Plus: Political group requests public documents related to area’s Amazon bids; San Francisco company buys Rockville warehouse property
HerbaFi is coming to downtown Silver Spring
HerbaFi plans May opening in downtown Silver Spring
HerbaFi, the new medical marijuana dispensary coming to downtown Silver Spring, announced on its Twitter account Saturday that final inspections are expected to take place this month and then the new business plans to open in May.
The location will fill the basement and first floor of a brick building at 8413 Ramsey Ave., which is next to the Silver Spring Transit Center and across from the Discovery Inc. building. Terry Saad, HerbaFi’s director of operations, told Bethesda Beat in September the business is spending about $70,000 to install cameras and other security measures before it opens.
HerbaFi will be the second medical marijuana shop in downtown Silver Spring. RISE Silver Spring opened in December at 7900 Fenton St.
Democratic socialists request Amazon bid public documents
Residents from Montgomery County, Virginia and Washington, D.C., who are members of the Metro DC chapter of Democratic Socialists of America, are trying to obtain information not being publicly released by the locales that have submitted bids for Amazon’s second headquarters.
The three are among 20 in North America that Amazon has shortlisted as it makes a decision on where to locate its new headquarters. The company is scheduled to decide sometime later this year.
The political group, which aims to achieve a more equitable economy and lessen the influence of money in politics, announced Monday it requested under the federal Freedom of Information Act email exchanges between public officials about the bids as well as copies of the bids.
Bethesda Beat previously filed a public information request for Montgomery County’s Amazon bid and received a heavily redacted copy of the bid. The redacted version did not show any information about the location that the county is pitching to the company or what types of financial or tax incentives the county was offering. County officials have since said the White Flint area was pitched, although the location has yet to be formally confirmed.
The Democratic Socialists believe the local governments have “systematically sidestepped” public discussion about the bids by not being transparent about the information contained in them. The group, which has endorsed County Council member Marc Elrich in the Montgomery County executive race, generally opposes governments providing benefits to corporations.
“As our elected officials across the DMV rush to give away billions of taxpayer dollars to Jeff Bezos’s Amazon, they have essentially stonewalled the general public on what exactly is being offered,” Alex Howe, an organizer with the political group, said in a statement. “Our public money should be used to fund affordable housing, schools for our children, and projects that benefit our entire community.”
The tax incentive package that Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan proposed for Amazon has been subject to General Assembly approval this year and has been publicly debated in the legislature. Hogan estimated its value at about $3 billion, while the state’s Department of Legislative Services estimated the 35-year cost at nearly $5.6 billion if Amazon chooses Montgomery County for its new headquarters.
The Amazon sweepstakes has been described by many state and local officials as a once-in-a-lifetime economic development opportunity. The company plans to invest about $5 billion in its new offices and employ about 40,000 to 50,000 workers at its new headquarters.
Berkeley Partners acquires Rockville warehouse building for $14.5 million
San Francisco-based Berkeley Partners announced this month it purchased the 79,600-square-foot Gude Commerce Center for $14.5 million. The East Gude Drive building in Rockville recently underwent a $2.5 million renovation to make it into a multitenant business center.
Berkeley noted the building is about 94 percent leased and can be marketed to retail or industrial tenants. The company said online retailers using centers such as this building for distribution purposes as well as similar buildings being transitioned into new redevelopment projects have driven up demand for light-industrial properties in the county.