Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Bethesda Condos Nixed by Developer

After more than four years of seeking permits and zoning approvals, Bethesda- based real estate developer Triumph Development, LLC has decided not to complete their seven-story, 53-unit condominium project at Hampden Lane and Woodmont Avenue in Bethesda. The developers received approval for "4901 Hampden Lane" in February, at which time they posted an optimistic message of progress on their website.

The project profile read, "while the residential real estate market as a whole is a bit challenging right now, we are still extremely excited about this project . . . the design and the location are that good." Apparently not quite.

But an email today from Triumph's Development Director, Michael O'Connor, to those who had expressed interest in the real estate project read, "Triumph has made the decision not to pursue our condominium project at Hampden Lane and Woodmont Avenue in Bethesda. The four-plus years that Montgomery County approvals have taken combined with the slumping residential real estate market have finally taken their toll."

Totalling about 95,000 s.f. of development, the project was to offer units ranging in size from one to four bedrooms, and was designed by Shalom Baranes Associates. Situated ideally between Woodmont Row and the Bethesda Metro, Hampden Lane had been recognized by the Washington Smart Growth Alliance.


Anonymous said...

Quite a shame and a loss for both Bethesda and the developer. Situations like this are a reminder that not every developer gets rich on every project and the protracted entitlement process in this region means re-development happens much slower than it should, if at all.

All stakeholders want a quality project with everyone's concerns addressed and all the ideas vetted, but it shouldn't take four years and require nearly every project to run the risk of having (as happened in this case) the market change, making the project unfeasible. Shifting markets are a risk for every development, but making developers shoulder that risk for four years decreases their incentive to try. Unless we're all happy with Bethesda the way it is (which is nice, but still in need of redevelopment of some well-worn buildings/blocks) we need to make it clear to our planners and council members that they need to make the process of getting a yes or no more achievable in a reasonable time or our whole region will suffer.

Anonymous said...

Since the site will not be developed by Triumph, what will happen to it? Had someone already purchased it? Is this site only for residential use? Could something else go up in its place? It is quite a shame, I live less than a block away.

Anonymous said...

These greedy communities with their high property taxes, high fees, and great cost of doing business. This was clearly a wonderful infill project that was killed because the developer missed the market timing due to the outrageous time it takes to get even a wonderful project approved. What a waste and what a rip. It’s like nothing is privately owned anymore….what word am I looking for? Communism

Anonymous said...

The real issue here are the obstructionists. They have made it their life cause that because they are not willing to accept the will of the majority, they will put up every possible obstacle to make the process as difficult and costly as possible. They file the frivolous lawsuits. They contest at every allowable opportunity. They care not for the good of the "whole", only the focus of their concern, even once it is clear of the overwhelming support of a project. It is most disappointing that this developer will not move forward with this project. Hopefully another developer can pick up on the work that has been done and bring this really good project to fruition..

Anonymous said...

I agree that this project would have been a good addition to the neighborhood.

However, it is also true that 1) the developer's original proposal went over the Bethesda master plan height limits, presenting a huge target for opponents, 2) the risks and costs for this sort of high-end project have increased dramatically over the past few years, 3) -two- projects on the -same block- have just been approved by the Planning Board. I don't think that downtown Bethesda is at much risk for underdevelopment.

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