Brookfield Office Properties has released images showing what a new park and retail corridor near the Bethesda Metro station would look like if it constructs a new building near the intersection of Old Georgetown Road and Wisconsin Avenue.
The images were first displayed during an open house Saturday and then posted to Brookfield’s website promoting the project.
Brookfield is planning to construct a building in the middle of the current hardscape Metro plaza that will include ground floor retail. The building would separate the current plaza into two retail corridors that lead to a new park where the ice rink was formerly located.
Brookfield has a long-term ground lease for the property from the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority and owns the development rights. Therefore they would have the potential to move forward with any park and construction plans, as opposed to Clark Construction, which has pitched its own park plans for the site.
Officials from Brookfield said during an October presentation of their plans that the retail corridors and new park could help reinvigorate the underutilized space.
Currently the debate over the Metro plaza is beginning to resemble a similar disagreement in 2008, when the Meridian Group owned the rights to develop the plaza. At that time Meridian pitched a similar building in the middle of the plaza, but it was fought by other developers with offices inside nearby buildings because it would obstruct their views.
The Washington Post coined that debate a “Goliath vs. Goliath” fight in which developers used tactics long used by citizens to fight their building proposals against another developer—such as saying the master plan didn’t envision a building of that size at that location, a point the planning board eventually agreed with when it declined to approve Meridian Group’s plan for the building in 2009.
However, sources close to this proposal, who have requested anonymity due to the sensitive nature of ongoing discussions, say the opportunity to construct the building could be placed in the new Bethesda Downtown Plan, which is currently being rewritten by planning department staff.
A retail promenade would lead to the new park. Image via Brookfield
The Bethesda Metro station entrance
Landscaping and decking surrounding the park. Images via Brookfield
A diagram presented in October that depicts how the building would fit in near the corner of Old Georgetown Road and Wisconsin Avenue.
A diagram depicting the retail corridors connecting with the “Bethesda Central Park”