Environmental Project

Ripley District Voluntary Cleanup Program and Urban Redevelopment

Washington Property Company Silver Spring, MD

Solution Overview

Solaire building, one of the Ripley District urban redevelopment project sites


Washington Property Company (WPC)

Business Challenge:

  • Historically industrial site with various environmental challenges


  • Experienced, local project team with deep knowledge of regulations and Maryland’s Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP)


  • Complete VCP regulatory closure
  • Thriving, attractive, and economically viable mixed use residential and retail community


Located in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland, just a few blocks from the Silver Spring Metro Station, the Ripley District historically consisted of industrial and commercial uses such as auto-repair and body shops, warehouses, and dry-cleaning services. Its location, situated adjacent to future stations for Purple Line light rail, and to Georgia Avenue, a major thoroughfare connecting suburban Maryland to District of Columbia, made it a desirable location for redevelopment. Its close proximity to downtown Silver Spring dining and shopping, as well as public transit services to downtown Washington DC and the DC, Maryland, Virginia (DMV) metro area underscored the attraction for future residents. WPC realized this opportunity early on and acquired land with the intention to develop luxury apartment communities. WPC, being dedicated to creating a better future for people and the environment, saw this as an opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint while contributing to public projects and revitalizing the community. However, a primary challenge in redeveloping historical industrial urban areas is in the need for skilled environmental management. In this case, for the Ripley District, these challenges included hazardous building materials, documented and undocumented underground fuel storage tanks, and impacted soil and groundwater. Having previously worked with Apex Companies on a different historical gas station site in downtown Bethesda with a successful completion, WPC retained Apex to assist with the remediation of the site, which began with enrolling the properties in Maryland’s VCP.


Since the early 2000s, Apex has been involved in various private and public environmental and remediation projects as part of the Downtown Silver Spring Revitalization initiated by Montgomery County, Maryland. Already familiar with the Ripley District neighborhood, and having an excellent track record with Maryland VCP projects, Apex and WPC laid out a plan to assess and remediate the site in alignment with redevelopment and stakeholder needs. Services performed by Apex included Phase I and II environmental site assessments (ESAs), geotechnical engineering services, building hazardous material surveys, abatement prior to demolition of existing structures, underground storage tank (UST) removals, soil and groundwater management plans, as well as preparation of health and safety and impacted materials management plans. Each property was enrolled in the VCP which is administered by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) Land and Materials Administration’s Land Restoration Program (LMA-LRP) to provide state oversight for the voluntary cleanup of properties contaminated with hazardous substances. The goal of VCP is to increase the number of remediated sites by streamlining the cleanup process and ensuring compliance with existing environmental regulations. All WPC properties included in this project were successfully completed with No Further Requirements Determination (NFRD) and/or Certificate of Completion (COC) issued by MDE.


The WPC Ripley District sites addressed during this project included Solaire 8250 Georgia, Solaire 8200 Dixon, and Solaire 1150 Ripley. The addition of these buildings, along with Progress Place, has transformed the neighborhood into a vibrant community consisting of thousands of multifamily units and retail spaces, including the largest food hall in the area currently under construction in the Solaire 8200 Dixon building. This project also serves as a prime example of how successful the Maryland VCP can be. Other neighborhoods and developers can follow a similar path to achieve similar results. Through the VCP, developers can secure liability protection while being eligible to qualify for financial incentives for the redevelopment of a Brownfields Revitalization Incentive Program (BRIP) site. Localities can revitalize their communities by transforming underutilized land to create safe, vibrant neighborhoods while also increasing their tax revenue base. WPC-funded public projects at Ripley District also included the installation of street lighting, sculpture and murals, park benches and cast stone walls, sidewalks, bioretention ponds, roadways, sewer piping, bike racks, e-scooter and bikeshare parking, and urban parkland. Apex was proud to serve as part of the WPC team to help with the realization of their vision of transforming the Ripley District in Silver Spring, Maryland into a thriving neighborhood and community.

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