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Washington DC Mixed-Use

It's a lot harder to leave a community than it is to leave a building, according to MRP Realty's Zach Wade. And that's why coworking spaces like WeWork and ÜberOffices may be sticking around for awhile, said MRP Realty's Zach Wade at our Montgomery County Boom event yesterday. MRP recently signed ÜberOffices to a full-floor lease at its redeveloped Bethesda Crossing complex (formerly the Air Rights Center), and while his team's office space in Georgetown was under construction, Zach and company set up shop in the coworking hub. What he found there was a young, vibrant, friendly collection of workers that didn't feel like a stuffy office setting. Über tenants feel invested in each other, which in turn makes them more inclined to stay in a coworking space or perhaps take space elsewhere in the building if they grow.

Robin McBride Zeigler and Federal Realty are hoping to cultivate a sense of community too, at the brand-new Pike & Rose development on Rockville Pike. Federal hopes to get there not only by leasing up the new rental units in the first phase of the project, but the diverse retail mix, including specialty goods as well as fast casual and full-service food options. A robust ground-floor mix not only fosters a sense of community but also helps drive the values of the other portions of a project, Robin says.

Re-doing Montgomery County's zoning ordinance book was almost like "decoding the Rosetta Stone," says county council legislative attorney Jeff Zyontz. But the revisions, which will be rolled out soon, will make life easier for both developers and politicians through a more streamlined list of land uses. A detailed online component will also make things more efficient, Jeff says.

The Purple Line light rail would go a long way in boosting MoCo's connectivity and the success of any new development, says Foulger-Pratt's Brigg Bunker. Giving folks a way to get east-west through the county without having to battle through the Beltway (or take a convoluted Metro trip) is long overdue.