Developers have unveiled plans for the first phase of redevelopment on Battery Lane in Bethesda. Credit: Renderings via Brown Development

The first phase of a major project to redevelop the Battery Lane neighborhood of Bethesda is moving forward, about three years after the plan’s unveiling.

The developer leading the project, Brown Development, plans to soon submit the project to county planners, which will outline construction of the first building in a five-part plan that will span more than a decade, replacing garden style apartment buildings built in the 1960s with high-rises.

Brown, which owns the buildings, is partnering with construction firm Hensel Phelps on the project. Construction is expected to begin in 2023.

“Since the last development we undertook was in the 1960s, getting someone with a little more current expertise seemed like a thoughtful thing to do,” said Doug Wrenn, ​​executive vice president of development for Brown Development. “And I think together we will be able to execute this idea and achieve this vision.”

With a height of 120 feet, the new building will have 315 units and replace a complex that has 147 units, according to Wrenn.

Floor plans for the units will range from studios to three bedrooms, Wrenn said, and 15% will be designated as affordable housing, in line with county law. In the overall plans for the Battery Lane District, Brown plans to designate about 20% of the new units it develops as affordable housing.

In total, the Battery Lane District project will demolish about 477 units and replace them with about 1,130 new units.

​​Also included in the project proposal are improvements to The Bethesda Trolley Trail, which provides a pathway around the National Institutes of Health connecting Rugby Avenue to Old Georgetown Road. Wrenn said developers are considering widening the trail and providing landscaping along the route.

The first phase of the project will include several amenities, such as a dog run, penthouse, courtyards, a pool, gardens, several open spaces and a fitness center.

Some of the units in the new building will be two stories and have their own, private entrances accessible via a walkway that circles the property.

Wrenn said plans and timelines for the other phases of the overall project have not yet been decided.

Two buildings owned by Aldon will remain, providing units that are more expensive than the moderately priced dwelling units mandated by the county, but cheaper than market-rate luxury apartments, Wrenn said.

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at