County Chooses Child Care Center for Former Silver Spring Library Site
A competing proposal for a senior housing project will likely shift to a planned White Oak development
A rendering showing the child care center selected for the former library site. Via Montgomery County/ Gudelsky Family Foundation
Montgomery County officials have chosen a proposal to create a child care center in the former Silver Spring library on Colesville Road over a competing pitch for affordable senior housing at the site.
The county selected the Martha B. Gudelsky Child Development Center proposal, which would create a facility to serve about 150 children from birth to age 5 and employ about 50 people in part-time and full-time positions. The center’s proposal calls for preserving the existing library building and renovating it. The building has housed a bookstore run by the Friends of the Library of Montgomery County in the years since the library moved to a new facility at 900 Wayne Ave.
The regional childcare operator CentroNía plans to run the day-to-day to operations at the center, which would be built with funds from the Homer & Martha Gudelsky Family Foundation Inc., according to county officials.
The childcare center was selected over a competing proposal pitched by the nonprofit affordable housing developer Victory Housing of North Bethesda.
Victory had proposed a four-story, 92-unit senior housing development as well as a CommuniKids child care center to serve 80 to 100 children. Jeff Blackwell, a Victory vice president, said during a community meeting in October the developer would need a loan from the county’s housing department to construct the building. At the time, he did not have an estimate of how much the project would cost.
Victory’s proposal is not dead, however. The county and the developer of VIVA White Oak, Global LifeSci Development Corp.—a division of Percontee Inc.—agreed to provide Victory Housing with a site in the first phase of the White Oak life sciences project next to U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Percontee officials said in October they may be ready to break ground on the massive 12 million square foot development in May.
A contract has been sent to Victory so it can review the agreement, according to a letter sent to Gudelsky and Percontee officials Feb. 23 by the county’s Department of General Services Director David Dise.
If the agreement is approved, Victory will then have to work with Percontee and the county to determine the size of the building and number of units at that site, although the project would not include less than the 92 proposed units in Victory’s library site proposal, according to the letter
Percontee is owned by the Gudelsky family, which has been developing land in the county since the 1950s. The family established the Gudelsky Family Foundation in 1968 to fund child development, education and environment-related initiatives in Maryland.
Dise said in an interview Tuesday that the bookstore inside the former library will continue to operate until the Wheaton Library and Recreation Center project is completed sometime in the summer of next year and then move there.
The Gudelsky Foundation will receive access to the former library site after the move to begin developing the child care center and expects to open it sometime in late 2020, according to Dise. He said Victory’s senior housing project in White Oak could be completed the following year.
Due to the proposed agreement with Victory, the county is not requiring the Gudelsky Foundation to fund the 15 additional off-site affordable residences in the Silver Spring area it pitched in its original proposal for the former library site. The county had previously required proposals for the site to include affordable senior housing.
The county plans to transfer the site to Gudelsky under a 99-year lease, which will need to be approved by the County Council. Dise said the deal is likely to be considered by the council sometime in March.
An aerial view of the child care center. Via Montgomery County/ Gudelsky Family Foundation