Silver Spring Metro Center: High Visibility, High Expectations
It seems everybody in town passes by the Silver Spring Metro Center, a vibrant group of residential, retail and office buildings in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Shoppers bustle about several retail shops as parents come and go daily from a child care center. Employees and visitors stream through several large government offices. The Bennington, high-end apartments, attracts busy, successful young professionals.
On top of all that, the property is next to the Silver Spring Metro Station, the second busiest station in the Metro system with 60,000 boardings a day.
That's a lot of people passing through and passing by, noticing if the place looks good. The landscaping has to impress.
Catch A Wave, Enjoy The View
Silver Spring Metro Center encompasses 1.8 million square feet of space along East-West Highway and is home to one of the Washington region’s largest single tenants, the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The Foulger-Pratt real estate development firm developed the five-phase project and continues to own and manage the center.
A focal point of the property is a pretty plaza that features NOAA’s captivating wave pool. The 75-foot-long water feature, called “Coastline,” simulates the ocean waves, with crashing surf and whitecaps.
The wave pool is a big draw here, and so is the surrounding landscaping, which includes an expanse of green lawn and dozens of large containers brimming with colorful summer flowers and lush tropical plants.
“The plaza is a major focal point,” says Teika Haymon, Senior Property Manager at Foulger-Pratt. “Passerbys stop to read books, eat their lunch, or have impromptu meetings.
“One couple took their wedding photos in front of our wave pool and we’ve had requests from companies to film movies. The location has even been featured on the local news.”
The site must be show ready at all times.
Landscaping To Meet High Standards
"Aside from being metro accessible and having every local amenity within walking distance, one of the other big selling points of this property is the crisp landscaping and the wave pool," Haymon says. "There is a high standard of quality that we are accustomed to with our buildings.”
When it was time to bid for landscaping services, Haymon knew she wanted to renew Foulger-Pratt’s contract with Level Green Landscaping, which is a company that she’s worked with for several years.
“Level Green is responsive, reasonably priced, and they provide quality flowers, trees and shrubs,” Haymon says. “The bottom line,” she says, “is that this property has to look impeccable and Level Green makes that happen.”
“There are site tours at the property quite often,” Haymon says. “And most of the feedback has been about how well maintained the site looks and how efficient it is run.”
That's just what David Briggs wants to hear.
Healthy, Vibrant Plants To Impress
“Being a downtown property, and a densely populated area, there’s a lot of foot traffic,” says Briggs, the Level Green account manager in charge of the Silver Spring Metro Center account.
That means some challenges for Level Green crews, Briggs says, who have to keep the landscaping pristine without interfering with pedestrians with their mowers and weed trimmers.
The property’s landscaping needs to be healthy and vibrant, he says, so his latest project is replacing aging landscape elements with fresh trees, shrubs and plants.
Crews will replace some declining Japanese maples with crape myrtles, featuring showy summer flowers and attractive bark. Dated ground covers and grasses will go, replaced with more colorful perennials.
The property’s front building, at 1315 East-West Highway, boasts a unique sculpture in the shape of a hand. The 12-foot-tall hand brims with glossy boxwood and fragrant roses.
"This is the main entrance and focal point of all three buildings, so it really has to pop,” Haymon says. “Even in the winter, Level Green makes the site look inviting.”
Meeting Winter’s Challenges
Winter is an especially critical time for the Level Green crews here. The heavily-traveled brick sidewalks need to be shoveled by hand — as soon as it snows.
“When there’s a possible weather event, Dave and I huddle up and create a game plan,” Haymon says. “He’ll do whatever is necessary to tackle each storm. Dave has access to area cameras and can long on to view activity and send crews immediately as needed.
“Level Green goes above and beyond,” Haymon says. “I don't have to constantly call them to say what needs to be done. They just do it. And that goes a long way for property managers, because we have so many other fires to put out and landscaping should be the least of our worries.”
Briggs knows that. So communication is a top priority.
“We address concerns when they have them, and bring things to their attention that they might not have seen,” he says.
In the spring, Briggs and Haymon exchange e-mails weekly. He stops in to see her once a month.
They conduct walk throughs together a couple times a year.
Partners In Care
“Communication is important, but it goes beyond that, to the partnership and relationship you build upon from the beginning,” Haymon says. “David is very passionate about his work. It’s not just a job for him. I know him. I know about his grandkids and when he's going out of state to visit them. I have established great friendships within Level Green.”
She’s impressed, too, by the Level Green crews who mow, edge, mulch, and plant.
“They work really hard,” Haymon says. “One day I stopped and noticed that they were really working up a sweat, so I invited them into the office for some cool air and to grab a cup of water. They take real pride in their work and this is a great feeling.”
“If the landscaping was horrible, then that would reflect poorly on me as the manager,” Haymon says.
“You only have one shot at getting a tenant to the door and creating a first impression,” she says. “If I visited a property and it didn't look good on the outside, I’d have to ponder what it must be like on the inside.”
“Level Green is a great company to work with and their staff are great to work with as well.”
Looking to take your commercial property to the next level? Contact us today and see how Level Green Landscaping can help.
- 1.8 million square feet
- 75-foot-long water feature
- 12-foot-tall hand sculpture
"They’re responsive, reasonably priced, and they provide really nice quality flowers,Teika Haymon
and shrubs." trees
Senior Property Manager