Montgomery County planners are considering an application to expand the six-story parking garage near the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro station, an initial step in plans to transform the transit site into a new North Bethesda neighborhood.
The project to add 414 parking spaces to the garage, giving it a total of 1,898, is needed to offset the parking capacity that will be lost when a 408-space surface lot makes way for future housing. The application recently filed with the Montgomery County Planning Department covers both the garage expansion and surface lot removal.
The county last year adopted a growth plan that could permit Fivesquares Development to build 1,400 new homes on 15 acres just south of The Music Center at Strathmore. The garage, surface lot and other Metro facilities are on the site that Fivesquares will lease from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.
In addition to increasing the number of parking spaces, WMATA is looking at reworking the garage layout in the upcoming project and building a new exit that will link with a new internal road planned as part of the Strathmore Square development proposed by Fivesquares.
The transit authority also wants to reconfigure the Kiss & Ride area and build a roughly 100-space bike station near the Metro station entrance, according to the plans.
Ron Kaplan, Fivesquares principal, said if all goes well, construction on the garage should begin early next year. The project is sequenced in such a way that the total number of available parking spaces will remain at current levels throughout the expansion process, he said.
Meanwhile, Fivesquares will also bring forward its vision for turning the site into a community with high-rises, multifamily housing and a village green. Kaplan said his company is hoping this summer to submit a sketch plan for Strathmore Square, a redevelopment effort that could span more than two decades and supply hundreds of homes within walking distance of the Red Line station.
The future neighborhood could include two “signature buildings” of up to 300 feet in height and a third high-rise of up to 220 feet tall.
While Fivesquares has discussed leasing the land from WMATA, Kaplan said the company could consider buying certain portions of the site.
The county planning board is scheduled to discuss the garage expansion plan during its July 19 meeting.
Bethany Rodgers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.