2014 | News

East Village Seeks Neighborhood Feel In North Bethesda

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The developers behind one White Flint project found that bigger is not always better, even in what’s set to become a much bigger Rockville Pike corridor.

Promark and Foulger-Pratt, the joint venture behind the East Village project within the North Bethesda Gateway area, will go to the Planning Board with proposed buildings reduced in height and aiming to provide “a sense of quaintness and a sense of intimacy.”

Foulger-Pratt senior vice president Dick Knapp explained how Promark and his firm decided to change the plan from four structures including a 19-story and 16-story tower to what’s basically two six-story residential buildings that won’t exceed 80 feet in height.

The project, just south of Nicholson Lane and just east of Huff Court, will go on the existing site of mid-rise office buildings that are 50 years old and in need of redevelopment, said Promark’s Rob Eisinger. The last remaining tenant will be out soon, which would allow for construction to start around September of 2015.

The buildings would be built in phases and would bring 610 units total and about 31,000 square feet of ground-floor retail just north of the White Flint Mall site.

The East Village name was ripped right from the Manhattan neighborhood and is meant to convey a lower density feel among the massive redevelopment in the pipeline or anticipated for the White Flint Mall site, next door at the Fitzgerald Auto Mall, across Rockville Pike at North Bethesda Market and across Nicholson Lane at the Saul Centers-owned Staples site.

In those projects, buildings may extend as much as 200 or 250 feet in the air.

“We’re meant to be a village oasis in a high-rise area east of Rockville Pike,” Knapp told members of the White Flint Implementation Advisory Committee on Monday.

The group hopes to have its site plan and preliminary plan applications in to the Planning Board by next week, with the hope the project will go before the Board before the end of the year.

Check out the Friends of White Flint for renderings presented at a May 27 public meeting on the applications.

The project will feature a pedestrian-only walkway going east-to-west through the middle of the two major residential buildings. The buildings are set to be built with varying materials — metal, brick and other types — to give the appearance of East Village-like apartments.

Knapp said the development team will seek smaller, more regional tenants than the national concepts being brought on at Pike & Rose and likely the White Flint Mall redevelopment. The developers got approval a sketch plan amendment to downsize the buildings in October.

Knapp said the joint venture hopes to deliver the first building of the project along Nicholson Lane in 2017 and the second building about a year later. The units will average 755 square feet and range from $1,525 a month for a studio to $2,330 for a two-bedroom.

Image via Montgomery County Planning Department