Mixed-Use Development to Offer Affordable Housing Near New Silver Spring Library

About 130 units of both market rate and lower-income housing is planned in downtown Silver Spring.

Yet another mixed-use development will combine residential units and retail space in downtown Silver Spring—but this time, with a twist. 

Montgomery Housing Partnership, a nonprofit developer that creates affordable housing, and Donohoe Development Company are working together to build an apartment complex with units reserved for lower-income residents adjacent to the new Silver Spring library at the corner of Bonifant and Fenton Streets.

The proposed property will include 9,000 square feet of retail and between 130 to 150 housing units, said Robert Goldman, president of Montgomery Housing Partnership. Goldman said he hopes that about 75 percent of the units will be made available to people earning 60 percent or less of the median area income for the Washington, DC region, which is $103,000 for a family of four. The remaining 25 percent of units would be rented at market rate. 

Goldman’s vision for the facility would be multi-generational, so some young families along with some units rented to senior citizens. The 12-story property would feature one floor of retail, one floor of community space for residents and 11 floors of housing.

This property, which is awaiting approval from Montgomery County’s Park and Planning department, would provide an important balance to the downtown rental market, according to Goldman.

“There’s a lot of high-end residential that’s been built in downtown Silver Spring, so there’s a big need for some affordable housing and this will serve that purpose,” he told Patch.

Offering less expensive rental options in a transit-friendly neighborhood like downtown Silver Spring will help ensure that service professionals continue to choose to work in the area, Goldman said.

“When you think about Silver Spring, you’ve got a number of retail stores, you’ve got schools, so those folks who are providing those services to all of us everyday,” Goldman explained, “they need a place to live.

“If it’s all high-end and the teachers and retail workers and construction workers, they can’t live where they’re working, then they’re on the road, it’s leading to terrible congestion on the road and it makes it harder to recruit those folks who provide those services.” 

The property would also encourage residents to get out of their cars by providing only 25 parking spaces. Residents would also be able to use the county lot across the street from the apartment.

“The goal in many ways is to encourage people to use transit and we’re finding more and more that buildings in Silver Spring, right near the transit, don’t need as much in terms of cars,” Goldman said. 

Right now, Montgomery Housing Partners is still at the beginning phase of planning—putting financing together as the organization waits for its site plan to be approved by the planning board. Goldman said he hopes to break ground sometime in early 2014. 

The Silver Spring Library building, located at the corner of Wayne Avenue and Fenton Street, . It's estimated to be complete in late 2014. 

Kathy Jentz January 11, 2013 at 04:21 PM
Is anyone else perturbed by the "12-story property" detail? And what DID happen to the low-income senior building??
Kathlin January 14, 2013 at 05:19 PM
I'd also like to know what happened to the idea of the development being mostly for seniors. And I'm concerned about parking -- if the new units will be using parking across the street AND the library will also rely on that parking, we'll quickly see that garage maxed out.
Bubba January 14, 2013 at 11:01 PM
It already is maxed. People are using that parking lot to go to Safeway and Mandalay. I'm not sure what the length of time each spot is slotted for, but it was meant for quick turnover, not for lenghty stays for people living nearby.
bill January 25, 2013 at 08:03 PM
The reality is often that those with low incomes need cars more than those of us with higher incomes, as they are often juggling 2 or 3 jobs to scrape by. Those of us who telework or commute into the DC or downtown Silver Spring can exist without a car but the reality is very few of us do and many of these units occupied by people with cars. The ratio needs to be at least one per unit and better yet 1.5. or all the abutting neighborhoods will be overrun with cars.
jag January 25, 2013 at 08:33 PM
Sometimes, but plenty of times low income workers need cars is due to the fact they can't afford to live in job and transportation centers like DTSS. The point is to attract low income workers/retirees who don't need a car. Obviously, if you paid big $$$$$ to put 180 spaces underground then you'll attract low-income people with cars and defeat the entire purpose of locating the subsidized development in the (expensive) urban core.


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