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More housing is needed to bring rents down, but where do we propose putting it. Matt suggested we could have 77 new 30 story towers, but where? Silver Spring maybe has room for 15 additional tall buildings total, and then it's built out, and that's including taking down almost anything shorter than 3 stories tall currently to do it - there goes Fenton Village. Bethesda is in the same boat, maybe another 10-15 towers will fit in the CBD.

Of course, almost none of these will be 30 stories tall because zoning does not allow it, and probably never will with almost all of the TOD neighborhoods in MoCo and elsewhere being surrounded tightly by single family detached housing. Also, if we really did built out all this available remaining density as residential, where are people supposed to work? At least some of these new towers need to be office uses and hotels if we want a valued mix of uses. There is already concern that Silver Spring is becoming too residential and there needs to be a new office product or two (of course the market new leased office space in SS is unlikely with the low rental rates - developers don't want to build office if they can't get high profits through leases). We're also assuming everyone out there wants to sell to developers, which is also not the case, and acts to slow down the pace of development, as the developers often go years trying to assemble properties.

These development challenges are part of what is pushing the new residential development in Wheaton, and has helped the developers of White Flint get financing to keep construction occurring there. Don't look at the lack of affordability remaining in Silver Spring as an issue of supply just there, but the lack of supply for urban amenity and transit accessible housing in the entire region.

by Gull on Jan 28, 2013 2:49 pm • linkreport

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