One of the key people in the redevelopment of the White Flint area is leaving his job for a position with Bethesda-based developer EYA.
Evan Goldman, the former vice president of development at Rockville-based Federal Realty Investment Trust, led the company’s efforts at Pike & Rose, a $500 million transformation of the former Mid-Pike Plaza Shopping Center into a mixed-use neighborhood.
“That’s part of what made this move so hard,” Goldman said. “I feel like over the last seven years, so many people think of me and think of White Flint. The idea of not working in White Flint, or on a White Flint project isn’t easy.”
Federal Realty was one of the major property owners that pushed for new zoning and building heights in the 2010 White Flint Sector Plan, the landmark county master plan that prescribed higher densities and mixed-use residential buildings for many of Rockville Pike’s parking-dependent and suburban-style shopping centers.
Goldman was heavily involved with the discussion and debate that went into the plan.
During a Montgomery County Planning Department panel last year on the history of development in the county, Goldman recalled one resident who was fearful of a recommendation to allow for 300-foot-tall buildings along Rockville Pike.
Goldman said she floated a balloon 300 feet in the air at the White Flint Metro station to show how the buildings might impact surrounding neighborhoods.
"I was nervous that was going to change and we were going to end up with 50-foot heights. I spent that entire morning driving to each single-family home neighborhood trying to see if I could see the balloon,” Goldman recalled. “I couldn't find it from any neighborhood. This was one of those final battles."
While there was some opposition to redevelopment in White Flint, the plan was notable in that it did include significant community support.
Federal Realty is a member of The Friends of White Flint, a nonprofit group of property owners, nearby residents and business owners with the goal of ensuring White Flint is developed according to the 2010 sector plan.
Goldman frequently represented the developer at the group’s meetings and Federal Realty often hosted the meetings at its corporate headquarters on East Jefferson Street in Rockville.
He also led the charge for a branding study that came up with the name “Pike District” for the area immediately around Rockville Pike near the White Flint Metro station. Goldman and fellow White Flint developer The JBG Cos. expressed concerns about the area being officially known as White Flint, fearing people would associate it solely with the White Flint Mall property.
A Montgomery County-organized advisory board endorsed the Pike District moniker, and it’s now the name of an official county-funded website promoting the area.
"Evan was instrumental in launching the White Flint District and establishing Pike & Rose as a cornerstone of that district," said Dawn Becker, an executive vice president for Federal Realty in charge of its Mixed Use Division. "His efforts will benefit not just Federal Realty, but other property owners in the district for years to come. We couldn't be happier for Evan and the new opportunity he has with EYA."
Bob Youngentob, co-founder and president of EYA, said he’s known Goldman personally for years. When Goldman expressed an interest in joining EYA, Youngentob said he “felt like it was a great opportunity for both him and EYA to explore the possibility.”
The developer is known best for its town home communities. It’s now building two in Bethesda—in the Rock Springs office park and around the historic Grosvenor Mansion. It recently finished town homes along Little Falls Parkway in Bethesda and is slated to help Equity One build the residential portion of its planned project in Westbard.
Youngentob said Goldman will help with all of the company’s acquisitions, entitlement efforts and development, especially with apartment and condominium projects slated for Shady Grove and Old Town Alexandria.
Goldman’s last day at Federal Realty was two weeks ago and he’s set to start at EYA this month.
Federal Realty completed most of the first phase of Pike & Rose last year. When the second phase is completed (part of it is under construction now) the project will bring a total of 1.5 million square feet of commercial space, about 1,600 residential units and a 177-room boutique hotel to the intersection of Old Georgetown Road and Rockville Pike.
“Pike and Rose phase one is open and phase two is under construction and the planning and entitlements are done. It felt like the right time so I wouldn’t be leaving Federal Realty in a bad position,” Goldman said. “It’s really not easy, though, because I loved Federal and my team. It was a summer-long decision. But I think in my head, I kind of always thought [EYA] would be a great place to be.”