Gluten Free Expo in Bethesda this Weekend: At the Doubletree

Details here!

Sushi Burritos in Bethesda!

Somehow I had missed the initial announcement of this Jose Andres concept!

“Buredo, a Washington, D.C., chain that offers burrito-sized sushi rolls, is opening a restaurant in Bethesda this month. Jose Torres, the manager of the location, said the store will open in two weeks at 10241 Old Georgetown Road in the Wildwood Shopping Center.”

What do you think? Have you tried the food at the DC restaurant?

I’m curious and look forward to checking out Buredo!

Downtown Bethesda Sector Plan: Building Design Guidelines

The next phase of the sector plan will see the design of buildings and guidelines be discussed in some detail. Here is a snap shot of the next phase from our friends at Bethesda Magazine:

“The design guidelines that are under development will help define the look and feel that planners want to encourage in downtown Bethesda. The rules are coming as a companion to the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan that the County Council approved last week and are being written after a series of public outreach meetings.”

Washington Post Review of Q by Peter Chang

I thought this review was worth passing along! Worth reading the whole thing but here is a small bite to whet your appetite (see what I did there!):

“With the opening of the 8,000-square-foot Q by Peter Chang in a glass-wrapped office building in Bethesda, fans of the peripatetic chef now have 10 places in the Mid-Atlantic to explore Chang’s personal style of Chinese cooking.

Admirers of the food created by the one-time chef of the Chinese Embassyare streaming in with high hopes, fanned in part by a name intended to set the $2 million, 200-seat project apart from the collection.”

Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan Dissenter Speaks

Marc Elrich, the one Montgomery County Council member to vote against the Bethesda Downtown Sector plan explains his vote here.

Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan Cont.

Reactions to the Sector Plan are coming in. Here is one take from our friends at Bethesda Magazine. Of particular interest was a point on additional development:

 

The plan opens the door to about 4.2 million square feet of additional development.

That might sound like a lot, but the county planning director and the chair of the Montgomery County Planning Board assert that the proposed Bethesda plan is modest in scale.

To put the number in context, county staff reports show that 23.6 million square feet of development existed in Bethesda as of September 2014. Ongoing and approved projects add up to another 4.6 million square feet. Included in that number is a roughly 940,000-square-foot redevelopment plan for the site of the Apex building at 7272 Wisconsin Ave.

What’s not included? Marriott International’s proposal to construct roughly 400,000 square feet near Woodmont Triangle for the company’s headquarters and a flagship hotel. That project will consume some of the 4.2 million square feet of new building space allowed by the Bethesda plan.

It will be interesting to get a variety of takes on this and other aspects of the plan. Feel free to email me at raj@rajabout.com

MPDU’s and the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan Cont.

As I was digging into the plan I saw that there was an increased commitment to MPDU’s. As an aside, if anyone would like to discuss this program with me, feel free to give me a call at (240)486-3921 or send an email to raj@rajabout.com:

“Add more units to the marketplace by [providing] requiring a minimum 15 percent MPDUs for optional method residential development within Downtown Bethesda.  Provide 15 percent MPDUs on-site as a first priority.  [Preserve existing market-rate affordable housing by identifying some sites as Priority Sending Sites for density averaging. Affordable Housing Sending Sites that choose to transfer their density must enter into a rental agreement to retain 30 percent of their existing affordable housing units, defined as 65 percent of area median income (AMI) or below, for 20 years.]  Provide an incentive to encourage 25% or more MPDUs (by allowing an increase in FAR without additional payments otherwise required for increases in FAR).

Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan Cont.

As promised yesterday, I am digging into the plan for nuggets and things to be happy/ worry about. This one struck me as a good recommendation:

“Page 41: Modify language under A. Bethesda Circulator Expansion as follows: A more robust Circulator Bus route should be considered to serve an expanded Downtown Bethesda. That route should include service to the Battery Lane and Pearl Districts,[. Potential new stops should include the following locations (see Figure 2.10: Proposed Circulator Route Revisions):] new Bethesda South Metrorail station/Purple Line station on Elm Street, the Pearl District, and Medical Center Metrorail station.”

I like the idea of the Circulator connecting residents to both Bethesda and Medical Center metro stops. Hopefully with easier, all weather, access to metro, we will see more downtown residents able to leave the car at home and use metro a bit more.

More nuggets etc. to follow!

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New Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan Approved

Friends,

I have not had a chance to go through the full document, so am simply going to provide the Council summary at this point.

More information to follow!

The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is proud to announce that the Montgomery County Council approved its Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan on Thursday, May 25, 2017.  The Council voted 8 to 1 in favor of adopting the plan with only Councilmember Mark Elrich opposing the action.

Consult the Council’s resolution for more details about their approval of the plan.

The new Sector Plan is an update to the approved and adopted 1994 Bethesda Central Business District Sector Plan and the 2006 Woodmont Triangle Amendment.

 

The plan builds on the success of Downtown Bethesda by offering ways to strengthen its centers of activity – Bethesda Row, Wisconsin Avenue corridor, Woodmont Triangle and other established and emerging districts – over the next 20 years. The plan focuses on creating a downtown that is economically sustainable, environmentally sustainable and socially sustainable.

The Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan offers exciting new ways to achieve its goals. An innovative tool that will be employed is a new way of allocating density. The plan assigns heights, but density will be allocated through the Bethesda Overlay Zone and plans will be judged in terms of their contributions to open space, affordable housing and design excellence.

In addition, the plan recommends a high performance area that incentivizes energy-efficient buildings, increased tree canopy and innovative stormwater management in order to create a truly sustainable downtown.

Other recommendations will help create numerous new parks, preserve important community and historic resources, such as the Bethesda Farm Women’s Cooperative Market, and provide more affordable housing in the downtown. Projects will be required to provide a minimum 15 percent of moderately priced dwelling units (MPDUs), not 12.5 percent as is typically required.

New design guidelines for the plan area and specific details about the Bethesda Overlay Zone are now being developed.

Development in Old Bethesda Moving Quickly: National Daycare Next?

Just heard from some friends that there is a chance that a national daycare may well be opening a branch in “Old” Bethesda —- specifically at the location across from Battery Park. Will try to contact the agents for the building to find out more!

The Park:

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The Building:DSC00022