424 Reedie Dr. in Wheaton, according to a project description form submitted in March. (See attached PDF)
If this goes forward, Montgomery County likely would receive the Park and Planning headquarters site at 8787 Georgia Ave. in Silver Spring, in a land swap, said Greg Ossont, deputy director of the Department of General Services.
Leggett: $67 Million More Would Be Needed to Move County Agencies to Wheaton
Another major proposed change in the county's vision for Wheaton redevelopment has come to light recently.
The County Council envisioned a "multi-user government building" in Wheaton, and discussions this past year about the new headquarters building have included plans to move county agencies from leased space in Rockville to Wheaton.
But Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett wrote in a memo to the County Council last week that making space for county agencies to share an office building with Park and Planning would be too expensive. (See attached PDF for the full memo text.)
Constructing additional floors on the proposed Park and Planning headquarters to house the county's Department of Permitting Services and the Department of Environmental Protection would cost an estimated $67 million more than the $65 million already planned for the project in the county budget, according to the memo.
"As you are aware, additional debt capacity in the CIP is severely limited in the FY15-20 period," Leggett wrote, "and the addition of $67 million in costs for the Wheaton Redevelopment project will necessitate delaying or eliminating existing projects such as library renovations, recreation centers, and other high priority projects."
Park and Planning estimates that its headquarters will cost approximately $59 million, according to the project description form it submitted in March. (See attached PDF.)
The project description form says that the building will include 132,000 square feet of office space for the M-NCPPC headquarters and 10,000 square feet for the regional service center occupants. The building may also include spaces for private commercial use.
Budget Decisions and Cost Estimates in 2012
Last year, the County Council passed over Leggett's plan for a partnership with developer B.F. Saul to build a platform over the bus bay site in the triangle formed by Georgia Avenue, Veirs Mill Road and Reedie Drive in Wheaton.
Instead, the County Council decided on a plan for a government office building and town square on Parking Lot 13.
At the time, DGS estimated that the costs for an office building shared by county agencies and Park and Planning on Parking Lot 13 would be approximately twice the amount the County Council allotted in the budget, Ossont said.
Total estimates by DGS in 2012 for a M-NCPPC and county building on lot 13, a town square and underground parking came out to $166 million. (See page ©21 in this document.)
The project description form for Wheaton redevelopment adopted by the County Council in May 2012 recognized that the budget provided only "partial funding for construction of the government office complex or building" and that the cost estimate would be revised after the design phase.
The County Council is anticipated to discuss Wheaton redevelopment later this month.