Bethesda Condo Could Include Long Coveted Art Studio


The developer of a 17-story condo destined for downtown Bethesda wants to include space for an art studio long coveted by local officials and art lovers. Thomas Albert from Chevy Chase-based developer Starr Capital told a Friday meeting of the Woodmont Triangle Action Group that his company will attempt to build a 2,000-square-foot art incubator space on the first floor of the 4990 Fairmont Ave. project on the site of a shuttered BP gas station. The company plans to piggy back off the progress made by a proposed artists' space for the 8300 Wisconsin apartment project. That studio never materialized after the original developer backed out and a new one took over. Bethesda Urban Partnership director David Dabney said the Montgomery County attorney had already signed off on the proposal for 8300 Wisconsin. BUP would likely play a role in managing or promoting the space, which might result in four separate studios for artists. "We understand this concept was designed and created and legally negotiated in full on the Trillium. We're going to copy it," Albert said. The building would also include 4,000-square-feet of retail space and around 75 luxury condominiums. Albert said the average unit size not including the moderately priced dwelling units (MPDUs) is around 1,500 square feet. Because of the county parking garage next door, Starr Capital wants to build four levels of parking immediately above the first floor retail and art studio, so residents aren't looking into a garage. That could be examined closely at the Montgomery County Planning Board, but Albert said the project and preliminary plans (to be submitted in the next few months) envision a uniform facade all the way up the building so no one notices the garage. Starr Capital will make another presentation at a March community meeting. At the earliest, groundbreaking would come in late 2014 and the building would be finished in early 2016.

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