Developers Promise 'Landmark' Building For Downtown Bethesda


Developers of a proposed 15-story, 120-unit apartment building on Old Georgetown Road near the Bethesda Metro station promised a "landmark" building design and public open space on Thursday at the Montgomery County Planning Board. The Planning Board approved McClean, Va.-based developer Kettler's Project Plan for the site, home of the existing United Bank at 7535 Old Georgetown Rd. and across Commerce Lane from the La Madeleine restaurant. Architects presented plans for a pocket park on the east side of the building that will include an architectural sculpture they say will make it a focal point for pedestrians leaving the Metro station. Based on Planning Staff recommendations, the Board approved a condition that Kettler must widen the sidewalk along Commerce Lane by about five feet to make it a total of 12-feet wide. Kettler must also participate in a safety audit with government agencies to design streetscaping that would minimize mid-block pedestrian crossings of Old Georgetown Road. The public plaza's final design will be subject to more review from the Planning Department as the process continues. The design for a private rooftop lounge and grilling area must get a Rooftop Waiver from the Board as it will take up more than 25 percent of the roof area. The plan includes 111 resident-only underground parking spots, 44 bike parking spaces and 5,000 square feet of first-floor retail/commercial space. Project designers said that retail space could not be increased because of the narrow space available for the building, plaza and parking structure. Rendering via Montgomery County Planning Department

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