Developer Details Bethesda Apartment Project


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  Chevy Chase-based JBG Cos. wants to build a 17-story, 475-unit apartment at 7900 Wisconsin Ave., on the south end of a property that was to include the new 2nd District Police Station. That deal, part of a public-private land swap between JBG and Montgomery County, fell through after JBG didn't acquire all of the property between Wisconsin and Woodmont Avenues up to Cordell Avenue because of financial reasons. But JBG plans to go ahead with slightly modified plans for the property it owns, which includes the Columbia Bank office building that houses the Fitness First gym, Parvizian Fine Rugs building and an auto detailer on Woodmont Avenue. The county parking meter lot (Lot 43) is not part of the project and will remain. JBG's Frank Craighill presented plans for the building to the Woodmont Triangle Action Group on Friday morning. The developer submitted its plans to the Planning Department on Thursday. Publicly available renderings won't be available until Tuesday's public meeting at 7 p.m. in Room D of the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center (4805 Edgemoor Lane). The building as proposed will include 22,000 square feet of ground floor retail. Craighill said JBG is negotiating with a grocery store chain to take about 20,000 square feet of that space. Craighill presented a building that would run about 275 feet along Wisconsin Avenue with a "bridge" or arch in the middle for pedestrian access similar to the Bethesda Lane pedestrian and retail area at Bethesda Row. The average unit size would be somewhere around 785 square feet, though Craighill told the group he expects the 475-unit number to decrease through the planning process. Parking garage access for residents would be on the Woodmont Avenue side of the building. Craighill said he doesn't expect JBG will allow for more than a 0.7 parking space per unit ratio. "We feel that for the demographic we're kind of targeting and would be attracted to this area, parking is really not a necessary amenity," Craighill said. The Bethesda Metro station is less than half a mile from the site. JBG is also exploring creating space for a Capital Bikeshare station on the Woodmont Avenue side of the development. The projected groundbreaking for the project is January 2014.

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