One of the tallest projects in the area, the apartment building will feature a four-story underground parking garage and is meant to animate both the skyline and street level, the former with its height and periodically receding facade, and the latter with a new pedestrian boulevard that will feature retail and art, breaking up the block and endowing the building with a corner presence.
Some sources say the project could cost $80m to build. The selling feature, to developers, is the raised amenities, placed at the top to take advantage of views over Bethesda and Washington D.C. The building will feature a gym leading out to a 15th floor terrace and rooftop pool. "Obviously that's really expensive real estate that high that we're forgoing, but its the kind of thing that inspires people on a daily basis" says Josh Wooldridge, Senior Development Director with Bainbridge. "You just can't compare that to a gym in a basement."
The project is a long time coming, having been before the county planning board for 5 years. Bainbridge purchased the site with approvals last summer, and expected to break ground almost immediately, but equity issues have held up construction, which has been billed as nearly imminent since that time. Now Bainbridge has corralled equity partners, including Greek shipping company Restis Group and DC-based National Real Estate Advisors, along with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, to provide the needed capital, having closed on financing just two weeks ago today. Since the county adopted the Woodmont Sector Plan 6 years ago, no highrises have been built in the area (Lionsgate was planned previously).
Bainbridge will now start 3-4 weeks of demolition, followed by an estimated 18-20 months of construction. The building will take over mostly vacant retail space, replacing it with a 20-foot wide pedestrian passageway that links Fairmont and St. Elmo Streets, with retail fronting both streets. Wooldridge says design of the 7500 s.f. of retail will be finalized next year when the project is under construction.
Architects at SK&I have designed a LEED Silver project with green roof that will be notably taller than the low density architecture of Woodmont Triangle. "We'll be 5 stories taller than anything else around" says Wooldridge, although the 174-foot project will fall short of the Clark building at 200 feet. With demolition permits in hand, site work will commence immediately.
Bethesda, MD real estate development news