A sketch of the stoops for the proposed Crescent at Chevy Chase apartments. Credit: Via Landmark Realty

With Purple Line construction progressing, a local developer is pushing forward with a Chevy Chase apartment project positioned across the street from the future light-rail line.

The latest designs for the Crescent at Chevy Chase community call for 116 units, down from 135 units in a prior rendition of the proposal submitted to Montgomery County planners. The developer, Landmark Realty Inc., made a few other small changes to the project plan before submitting for another round of approvals, with the goal of breaking ground in late 2019.

“I’m going to build the best place to live on the Purple Line and for that matter, in all of Bethesda and Chevy Chase,” Landmark Realty President Rob Bindeman said last week in a written response to questions from Bethesda Beat. “We’ll be steps from amazing new transit, have great amenities and brand-new apartments that are reasonably priced for all that they offer.”

The Montgomery County Planning Board in 2016 signed off on the sketch plan for the redevelopment to replace the Newdale Mews Apartments that now stand on the site. The roughly 1.98-acre tract of land slated for the Crescent at Chevy Chase lies on the north side of Newdale Road, and the path of the future Purple Line runs along the road’s south side.

A sketch plan illustration showing the position of the Crescent at Chevy Chase apartments related to the Purple Line. Via Montgomery County Planning Board.

Planning staff stipulated that the apartment development couldn’t begin until construction on the Purple Line started. A tangle of court rulings and legal appeals held up the 16.2-mile light rail project until August, when state officials finally celebrated the start of construction.

Landmark Realty in late January held a community meeting on the updated proposal for the Crescent at Chevy Chase complex and later handed in its applications for preliminary and site plan approval.

While the court delays related to the Purple Line have affected the apartment project timeline, Bindeman said his architects made the most of the extra time to design building exteriors that resembled townhomes and that will blend in with the surrounding community. 

Bindeman said the latest version still proposes two, four-story buildings that will be up to 50 feet tall, but features some minor changes reflecting community input.

For instance, Landmark has downsized its underground garage to preserve trees and create a natural buffer with the adjacent community, Bindeman wrote. The proposal relocates the rooftop patio from the rear to the front of the buildings to increase privacy for residents of neighboring single-family homes. The revised proposal also reduces the overall size of the buildings from 130,000 square feet to about 116,000 square feet create space for wider sidewalks and bike paths on Newdale Road and to give residents easier access to the street and the nearby Capital Crescent Trail, Bindeman wrote.

The developer is shooting to begin construction in late 2019 or early 2020 and open the apartments in the middle of 2021.

Bindeman said he’s keeping renters in the 40 apartments at Newdale Mews updated with every step in the project. The five existing buildings and surface parking at the site will be removed to accommodate construction of Crescent at Chevy Chase, according to the plans.

“My current tenants are a top priority, there’s no question about it,” Bindeman wrote. “Landmark Realty will honor every lease we sign. At each benchmark, we’ve sent our residents update memos to explain what’s happening and so they know what to expect next.”

He wrote that Landmark Realty has reached out to several housing organizations about their relocation programs.

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