BETHESDA — Nine months after construction began in Bethesda for a Purple Line Metro station and two towers for office and residential space, officials, including Gov. Larry Hogan (R) joined together Aug. 9 for a groundbreaking ceremony.
The huge hole at the 7200 block of Wisconsin Avenue near its intersection with Elm Street marks the future spot of a new entrance to the Red Line; a Purple Line station; and 937,000 square feet of office, retail and residential space.
The project also includes a tunnel for the nearby popular Capital Crescent Trail.
The development includes 360,000 square feet of office and retail space, two residential towers with 456 residential units and 750 parking spaces.
When asked why the groundbreaking was held after work was well under way, Olive Carr, CEO of Carr Properties, the real estate investment trust backing the project, said it took “a lot of coordinating to pull this together.” He said the timing for the groundbreaking coincided with last week’s signing of WTTG Fox 5, the office space’s first tenant.
“Amazing things are happening on this corner,” Carr said, calling the development “an incredible partnership” between the state, Montgomery County and private companies. “It does take a village.”
County Council member Hans Riemer also commented on how many different groups had to work together, noting that the County’s transportation, housing and economic development divisions all participated.
“Your County Council is behind this 100 percent,” Reimer said.
“This was not easy to achieve,” added Michael Smith, the County’s development ombudsman. Former tenants had to be bought out and moved elsewhere, he said.
“Failure was never an option,” Smith said.
Hogan, who sported a hard hat as he shoveled ceremonial dirt into the air, cited the project as a job creator that will not only provide jobs at the location but, with the eventual opening of the Purple Line, enable people to commute to jobs elsewhere.
“Usually the state slows down” projects, but Hogan vowed to help this one finish on time, he said.
Hogan cited the Wilson and Elm development as an example of how his administration is “growing our economy and putting people to work,” adding, “Maryland is indeed open for business.”
The office part of the project, the Wilson, will be a 23-story structure and extend almost 300 feet toward the sky; it will front along Wisconsin Avenue. The residential section is called The Elm.
Following the groundbreaking in Bethesda, Hogan traveled to the County’s Department of Health and Human Services in Rockville to announce funding to curb human trafficking. He also toured the Muslin Community Center in Silver Spring.
When asked if his day in the County was connected to his reelection bid, Hogan said he has been in the County frequently during his first term and has a positive working relation with County Executive Ike Leggett and other County officials to “grow our economy and put people to work.”
Hogan, a Republican, previously boasted that he would win a majority of the County’s voters in November, despite voter registration here heavily favoring the Democrats. According to the County Board of Elections, registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans 380,00 to 113,000.