Monday, January 23, 2012

Woodmont Triangle Apartment Developers Seek Approal for Trillium Successor



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

8 comments:

Ben Ross on Jan 23, 2012, 12:49:00 PM said...

This design will further the ongoing shift of the center of gravity of Bethesda from Wisconsin Avenue to Woodmont.

The underlying problem of Wisconsin is an unpleasant pedestrian environment created by fast traffic, absence of on-street parking in many places, and the dead spaces that county zoning rules insist on.

Anonymous said...

I'm not one to harshly judge architecture- usually- but this design is way too monolithic and makes it look like an office building. An ugly one at that.

Bob See on Jan 23, 2012, 3:41:00 PM said...

Well, as a "gateway to Bethesda" it's fitting, I guess.

Potomac Secret Agent on Jan 23, 2012, 3:44:00 PM said...

Yikes!

The location certainly is a gateway into the Bethesda downtown corridor. The traffic on Wisconsin is already untenable because of the expansion of NIH and shift of employees from Walter Reed.

The traffic issues caused by traffic slowing an or stopping as they approach to enter an underground parking lot - will wreak havoc on an already sensitive location.

Although it will be nice to see this "fallow" site developed - the traffic caused by development will certainly cause those that live nearby to gasp.

Tysons Engineer on Jan 24, 2012, 9:23:00 AM said...

There are times where higher density doesnt mean higher traffic. This seems like a nice mixed use which will bring residents closer to the city so I think its a step in the right direction. To blanket it as going to create traffic discounts the river effect of real traffic jams.

Anonymous said...

"The traffic issues caused by traffic slowing an or stopping as they approach to enter an underground parking lot - will wreak havoc on an already sensitive location."

??? The underground parking entrance isn't on Wisconsin. That wouldn't make any sense.

Anonymous said...

Can the spelling mistake in the headline be corrected, please?

Jason Yang on Jan 25, 2012, 12:06:00 PM said...

This will be great for Bethesda, especially with the Donohoe project just south of it. About time to get rid of some of these eye sore spots and make use of dead space.

@Ben - Totally with you. It's a great idea to shift over to Woodmont as the usable street. Wisconsin is a dead zone - a highway dividing two sides of Bethesda. This will be a great step to revitalizing (the real) north Bethesda the Battery Lane area.

@Anonymous - Yeah, the old design was so much nicer, especially as a gateway.

@Potomac Secret Agent - I drove home via Woodmont for several years and that entrance on Woodmont wouldn't be too big of a deal. Not that much traffic. That crosswalk across Woodmont on Wisconsin though is such a bad idea. I'm all for pedestrian routes but you've got traffic going a high rate of speed on Wisconsin merging onto Woodmont (not really considered a turn) and drivers aren't really watching for walkers in that situation...

@Tysons Engineer - Very true. I wonder though if these residents will truly be walking to NIH and surrounding areas or just driving around still. The article talks about the benefits of being between two metro stops, but really that's not so good - the space is dead in the middle and farthest to walk to a metrostop.

 

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