New White Flint development to open in 2014

Maryland leaders including Gov. Martin O'Malley were on hand for the groundbreaking. Photo: Whitney Wild

In two years, Montgomery County's White Flint district could look completely different.

On Monday, local leaders and real estate moguls broke ground on what's to be a multi-billion dollar development, a 24-acre parcel that will offer 1,500 housing units and more than one million square feet of office space.

The project is expected to bring in more than $1 billion in revenue for the county as many as 550 permanent, new jobs.

"We're hoping to create a more beautiful city where people can live and where businesses want to invest," Don Wood of Federal Realty said.

The new White Flint project, which will sit just one-quarter mile away from a Red Line Metro station, is the first development from Maryland's new Fast Track program, which aims to set projects like this into motion.

"It shows that when you build in smarter, cleaner, greener, more transit-oriented ways, you can build a better quality of life," Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley said.

However, the project, which is slated to open in 2014, has its critics, including those that think that overdevelopment could become an issue.

"Frankly, it just doesn't seem like we need it," Kensington resident Deborah Hooker said. "There are developments everywhere."