Developer revives plan for 17-story mixed-use tower in Bethesda, MD
- A Maryland-area developer has announced plans to resume development on a 17-story, mixed-use tower in downtown Bethesda, MD, according to Bethesda Magazine.
- The Montgomery County Planning Board gave developer JBG Cos. its original approval for the project in 2013, but JBG temporarily halted its plans in 2015 — for still undisclosed reasons. The developer applied for a demolition permit in January but said it has no groundbreaking date or construction timeline yet.
- When the project is complete, it will feature 475 apartments and 21,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. Representatives of JBG previously said they were in talks with Trader Joe's to become an anchor tenant.
The proximity of suburban Maryland's — and especially the Bethesda area — to Washington, DC, has led it to see significant development in recent years.
In October, Marriott International announced its decision to keep its main offices in Bethesda and build a new $600 million headquarters there. The hotel giant has called Bethesda home for 60 years but had considered relocating to Virginia or Washington, DC, until state and local officials agreed to partner with the company on an agreement that would keep it in Bethesda. Between the headquarters and other related businesses, Marriott reportedly has 10,400 employees in Maryland.
The new 700,000-square-foot, 22-story complex — as well as a flagship hotel with more than 230 rooms — will be located near a downtown-Bethesda Metro station, and a Boston Properties-Bernstein Cos. joint venture will develop and oversee the project. The JV will also own the office building component, and Bernstein will own the Marriott as part of a hotel management agreement.
One Bethesda-area project that has not had as much luck is the $5.6 billion Purple Line light rail. Opponents of the demolition of a popular park along the route of the new rail line filed a lawsuit claiming that Purple Line officials had not submitted adequate information on ridership and the effect of a declining number of Metrorail users.
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon stopped the project last August, when it was just days away from receiving a $900 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration, and has since ordered a new environmental/ridership review. The Maryland Attorney General's office has filed an appeal of that decision.
Follow Kim Slowey on Twitter