One of Bethesda's most ennui-inspiring edifices, the United States Postal Office site at 7001 Arlington Road, was recently approved for a mixed-use makeover - courtesy of the Keating Development Company, KGD Architects and a future wrecking ball. Though the Montgomery County Planning Board (MCPB) initially approved the project in 2007, the development plan was approved by the Montgomery County District Council in November of 2008.
The $10 million project aims to do away with the current 18,600 square foot postal facility at the site and, in turn, replace it with a 4-story residential development located above a new post office. Plans on hand call for up to 105 residential units (14 of which will be reserved as affordable housing), approximately 7,000 square feet for a new USPS retail store and 23,000 square feet of ground floor "workroom" office space that will house a re-jiggered and newly improved Bethesda Post Office. These will be joined by 299 parking spaces - divided between a ground floor garage for postal service customers and vehicles, and a below grade structure for residents and employees.
Amenities planned for the as-of-yet untitled development include a landscaped deck area that will connect to the adjacent Capital Crescent Trail. In conformance with the zoning requirements, the project will also feature the required 50% green area - a surefire improvement, as the majority of the site is currently devoted to a large surface parking lot.
Keating representatives declined to comment on the status of the development, beyond conforming that it had, in fact, received approval of the development plan from the County Council. No timeframe has been established for groundbreaking, and the current post office at the site remains open for business and in full operation for the immediate future.