As real estate developers in Montgomery County pitch their plans to build new projects and neighborhoods, many use a similar refrain:
It’ll be like Bethesda Row.
Few developments in the county have been so successful. The 534,000-square-foot development, at the corner of Arlington Road and Bethesda Avenue, blends three uses — retail, office and residential — charges high rents, and is the hub of nightlife for a community whose households within three miles take home on average more than $150,000 a year.
There isn’t going to be another Bethesda Row. But there is White Flint in Rockville. Comprised of 430 acres bisected by Rockville Pike, all within three-quarters of a mile of the White Flint Metro Station, it is a sea of parking lots, older office buildings and strip shopping centers.
Montgomery County is targeting the jumble to create a new county model for city living that could drive its commercial development for coming decades. The county’s plan — similar to Fairfax County’s vision for Tysons Corner — is to turn the traffic-riddled corridor into an urban, walkable place. But now it will largely fall to a half dozen major land owners to turn that vision into reality.