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Construction for a 26-story multi-use building is expected to begin this fall at the former site of Progress Place in Silver Spring.
Planned at the lot that borders the railroad tracks and the Metropolitan Branch Trail at Dixon Avenue is an L-shaped building with retail stores and eateries on the first floor, and a four-story garage atop the stores with a maximum of 440 residential units above.
The development will include a special bicycle entry for those using the eight-mile branch trail, which follows Metro’s Red Line from Silver Spring to Union Station in Washington, D.C.
Ripley II, as the project has been dubbed, is yet another piece in the rebuilding of the area that is walking distance from the Silver Spring Transit Center and offers plenty of shopping, offices and restaurants.
The 2010 Silver Spring central business district plan included a vision of a revitalized Ripley District, which would “be a focal point of high-density commercial development, linking Georgia Avenue and East-West Highway with bike trails and pedestrian routes.”
At that time, the district – a triangular area south of the transit center between Bonifant Street, Georgia Avenue and the CSX railroads tracks, was “dominated by automotive shops, public and private parking lots, and garages and some warehouse facilities,” according to the business district plan.
Since then, Washington Property Company in Bethesda began work on Solaire, a multifamily luxury apartment building with 338 units, 16,000-square-feet of retail space and a six-level parking garage.
It is expected to be completed in the spring or early summer, said Janel Kausner, vice president of development at Washington Property Company.
That company previously built a 17-story complex featuring 295 luxury apartments and four stories of underground parking at 1150 Ripley Street, which is called Eleven55 Ripley. Like the projects in progress, this one features a pool and rooftop terrace.
Revised sketch plans for Ripley II were recently submitted. They call for the building’s maximum height to be raised from 200 feet to 270 feet. Those plans currently are under review by a variety of County agencies, including those dealing with planning, transportation, utilities and stormwater.
The planning board is expected to vote on the plans in mid-April. If they’re approved, the developers will have two months to revise the plans to meet the board’s proposed changes, said Stephanie Dickel, regulatory planner coordinator for Area 1 at Montgomery County Planning Department.
The next phase after that involves obtaining permits for the work, she said.
According to the revised sketch plan and site plan, the 18,000-square-foot building will include a club lounge, bar and kitchen on the sixth floor, and a fitness center at the lower roof level with a pool and lounge on the upper roof level.
Plans also include extending Dixon Avenue so it connects with Silver Spring Avenue. Access to Ripley II will be on Dixon Avenue.
Kausner said that details of the retail space have not been finalized, but that there would be a wide variety of uses, and possibly a food hall or urban market.
There are fewer amenities in this area of Silver Spring than at the nearby downtown district, which is experiencing business and restaurant closings.
The huge Discovery Communications center, which featured the television station’s iconic shark, moved its headquarters to New York City.
Foulger-Pratt, in partnership with Cerberus Capital Management, purchased the 545,000-square-foot building at 1 Discovery Place, off Colesville Road, but has yet to announce any tenants.
The company intends to adapt the property so it could house multiple tenants.
Kausner said Washington Properties is not concerned about the future of the area.
“It’s not something we like to see,” she said of Discovery’s move.