Friendship Heights Property Owners Form New Organization to Shepherd Future Growth & Momentum
WASHINGTON, DC, NOVEMBER 18, 2021 ⸺ A collaborative group of property owners in the Friendship Heights neighborhood of Washington, DC, and Montgomery County, Maryland, have coalesced to form a new nonprofit organization to harness the commercial area’s increasing momentum. The Friendship Heights Alliance voted on November 16 to formally elect its inaugural board of directors.
The Friendship Heights Alliance plans to increase collaboration amongst property owners and support a variety of transformational planning initiatives as development throughout the corridor continues. The Alliance will help shape a new vision and refreshed identity for Friendship Heights as a major dynamic, inclusive neighborhood with a growing mix of uses, and increase marketing and promotions of the neighborhood. In addition, the organization will focus on public space management and coordination, and engage the interests and support of small businesses and nearby residents. The Alliance will also form an advisory committee comprised of residents, small business owners and other civic leaders. The Alliance will initially engage consultant assistance to conduct its programs, and Rich Bradley, principal with The Urban Partnership, will serve as its first executive director.
“Now is the time to take advantage of new investments and development trends,” said Jad Donohoe, Senior Vice President with Donohoe Development and Chairperson of the Friendship Heights Alliance Board. “We’re seeing significant momentum and interest in the Friendship Heights area.”
The momentum to form the Alliance directly resulted from a February 2021 ULI Washington Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) of leading land planning and community development professionals from around the region. The TAP report recommended several strategic moves for the neighborhood, including expanding residential capacity and mixed-use development, reenvisioning a significant WMATA parcel in the neighborhood, and several other transformational economic development efforts. The ULI Washington TAP panel was sponsored by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), the Executive Office of the Mayor, and the Montgomery County government, and heavily supported by the office of Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh.
“The Friendship Heights commercial corridor is on the precipice of a great renewal, and the Friendship Heights Alliance has an invaluable role to play in guiding and coordinating our revitalization efforts,” said Councilmember Mary M. Cheh, from the District of Columbia’s Ward 3. “I am proud to have supported this work through a grant in the Fiscal Year 2022 Budget and am thrilled at the cooperation already underway among land owners on both sides of the Maryland and D.C. border. Friendship Heights will once again serve as a destination for the region and, more importantly, has the opportunity to return as a more vibrant and inclusive community for all.”
Property owners in Friendship Heights have long recognized its potential as a regional destination and celebrated regional cooperation and support across Montgomery County/District lines.
“The formation of the Friendship Heights Alliance marks an important turning point for Friendship Heights,” said District 1 Montgomery County Councilmember Andrew Friedson. “This bi-jurisdictional effort reflects an unprecedented level of cooperation among key stakeholders committed to maximizing the potential of the Friendship Heights area. I am grateful for the initiative this group has shown and believe their efforts will breathe new life into the area making it an even better place to work, live and play for future generations. They have my full support.”
“Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and County Councilmember Andrew Friedson support the mission of the Alliance,” said Ken Hartman, Director of Strategic Partnerships for Montgomery County. “Friendship Heights is in transition and for the first time will have an organization focused on improving the needs of the business district. The County Executive and Councilmember applaud the efforts of the Friendship Heights Alliance to organize with the goal of creating vibrancy for the benefit of all Friendship Heights stakeholders. Montgomery County is committed to working with the Alliance and the District of Columbia to support and enhance Friendship Heights as a place to live, a destination to shop and dine, and a great place to do business.”
Several new developments are being planned that will increase residential capacity by more than 1,000 new units, including projects by Donohoe Development/Carr Companies, Federal Realty Investment Trust, and Tishman Speyer. This past summer, Amazon Fresh opened their first store in Maryland at The Collection and provides modern conveniences like the Amazon Dart Cart and Alexa features, which helps customers manage their shopping lists and better navigate the aisles. In addition, new retailers are opening on a rolling basis, including the brand-new The Heights Food Hall, Modern Irish-Americana themed restaurant The Hunter’s Hound, and Junction Bistro, Bar & Bakery, providing the area with a mix of retailers that appeal to the growing population.
Founding members of the Friendship Heights Alliance include Donohoe, The Chevy Chase Land Company, Boston Properties, Tishman Speyer, Zuckerman Gravely, Clarion Partners, Grosvenor Americas, Federal Realty Investment Trust, Equity Residential, Carr Companies, and WMATA.
“The Alliance represents a number of ownership groups that have seen the benefit of collaboration elsewhere in the region,” said John Ziegenhein, President & CEO with The Chevy Chase Land Company and First Vice-Chairperson of the Friendship Heights Alliance Board. “We also recognize that working together across jurisdictional lines improves the experience of a place for consumers, residents and commuters. Coordinating efforts in place management, marketing and economic development will benefit everyone.”
About the Friendship Heights Alliance
The Friendship Heights Alliance is a new 501(c)6 organization created to increase collaboration amongst property owners, as development throughout the corridor continues; focus on public space management and coordination; increase marketing and promotion of the neighborhood; and conduct outreach to residents and businesses. For more information or to get involved, contact email@example.com.