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

Trader Joes Moving to Old Bethesda?

Heard on the grapevine that Trader Joes are considering a move to “Old” Bethesda – specifically looking at the space being developed across from Triangle Towers and the Gallery. If so, it would be a really smart move for them to make — all of the new buildings and the surrounding area would provide a strong customer base. It is also true that the current location is putting off some customers due to the challenges of accessing the store/ parking lot.

Future TJ’s Site in the Snow?:

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Condo Update: Stonehall

This new Condo building is fast springing to life on the corner of Battery Lane and Woodmont Avenue, across from the new(ish) Harris Teeter.

When it is complete, the 9 story building will house 46 total residential units. The prices seem to have adjusted a tad and now range from the $600s to about $2.3 million. The really interesting aspect of this development for me is that on the Western side of the building, many residents will have some wonderful views of the NIH campus (or so it seems at this time).

The plan for the ground level is retail space and I suspect an interesting restaurant will fill that spot quite quickly.

Harris Teeter will of course be happy to have more potential customers literally across the street.

I have a few more details on this building to share with those who are interested. And, as ever, if I can assist you with this or any other real estate matter drop me an email at raj@rajabout.com or call (240)486-3921

Picture of the Day: Where is This?

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Rentals: Bethesda Urban Living – 7770 Norfolk

This rental building is one that I have a slightly heavy heart over. It was originally supposed to be a condo project and I had a couple of clients who were very interested in living there. Unfortunately, the developers/ owners decided to move in a different direction and opened the building as an apartment/ rental community.

It is a 17 story building comprised of 244 units next door to the Starbucks at Woodmont/ Veterans Triangle. Options range from studios to 3 bedroom units and there are some wonderful amenities including a fitness center and a terrific roof top pool. The new restaurant Community is below the residential units and Bethesda trolley stops adjacent to it.

While prices are on the higher side (small studios from approx $1800 to almost $7k for 3 bedroom units last time I checked), the quality of the product is very impressive.

As ever, am happy to discuss this or any other real estate matter one on one (my email is raj@rajabout.com and cell (240)486-3921

PS The picture is of the “walk-by” window at Community so you can grab coffee and donuts to go!

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Happy Wednesday Bethesda

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