Planning board OK’s high-rise in Bethesda -- Gazette.Net


The Montgomery County Planning Board quickly, and unanimously, OK’d the revised plans for a mixed-use development on 7900 Wisconsin Ave., in the Woodmont Triangle area of Bethesda, on Thursday.

The project is between Woodmont and Wisconsin avenues at St. Elmo Avenue, about a third of a mile north of the Bethesda Metro station, and will replace a Columbia Bank office building, a few smaller buildings and surface parking lots.

JBG/Wisconsin Developers, LLP plans to build a 17-story building with retail space on the ground floor, underground parking and a public plaza that cuts through from St. Elmo Avenue to Wisconsin Avenue.

One of the changes to the plans was to reduce the number of apartments from 475 to 450.

In November 2012, the developer backed out of a land swap deal with the county to build a new 2nd District police station. The deal would have given 7359 Wisconsin Ave., where the police station is currently located, to JBG to build its new offices. In exchange, the developer would have built a new 30,000-square-foot police station as part of a mixed-use development on Cordell Avenue between Woodmont and Wisconsin Avenues.

After that deal fell through, the county put out a new “Request for Qualifications and Developments Proposals” and is currently reviewing the proposals received.

Planning Board Member Norman Dreyfuss called the revised plans for 7900 Wisconsin Ave., with its emphasis on public space and art, “very unique and creative and good looking architecture.”