Federal Realty’s Stuart Biel Discusses Future of Bethesda’s Pike & Rose

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Federal Realty Investment Trust continues to grow Pike & Rose, the 24-acre neighborhood it began developing in 2014 in North Bethesda, Md.

Stuart Biel, Federal Realty’s senior vice president for regional leasing, spoke to Commercial Observer about what’s been happening and what’s ahead for Pike & Rose.

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The fall saw the opening of 915 Meeting Street, a 276,000-square-foot office building with 9,600 square feet of retail.  

Founders of the fast-casual Cava chain signed a 3,080-square-foot lease in the building for Mediterranean-inspired Bouboulina, which will open next winter.

Also at 915 Meeting, the developers plan to open Upper Muse, a nearly 5,000-square-foot landscaped courtyard to be situated at the front of the building’s entrance, with seating for people to dine or work. Construction will begin in January and is scheduled to be complete in May   

Overall, Pike & Rose includes more than 50 retail stores and restaurants, including REI, Sephora, L.L. Bean, a Porsche dealership, and entertainment offerings such as Pinstripes and AMP by Strathmore. On the residential side, the development includes 99 luxury condominiums and penthouses positioned above Canopy by Hilton, a 177-key boutique hotel; 765 apartments; and a 17,000-square-foot rooftop farm.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Commercial Observer: What was the need for the Pike & Rose development in North Bethesda?

Stuart Biel: North Bethesda has always been a very important retail location. But before Pike & Rose, there wasn’t a high-street feeling of a neighborhood that had public spaces, outdoor dining and all the things that Federal is good at in creating mixed-use communities. There was a lot the community wasn’t getting, and we identified those needs. We also knew this would be the type of environment people would want to work in.

Pike & Rose has been something of an outlier in that office space is filling up fast, with vacancy among the lowest areas in Montgomery County, according to recent market reports. Why do you think that is?

Post-pandemic, we have definitely seen that. To have these Class A, top-of-the-market buildings, amenitized by 35 restaurants and tons of services and entertainment, these are things that office workers look for, especially when it’s close to where they live.  

How did the idea for Upper Muse come about?

With the building delivered, we reopened the main road off the Pike, we had this underutilized grassy green area, and knew we wanted to do more with it. We’ve got Rose Park already, a very well-used hangout for families and people having lunches or quick business meetings. It has property-wide Wi-Fi. So, we thought, why not replicate an outdoor gathering space on this side of the project that will be very visible as you come off the new main entrance? And it connects right to the new building as people leave the lobby. It will have great lighting, and great seating, and a meandering path through well-landscaped native grasses and plant life. It will be another great public space.

What’s on tap for 2024?

Our retail is 100 percent leased. From an office standpoint, we will have major tenants moved in by the end of the first quarter. You’ll see some more announcements coming for 915 Meeting Street very soon as well. In late spring, Upper Muse will be ready, though it will have a different name. It’s a really mature, healthy community, and traffic continues to grow. We never stop looking at what can be added and what incremental improvements we can make. We are very bullish on what’s ahead.