Germantown development hits administrative roadblock by Michelle Corbet

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Germantown was scheduled to vote on Gill Properties’ $90 million mixed-use office development tonight, but an administrative error has pushed the approval back.

“This was strictly an administrative issue involving proper notification,” said Alderman Forrest Owens. “Apparently, we did not get the notice to the paper in time to meet the required public notification time requirements for an Outline Plan to be heard.”

Site plans for TraVure — a $90 million development of two Hilton hotels, a covered parking garage, restaurants, retail outlets and a five-story office building — have already been approved by the Board of Mayor and Alderman (BMA) and the Germantown Planning Commission, but the development must go back to BMA due to changes to the overall Outline Plan.

Brown Gill, vice president of Gill Properties, Inc., maintains the Outline Plan is the same plan that was approved by BMA in July 2015, with the exception of the shape of the hotel, which has changed from an “L” shape to more of an “E” to better fit the site.

“Whether it’s a small change or a large change, it would need to come back,” Owens said.

Plans for TraVure have been making their way through the City of Germantown planning process since Gill Properties bought the site in 2012.

Gill says his company has spent $400,000 total in architectural and engineering fees to work with the city and opposition from the abutting Nottoway neighborhood to make sure the development is in compliance with Germantown’s Smart Growth and Western Gateway plans.

“We’ve spent $200,000 of that in 2015 alone,” he said. “All of those costs, and there’s still nothing on the property.”

Gill says once approved, he’s ready to file a building permit for the first phase of the project, which includes roads, landscaping, lighting, sewer, water and electric, as well as the first phase of the hotel.

Despite the delay, BMA is still scheduled to consider amendments to TraVure’s Outline Plan at its next regularly scheduled meeting Monday, Feb. 8.

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