Two out of three county council members on the housing committee agreed: Redevelopment plans for the Falkland Chase apartments should be allowed to roll forward, they said Monday afternoon in Rockville.
Committee members Michael Knapp (D-District 2) and Nancy Floreen said during a scheduled meeting that they were cool with redevelopment on the complex’s northern parcel, on the northeast corner of East-West Highway and 16th Street.
“It’s a pretty good deal,” Floreen told her colleagues. The at-large Dem calculated rents on more than 120 of the 1,020 proposed high-rise residential units would be stabilized for 20 years. Currently, 182 garden-style apartments — some of which are rent stabilized — sit on the northern parcel.
Floreen and Knapp also indicated they would back the county planning board’s idea of declaring buildings on the complex’s southern and western parcels historic. If the entire county council goes with that flow, the New Deal-era apartments would be spared the wrecking ball forever and ever (or at least until someone proposes a reversal to the county’s atlas of historic buildings).
So what did that dissenting committee member have to say?
“We’re at risk of decreasing the housing diversity,” council member Marc Elrich told his colleagues. The at-large Dem worried the site’s proximity to a Metro station and construction costs would jack rents through the shiny new roof.
“When all is said and done, this will be a significant loss in affordable housing at this site. I don’t see much value here, except in the 125 proposed MPDUs [moderately priced dwelling units],” he said.
Elrich also said car traffic along East-West Highway, 16th Street and nearby Colesville Road would be disatrous if a proposed Harris Teeter supermarket were to open on the redeveloped site. Even if apartment dwellers in the immediate hood walked to the store, many more would drive, he argued.
“We’re not getting much for what we’re giving away,” Elrich told his colleagues. “I don’t think it’s a good deal.”
The housing committee discusses the Falklands again next week before hitting the full county council with its final recommendation.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user Mr T in DC.