Not much has happened at the former Steamers Seafood House site in Bethesda since last year, when the Montgomery County Planning Board approved the 58-unit Claiborne building for the spot.
Now, it seems the redevelopment effort is heating up again. And it’s bigger this time.
The updated proposal expands the Claiborne to three new parcels along Norfolk Avenue, adds about 20,600 square feet to the building size and increases the number of dwelling units to 82.
The developer, Novo Properties, is slated to bring its modified plans to the Bethesda Downtown Design Advisory Panel next week as it begins a new round of project reviews. Paperwork submitted to the panel shows the developer’s property assemblage now includes the row of storefronts running from 8005 to 8009 Norfolk Ave., the addresses for Thelo Greek Grill and a couple of hair salons.
The original proposal covered several parcels on Auburn Avenue, including the site where Steamers served crabs and other seafood dishes for nearly 20 years. The restaurant closed in 2015 amid financial struggles, and Novo bought the property a year later for $4.65 million.
Both the original and revised plans call for putting retail or other nonresidential space on the building’s first floor. However, the majority of the roughly 96,600-square-foot building would be for housing, according to the DAP form.
The architectural designs will add a new look to the site’s downtown Bethesda neighborhood, the developer says.
“With the introduction of jagged shapes that are unique in the Woodmont Triangle area, the Project will bring a fresh, unique, and innovative architectural solution to the residential realm,” the submission states.
The portion of the building standing on the Auburn Avenue parcels could be up to 110 feet tall, while the section on the Norfolk Avenue parcels would be slightly shorter at 90 feet.
Novo envisions a “vibrant corner design” at the intersection of Norfolk and Auburn avenues, with plantings, decorative paving and seat walls. The side facing Norfolk Avenue would have a wide sidewalk and landscaping in keeping with the thoroughfare’s designation as a potential “shared street,” where cars, pedestrians and cyclists could comfortably coexist.
On its tallest side, the building would have a four-story base, then step back to a seven-story tower. The submitted designs depict three floors of below-ground parking.
The advisory panel is slated to review the project July 25. After that, the developer will likely submit the revised proposal for consideration by the Montgomery County Planning Board.
Renderings of the proposed Claiborne building at the corner of Norfolk and Auburn avenues in downtown Bethesda. Via Novo Properties.
Bethany Rodgers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.