Showing posts with label real estate. Show all posts
Showing posts with label real estate. Show all posts

Saturday, May 18, 2024

New sign of progress on Wegmans-anchored development in Rockville

Another "sign" of the future Wegmans-anchored Twinbrook Quarter development has appeared on Rockville Pike. An interior street of the Saul Centers-developed property is now being established at its connection with the Pike (MD 355). It is named Festival Street.

Festival Street, located at the north end of Phase 1 of the project, now has traffic signals in place, and cross-street signage, over its intersection with Rockville Pike. When activated, the new signals will also regulate traffic from an entrance to Congressional Plaza across the street. Wegmans is scheduled to open next year at the development.

Monday, April 22, 2024

Rockville couple victimized in Facebook property scam

A Rockville couple fell victim to a Facebook scammer who targeted those seeking rental housing in the area, Rockville City police say. The couple, who live in King Farm, responded to a recent Facebook Marketplace ad offering a property for rent. They were told to electronically send cash deposits prior to viewing the property, police allege.

The couple then scheduled a property tour. When they arrived at the property at the appointed time, they found it was not actually available for rent, and the Facebook scammer was nowhere to be found. Residents should be on guard for such scams on Facebook and other websites with anonymous property listings. Do not pay any money upfront before you can confirm the legitimacy of a transaction or offer.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Marc Elrich is right again on COG's developer-funded housing targets flimflam

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich has weighed in again on the latest revival of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Government's zombie housing targets plan, and once again, he is correct in seeing through COG's developer-funded flimflam job. Elrich told The Washington Post that COG's math is "faulty," and that's probably being generous. He criticized COG for trying to gin up "a sense of panic" about housing.

COG's housing targets plan is a bald-faced attempt to juice developer profits by using that false "panic" to loosen zoning restrictions, severely reduce public input on zoning and development proposals, override responsible growth policies, and generate more taxpayer subsidies for development companies that are already profitable private concerns. The people behind the COG curtain count on two things to achieve success with their housing targets scheme: the local media functioning in their role as stenographers more than journalists, in repeating COG's message verbatim with no scrutiny or criticism, and readers and viewers accepting these parroted talking points at face value.

Alas, when one studies the details, the COG scheme immediately falls apart. In a highly-educated area like this, it's not surprising that COG's plan still hasn't caught on, despite five years of relentless propaganda about it.

First of all, COG's math is wildly off-target. In order to meet the COG targets, "87 units per day" would have to be constructed in the region. To put that in real terms, that would mean a garden apartment complex being delivered each day in the DC Metro area. That doesn't even happen in a city like New York. China at the height of its real estate boom might be the only place on earth to approach such construction numbers, and it wound up demolishing many of those buildings, which ultimately stood vacant. In short, the target is not even achievable without overriding most regulations, approval processes and public engagement at a level that would severely compromise local budgets and quality of life, and by ignoring the fact that there is little demand for overpriced luxury apartments. Many of the new apartments in Bethesda, for example, are vacant and are being operated as illegal Airbnb hotel rooms. Whoops!

Second, COG describes "affordable" housing as costing the renter or homeowner $2300 a month. That is preposterous, and not affordable by any real-world measure. The $2300-$5000 apartment rents in the area are the problem, not the solution. And despite building thousands of new housing units every year, rents in Montgomery County only continue to skyrocket, proving that the real estate sector is no longer governed by market forces of supply and demand.

Third, COG itself, and the other entities trying to force its plan onto local jurisdictions, are funded by developers and developer lobbying organizations. Among those funding COG are entities connected to the Cafritz Interest real estate development firm, and Connected DMV, a development lobbying and advocacy firm. The Urban Institute is funded by development interests, big banks who profit from mortgage loans on real estate, and even BlackRock(!!), the massive international investment firm that has actually made housing more costly by snapping up homes. 

Nothing makes Wall Street-lapdog fact-checkers' heads explode faster than pointing out the BlackRock connection to inflated home prices. Those "reporters" will claim that it's Blackstone, Inc. that is buying up homes, while trying to downplay the fact that BlackRock is a part owner of Blackstone, holding an astronomical 45.99 million shares in the firm as of December 31, 2023. Blackstone snapped up 38,000 homes across America in one January 2024 transaction alone.

I've monitored home prices in the D.C. region, and across the country, for many years. Home prices have not only surged in our expensive area in recent times, but also in some of the most undesirable Podunk Junction towns in the middle of nowhere. Being funded by BlackRock, and then trying to be a credible voice on affordable housing, is quite an acrobatic feat to say the least.

Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University? Its advisory board is stacked with leaders from the real estate development industry. Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers (HAND)? As a very smart person once said, "They call it a non-profit, but somebody profits." Not only do non-profit or public housing entities often partner with private developers on projects that generate windfall profits for the latter, but - as we've seen in Montgomery County - non-profit leaders often draw and increase large salaries from taxpayer funds, and then write political campaign checks to the same elected officials who voted for those grants of taxpayer funds.

And let's not be surprised that the Post gives favorable coverage to COG's plan and all other pro-development and upzoning initiatives. The paper not only derives significant revenue from real estate advertising, but has been a major real estate player in the region itself, selling its former D.C. headquarters for $159 million and its Alexandria warehouses to developers for an estimated $30 million. The latter became the kind of dense development being advocated for by the COG housing targets.

The Post story on COG's housing targets also aligned with many of the attempts to leverage the race card into developer private profits we've seen in recent years. It's a shameful tactic by the development industry, which has historically leveraged race in this way from blockbusting, to the reversal of blockbusting by driving people of color out of those same neighborhoods decades later via gentrification. "Equity" is not a $2300-a-month rent.

This latest effort by COG and the Post to revive the zombie housing target scheme makes clear they intend to let no obstacle stand in the way of developer profits at taxpayer expense. The article explicitly calls for removing public input from zoning and development decisions, resident stakeholder communications the article complains "account for 40% of a housing development's budget." We're familiar with this effort in Montgomery County, whether hearing developer lobbyists urge the County Council to ignore public input because it is coming from "old people who have nothing better to do than testify at public hearings," or the Council's full-court press to continue to block restoration of the Office of the People's Counsel, an attorney who can provide free advice to residents and represent their interests in administrative hearings."

Elrich supports restoring the Office of the People's Counsel. He should continue to correctly oppose COG's housing target scheme.

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Walnut Hill Shopping Center seeks Sheetz-related parking waivers from Gaithersburg

Walnut Hill Shopping Center
is seeking approval of changes to its parking lot, and waivers for smaller drive aisles in several spots around the lot, from the City of Gaithersburg. The retail property was recently annexed into the City, and is making many improvements and alterations to successfully bring add an Aldi grocery store and Sheetz convenience store to its tenant roster. Because the future Sheetz will take up a portion of the existing surface parking lot, a reconfiguration of the rest of the parking spaces on the lot is necessary. Walnut Hill is arguing that maintaining a sufficient number of spaces will require waivers to allow several drive aisles to be narrower than allowed under City code.

The drive aisles proposed in several locations around the parking lot would be 20 to 24 feet in width. City of Gaithersburg code requires drive aisles with two-way traffic to be 26' in width. The Gaithersburg Planning Commission will take up the waiver request at its meeting tonight, April 3, 2024, at 7:30 PM. City staff are recommending approval of the waiver request, and have advised that the other proposed changes - which involve adding green space to the parking lot (shown in green on the map below) - be addressed when the site plan for the Sheetz is submitted for approval at a later date.

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Demolition of Rockville home proposed (Photos)

The owners of the home at 115 North Van Buren Street in Rockville would like to demolish it to make room for a new house on the property. They have asked the City of Rockville for a review to determine if the 1961 brick house qualifies for historic designation or not. Their application has been reviewed by City staff, and will be taken up by the Historic District Commission at their next scheduled meeting on Thursday, March 21, 2024 at 7:00 PM. City Preservation Planner Sheila Bashiri has reviewed the house and its history in relation to the criteria for preservation, and has determined that the home does not merit historic designation.

115 North Van Buren Street is actually a quite nice home. Its construction is all-brick and solid. It has some small architectural details that modestly aspire toward a mansion. There's even a full tennis court in the backyard! 

All of the fine details are less surprising when you learn that the home was built for the son of the prominent Judge Charles W. Woodward. Judge Woodward was first appointed to the bench by - arguably - Maryland's greatest and most-famous governor, Albert Ritchie, in 1932. 

Four years later, Judge Woodward and his wife Clarice moved into a new home at 111 North Van Buren Street. During the 1950s, the Woodwards purchased adjacent lots. In 1960, the Woodwards' son Arthur and his wife Elizabeth bought the lot at 115 North Van Buren from them. Their home, complete with a one-story office for Dr. Arthur Woodward's medical practice, was built the next year.

Dr. Woodward passed away in 2006. Elizabeth Woodward continued to live in the home until her recent death in 2021. The current owners acquired the property from her estate in 2022, and a family member of theirs has been living in the house since. Now, as residents of Rockville for over 25 years, they would like to build a new "forever home" in its place.

Many people might look at the pictures and say that, with a little fixing up, this would be a wonderful place to live. However, the owners note that the home's interior and basic systems are in poor condition, although livable for the present. There is a significant amount of termite damage. One of the bedrooms has a floor that is structurally unsound. And the medical office, which the owners say appears to not have been used for a very long time, is an unusable space.

Also in the owners' favor, they have gathered a great deal of community support against historic designation of the property from other longtime Rockville residents. Letters representing 17 residents have been submitted with their application, all opposing historic designation. 

Any resident will have the option to voice their opinion on the application during the HDC meeting, by submitting their name and email address to the Historic District Commission, (by email at no later than 9:00 AM on the day of the hearing (March 21, 2024) to be placed on the testimony list. Written testimony can be submitted to the same email address by 4:00 PM on March 20, the day before the meeting.

Photos courtesy City of Rockville

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Townhouse development proposed at Rockville Metro station

A developer has proposed redeveloping a single-family home property directly across from the Rockville Metro station with eight rowhouses. Under the proposed site plan, 205 Park Road would have five rowhouses facing Park Road, and three facing S. Stonestreet Avenue. A corner of the property would be set aside for resident parking, and trash and recycling receptacles. The applicant, ARCON Limited, says it will provide twelve parking spaces for the eight units proposed, with vehicle access from a new driveway along Park Road.

Current RMD-Infill zoning for the property, which is in the Croydon Park subdivision, permits rowhouse development as a conditional use. The existing single-family home on the site was built in 1941. ARCON Limited has filed an application for a Pre-Application Meeting with the City of Rockville. The required meeting will allow public comment on the proposal, and will be scheduled for a future date. 

Proposed site plan for 205 Park Road in Rockville

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Aldi construction begins at Walnut Hill Shopping Center in Gaithersburg

Excitement is in the air at the venerable Walnut Hill Shopping Center at 16529 S. Frederick Avenue in Gaithersburg. Contractor HBW Construction of Rockville has begun work converting the former Weis Markets space for new anchor tenant Aldi. Renovations to update the shopping center's appearance are also underway at the property, as you can see below. 

Continue to patronize your favorite businesses at the center, as despite the tarps and scaffolding, all tenants remain open during the renovations. A second Gaithersburg location of Sheetz will add to the buzz at the shopping center in the future. The City of Gaithersburg recently approved the annexation of Walnut Hill into the city, in large part to secure the agreement with Sheetz. That Sheetz deal became a critical linchpin in Walnut Hill's plan to revitalize the property. Walnut Hill's ownership said the revenue from the Sheetz would finance the renovations to the center, property upgrades that Aldi had required as a condition of its lease. Sheetz opened its first Gaithersburg store last year, and shortly thereafter declared it was "highly-impressed with the performance" of the location.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Conversion of vacant Rockville office building to housing proposed

Uniwest Management Inc. is seeking to convert a vacant Rockville office building into residential housing. The company has proposed adding three additional floors to the building at 12501 Ardennes Avenue in Twinbrook, for a total of 115' in height. There would be up to 190 residential units in the modified building, as well as existing garage parking that exceeds the City's minimum space number requirement, and the addition of new landscaping and design elements to reflect the residential use. 15% of the residential units would be set aside as Moderately-Priced-Dwelling-Units.

The building was only constructed in 2009, and has a nice curved facade. Unfortunately, the General Services Administration decided not to renew its lease at the property, and it now stands vacant as a result. Uniwest says it has attempted to find new tenants, but has concluded that "there simply is not an office market in this location." It notes that suburban Maryland has the highest office vacancy rate in the region, according to a JLL study. 

Montgomery County has not attracted a single major corporate headquarters in a quarter century. A Planning Commission meeting will be scheduled to review the Revised Site Plan that Uniwest has submitted to the City. 

 Photos courtesy Uniwest

Monday, February 12, 2024

Rockville Mayor & Council to be briefed on plan to replace church with townhomes

Rockville's Mayor and Council will receive a briefing on a proposal to demolish a church in the Twinbrook area of the city, and replace it with a new townhome development, at their meeting tonight, February 12, 2024 at 7:00 PM. Developer Pulte has proposed redeveloping the church property at 5906 Halpine Road with 36 "two-over-two" townhomes. No decision will be made tonight; the briefing is for information purposes only, and to allow the Mayor and Council to comment or provide feedback and suggestions to Pulte.  

At a future date to be determined, the Mayor and Council will hold a public hearing to allow residents and other stakeholders to comment. Then they would schedule a future vote on a resolution for rezoning the property, approving the Project Plan, and authorizing the necessary waivers for a side yard setback and layback slope for the project. 

Nearby residents have raised concerns about overflow parking, and the potential reduction of the setback required. The grade of the church property has also led to worries about drainage impacts from the future townhome site. Some residents of the adjacent townhome community are concerned that the contemporary design of the new townhomes could cast shadows onto their shorter homes. Many who have contacted City staff have also advocated for leaving the trees on the church property in place. Pulte's current plan would do that, and also plant additional trees as part of the new development's landscaping.

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Another attempt to restore Office of the People's Counsel in Montgomery County

Montgomery County's government bodies - Board of Education, Montgomery Parks, the Montgomery County Planning Board, to name three recent examples - are in disarray, and have been embroiled in scandals. Incredibly, while holding oversight power, the County Council has actively chosen to not restore funding for a position that can help hold the County's planning authorities (including the Council itself) more accountable to residents and taxpayers: The Office of the People's Counsel. Never a popular position among the developers who have funded most or all of the councilmembers' campaigns this century, depending upon which Council term is under discussion, the OPC was axed in 2010 when the Council finally had an excuse to do so: a budget crisis of their own making. But in 2023, more than a decade after the "Great Recession" ended, the current Council still voted against restoring funding for the OPC.

Fed-up residents and responsible growth advocates are launching a new attempt to persuade councilmembers - some of whom vowed to fund the OPC, but then betrayed the voters and organizations they made the vow to, once in office - to restore the OPC in the FY-2025 budget. The Montgomery Countryside Alliance, which works to protect rural areas, open space and streams from impacts of overdevelopment, is taking a leadership role by creating an easy form to send a brief message to the County Council in support of funding for the OPC.

For those not familiar, the OPC is (or was!) a land-use attorney who provides free advice and technical information to residents regarding development and land-use issues. Residents, most of whom cannot afford the kind of powerhouse legal representation that developers and the County itself have at their disposal, can therefore be better prepared to defend their interests before the Planning Board, County Council and hearing examiners. The OPC can also point out when the Board or Council is in violation of the rules or breaking the law, which non-land-use-attorney citizens may not be able to recognize their own. Perhaps most importantly, the People's Counsel can represent residents' interests in administrative hearings.

Boosting hopes for the return of this critical County government position is Bill PG/MC 112-24 at the Maryland General Assembly in Annapolis, which is sponsored by Senator Ben Kramer of Montgomery County. Senator Kramer has also been a leading voice to make the planning process in the County more directly accountable to residents, such as considering proposals to move some aspects of planning under the executive branch of County government. Kramer's bill would fully fund the Office of the People's Counsel in Montgomery County, just as other jurisdictions like Prince George's County have. In other words, Kramer is saying to the Council, "if you won't do it, we will." But, if you don't use this form to send a message to the Council and the full Montgomery County delegation to Annapolis in favor of funding the OPC, they might not!

Monday, January 22, 2024

Twinbrook Quarter developer seeks ROW agreement with Rockville for Wegmans, wayfaring signage

B.F. Saul, the developer of the future Wegmans-anchored Twinbrook Quarter development, is seeking an agreement and air-rights easement for wayfinding signage at the mixed-use property from the City of Rockville. The signage, which would present the name of the development and its retail tenants, would be placed within the public right-of-way along Rockville Pike, Halpine Road and Chapman Avenue. Other signs would be attached to the buildings above ground level, hence requiring an air rights easement to protrude into the public space above the sidewalk. 

Proposed Rockville Pike signage locations

The space in question belongs to the City of Rockville, but could later be ceded to the Maryland State Highway Administration if a FLASH bus rapid transit station is constructed at Twinbrook Quarter. Route 355 itself is currently a MDSHA right-of-way. The land directly adjacent to it on the east side of the Pike presumably was turned over to the City of Rockville when a city-controlled parallel service road was proposed. Only a portion of the service road has been constructed so far.

Halpine Road sign locations

The 99-year agreement proposed would be revocable at any time on 30-days' notice by the City. Twinbrook Quarter would assume all maintenance, insurance and liability requirements for the portions of the right-of-way and air rights in question. The Mayor and Council will review and discuss the proposed agreement and easement at their meeting tonight, January 22, 2024 at 7:00 PM. City staff recommends that the Mayor and Council approve and authorize the Acting City Manager to execute a Revocable License and Maintenance Agreement and an Air Rights Easement for Private Amenities in the public right-of-way with Twinbrook Quarter, LLC.

Chapman Avenue sign locations

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Montgomery County allowed County agency-owned high-rise to operate without fire alarms for 2 months

The Montgomery County government and owner Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County allowed residents to occupy the 15-story Westwood Tower apartments for two months without an operating fire alarm system. County officials have now condemned the high-rise building at 5401 Westbard Avenue in Bethesda after an electrical fire brought the existing violations to light this past weekend, and further damaged the building's electrical systems. In lieu of a functioning fire alarm system, HOC had posted signs inside the tower instructing residents to "evacuate and call 911" in case of a fire. The signs did not advise how residents who might be asleep during a fire would be aware one had broken out, nor how their neighbors in the approximately 200 apartments would be notified on more than a dozen floors.

Sign posted inside Westwood Tower after the
building's fire alarm system went down on November 9, 2023;
it was never repaired, and the building was condemned after
a fire on January 6, 2024

After the fire alarm system broke down on November 9, 2023, the HOC stationed personnel in the building lobby to be on-duty in case of a fire. It was unclear how one person could physically cover 15 floors (not to mention without an elevator),and knock on hundreds of doors, in the few seconds that might be needed for all residents to safely evacuate. One resident reported that these employees were sometimes seen dozing off in the lobby. Residents report that the HOC never informed them of a timeline for restoration of the fire alarm system. "Fire officials have repeatedly been called to the building because of the lack of a fire alarm," one resident said, and that the building has been "cited repeatedly because of a lack of fire alarm."

Generator outside the building, which has
no power; residents have been relocated

The insanity of the idea of one person being able to function as a human fire alarm for a 15-story building became clear this past Saturday night, when a transformer blew inside the building. Several residents I spoke to reported that not only were there no fire alarms sounding, but the backup "human fire alarm" in the lobby did not contact any of them. They smelled and saw smoke, and self-evacuated, alerting other residents on their way out of the building. One resident who lives on a floor that did not initially have smoke only learned the building was on fire when a friend who lived on a smoke-filled floor called them to say there was a fire, and to get out. 

Residents report that they were left freezing in the building from 6:00 PM Saturday night, until the building was condemned and evacuated 24 hours later. Power in the building was limited, and there was no heat at all. Security functions to keep non-residents and potential criminals out of the building were inoperable.

To top it off, the HOC initially refused to provide alternative shelter to residents, advising them to instead make a claim on their own apartment insurance to cover the cost of hotel rooms. As the details began to reach the public a day later, Montgomery County agencies announced they were providing off-site shelter. The HOC said the residents were being moved to hotels in the area. Residents were told that they could be displaced from the building for as long as three weeks.

There is concern among residents, given the County's inaction regarding the fire alarm outage in the preceding weeks and the building's ownership being politically affliated with the elected officials who appoint and oversee them, that repairs will be allowed to drag on. Last night, two extremely loud generators roared outside the darkened apartment tower. There was no visible activity at the building. 

Residents of HOC properties have long pointed out issues regarding health and safety in their buildings. Those complaints were backed up by the findings of federal inspections, which found 75% of the units they inspected failed to meet federal standards. It now appears the agency was allowed to violate the County's fire code for two months, by operating a building without functioning smoke and fire alarms to alert occupants.

The HOC acquired the building several years ago with grand plans to construct more buildings and garages on the property. When those plans were stymied by protests that arose when the agency announced it intended to build a parking garage on top of the Moses African Cemetery at the rear of the property - where many of the graves were desecrated during the building's construction in the late 1960s, the HOC then attempted to sell it to a private developer. That sale was temporarily blocked by a Montgomery County court injunction, and the buyer backed out of the transaction. The dispute - that the HOC tried to sell the land with the cemetery without notifying the descendants of those interred there, in violation of Maryland law - will be ruled on by the Maryland Supreme Court later this year.

The County and the HOC are only fortunate that Saturday's fire was not more serious. This could have been a catastrophic disaster, had a fast-moving fire engulfed the building. Elected officials have yet to criticize the situation that existed at the property; in fact, the County Councilmember who represents the area has so far tweeted only praise for County agencies.

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Demolition of home at 110 North Street in Rockville appears likely (Photos)

A home in a Rockville neighborhood that began as an African-American community after Maryland Emancipation is likely to be demolished, after a City of Rockville analysis found it does not qualify for historic designation. The current owner of the bungalow at 110 North Street is seeking an opinion on the matter from the Historic District Commission, to determine if the structure may be demolished or not. A staff report by City Preservation Planner Sheila Bashiri determined that the home in its current dilapidated condition does not meet the standards for designation. The applicant's filing with the city notes that the HDC approved demolition of a similar home next door nine years ago. A McMansion sits on that adjacent lot today, so there is no historic viewshed to preserve.

While the bungalow reflects the style and location of a home built and/or resided in by freed slaves or employed servants following the Civil War, no major figures in Rockville history resided at 110 North Street, and no significant historical events occurred there. The report stated that its "architecture, design or landscape is not significant within the city of Rockville." Bashiri recommended HDC commissioners find the property does not qualify for historic designation. The HDC will take up the matter at its Thursday, December 21, 2023 meeting.

Photos courtesy City of Rockville

Monday, December 18, 2023

Rockville Mayor & Council to be briefed on proposed Rockshire Village development tonight

Rockville's Mayor and Council will receive a briefing on the Rockshire Village development plan proposed by local developer EYA at their meeting tonight, December 18, 2023 at 7:00 PM. Approval of the plan would require amending the 1966 Rockshire development plan for this property, a former shopping center located at 2401 Wootton Parkway. 

The proposal under discussion is essentially the same as was first introduced this past spring. 31 single-family homes, 29 3-to-4 story townhomes, and a neighborhood park would be constructed on the property. The amount of commercial and office space proposed has been reduced from 5,500-square-feet to 5,200 SF (the original size proposed last spring was 5000 SF). EYA is also seeking a parking waiver related to the commercial/office portion of the project, as well as a road code waiver for a proposed private alley, which would not comply with a City requirement that any road constructed must either connect to an existing road or end in a cul-de-sac.

Following tonight's briefing, EYA will be asked to revise its plan to address existing concerns about the driveway access from Hurley Avenue, outdated traffic studies being used by EYA, trees, the relocation of a trail near the Korean Presbyterian Church, parking capacity, and pedestrian access to the retail structure from the Carl Henn Millenium Trail that were raised this fall by nearby residents and the Rockville Planning Commission. In addition, the plan revisions would address any new concerns expressed by the Mayor and Council at tonight's meeting.

Friday, December 15, 2023

Montgomery County's JBG Smith biggest winner in D.C.'s potential loss of Capitals, Wizards

The Montgomery County Council and Maryland Gov. Wes Moore may have been asleep at the switch during the tug-of-war over the future home of the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals, but a company in their jurisdiction may pull off the biggest win in the teams' potential move to Virginia. Bethesda's JBG Smith is the landowner of the proposed Potomac Yard arena and mixed-use development sites in Alexandria. If the teams relocate as envisioned by Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin and team owner Ted Leonsis, the real estate development firm will stand to be ultimate victor from a business standpoint. Those potential big profits might still benefit the county and state revenue coffers in Maryland, even if the gaudy bragging rights to the actual teams will accrue to Virginia. 

Successful relocation of the teams to Potomac Yard, and the related development, dovetail perfectly with JBG Smith's existing plans and vision for the National Landing area. The firm will be able to sell the proposed sites to a Virginia sports development authority, and would be the developer of the corporate Monumental Sports Entertainment headquarters, arena, media studio, performing arts venue, and e-sports facility proposed as part of the overall plan. And the sports-related growth at Potomac Yards would boost the earning potential for JBG Smith's other National Landing properties, of which Amazon's HQ2 is the crown jewel.

Of course, HQ2's ultimate benefit to Northern Virginia remains to be seen, as Amazon has not been exempt from the work-from-home revolution and other stresses on its businesses. How many jobs and how many square feet of office space Amazon will eventually need at National Landing is up in the air at this point. How much Virginia taxpayers will shell out for a billionaire to move his sports teams is also not set in stone today. But the additional development opportunities the move would provide could not have come at a better time for JBG Smith.

Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is in the unenviable position of not only possibly losing two of the city's professional sports teams at once, but of having had to make a desperate bid of $500,000,000 at the 11th hour that doesn't appear to have persuaded Leonsis to stay. Such a two-team exit is a potential nightmare for Moore in Maryland, as he tries to keep the Washington Commanders and Baltimore Orioles in the state. His cringeworthy pitch to the Commanders in a VIP suite in "Raljon," as recounted by The Washington Post, did not reflect the bargaining prowess his Wall Street resume would lead us to believe he would have. Moore's inabililty to find immediate success in attracting major companies to Maryland over the past 11 months, despite a Rolodex filled with celebrity and Fortune 500 friends, has raised eyebrows among those closely watching Maryland's economic development efforts.

The fact that Moore was not in the conversation regarding the Wizards and Capitals, when the firm at the center of the intrigue is in his own state, is unlikely to reduce those whispered doubts in the business community. But the silver lining in this case is that JBG Smith - and Montgomery County and Maryland, if they actually get their share of the firm's increased revenue - will likely gain financially, even if Virginia ends up overpaying for the teams, as the company will still profit regardless. Virginia's elected officials could look like suckers a decade from now, but the real winner would still be at 4747 Bethesda Avenue.