ASHP headquarters has been in Bethesda for 48 years and in our current building at 7272 Wisconsin Avenue for 22 years. It has served as a welcoming home for members and staff providing us with quality office space to host members and guests, and to conduct meetings and events.
7272 Wisconsin Avenue has provided convenient access to Metro, easy access from all three of the region’s major airports, and proximity to an array of local restaurants and hotels to host our members when they are in town. The building has been a valuable asset to ASHP that has grown in value and continues to provide ASHP with revenues through lease of both retail and office space.
One year ago we conducted a ceremony naming the building the Joseph A. Oddis Building in honor of Dr. Joseph A. Oddis, who served as ASHP’s Chief Executive Officer for 37 years, and whose vision and leadership led to ASHP acquiring the building in 1992. Since moving to this location, both ASHP and Bethesda have grown. The building sits atop the south end of the Bethesda Metro station and plans have been in place since the building was constructed to develop and build a new southern entrance to the Bethesda Metro station and add a new light rail service connected to the Metro, called the Purple Line.
This new rail line would connect Bethesda with points further east, and would be built on an old railroad right of way that currently houses the Capital Crescent Bicycle trail–a popular hiker-biker trail. Recently, design studies revealed that it would not be feasible to construct the new stations and maintain a bicycle trail within the existing tunnel under our building, and that space limitation would limit design options for the transit stations.
As a result, ASHP was approached by the County regarding our willingness to explore the sale of the building to permit redevelopment of the site. To incentivize ASHP, the County is currently engaged in rezoning of several blocks here in Bethesda and exploring other incentives.
Previously, the plan had been to use the existing tunnel under our building for the Purple Line and to reroute the hiker-biker trail. The County approached us with a plan to combine the two under the building and build a larger metro station that would require demolition of the building. This is now the County’s preferred option, and we are therefore currently exploring it.
This option may present ASHP with a unique opportunity to obtain new and more modern offices to serve our future needs at an alternate location in downtown Bethesda. We have hired a law firm specializing in commercial real estate and an additional team of expert consultants who are working with staff to assess this opportunity and determine if such an arrangement would be in ASHP’s best interests. No decisions have been made at this point, and negotiations with developers and with county and state officials are continuing.
Dr. Oddis’ wisdom and vision years ago have provided ASHP not only with a quality home for more than 20 years, but with a valuable asset that has grown in value and places ASHP in a unique position to plan for our future.
I will let you know how things proceed. Thank you for your support of ASHP.