Developer Wants To Add Another Five Levels, 30 Units to St. Elmo Avenue Apartments Plan

Bethesda design committee will review the expanded project at an April 4 meeting


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Rendering of the St. Elmo Avenue apartment project

Lenkin Co.

Plans to build a new apartment complex on St. Elmo Avenue in Bethesda have grown in the past year.

The Lenkin Co. in May 2017 got approval from Montgomery County planning officials to construct a 16-story residential building that would provide about 210 apartment units. Now, the developer is proposing to add another five levels and 30 units to the project.

The potential for expanding the apartment design arose because of changes made in the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan, a long-range growth document passed by the County Council last year.

Lenkin detailed the plan revisions in materials submitted to the planning department ahead of an April 4 meeting with the Bethesda Downtown Design Advisory Panel, a group of architects and community members. The roughly 330,000-square-foot building would occupy a site sandwiched between St. Elmo and Fairmont avenues, adjacent to the 17-story Bainbridge Bethesda apartments. A promenade more than 30 feet wide would run between the two buildings and act as a pedestrian path connecting the two avenues.  

At left, a diagram of the proposed promenade running between St. Elmo and Fairmont avenues (click to expand). At right, a promenade sculpture by artist Jaume Plensa. Credit: Lenkin Co.

“The Project’s significant improvement of the promenade will establish the location as a true place in Bethesda and serve as a landmark for the entire area,” the Lenkin document stated.

Jaume Plensa, a Spanish artist who has won international awards, is expected to create a stainless steel sculpture called Overflow V for installation at the Fairmont Avenue entrance to the promenade.  

The architectural design calls for embellishing the masonry façade with stone and cast stone accents and ornamental metalwork.

The building could also include up to 15,000 square feet of second-floor office and ground-floor retail space, according to the Lenkin description. Four levels of below-ground parking will provide about 230 parking spaces to serve the project.

Lenkin is presenting the revised proposal to the design advisory panel before asking the county Planning Board to review and approve the changes.

A drawing of the proposed St. Elmo Apartments in relation to Bainbridge Bethesda. Credit: Lenkin Co.

Bethany Rodgers can be reached at bethany.rodgers@bethesdamagazine.com.

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