MCB Real Estate Revives Long-Awaited Viva White Oak Mixed-Use Project

Baltimore-based MCB Real Estate, one of Maryland’s most active developers, has announced that it has officially revived the long-delayed Viva White Oak mixed-use project.

In January, the Washington Business Journal reported that MCB was restarting the stalled project and anticipated breaking ground in the latter half of next year, citing County Executive Marc Elrich’s budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2025.

MCB Real Estate didn’t comment then, but they confirmed their involvement Thursday in a press release.

“My partners and I are thrilled to start work on building this vibrant new project,” MCB Real Estate managing partner P. David Bramble said. “At MCB, we like to do complicated projects like this and we have a track record of success. We know that this is a project that can work and, frankly, this community has waited long enough for the kind of investment and amenities that we hope to bring to this location.”

Silver Spring-based Percontee Inc. affiliate Global LifeSci Development initially led the Viva White Oak project over a decade ago, but it never materialized. The 280-acre site is approved for over 12 million square feet of mixed-use development, including up to 4,500 residential units and more than 6 million square feet of commercial and higher-education uses, focusing on biohealth.

According to Thursday’s announcement, MCB is currently working with stakeholders and public officials to refine the attributes of the project, which is “fully entitled to feature 85+ acres of open space, including forested nature trails, parks, and other public spaces; up to 4,500 quality residences, and over 6 million square feet of shops, restaurants, commercial uses, higher educational uses, and biomedical/biotech labs, offices, and research and development facilities, with a focus on the life sciences and BioHealth industries.”

The project’s cost was once estimated at $3 billion.

“This is great news for Montgomery County,” County Executive Marc Elrich said Thursday. “Since first sitting down with Mr. Bramble, we have discussed the possibilities for bringing business, education, training and more to the site. The MCB-VIVA project will create a much-needed geographic economic development balance and inclusive economic prosperity for the eastern region of the County. Our vision for East County is in sync with MCB. Our investments and partnership with MCB in this transformative project will further promote our inclusive community economic development goals for the area and County as a whole.”

According to WBJ, a blurb in Elrich’s Fiscal Year 2025 proposed budget (PDF) noted that Global LifeSci and MCB had “executed a purchase and sales agreement for the development of Viva White Oak, transitioning from due diligence to the project’s planning and design phase.” The budget proposal repeated earlier language about Viva White Oak representing a public-private partnership, noting that the county has already spent $5 million cleaning up the land it sold to Global LifeSci and recommended a further $40 million “to construct the roads to support this work.”

The County Council is set to approve the FY2025 budget on May 23.

“The MCB team have been exceptional partners, actively seeking out opportunities to engage with community members and my office to share information and receive feedback on their plans,” County Councilmember Kristin Mink (D-District 5) said. “The Viva White Oak project is finally poised to deliver the kind of retail, workforce, and housing development that East County residents have long called for, and I’m excited to continue working with the MCB team and my colleagues in County government to make this a reality.”

The Viva White Oak news comes as construction continues at the upcoming White Oak Town Center, which has secured several tenants expected to open this summer, including Dave’s Hot Chicken and First Watch; a nearby 390-unit multifamily development was announced in 2022.

According to Thursday’s announcement, MCB plans to break ground on the first phase of the Viva White Oak project in 2025.

Rendering Courtesy of MCB Real Estate

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