Plans Brewing To Replace 7-Eleven, EagleBank Building in Bethesda with Residential Tower

Developer to share information at Dec. 6 community meeting


Published:

A notice about a community meeting on a development plan has been posted outside the 7-Eleven on Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda.

Bethany Rodgers

Another residential high-rise project could be coming to a section of Wisconsin Avenue already chock full of properties slated for major redevelopment.

The forthcoming proposal is for 7820 Wisconsin Ave. and 7815 Woodmont Ave., the addresses for the 7-Eleven store and EagleBank building just south of Fairmont Avenue. The applicants, Bethesda Land LLC and Bethmont LLC, will be asking for permission to build a nearly 300-foot-tall building of about 390,500 square feet, according to a land use attorney.

The proposal is in its early stages, and all numbers are preliminary, attorney Barbara Sears added. However, the plan is for an apartment complex of roughly 300 units, with about 8,000 square feet of first-floor retail, she said.

The developer is holding a community meeting Dec. 6 to share information about the project, as the law requires before a development application is filed. Sears said her clients hope to submit their sketch plan paperwork before the year’s end and to win project approvals sometime next year.

The Maryland Department of Assessments Taxation website lists the representative of Bethmont LLC as Olga Russell of Leonardtown and the representative of Bethesda Land LLC as prominent developer Aris Mardirossian of Potomac.

Sears said that under the working plan, affordable housing units will account for about 25 percent of the total number in the apartment.

Developers in downtown Bethesda are only required by law to dedicate 15 percent of their projects to moderately priced housing. By going above and beyond the minimum, the project partners in this case could add to the permissible height of their building, Sears said.

They also see the value in providing housing for people of different income levels, she said.

“They’re very committed to doing the project at 25 percent because they feel like bringing this kind of diversity to Bethesda in new construction is going to be important for the community,” she said.

The project site is a short walk away from the properties where the new Marriott International headquarters and flagship hotel will be built. Several other development projects are in the works for the block north of Fairmont Avenue. Demolition activity has already started for the 17-story apartment complex at 7900 Wisconsin Ave., the former Fitness First site.

Last week, another developer told community members about preliminary plans for a 200-foot-high apartment complex on the same block. Toll Bros. is working on a condominium building at 8008 Wisconsin Ave.

The community meeting for the project at 7820 Wisconsin and 7815 Woodmont is scheduled for 7 p.m. Dec. 6 in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School cafeteria.

Bethany Rodgers can be reached at bethany.rodgers@bethesdamagazine.com.

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