University To Develop
The university has gained approval for its plan to develop a
research and development campus on its 138-acre Belward Farm
property in Montgomery County.
The county's Planning Board voted last month to back the university's plan to build, over time, as much as 1.8 million square feet of space in as many as 23 buildings on the property.
Tenants in the development, near Interstate 270 northwest of Washington, D.C., could include private or university research and development labs, associated office space, government agencies and health care delivery facilities.
The development will be known as the Johns Hopkins Belward Research Campus. The effort to find tenants is already beginning and construction could start in late 1997.
"The plan will evolve as we learn more about the needs of prospective users from within the university, from the government and from the private sector," said Robert J. Schuerholz, the university's executive director of facilities and real estate. "But we are committed to an exclusive focus on research, academic, health care and related uses for this property. And we are committed to a development that will respect the special environmental and historic characteristics of Belward Farm."
The university acquired Belward Farm from Elizabeth Banks and her family in 1989. The property, just outside Gaithersburg and very close to the university's successful Montgomery County Center part-time graduate education facility in Shady Grove, was rezoned by the Montgomery County Council in June 1996 for research and development use.
"The development of this property by Johns Hopkins is an important element in the county's efforts to attract high-level technology businesses and jobs to the I-270 corridor," said Douglas Duncan, county executive of Montgomery County. "I am delighted that it is about to begin."
The university, working with the developer Manekin Corp., will focus initial development efforts on the easternmost 30-acre tract on the property, bounded by Key West Avenue and Great Seneca Highway.
The plan developed by the university and Manekin envisions that, eventually, there will be six campuses of three or four buildings, none more than five stories high, clustered within the project.
Even when the site is fully developed, the university will preserve and use as a retreat center a 7-acre tract that includes the property's original Queen Anne-style farmhouse, designated a historic site by the county, and Elizabeth Banks' newer house. The development is also being designed to preserve as much as possible of the property's woodlands.
Johns Hopkins has in recent years maintained a growing presence in the Washington, D.C. area. One of the university's eight schools, the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, is near Dupont Circle in downtown Washington. The Montgomery County Center, opened in 1988, offers master's degree programs to adult part-time students in such fields as business, education, engineering, public health and biotechnology. A similar center opened in downtown Washington in 1992. Between them, the Montgomery County and Washington centers recorded more than 4,300 course registrations this fall.
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