Westbard Developer Puts Presentation Online


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The developer hoping to remake the Westbard section of Bethesda is asking for public input before presenting its "draft principles" on March 4. Equity One, the real estate investment trust that has bought up most of the area including and surrounding the Giant Food store at 5400 Westbard Ave., hosted a pair of open houses a few weeks ago that attracted more than 200 residents and business owners. Equity One Executive Vice President of Development Michael Berfield introduced Matt Bell, the main architect on the project, who made most of the presentation. The presentation includes little clue as to what Equity One hopes to do with the numerous properties, other than it plans to redevelop those properties. The open houses were meant as a way to get the community's input on what it would like to see. Equity One bought Westwood Towers, Springhouse by Manor Care, Bowlmor Lanes, two Citgo stations last year and finalized the acquisition of Westwood Shopping Center and Westwood Center II this year. The developer says it will take comments on its Westbard Vision website until Feb. 24. On March 4, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., it will present its "draft principles," what could be the first glimpse of an anticipated mixed-use development project for the site. Bell said the project would require an updated Westbard Sector Plan, which is now at the back of the line in the Montgomery County Planning Department's workplan. Bell said the developer would be working to get a Westbard Sector Plan rewrite -- the last master plan there was completed in 1982 -- moved up on the schedule. The next opportunity for changes in the Planning Department workplan will come this spring, as the County Council finalizes the agency's budget. PDF: Westbard Vision Presentation Photo from Equity One

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