Clark Enterprises Insists New Building Replace Streetsense Offices in Bethesda Metro Center

Clark disagrees with Wisconsin Avenue placement for new construction


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The Clark office building towers over the Bethesda Metro Center.

Douglas Tallman

Clark Enterprises and Brookfield Office Properties—which appeared Thursday to have settled most of their differences over the future of the Bethesda Metro Center—still might have a few issues to work out.

Clark restated Sunday afternoon that any new construction on the site should take place on top of the existing three-story Streetsense office building, which sits a short distance from Wisconsin Avenue. The space in front of the new building should be the “iconic green park” both Clark and Brookfield said they want for the property, the company said.

“If the new building is positioned along Wisconsin Avenue as currently proposed, however, the resulting open space would be significantly reduced and hidden behind tall buildings,” says a  statement released by Clark that was signed by Vice President Robert A. Eisenberg.

In a statement, Brookfield regional counsel Simon Carney said Monday his company welcomed Clark’s support for more usable open space on the plaza, retail promenades leading to a large central park and a new green building.

“Our decision regarding the location of the replacement building will include how we can optimize the open space on the plaza,” Carney’s statement read.

Brookfield has said it wants to create green space, build a high-rise and improve lighting for Metro’s bus bays. The company has not revealed specific plans for the site. Brookfield holds the ground lease on the property, which is owned by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. Carney has said a formal proposal will follow the passage of the Bethesda Downtown Plan by the Montgomery County Council, which is expected next year.

The plan was the subject last week of three nights of public hearings before the County Council. During the third session, Eisenberg testified his company had dropped its two-year opposition to Brookfield’s development plans.

In its statement, Clark said it had offered a compromise that can provide additional density near the Metro and also provide “precious, limited open space” in downtown Bethesda.

“We believe we can keep the existing open space and convert it to a highly visible, iconic green park while accommodating a new building and renovated bus bay—if the new building is located on top of the existing Streetsense building,” the statement said.  “If the new building is positioned along Wisconsin Avenue as currently proposed, however, the resulting open space would be significantly reduced and hidden behind tall buildings.” 

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