Expect an official website with a business directory, history of the area and list of events in the ongoing effort to brand the White Flint area of North Bethesda.
Ken Hartman, director of the county’s Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, said he and his staff are working on MetroWhiteFlint.org, a website owned by the county that one day could be handed over to a Bethesda Urban Partnership-like urban maintenance corporation for White Flint.
For now, the idea is to present one official website that ties together and promotes the changing area of strip shopping centers around the White Flint Metro station.
Hartman detailed preliminary plans for the website at a Tuesday meeting of the White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee.
The committee, made up of residents, county government officials, business owners and land developers, is charged with setting the stage for a White Flint Urban Partnership that would provide streetscaping, maintenance, landscaping and organization for special arts and entertainment events.
The website would be a key component of that, and what many on the committee have said is a necessary step to making others aware of White Flint as a downtown area.
Over the next roughly 25 years, the mixed-use, town-center developments and others approved under new zoning enacted in the 2010 White Flint Sector Plan will bring more than 14,000 housing units and 13 million square feet in commercial space to both sides of Rockville Pike.
The first of those major projects — Pike & Rose at the former Mid-Pike Plaza — is now leasing its first apartment units and will open much of its Phase I buildings later this year.
Hartman said the idea for the website right now is to divide the area in four general districts: The Pike & Rose/Marriott Conference Center area, North Bethesda Market/NoBe, the White Flint Gateway area and the Metro District that would encompass everything in the northeast portion of the sector.
Then, addresses and info for retail and restaurants would be listed by district. Hartman and staff identified more than 220 current retail businesses, 55 of which are dining establishments. This is before major mixed-use development has been approved for White Flint Mall and the LCOR property just north of the metro station.
The website would also include a detailed history of the area, links to a Twitter feed with event announcements and updates, ads from local businesses and developers and a development map similar to what already exists on the Regional Services Center’s blog.
The group doesn’t yet have a branding strategy for the area, which some have argued should be called North Bethesda instead of White Flint.
A proposal for the website from the same developer that made Bethesda Urban Partnership’s website came in at under $10,000.