Friday, April 13, 2012

Planning Board OKs JBG's New Woodmont East Plans

JBG Companies on Thursday received unanimous support from the Montgomery County Planning Board for its amended Woodmont East plans that more than double the lot size and revive a previously eliminated hotel.

JBG already planned to build in the same block at 7200 Woodmont Avenue, located between Elm Street and Bethesda Avenue. Shalom Baranes Associates designed the project with landscape design by Oehme van Sweden Landscape Architects.

Plans for the new section involve constructing two additional floors of office space on the existing Artery Building, adding retail space along the ground level, and building a new 182,950 s.f. hotel.
The hotel (center) and office/retail space along Bethesda Avenue

Amended plans also add 168,950 s.f. of office space, 25,088 s.f. of retail space and eliminate 22,974 s.f. of space for the 210 residential units.

Incorporation of the Capital Crescent Trail (mostly the alternate route along Bethesda Avenue) continued to raise concerns for the Board. Some feared that the increased foot traffic along Bethesda Avenue could create safety and logistical problems for trail users. But they ultimately were satisfied with the plan to use landscaping, curbs, outdoor dining areas and pavement changes to separate the sidewalk from the trail.

Trail construction hinges on the future Purple Line, Lot 31, and third-phase construction. All parties agreed that if the trail benchmarks are reached after construction of the second phase and before the third phase starts, the company can choose to either build the trail or pay the county to do it.

The Board did not raise any significant concerns with the rest of the plan. If fully constructed, Woodmont East would provide a link extending the revamped downtown area.

JBG's Holly Hull said the development is "extending and celebrating Bethesda Row."

Woodmont East will focus on the pedestrian experiences, presenters said. Following the lead of Bethesda Row, the sidewalks will be next to retail spaces. Outdoor dining will be pushed way from the buildings to keep the sidewalks clear. Artistic benches scattered throughout the property offer a place to "lounge." And building setbacks will give the appearance of low building heights.

Robert Sponseller, principal at Shalom Baranes Associates, said they strayed from the standard approach in designing this project. "We have designed from the public space up."

When completed, Woodmont East will have more than 1 million square feet of new and repurposed office, retail, residential and hotel space. Construction could start as early as 2013.

Bethesda, Maryland, real estate development news


Anonymous said...

I've been wondering how long it would take for the continuous-ribbon motif (so popular in architecture schools and hip northern European architecture for a decade now) to show up in DC. And here it is--executed with great brio! Love it. My only regret is that it's enlivening Bathesda rather than K Street.

Anonymous said...

In response to the previous post, this an awful use of a 'ribbon motif'. This looks forced onto an existing building like some kind of facedectomy (local term for gutting an historic facade and then adding a new building behind) except without the historic or existing building part. It is too bad because this will kill this design concept only after one building gets built. Fortunately the design will change before it actually gets built, but still this only appears contemporary to the average guy on the street. As the previous commenter noted, this is old news around the rest of the world, just done right elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with the previous poster: this is pretty bad...and if its this bad in the rendering, imagine how its only going to look when executed...esp after the developer and contractor V/E it to death.

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