WMAL Site Developer, Neighbors At Odds


WMAL-LogoThe developer that wants to build homes on the current tower site for WMAL(AM), Washington and neighborhood groups are fighting over planned home construction. Meanwhile, WMAL’s plans to move its towers have progressed.

A traffic study commissioned by Toll Brothers says traffic generated by the new 328-home development wouldn’t exceed congestion standards for Montgomery County, Maryland.

The upshot? No off-site road improvements are required, states the report by Wells + Associates. Developers who exceed the intersection capacity standards have to pay the county for extra road lanes or other improvements, reports Bethesda Magazine.

Neighborhood groups say the traffic congestion will be too much, and they’ve been pushing the county to get the developer to scale back the plans.

The site is unusual because it’s one of the last undeveloped tracts of land so close to the Washington area beltway and it’s surrounded by high-end retail and homes.

We’ve reported Toll Brothers wants to build 328 luxury homes on the 75-acre tower site.

If the county approves the development plan, Toll Brothers would need to make a “traffic mitigation payment” before the company begins construction, which is expected to start in summer 2017.

Meanwhile, an examination of FCC records by RBR+TVBR shows the commission has granted Cumulus Media a construction permit to move the WMAL towers to the WSPZ(AM) transmitter site, which is in Germantown, some 10 miles north of the current site. WSPZ is Red Zebra’s sports station.

Cumulus anticipates using a four-tower array. Cumulus Media expects to see between $75 million and $95 million from the proceeds of the site sale to Toll Brothers. The final figure depends on how many homes can actually be built, though Cumulus has said it’s been using $75 million in its modeling projections.

Cumulus expects the deal to close in 2017.


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