United Therapeutics Continues to Spread Through Silver Spring like a Welcome, Aesthetically-Pleasing Cancer
Over the past few years United Therapeutics has significantly expanded its footprint in downtown Silver Spring, though as its campus sits at the fringes of the Silver Spring CBD, you might never notice. They clearly design for an audience, and have one of the cooler public spaces in town - a large plaza featuring a giant TV screen with a cool double-helix skybridge looking down on it.
Now Unither is trying to outo itself with a new office building planned for the corner of Colesville and Spring Streets. Once built, the thousands of drivers entering downtown Silver Spring via Colesville each day will be greeted by a large ultra-modern spaceship-like building rather than a disused parking garage. The new structure will replace the crumbling Garage 21, which United Therapeutics purchased from the county last year.
The building will serve as a workspace for about 150 employees and is as planned as a net zero structure, meaning all energy used will be produced on-site, primarily via the solar arrays positioned on its roof and elsewhere around the building.
It will include ground-level retail and landscaped public areas, hopefully drawing more pedestrians to the surrounding streets. There will also be a new pedestrian walkway (to be dubbed the "BioPath") that will run along the edge of the building and connect Colesville and Cameron streets.
Even more modest proposals often get significantly changed (for the worse) before any ground is broken. For example, here's the original 2008 proposal for a residential building at 814 Thayer Avenue. Like it or not, at least it's distinctive.
And here's the current, watered-down proposal - a nondescript generic structure. *Yawn*
This particular development has mirrored the glacial pace of a lot of other local projects, as the existing office building at that address was purchased way back in 2006 and still stands empty today.
Of course the difference in United Therapeutics' case is that the building is for them and they need not worry about things like vacancy rates and price per square foot. If they have the money, they can do whatever they damn please. I'm really glad that someone is building new office space rather than more apartments.
I can't even envision The Community fighting this one, though one should never underestimate the power of the Dark Side.
Thanks to JT for forwarding me these plans!