The barren, long-fallow Trillium site in Bethesda, long considered an unwelcome reminder of the untimely demise of the local market, is set to bounce back. Bethesda-based StonebridgeCarras, which in partnership with Walton Street Capital purchased the site in early 2011 for just over $29 million, filed their new plans for the site with Montgomery County just last month and hope to be before the planning board early this year.
“This is my new favorite project,” enthused Ellen Miller, Principal at Stonebridge. “This building is a gateway to Bethesda. The lot to the north [at the corner of Woodmont and Wisconsin] is owned by NIH and is a beautiful greenspace, and coming from the north you'll look across that and see this very handsome glass and brick building.”
The new plans are “quite different,” from the Trillium plans, says Miller. Where the Trillium plan, a Davis Carter Scott-designed series of three towers, was slanted heavily toward the high-end condo market, the Stonebridge development calls for around 370 rental units, from efficiencies to three-bedrooms, and a limited number of townhouse units that open directly onto Wisconsin Avenue. It also incorporates a significant amount of underground parking, and a grocery story on the ground floor - sort of.
“Given the topography of the site, how it falls almost twenty feet from Battery Lane,” says Miller, “the grocery store will be largely submerged on the Wisconsin side, with the main entrance on Woodmont.”
The u-shaped building, designed by WDG Architecture, features an interior green courtyard, which will incorporate an entrance to the as-yet-unnamed grocery store. Miller was coy when asked who it would be – Harris Teeter? Safeway? - but said that while they're still in negotiations, she thought the neighborhood would be very pleased with the mystery tenant. “This grocery amenity will not only serve the neighborhood, but also draw people in,” she said.
The site, way back when, was once home to the Clarion hotel, which was demolished in 2007 to make way for the Trillium project, the defunct condominium complex spearheaded by Houston-based Patrinely Group.
Doug Firstenberg, another principal at Stonebridge, told DCMud last year that he hoped this project could “anchor the redevelopment of Woodmont Triangle." Woodmont Triangle, situated as it is between the Medical Center and Bethesda metro stops on the Red Line, has attracted quite a bit of attention from developers recently. In addition to this project, developers are now building a pair of 17-story buildings in Woodmont - Bainbridge Bethesda as well and the long-delayed rebuild of 4900 Fairmont Avenue.
Just as the vacant Trillium site, which after last year's hurricane had fallen into open disrepair (Stonebridge has since cleaned up the lot) was seen by many as a symbol of the market crash, perhaps the long-overdue redevelopment could be a harbinger of an upturn? Local developers, no doubt, are hoping.
Bethesda, Maryland real estate development news