Updated – 6 p.m. – Metro’s board of directors on Thursday discussed a timeline for improvements at the Grosvenor-Strathmore station in North Bethesda that could lead to a new redevelopment project and the construction of retail stands near the station’s entrance.
The board’s planning and real estate committee approved a resolution to allow Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld to negotiate a development agreement for land next to the station that is owned by the transit system. The committee also approved a pilot program that would allow retail stands to sell food and drinks in a plaza at the station. The proposal is expected to go to the full Metro board in two weeks.
The redevelopment plan would be significant. It calls for working with a developer, Fivesquares, to build a mixed-use residential project with residential units and “a few thousand square feet” of retail space on the station’s existing surface parking lot. The number of residential units will be determined as part of the county's minor master plan amendment process for the site. To replace the spots lost by the parking lot, Metro would add 412 spaces to the existing parking garage at the station.
Fivesquares Principal Ron Kaplan told the Montgomery County Planning Department in July that the five residential buildings would include ground-floor retail and possibly classroom space for music students at the nearby Music Center at Strathmore. At that time, the planning department released several images of how the redevelopment would look from Tuckerman Lane and an illustrative view of a town square, dubbed “Strathmore Square.”
The project site via Google Earth.
Rendering of how the project could look from Tuckerman Lane, with the existing Meridian apartment high-rise in the background. Via Montgomery County Planning Department, Fivesquares and Perkins Eastman.
Strathmore Square drawing. Fivesquares/ Perkins Eastman
On Thursday, Metro detailed the deal negotiated with the developer for the site. A presentation provided to the board notes the payment to Metro will be based on the density approved by the county and the fair market value of the project.
Currently, the county’s planning department is working on a one-year “minor master plan amendment” that’s examining the development potential for the site. That amendment is scheduled to be voted on by the Planning Board and the County Council in the summer and fall, respectively, according to the Metro board presentation.
After that process is completed, Fivesquares would begin site planning, financing and other initial preparations to construct the garage expansion and begin the approval process for the mixed-use residential project.
Kaplan’s company, Streetscape Partners, developed Symphony Park, a luxury townhome community adjacent to Strathmore.
Metro is also considering trying out a pilot program in the station’s plaza to allow small retailers to sell food and drinks for four hours during the afternoon only. That would mean most commuters would be purchasing the food while coming off the trains and Metro would still continue its ban of allowing riders to bring food or drinks onto trains. The pilot would take place in the spring and summer before the redevelopment project begins, according to Metro.
Metro is also examining adding art at the station’s entrances and to the pedestrian tunnel under Rockville Pike.
Editor's Note: Originally this story said the project would include about 532 residential units, a number included in the documents presented to the Metro board. However, that number is what would be allowed under a previous master plan and the actual number of residential units that will be built as part of the project has not yet been determined.