The Chevy Chase Land Co. and Bozzuto Group last week unveiled their plans for the first phase of a redevelopment project set to turn a suburban-style shopping center in Chevy Chase Lake into a mixed-use town center similar to projects in other transit-oriented Montgomery County areas.
Unlike Rockville Town Square or Cathedral Commons in Northwest Washington, D.C.—two projects the developers drew inspiration from—there’s no transit in Chevy Chase Lake, yet.
It will be home to a Purple Line station on the east side of Connecticut Avenue and immediately north of 8401 Connecticut Ave., the office high-rise owned by The Chevy Chase Land Co. and home to the company’s headquarters.
According to the 2013 Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan, the county master plan that prescribed the area’s new mixed-use look, The Chevy Chase Land Co. must wait until construction has started on the section of the Purple Line between Bethesda and Silver Spring to develop two of its three main parcels.
Block B, the subject of the current proposal, is allowed to move forward before that because the property had a prior redevelopment approval. The project will include three buildings with ground-floor retail and residential units above situated around a central open space called the neighborhood square, plus a new north-to-south street connecting Manor Road and Chevy Chase Lake Drive.
Sketch of development plan and photo of existing site via The Chevy Chase Land Co. and the Bozzuto Group
The developer showed project sketches for the first time last Tuesday in a public meeting required by the Montgomery County Planning Department. If approved by the Montgomery County Planning Board, it would be built on the site of an existing shopping center that includes the Chevy Chase Supermarket, T.W. Perry lumber store and a Jos. A. Bank location.
Miti Figueredo, vice president of public affairs for The Chevy Chase Land Co., said the proposal includes about 500 residential units spread across the three buildings. The building nearest to the corner of Manor Road and Connecticut Avenue will likely include for-sale condominium units, while the other two buildings are set for now as rental apartments.
The developers hope to find a grocery store to take a roughly 50,000-square-foot retail spot. The rest of the retail spot will be filled out by a mix of restaurants and neighborhood-serving retail “that will appeal primarily to the people who live in this community,” Figueredo said.
“What we’re excited about is moving forward with the project that respects and enhances the existing community,” Figueredo said.
Chevy Chase Land Co. hopes to start construction in late 2017 and finish the project in early 2019.
A sketch of the proposal, as seen from Connecticut Avenue, via The Chevy Chase Land Co. and the Bozzuto Group
A sketch of the proposal, as seen from Manor Road, via The Chevy Chase Land Co. and the Bozzuto Group. In the distance is the Purple Line bridge over a new, yet-to-be-named street.
The building closest to the Purple Line station would be 120 feet tall. The building at the northwest corner of the site would be 80 feet tall and slope down to 70 feet tall. The building on the east side of the project (roughly where Chevy Chase Supermarket is today) would be 70 feet tall.
The project is proposed to include a two-level underground parking garage that will serve all three buildings and include about 1,000 spots.
Figueredo said Purple Line-dependent development on the company’s other two major parcels, at 8401 Connecticut Ave. and at the existing shopping center on the west side of Connecticut Avenue, is likely a long time away.
Earlier this year, the Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County and Bethesda-based developer EYA got Planning Board approval for a project on Chevy Chase Lake Drive that will include 62 town homes and a 112-foot-tall apartment building.
The Chevy Chase Land Co. and Bozzuto Group are proposing to develop Block B at Chevy Chase Lake. Redevelopment of Blocks A and D must wait until the Purple Line is under construction, via The Chevy Chase Land Co. and the Bozzuto Group.