Developing A Fillmore Deal

A Fillmore-branded theatre in Silver Spring, Md., might be a step closer to reality with the site’s developer, Lee Development Group, and Montgomery County reportedly nailing down final negotiations to build the concert hall.

The developer has been working with Montgomery County for the last six years on a land-swap deal that would give the county land for the 32,000-square-foot Fillmore in exchange for approval of a future mixed-use development directly behind that property, according to the Washington Business Journal. The Fillmore would be run by Live Nation.

“We’re saying 30 to 60 days but, hopefully, we’re closer than that, Lee Development Group President Bruce Lee told the paper. “We have several meetings over the next couple of weeks and are wrapping up the details.”

The company has reportedly already gutted an old J.C. Penney building, saving the façade, which is to be renovated as the Fillmore. The redevelopment of the property into a 1,000-to 2,000-capacity venue is to begin once Lee gets the green light from the county.

The deal is controversial in Montgomery County because the mixed-use project could be years from turning the first shovel, let alone completion, and includes promised approvals for other future projects.

“A deal like this that deals with future development has never been done in the county before, so a process had to be created,” Lee told the Business Journal. “It’s really creative thinking for economic development. There is so much support on all fronts to get the music hall moving forward, that the deal makes sense.”

At least one county resident wasn’t convinced. Seth Hurwitz, who submitted a bid on the project when talks between the county and the Birchmere for the project broke down, unsuccessfully challenged the award of a lease to Live Nation.