Redevelopment Stories – 2005-2009

Wheaton Public Safety Task Force

The Final Report of the Wheaton Metro Station Area Pedestrian Safety Evaluation has been issued by the Maryland Department of Transportation. The Report contains numerous recommendations to help reduce conflicts between vehicle traffic and pedestrian circulation in downtown Wheaton. It was prepared to help address a variety of pedestrian-traffic safety concerns occuring in older suburban areas that become more urban.

The Report is now being evaluated by a task force made up of representatives of the Wheaton Redevelopment Steering Committee and the Wheaton Urban District Advisory Committee. After reviewing the task force recommendations, the two committees will forward recommendations to the County Executive concerning priorities for implementing the study recommendations.

The Wheaton Public Safety Task Force, a group of residents, business people and County staff convened by the County Executive, recently submitted its report with a number of recommendations to improve safety issues in Downtown Wheaton. The Wheaton Public Safety Audit report will serve as a master plan for all current and future safety concerns in Wheaton.

Arts and Entertainment Task Force

Recently a new task force was created to bring visual and performing artists to Wheaton. The Arts and Entertainment Task Force The Arts and Entertainment Task Force is seeking to enliven the arts and entertainment atmosphere in Wheaton. In addition, the Arts and Entertainment Task Force is creating a network of visual and performing artists and entertainers who live or work in the Wheaton/Kensington area to help shape the vision for Wheaton with the arts as part of Wheaton’s redevelopment, share information about local arts activities including exhibits and performance opportunities.

Downtown Wheaton Development Overlay Zone Lifted by Text Amendment: Summer 2006

Much of downtown Wheaton was within the Wheaton Retail Preservation Overlay Zone. The zone was enacted in 1990 in response to recommendations contained in the 1990 Wheaton CBD Sector Plan. The Overlay Zone served to limit the amount of new development that could occur in the downtown area. This limitation was intended to help preserve the small business character of the downtown area.

It is now understood that strict adherence to the requirements of the Wheaton Retail Preservation Overlay Zone discouraged new growth and development, including additions and expansions to existing businesses. The Wheaton Redevelopment Program Office recommended several significant changes to the Overlay Zone, and a text amendment to improve opportunities for redeveloping the area was approved after much debate in the summer of 2006.

Montgomery County Incubators Business Incubator Network – Wheaton: March 2006

The Montgomery County Business Incubator Network (MCBIN) is growing! Spurred by the success of the original facility, the Maryland Technology Development Center (MTDC) located in the Shady Grove Life Sciences Center, and the year-old Silver Spring Innovation Center (SSIC), located in Downtown Silver Spring – which together house 60 companies with over 250 employees – the County is set to open their third incubator facility.

The NEW Wheaton Small Business Incubator – to open in early 2006 in the Wheaton South Building at Westfield Shoppingtown Wheaton – will provide office space, conference rooms and support services for approximately 25 – 30 local small businesses. Features to include:

  • 10K square-foot, custom-designed business center in the heart of Downtown Wheaton – which is in the midst of a $400 million, multi-phase commercial, residential and retail revitalization
  • State-of-the-art conference and meeting space with full plug-and-play capability
  • Office equipped with internet access via T1 lines and voice and data connections
  • Shared work space with copier, fax, printer and mail service
  • Available storage space

Like tenants of the MTDC and the SSIC, Wheaton Small Business Incubator tenants will have access to a host of business resources including training, development, and best practices seminars led by industry experts, free counseling & legal services, business counseling through the University of Maryland Intellectual Property Legal Resource Center, networking conferences, business counseling through the County’s award-winning business mentoring program, and more.

Well on the way to achieving the goal of 7 by 7: seven incubators in Montgomery County by 2007. In addition to Wheaton, new incubators are planned for East County, Rockville and Germantown.

For more details, contact Jerry Goodwin at 301-942-4495

Local Restaurant Serves Again! Anchor Inn Contents Donated to Habitat for Humanity: March 2006

Over a year ago, the Anchor Inn restaurant in Wheaton closed its doors, its proprietors leaving the area. But now the Anchor Inn is serving again, this time not entrees, but giving back to the community that patronized it for so long.

The new property owner, Anchor Inn Properties, LLC, a subsidiary of local real estate developer Greenhill Capital Corporation, has donated all of the Anchor Inn contents to Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County Maryland, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to the reduction of substandard housing by providing a hand-up to help families realize the dream of home ownership. Working in partnership with families, Habitat volunteers build affordable housing in Montgomery County. Habitat has already removed the building contents, and will use elements of the building structure as well.

Greenhill has also given Wheaton Fire and Rescue permission to conduct emergency training on the Anchor Inn site. One day soon, Greenhill will demolish what remains of the building, in preparation for its redevelopment of the site.
Greenhill Companies

Duncan Urges Small Businesses to Register for Local Reserve Program Online Qualifying and Registering at Local Small Business Reserve Program Website: January 2006

Emphasizing the importance of Montgomery County’s small business community, County Executive Douglas M. Duncan today urged businesses to register for the County’s new Local Small Business Reserve Program (LSBRP). Qualifying and registering for the program can be done online on the LSBRP website.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and we have always made it a top priority to do whatever we can to help them grow and prosper,” said County Executive Duncan. “The success of this program is dependant on the numbers of local companies we can get qualified and registered. This new website is user friendly and will walk the business people through the process and answer any questions they may have. We will continue our outreach efforts to try and ensure the local business community is fully aware of this new program.”

The LSBRP program, which went into effect January 1, 2006, ensures that all County departments set aside (with specified exceptions), a minimum of 10 percent of procurements for small businesses. In addition, it also provides for the web site posting of procurement opportunities and the on-going marketing and evaluation of the Program.

The Program defines small businesses based on specific industry. For example: wholesale businesses less than 15 employees or $2 million in gross sales; retail businesses less than 15 employees or $2.5 million; manufacturing companies less than 20 employees or $7 million; service companies less than 25 employees or $2.5 million; and Construction companies less than 25 employees or $7 millions. Businesses must be independently owned and physically located only in Montgomery County. Broker and subsidiary businesses are not eligible for this Program. Companies will be able to determine if they qualify by answering the questions on the website when they go to register.

The Program is self-certifying, meaning that registration is based on information the businesses provide. The burden of responsibility rests with firms registering. Providing false information is likely to result in contract termination and ineligibility for future contracting with the County. After a business successfully registers for the Program, it will immediately receive an e-mail informing it that it has successfully self-certified its firm for the Program. The business must have at minimum this verification to bid on County work designated “Local Small Business Reserve Program”. Individual County Departments will decide what work is to be designated within this program. The new LSBPR web site will have links to all procurement opportunities posted on the County’s Procurement Office website. Companies will be required to re-register each year to ensure that they still meet the program qualifications.

For more information and to register for the program, visit the LSBRP website or call the Montgomery County Dept of Economic Development at 240-777-2000.

Wheaton Designated Arts and Entertainment District by State: December 2005

Wheaton has been designated by the State of Maryland as an Arts and Entertainment District (A&ED). Qualifying artists working in the Wheaton A&ED are now eligible for income tax credits. Developers who create spaces for artists to live and/or work and A&E businesses owning property can be eligible for property tax credits. The property tax credit is for a period of 10 years and is on the increased portion of the County property taxes that would be due from new qualified capital investments, such as building renovations and new construction. For the first 5 years, eligible businesses would receive a property tax credit for 80% of the increased taxes due. For the next 5 years, the property tax credit would decrease by 10% per year (70% credit on year 6, 60% credit on year 7, etc.) The Wheaton A&ED is also exempt from admissions and amusement taxes.

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