Showing posts with label Federal Realty. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Federal Realty. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Choice Hotels to move headquarters out of City of Rockville to Pike & Rose


Less than a decade after moving its corporate headquarters from Silver Spring to Rockville Town Center, Choice Hotels International is leaving the city. The hospitality firm, which has been located in Montgomery County since 1968, will move outside the city limits to unincorporated Rockville at the Pike & Rose development. 

Choice will move its operations into a new, 16-story office tower at 915 Meeting Street at the Federal Realty-owned development. It will take the place of an existing surface parking lot. The firm will occupy more than 105,000 square feet in the building, a downsizing of 25,000 SF from its current Rockville headquarters. 

The move is shocking, as there was no public indication that Choice was seeking to relocate so soon after building out a state-of-the-art headquarters at 1 Choice Hotels Circle in 2013. Less than ten years ago, the City of Rockville, Montgomery County and Maryland awarded the company $4.3 million in loans and grants, among other concessions, to keep Choice from joining the many companies that have fled the county and state over the last two decades.

Fortunately, the County has at least managed to retain the firm again. Unlike other corporate leaders who have passed on Montgomery County, Choice chair Stewart Bainum is politically-aligned with local and state Democratic leaders to the extent that he is willing to forgo tax savings to stay in the county. Bainum has recently sought to invest his own money to rescue the Baltimore Sun, a favorite newspaper of Democratic politicians statewide that is in danger of falling prey to a private investment firm. He himself has served in the Maryland General Assembly, and is very active in the community.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R)

"It is tremendous news that Choice Hotels is opening a new headquarters in North Bethesda, reaffirming its commitment to our state and retaining hundreds of jobs here for years to come," Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) said in a statement Monday. "The company has been an outstanding corporate citizen in the community, and we look forward to their continued success here in Maryland and around the world."

Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly M. Schulz

"Choice Hotels has been an important member of Maryland's tourism industry for more than 50 years and we were very pleased to work with them on the decision for a new headquarters," Maryland Commerce Secretary and Republican gubernatorial candidate Kelly M. Schulz added. "This new location will give a world-class company like Choice Hotels a number of attractive advantages that are so critical to companies today, including proximity to public transportation and a variety of retail, dining and wellness options."

The move further underlines that moribund Montgomery County's economic development victories have been few and  hollow over the last quarter century. No major corporation has relocated its headquarters to Montgomery County in over 25 years. Many of the few that were here have left. County politicians have been reduced to celebrating the relocation of HQs that are already here, such as Marriott moving from North Bethesda to downtown Bethesda, and now Choice from Rockville to "Rockville," a.k.a. North Bethesda. Rather than advancing the ball, this is largely a case of rearranging the furniture on the deck of the Titanic.

Nevertheless, this is a huge win for Federal Realty. Not only does Pike & Rose now gain the cachet of a major corporate headquarters at the expense of rival Foulger Pratt, but all those incoming employees represent new lunch and happy hour customers for the many restaurants at the development. "We are thrilled to welcome Choice Hotels to the growing list of world-class organizations that call Pike & Rose home," Federal Realty CEO Donald Wood said yesterday. "Choice's focus on employee well-being make 915 Meeting Street and the Pike & Rose neighborhood the perfect fit. Its associates will have unparalleled access to state-of-the-art architecture that incorporates the latest wellness features and a thoughtfully curated merchandising mix all within an authentic, vibrant neighborhood with excellent regional access."

Photo courtesy Choice Hotels International

Friday, August 14, 2020

909 Rose is one of the DC area's few pandemic-ready office buildings

We've been hearing for months about how office buildings will have to be updated to adapt to the new abnormal of Covid-19, and potential future pandemics. But Federal Realty's new Class A office building at its Pike & Rose development in Rockville is one of the few pandemic-ready workspaces in the Washington, D.C. area.
909 Rose, located at 909 Rose Avenue, has several of the features landlords worldwide are considering already installed. These include a dedicated outdoor air system, which circulates 30% more fresh air through the building than required by code.
The building also has the Schindler touchless elevator PORT technology already built in. This eliminates the issue of high-touch elevator button surfaces, and potentially could be utilized to reduce the number of passengers aboard the elevator at one time, a second concern in Covid spread via elevators.
In addition to these rare features, the building also has open floor plates. This is essential at a time when office floorplans are being rethought, and physical separations between workers - including screens, cubicles or assigning employees their own office - are now considered ideal.
Windows are also designed for maximum natural light penetration, which might be an additional plus as direct sunlight is known to kill Covid-19, up to 90% in 34 minutes according to a recent study. And when internet reliability for devices and teleconferencing has never been of more concern, 909 Rose is Wired Silver certified, with a 100% uptime guarantee.
Considering that the building was complete when the pandemic struck, at too late a stage to have suddenly added such integral design elements, the features are a minor coup for Federal Realty in marketing the building. Federal Realty will have these advantages for its own employees, as its headquarters office is one of the already-signed tenants, along with OneDigital.


Monday, June 15, 2020

Pike & Rose to add new dog park, shipping container bar

New additions to Prose Street are in the works at Pike & Rose. A new pop-up bar will be constructed out of refurbished shipping containers there, where The Beach at Pike & Rose has drawn crowds the two previous summers.

The bar's concept has not been made public yet, but you can see an example of a beer garden that was built out of shipping containers at Assembly Row in Boston, another property in Pike & Rose owner Federal Realty's portfolio. Also coming to Prose Street will be a fenced-in dog park.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Federal Realty expands leadership team

Mike Ennes
Rockville-based development firm Federal Realty Investment Trust - owner of multiple properties in Montgomery County, including Bethesda Row, Plaza del Mercado and Rockville Town Square - announced yesterday that it is expanding its leadership team. Vice-President, Residential Mike Ennes has been promoted to Senior VP, Mixed-Use Initiatives and Corporate Communications. Senior Director of Development Jay Brinson was also promoted, to VP of Development.
Jay Brinson
Ennes came to Federal Realty in 2015 from Tysons-based Hilton Worldwide. Federal's Pike & Rose property features a Canopy by Hilton hotel. "Mike was sourced from the hospitality industry to better integrate Federal's various residential offerings into its burgeoning mixed-use portfolio," Federal Realty's president and chief executive officer Don Wood said in a statement Wednesday.

Wood cited Brinson as "critical to the delivery of 909 Rose, our first trophy office building at Pike and Rose." Federal Realty is relocating its Rockville headquarters into that building.

Photos via Federal Realty/LinkedIn

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Orangetheory Fitness, CorePower Yoga opening at Congressional Plaza in Rockville

After losing several tenants, Congressional Plaza in Rockville has been adding new ones in spades. Orangetheory Fitness and CorePower Yoga are the latest two officially announced by property owner Federal Realty. Both fitness facilities will be part of a new section of Congressional Plaza they are branding as FITRow.

One space remains to be filled in the FITRow section, which will be next to the future Barnes & Noble bookstore in the north wing of the property. Federal Realty says it found success with its original test of the FITRow concept at its Assembly Row property in Boston. I can say there has been a huge response to the recent announcement of Orangetheory's future location at 7900 Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Bethesda, which bodes well for a warm reception in Rockville.

“FITRow is a lifestyle, a community where people have access to several boutique studios that can evolve with their fitness wants and needs,” Federal Realty Director of Asset Management Kari Glinksi said in a statement this morning. Orangetheory and CorePower will both open in 2020.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Federal Realty's Rockville headquarters up for lease

Federal Realty Investment Trust's Rockville headquarters at 1626 E. Jefferson Street is now on the market for future lease. The real estate firm, which includes Rockville Town Square, Montrose Crossing, Congressional Plaza and Pike & Rose among its nationwide portfolio, will be moving to a new office building at Pike & Rose when it is completed.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Construction underway on new Pike & Rose office building

Construction has begun on a new Class A office building at Pike & Rose, known as 909 Rose Avenue. Although the office market in moribund Montgomery County is weak, with no major corporate headquarters locating here in two decades, property owner Federal Realty is making a similar move to rival JBG Smith - moving their own headquarters from up Rockville Pike into this building, just as JBG will relocate its Chevy Chase HQ to 4747 Bethesda Avenue.

Federal is marketing the rest of the available space in 909 Rose with an emphasis on the amenities found in the Pike & Rose development, which now boasts arguably the best one-stop dining collection in Montgomery County. And the AMP concert venue and iPic Theater. The building itself will have a rooftop lounge and outdoor deck. Federal Realty is also promoting the idea that, with its HQ on-premises, tenants will have a better experience compared to a "remote landlord."

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Federal Realty exceeds revenue forecasts for Q4 2018

Federal Realty, which owns several major retail centers in Rockville including Rockville Town Square, exceeded analysts' forecasts for revenue in the fourth quarter of last year. The real estate trust took in $235.4 million in revenue in the quarter, compared to the $$234.2 million the Associated Press reports analysts had forecast.

Funds from operations, which adds depreciation and amortization to a firm's net income, exactly matched forecasters' estimate of $1.57 per share, the AP reports. Federal Realty's stock has climbed 23% over the last year. The City of Rockville recently began subsidizing anchor Dawson's Market at the struggling Rockville Town Square, where multiple large tenants closed in 2018, including Mellow Mushroom pizzeria, Pandora Seafood, and - briefly - Dawson's Market, until the city subsidy enabled it to reopen.

Federal Realty is headquartered in Rockville.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Explosive Rockville Town Square public meeting - it's even worse then we thought

"I was crying like
hell when we 
received the letters
that they were going
to evict us"

A public meeting on the future of Rockville Town Square exceeded the fire code-allowed capacity of the Buchanan Room at VisArts last night, forcing overflow attendees to listen from out in the hallway. Emotiional testimonies by business owners were only topped by bombshell announcements of additional business closures at the Square, and another Federal Realty property in Town Center.

Takeaways from the night include two clear problems - the widely-despised parking policies at RTS, and that "the rent is too damn high" at that property and nearby Courthouse Center. Last night we learned the latter is about to lose one of its most-popular and beloved tenants, when the owner of the Apollo Restaurant announced it will close at the end of this month, citing an inability to pay the high rent Federal Realty is asking for.
Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton
addresses the crowd
A member of the family that owns Samovar, a restaurant that has been closed for almost two months after water leaked in from the apartments above it, detailed her struggles with brokers and Federal Realty from the beginning. She said a property manager at RTS repeatedly stalled in giving her a key to their leased space, leaving owners and contractors unable to immediately access the restaurant as they began construction.

"I was crying, asking and begging them," she recalled. "Please, we need to start." Her architect charged them overtime as a result, she added. "He was standing there, next to the door," as she had no key or passcode to let him in. She said her father had opened and operated a successful restaurant in New York City with seating for one-thousand people, one in Denver, and another in Portland, Oregon, and assumed he would find similar success in Rockville.

But, "we cannot survive here," she said. "I was crying like hell...when we received the letters that they were going to evict us," she recounted. She segued into one of the banes of RTS tenants - parking. "Nobody wants to come here because of the parking," She noted correctly that two hours of validated parking is not enough for many people. Samovar hosts entertainment and events at which people may stay for more than two hours. She said Samovar wants to continue, but "I don't know," receiving a round of applause at the end of her remarks from the crowd.
Attendees file into the Buchanan Room,
which eventually reached fire code capacity
A tearful owner of Pandora Seafood House and Bar said Federal Realty is evicting her restaurant later this month, after only one year (it was still operating last night). She said she was fooled about the full cost of renting the space by her agent, who she is now suing, and about what she would have to pay during the construction phase - which lasted quite a while, if you remember.

One retail tenant at the Square pointed to the larger business climate beyond Rockville as a cause of her trouble."I can no longer afford to do business in Montgomery County, or the state of Maryland," she said, announcing that she currently does not plan to renew her lease when it ends. "I'm telling you, Rockville, you are losing the heart of your city. Please do not make the mistake of letting all of your small, independent businesses go."

Former Rockville Mayor Larry Giammo, widely credited for his leadership in delivering the city's redeveloped Town Center, was clearly concerned about the fate of one of his legacy projects. Giammo honed in on the question of high rents. "What are the lease rates that Federal Realty is charging tenants here, and how do those compare" with competing developments, he asked to an eruption of applause. "It's obviously the key to understanding what's going on here."

Giammo said he was "heartbroken" to find out that Dawson's Market will be closing this month. "My family and I shop there a good three, four, five times a week. It's really a part of our lives now." He noted that the number of cars filling the reserved Dawson's Market spaces in the N. Washington Street surface lot at RTS often exceed the number of customers actually shopping inside the store. Despite repeated pleas from Dawson's to Federal Realty and parking contractor Colonial Parking, "neither has ever done anything" to assist the store. "So my question is, 'Why not?' If Federal Realty wanted it to succeed, why did they ignore such obvious issues?" Giammo concluded to applause.

Another former elected official, City Councilman Tom Moore, called the decision to cut the planned height of the development's residential buildings in half a "fatal flaw." He said the reduced density deprived Town Center business owners of many more potential customers.

Resident Joe Jordan recommended that Federal Realty and the city conduct a form of exit interview with businesses that close, to determine if the cause was rent, their business model, or another issue.

Other suggestions made by attendees included more investment in arts and entertainment, turning Dawson's into a co-op market, adding a dog park, making a better connection to the Metro station, allowing up to 5 hours of free parking, and operating a shuttle bus.

There was no shortage of complaints and concerns, but one element missing from the meeting was hearing from businesses that are doing well at Rockville Town Square. What are they doing right, what is drawing traffic to them, and how might those insights assist tenants who are struggling, or Federal Realty in better targeting local demographics? There was also frustration at the lack of feedback from City officials and Federal Realty representatives. One attendee said that he had expected more of a dialogue.

Officials said they wanted to allow the maximum time for the public and business owners to speak, rather than have a back-and-forth conversation. Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton, who called for the meeting, said the goal was to hear from all of the stakeholders involved to determine how the development can be succcessful. Rockville Chamber of Commerce CEO Marji Graf said all of those stakeholders do share one goal. "We all want the same thing - a thriving Rockville."

Friday, December 29, 2017

Rockville construction update: Montrose Crossing addition (Photos)

The new retail-restaurant structure that is replacing Timpano Italian Chophouse at Montrose Crossing is nearing completion. Each individual restaurant and store still has to complete fit-out of their respective interiors. You can see the design, complete with stringed lights, pavers and decorative street lamps, is a nod to the contemporary "town center" more than to the old-fashioned strip mall.
Honeygrow is on track to be the
first business to open in the new
building at Montrose Crossing
Honeygrow is closest to opening, with their permanent sign already installed on the facade. CAVA Grill has Coming Soon signage in place. Expect this to be one of the buildings that continues to operate when Montrose Crossing is redeveloped as a mixed-use property in future years.







More Honeygrow signage

Honeygrow's doors are already
stenciled

Honeygrow interior

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Nada tacos, Scout and Molly's boutique coming to Pike & Rose

Federal Realty signs two tenants
to fill these corner retail spaces
 at The Henri
Two new tenants are signing on at Federal Realty's Pike & Rose development. Nada, a "taco and cocktail joint" from the Cincinnati-based Boca Restaurant Group, will open next year in the ground floor of The Henri luxury apartment building. It will occupy the corner space at Grand Park and Rose Avenues. Right next door to Nada in The Henri will be the second newcomer, Scout and Molly's, a boutique offering in-house stylists and promising a "comfortable" shopping environment for women.

In the great state of Ohio, Nada offers starters like Mexican Poutine and Mex'Orean Fried Chicken alongside the inevitable housemade guacamole. But that guacamole "outpaces most," according to the restaurant critic of ColumbusAlive.com. 

Kreeper Salsa with heat from habaneros and pasilla chiles in the Chicken Tortilla Soup offer some unusual flavors. Of course, tacos take center stage, and are clearly positioned as upscale. Options in Columbus include Fried Avocado and Crispy Pork Belly tacos. They also serve larger plates and a small selection of tapas, including some vegetarian options.
Future home of Nada
and Scout and Molly's in
the ground floor of The Henri
Nada's specialty cocktails in Cincinnati currently include their Nadarita, Chile Mango, and a Brazilian Mule. There is also a "large and exotic selection of blanco, reposado and aƱejo tequila," the restaurant says. This will be Nada's first East Coast location; their non-Buckeye State locations are in Indianapolis and Nashville. Nada's Pike & Rose location will be 6295 SF, about the size of Owen's Ordinary, for comparison. On paper, it sounds like Nada has a strong chance to maintain the record of top-notch dining options at Pike & Rose.

Meanwhile, Scout and Molly's was founded by Lisa Kornstein Kaufman, whose dream was to open "a place where women would feel comfortable shopping, a place where they didn’t have to worry about what they were wearing when they walked in the store, a place where women could count on a friendly face and an honest opinion." That opinion will come from Scout and Molly's stylists, and their apparel from labels like AG Jeans, Spiritual Gangster, Bernardo, Tees by Tina, Good Hyouman, David Lerner, Olive + Oak, and BLANKNYC.

The chain gets its name from the founder's two Labrador Retrievers, and plans to open 35 new locations in the next 12 months. Scout and Molly's currently has that many nationwide.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Honeygrow, Pieology to open in Rockville

Pieology, which just opened at Bethesda Row, is already planning another nearby location at Montrose Crossing on Rockville Pike. The pizzeria will be neighbors with the already-announced Five Guys and Allure in a new retail building at the shopping center, now under construction where Timpano Italian Chophouse once stood in the parking lot.

Just since my report on Five Guys yesterday morning, Pieology and two other tenants were made official by property owner Federal Realty: Cava Grill, and Honeygrow.

Cava Grill is the increasingly-ubiquitous, locally-owned Mediterranean alternative to Chipotle. Honeygrow is a Philadelphia-based fast casual chain serving stir-fry, salads, "honeybars," and cold-pressed juice.

In total, the new retail structure sounds like it will join parking lot neighbor Chick-fil-A as a lunch hub for nearby residents and office workers.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Timpano demolished at Montrose Crossing (Photos)

Timpano Italian Chophouse has been utterly obliterated at the Montrose Crossing shopping center in south Rockville. All that remains of the restaurant is a pile of rubble, and a graded dirt area. Property owner Federal Realty plans to build a new retail structure in its place, which will hold multiple retail and restaurant tenants. That structure will likely serve the same purpose at the front of the property as the holdover, low-rise retail did at Federal Realty's neighboring Pike & Rose, when Montrose Crossing is redeveloped in the future.







Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Rockville Town Square's Toy Kingdom assists MCPD's annual Autism Outreach Holiday Party (Photos)

Toy Kingdom's Paula Aulestia,
Officer Laurie Reyes, and
Officer Tara Bond
More than 50 children and their siblings celebrated the holidays just before Christmas at the annual Montgomery County Police Department Autism Outreach Holiday Party, held at the county's Public Safety Headquarters. MCPD's Autism/IDD/Alzheimer's Outreach Program teamed up with local attorney John Malouf, and Toy Kingdom to sponsor this year's event.

Toy Kingdom, an independent toy store located at Rockville Town Square, donated the toys for the event and assisted officers in choosing the right ones for the kids who would be attending. They also helped organize and wrap the gifts. Malouf contributed about $250 to the event, as well.
Reyes and Aulestia pose with
two of the attendees
“Because we are a specialty toy store, we are able to select the best toys for kids with autism meeting their sensory needs,” said Paula Aulestia, whose family owns Toy Kingdom. She has been involved with the MCPS autism program for nearly 10 years. Aulestia said her involvement with the autistic community led her family to take on this giving project.

Rockville Town Square developer Federal Realty praised Toy Kingdom's participation in the event. Deirdre Johnson, VP of asset management at Federal Realty called it "an example of the important role small, independently-owned businesses play in the fabric of our community."
Reyes hands out
gifts to children
Officer Laurie Reyes also lauded the toy store's role in the event, at which kids enjoyed pizza, cookies, a ballon artist and live music.  “Toy Kingdom has been such a great resource and a wonderful partner for us for this program, and Mr. Malouf’s generosity has enabled us to engage with the members of our Austism IDD community and encourage a trusting relationship between those children and our officers. It’s really great to see these children interact with our officers in a positive way,” said Reyes, of MCPD's special operations division.