New Name for White Flint District May be Presented Next Month

Resident representatives concerned that developers are ignoring their input in choosing a name


Building heights in the district outlined in the White Flint Sector Plan.

White Flint Sector Plan

Stakeholders grappling over what to call the developing area surrounding the White Flint Metro Station offered little information about a new potential name for the district Tuesday, but said more information may be provided in December.

The White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee briefly discussed the naming and branding issue at its November meeting Tuesday morning.

The issue came up when Tara Flynn, a community representative, asked if the name was going to be presented as a done deal to the committee or if stakeholders besides developers, such as nearby residents and local business owners, will have a chance to discuss proposed ideas.

Brian Downie, an advisory committee member and vice president of development for Saul Centers Inc., which is developing a large tract in White Flint, said at the meeting that new information about the name and branding campaign may be ready by the time the committee meets next month. The committee doesn’t normally meet in December, but may do so if enough representatives are available to discuss the naming and branding issue, according to Committee Chairman Cliff Cohen.

A web developer made a presentation Tuesday about the new website under development for the district that featured the name Metropolitan White Flint. That name was among 10 names presented to the community at a charrette in September hosted by The JBG Companies, Federal Realty and Streetsense in Bethesda.

Ken Hartman, director of the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center and the person guiding the development of the website for the White Flint district, said that name is being used as a place holder until a consensus is reached on what to call the area.

Flynn and Paul Meyer, the two community representatives at the meeting, said they were concerned the name would simply be chosen by developers without any input from the community.

“I’m feeling like we’re going to get a fait accompli,” Flynn said.

Meyer requested statistics from the charrette to determine whether input from the community event was used to choose a name. The 10 names pitched by developers at the charrette in September were Rocksy, The Stem, Market District, Rockline, Uptown, Slate District, Quartz District, The Summit, Pike District and Metropolitan White Flint. Attendees were asked to vote on which names they liked the best.

Cohen said another meeting could be scheduled before a name is presented to discuss results from the charrette.

“It’s important that people feel the charrette made a difference and not just the developers got together and picked a name,” Cohen said.

The name would be used for branding the developing area located within about a half-mile radius of the White Flint Metro station. The committee stressed the name would not be used for nearby residential neighborhoods or for mailing purposes.

Federal Realty and The JBG Companies have been leading proponents of rebranding the area, which currently goes by several names including White Flint, North Bethesda and Rockville. Both developers are concerned the name White Flint is too closely associated with Lerner Enterprises’ aging White Flint Mall and have not supported calling the area White Flint. Meanwhile, Lerner, which plans to redevelop the mall site into a “town center” concept, has supported the White Flint name, while also saying the company may be receptive to a new name.

The White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee is a group of representatives from the community, local businesses, developers and county government established by the County Council to advise the county on development in the White Flint area and promote local business and community interests.

The White Flint developing district as outlined in the White Flint Sector Plan.

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