Planning Board Looks To Increase Max Building Density at Grosvenor-Strathmore Site

Staff estimates changes could raise housing count from 1,145 to 1,397 units

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A slide showing a plan for the area around the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro station.

Via Montgomery County Planning Department

Suggested changes to a major growth plan for North Bethesda would permit 300-foot buildings and denser development on land near the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro station.

An earlier version of the document would’ve allowed the construction of about 1,145 housing units on Metro-owned land, but Fivesquares Development, the company involved in the project, wants to fit even more homes onto the 15-acre property. The Montgomery County Planning Board seems poised to grant the request by increasing the allowable density on the site, possibly yielding another 252 homes, according to planning staff estimates.

Board members on Thursday are expected to send their final draft of the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro Area Minor Master Plan to the County Council.

Earlier this month, the board instructed staff to boost the development density for the Metro site and increase from 260 to 300 feet the height caps for two so-called “signature” buildings near the station. The board’s proposed adjustments to the plan would also permit a third tower of up to 220 feet on Tuckerman Lane and shorten a zone intended to smooth the transition between high-rises and surrounding communities.

Representatives of Fivesquares Development, the Washington, D.C., company selected to buy and develop the Metro land, requested the revisions during a June public hearing before the board.

Metro officials in recent months have been hammering out a sale agreement with Fivesquares for the system site, which is dominated by a surface parking lot. Allowing more density in the master plan would likely add value to the Metro surface lot because the final asking price will depend on how many new homes could be built.

The council could begin discussing the board’s drafted master plan in September, according to county planner Maren Hill.

Fivesquares executives have predicted construction could start in 2021 and stretch into the 2030s.

The existing surface parking lot at the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro station. Credit: Andrew Metcalf

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