Recap: Economic Development - White Oak Life Science Center - September 11, 2014

Posted Date: 
September 11, 2014

September 11, 2014 Recap:

Guest Speaker:  Steve Silverman, Director, Montgomery County Department of Economic Development

The vice-chair of the Economic Development Committee, Leslie Ford Weber, welcomed MCCC members and introduced the guest speaker, Steve Silverman, Director, Montgomery County Department of Economic Development. Silverman discussed the White Oak Life Science Center and the impact it will have on businesses.

Silverman provided the framework for the discussion by describing the General Plan of the County which set aside one third of the land mass for the Agricultural Reserve. He then discussed the macro changes over the last five years in the transformational master plans that have been adopted: Great Seneca Science Corridor, White Flint and White Oak Life Sciences Village.

The goal of White Oak Life Science Center is to create jobs and add amenities in the East part of the County. This master plan marked a change in approach to approval. Planners and the Council recognized that a project of this magnitude needs financing that is difficult to secure with staging requirements. 

White Oak is comprised of four nodes:  White Oak Shopping Center, Hillendale Shopping Center, the Labor College and a 300 acre tract that is a public/private partnership between the County and Percontee.

There are discussions of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on Route 29 and New Hampshire Avenue which will provide more transportation options on this major corridor that runs from Howard County to the District.

Click here to read memos on the subject from the County Executive and Councilmember Floreen, each of whom were strong supporters of this master plan.

Mr. Silverman also mentioned the exciting developments in working with NIST and developing a hub of cyber security activity in Shady Grove and he discussed vacancy rates and the County’s efforts to attract more companies in the midst of this regional issue.

Questions from MCCC members included topics on how the county is positioning itself vis a vis more defense spending at the Federal level, the actual implementation of the White Oak plan, and the need for bold ideas to attract businesses to Montgomery County.

The conversation concluded with the remark that the majority of Montgomery County companies are the end users of Master Plans.  MCCC looks forward to working with DED on initiatives that help companies start here, grow here and relocate here.


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