MCB to Lead Massive Mixed-Use Development in Silver Spring

Long-delayed Viva White Oak project will create up to 4,500 residential units, as well as millions of SF of retail and commercial space

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Baltimore-based megadeveloper MCB Real Estate on Thursday confirmed plans to lead development for the Viva White Oak project, a 280-acre mixed-use site in Silver Spring, Md., that has languished in limbo for over a decade.

Situated adjacent to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) headquarters on its White Oak campus, the site has already been approved for over 12 million square feet of mixed-use development, including up to 4,500 residential units and 85 acres of open space for forested nature trails and public parks. More than 6 million square feet of retail, commercial and higher education space is expected to cater to the life sciences and biotechnology industry.

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“MCB is currently working with stakeholders and public officials to refine the attributes” of the development, the company said in a statement.

Conceived as a public-private partnership between Montgomery County, Md., and Global LifeSci Development, an affiliate of Percontee, Viva White Oak was announced in 2011 with an estimated cost of $3 billion, though the project stalled shortly thereafter. Global LifeSci will remain as a minority partner in the redevelopment plan, MBC said, with the first phase of construction set to begin in 2025.

“The MCB-Viva project will create a much-needed geographic economic development balance and inclusive economic prosperity for the eastern region of the county,” Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said in a statement accompanying MCB’s announcement.

In a virtual briefing about the project organized by the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce earlier this month, MCB’s Senior Managing Director Carlos Bonner estimated the development could lead to the creation of nearly 30,000 jobs, taking into account temporary workers and the construction phase.

During the briefing, Dori Farley, a development associate with MCB, also shared a tentative timeline for the buildout, proposing that the first phase of development focusing on roads and infrastructure would be complete by the end of 2027, and the project as a whole would take somewhere between 10 and 15 years.

Unmentioned in MCB’s release or the Chamber of Commerce briefing was an estimated total budget for the development. Montgomery County has already spent $5 million cleaning up the land it originally sold to Global LifeSci, and a budget proposal from Elrich recommends appropriating an additional $40 million “to construct the roads to support this work,” the Washington Business Journal reported.

The Montgomery County Council is scheduled to vote May 23 on the fiscal year 2025 budget.