The major cause for the opposition from the surrounding communities to the Great Seneca Science Corridor Master Plan is Belward Farm.
In 1989, Belward Farm was sold to Johns Hopkins University for $5 million, much below its $54 million
estimated value with the understanding that Hopkins would build a minimally intrusive medical or academic
campus that would preserve the character of the farm and provide a legacy for the Banks family who had
owned the farm for over 100 years.
Johns Hopkins agreed to a plan in 1998 that would allow them to build an academic/research campus on
Belward Farm that would accommodate approximately 5,000 people. But, once the late owner, Elizabeth
Banks, passed away, the County, at the request of Johns Hopkins, rezoned the property to build a monstrous
commercial office complex for 15,000 people in buildings up to 14 stories tall. Belward Farm is a beautiful Civil War-
era farm that is surrounded on three sides by residential neighborhoods and is 5 miles from the nearest
Metro station. And the plan is in direct opposition to the wishes of the former owner, Elizabeth Banks and her family.
Frederic Fransen, Executive Director of the Center for Excellence in Higher Education (Cehe.org) said,
"Over time and after a changing of the guard at the university, Hopkins announced plans to build a high-
density commercial research-and-development office park on the property. Montgomery County officials,
smelling money, eagerly approved the revised plans. What's particularly troublesome is that local officials,
in effect, became co-conspirators in the university's effort to shaft the donor."
On December 17, 2011 The Washington Post said: “So it’s sad that Banks’ deepest wish — to prevent overbuilding on what are now rolling, grassy fields at Belward Farm — is at severe risk of being bulldozed. And it’s doubly sad, and even shameful, that the culprit that might betray her is the very institution that she trusted to honor her desires: Johns Hopkins University.”
"Jimb" commented on the above article: “JHU demonstrates again that unchecked greed is not limited to
Wall Street. Either by infection or importation of Wall Street types, JHU reveals itself as without honor.
Is there no honor anymore?”
The lack of integrity shown by the Hopkins' officials is appalling.