Montgomery planners approve preliminary plan for Bethesda apartments -- Gazette.Net







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Plans are in the works for a new 17-story apartment and retail building in downtown Bethesda.

The Montgomery County Planning Board on Feb. 14 approved the project and preliminary plans for a proposed 475-unit development at 7900 Wisconsin Ave. in the Woodmont Triangle area of Bethesda. The JBG Companies is planning a 17-story building with retail space on the ground floor, underground parking and a public plaza.

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

In November, JBG pulled out of a land swap deal with Montgomery County that would have resulted in a new 2nd District police station. The deal would have given JBG land at 7359 Wisconsin Ave., where the police station currently sits, The Gazette reported in December, but JBG cited a slow economic recovery in its decision to pull out of the deal.

When JBG announced plans for developing the 7900 Wisconsin Ave. project in December, spokesman Frank Craighill said the company hoped to start demolishing some of the existing structures on the site in 2014, followed by a two-year construction period.

Representatives from JBG did not return calls for this story by press time.