A new 17-story mixed-use project may soon grace the skyline of Bethesda now that Bainbridge Companies closed on the Monty site at 4918 St. Elmo Avenue, just blocks from the Bethesda Metro. Bainbridge had been under contract with property owner Robert Hillerson since 2008 and settled just last week. The Monty will bring 200 rental units, including 30 moderately priced dwelling units, 7,200 s.f. of retail and four levels of below-grade parking to a site currently occupied by vacant one- and two-story office and retail buildings. Bainbridge worked with Hillerson and architects SK&I to gain project approval last summer and is in the process of obtaining building permits. Demolition and excavation are said to begin this fall and the entire project should deliver in October 2012.
According to Thomas Keady, President of Development for Bainbridge, the project receive unanimous approval from the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission (MNCPPC) and will be the first high-rise mixed-use project to be constructed under the Woodmont Sector Plan. Keady said his firm, which has projects along the east coast but is concentrated in Florida, chose the location because of its proximity to the Metro, restaurants and shops, scoring high for walkability.
The design team at SK&I includes Senior Associates Federico Olivera-Sala and Marty Towles. Olivera-Sala said the relatively low-density of the remainder of the block, which is populated by three- and four-story buildings, posed a challenge for the design team in creating a tall but contextual structure. The chosen design features several setbacks and varying levels of volume,"it's very 3-D," said Olivera-Sala. Towles explained that the setbacks are planned in different directions on different levels: the second story setback acknowledges the height of neighboring street-level buildings and offers a courtyard area, a sixth-story setback creates the wings of the building, and the fifteenth-story setback creates a terrace that connects to the party and exercise rooms. The breaks in the facade also effectuate a plan to minimize shadows on the street.
The design calls for a largely brick face in three different colors to emphasize the varying volumes of the building, and includes an 18-20 foot wide cut-through between St. Elmo and Fairmont Avenues, which Towles described as a "good way to energize mid-block. The retail will front three sides, including the new cut-through. Olivera-Sala said the Monty will have windows on all four sides: "the building basically has no back." Towles added "the thing that is exciting...is that the owner put so many amenities up in the air, creating opportunities for great views" as people exercise or party on the 15th floor. The project owners hope to achieve LEED Silver certification; a minimum of LEED certified is required for projects in the area.
Bethesda, MD real estate development news