THAT’S SILVER SPRING?: Up Georgia Update: Demolition begins at Privacy World apartments in Glenmont


Workers began demolishing a corner of the aging Privacy World apartments this week next to the Glenmont Metro station, where developers plan to build a townhouse cluster as the first stage of a 1,550-unit mixed-use complex.

The project has been touted as the spark for broader redevelopment along the stretch of Georgia Avenue north of Wheaton, where county officials hope a new sector plan will attract investment in the dilapidated Glenmont Shopping Center and surrounding apartment complexes.

Leveled lot

Under a permit issued August 29, three garden apartment buildings and a long-vacant bank site are being leveled at the northeast corner of Glenallan Avenue and Layhill Road. The 9.5-acre site—which includes a wooded lot that abuts a Metro rail storage yard—sits directly across Glenallan Avenue from the Metro, which is the last station on the eastern leg of the Red Line.


Photo by Sonny Goldreich.

A pair of excavator tractors knocked down one apartment building and started work on a second Friday along Layhill Road, just west of the rail yard.

Winchester Homes plans to build 171 four-story townhouses at the corner, including 22 moderately priced dwelling units. Approved first phase construction also allows another 54 townhouses and a six-story, 250-unit apartment building with 4,000 square feet of retail space.

Complex situation

When completed, the new Glenmont Metrocenter complex could occupy 2.5 million square feet of space where the 352-unit Privacy World now stands. If fully built, the 31 acre-complex would include 1,325 multifamily units, 225 townhouses, and 90,000 square feet of commercial space, room enough for an upscale grocery and other retail.

Later construction would include the retail space and three new apartment buildings. Plans call for reserving 14.5 percent of the housing for moderately priced dwelling units.

Enterprise zone with no development

County planners have been pushing redevelopment of Glenmont since a new sector plan was passed in 1997. It included denser zoning to encourage transit-oriented development next to the Metro station that opened in 1998. The updated sector plan approved this year has been paired with a new enterprise zone that offers businesses state income tax and property tax credits to help create and retain jobs.

But there has been no significant development within a mile of the subway since the Red Line was completed.

The last of the 18 existing Privacy World buildings was completed in the 1960s.

About the Author

Sonny Goldreich
Sonny Goldreich is a veteran reporter who covers local news at He previously has worked as a staff writer for the Baltimore Sun, Congressional Quarterly, and Washington Times, and as a freelancer for the Gazette of Business and Politics, and Washington Examiner.