Duncan Announces Plan to Bring Birchmere to Silver Spring; Second Music Hall to be located in historic J.C. Penney's BuildingSay what you want about Doug Duncan, but he certainly hooks Silver Spring up pretty frequently. He can be my wingman anytime!
Continuing the successful revitalization of downtown Silver Spring, Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan today announced he has crafted a new public/private partnership to open a second home for the nationally renowned Birchmere Music Hall. The project will be located at the old J.C. Penney building on Colesville Road, permanently preserving one of the County’s historic landmarks, the J.C. Penney façade. The partnership includes Montgomery County, the Birchmere, and Lee Development Group. In addition, the County has sent a formal request asking the State of Maryland to join the project as well.
“We are extremely excited about welcoming the Birchmere Music Hall to Silver Spring,” said Duncan. “Silver Spring has been transformed into a dynamic arts and entertainment center, and adding a live music venue with the reputation of the Birchmere will make Silver Spring an even more desirable destination. I want to thank the Birchmere and Lee Development for working with us to make this public/private partnership a reality.”
The plan calls for Lee Development to transfer the land under the building to the County. Montgomery County’s investment will be a total of $4 million. Duncan today also sent a letter to the State requesting a $4 million matching grant. The Birchmere will make a significant investment towards the construction and fit out of the building and will then lease the finished facility from the County for a monthly rent to be determined.
“The Birchmere looks forward to contributing to the continued rebirth of Silver Spring’s arts and entertainment center by finalizing negotiations to open a second Birchmere on Lee Development’s Colesville Road site,” said James Mathews, partner, the Birchmere Music Hall.
Bringing the Birchmere to Silver Spring has been a vision shared by the County Executive and local residents for many years now. The project will continue the extraordinary revitalization of Silver Spring and bring a new cultural crown jewel to the County. The Birchmere, with its national reputation, will help attract new visitors to Silver Spring from across the region and be a major economic boost to the downtown.
“Silver Spring is a shining example of successful revitalization and we see this as an important piece of the redevelopment puzzle. The Birchmere will provide an economic shot in the arm for downtown Silver Spring and help create even greater potential for the future,” said Dan Cohen, Co-founder, of the citizens group Silver Spring Forward.
Duncan earlier today transmitted requests to both the County Council and the Governor’s Office and looks forward to working with them to help make this vision a reality. Attached are copies of those requests.
“The land we are contributing is part of a parking lot we will develop some day. When we do, county law requires us to make a contribution to the public good so why not contribute now to help attract the Birchmere,” said Bruce H. Lee, president of the Lee Development Group.
UPDATE: Here's a Gazette story on the Birchmere.