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TOD No More: 5 Projects Planned Along The Transitway Maryland Just Killed

A 15-mile bus rapid transit route has been planned in upper Montgomery County for nearly a decade, but the state appears to be killing the project. 

The Maryland Department of Transportation this week removed the Corridor Cities Transitway from its statewide transportation plan. The county has said it cannot move forward on the $800M project without state assistance, and Del. Kirill Reznik told Bethesda Magazine the latest move represents the death of the project. 

"Gov. Hogan has put a final knife into the heart of what could be a very useful transit line in a rapidly growing area of the county," Reznik, whose district includes part of the planned CCT route, told Bethesda Magazine.

The route would have extended from the Shady Grove Metro station through Gaithersburg, Germantown and Clarksburg, providing the growing upper Montgomery County areas with new transit-oriented development opportunities. Bisnow found five major projects planned along the route, the majority of which have highlighted the CCT as a way to support the new development. 

Comsat Campus

An aerial view of the 204-acre Comsat campus in Clarksburg

The northernmost stop on the CCT would have been located on the former Comsat campus in Clarksburg. Lantian Development, a Bethesda-based firm backed by Chinese capital, acquired the 204-acre campus in 2015. 

Lantian views the site as a long-term development play and has not moved forward with plans, but its website envisions a potential mixed-use development with multifamily, hospitality, office, retail and lab space. Lantian CEO Bob Elliot told Bisnow in 2017 the CCT would have increased the development potential of the site. 

"At some point in the future, we could have the Corridor Cities Transitway," Elliott said in 2017. "Having that on the property would allow for a future mixed-use component that might be a little different than what you could build today." 

Lantian also owns a site on the opposite end of the proposed CCT route where it is moving forward with a project. The developer is planning a 1.3M SF development on a 31-acre site in Rockville, but because it sits near the Shady Grove Metro station, the project remains a transit-oriented development. 

Century

A rendering of the Century development in Germantown
  • Developer: Elm Street, Pulte Homes
  • Location: Century Boulevard in Germantown

In 2013, Trammell Crow and NVCommercial teamed up to buy the 55-acre former Orbital Sciences Campus in Germantown. The team in 2016 received approval for the first phase of Century development, consisting of 300 multifamily units, 160 townhouses, 28 two-over-two units, 303K SF of new office space and an 85K SF hotel. 

Elm Street Communities later bought the site and partnered with Pulte Homes, which is building the 188-unit Century Row, a mix of townhouses and condos, on a 10-acre portion of the site. 

The CCT was planned to run along Century Boulevard with a stop directly in front of the project. The Montgomery County Planning Department's 2016 report recommending approval of Phase 1 mentioned the CCT dozens of times, saying that the project achieved transit-oriented development goals. 

"The Phase I development continues to meet the Sector Plan’s objectives ... by providing a mixed use development centered on a future transitway stop, with employment uses along I-270, and street-oriented development along Century Boulevard," the Planning Department report said. 

Topgolf Germantown

The Topgolf at The Peterson Cos.' Commonwealth Center in Ashburn
  • Developer: Matan Cos./Topgolf
  • Location: I-270 and Germantown Road

Popular entertainment retailer Topgolf plans to open a new facility later this year on I-270 in Germantown. Topgolf is building the facility through a ground lease with the property owner, Matan Cos.

Earlier this year, Matan retained brokerage firm Stan Johnson Co. to market the 11-acre site for sale. The marketing materials for the site include a mention of a bus transit system, but focus more heavily on the vehicular traffic from Interstate 270 than the CCT stop that was planned near the site. 

Kentlands Market Square

A map showing the potential phasing of the nine-block Kentlands Market Square development
  • Developer: Kimco Realty
  • Location: MD-119 and Kentlands Boulevard in Gaithersburg

Kimco Realty in 2016 paid $95M for Kentlands Market Square, a 251K SF shopping center anchored by Whole Foods in Gaithersburg's Kentlands neighborhood. The developer is currently embarking on $23M of renovations to the property, set to be completed next year, but its long-term plans are much more ambitious. 

In February 2018, Kimco filed a sketch plan application with the Gaithersburg Planning Commission to build up to 1,614 residential units and up to 1.2M SF of commercial space on the 21-acre property. The City Council approved the plan in July 2018.

The development is separated into nine blocks and the plan envisions it being built in phases over more than 20 years. The CCT would have included a stop in Kentlands, and the long-term plan for the area highlights the transitway as a means to spur development.  

Crown

A site plan of the Crown development with the planned CCT station in the center
  • Developer: Westbrook Partners, Michael Harris Homes, Pulte Homes, Wormald
  • Location: I-270 and Sam Eig Highway in Gaithersburg

Gaithersburg's Downtown Crown mixed-use community already features a 260K SF, Harris Teeter-anchored retail center, an apartment building and townhouses, but it is just the beginning of something even larger. 

The 182-acre Crown community is ultimately slated to have as many as 2,250 residential units and 320K SF of retail. Westbrook Partners is the master developer of the site, and it is working with homebuilders Michael Harris Homes, Pulte and Wormald.

The property is separated into four neighborhoods: Downtown Crown, Crown West, Crown Central and Crown East. Much of the western portion of the site has been built, and Pulte is beginning to build homes on the eastern portion with a 64-unit condo project. Site plans for the development highlight the CCT station that was planned at the center of the property.