Update: Westwood Shopping Center Project Expected for 2018 Review by County Planning Board

Proposal calls for mixed-use buildings, more than 500 new homes in the Westbard neighborhood

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A view of the proposed community green in the new plan for the Westwood Shopping Center.

REGENCY CENTERS

Updated 12:10 p.m. Monday: A developer expects plans for the Westwood Shopping Center in Bethesda’s Westbard neighborhood will come before Montgomery County planning officials later this year.

Regency Centers, the developer interested in transforming the aging strip mall and large parking lot, last month turned in its new proposal for building about 410 multifamily homes, 106 townhomes and about 176,232 square feet of commercial and retail space.

The project would cover a 23-acre area including the shopping center at 5400 Westbard Ave., the former Manor Care nursing home property and the Westwood II property at 5110 Ridgefield Road.

The neighborhood’s overhaul has been a subject of heated debate in the community in recent years. Before Regency Centers came along, another developer, Equity One, formulated a plan for a much larger, 1.8 million-square-foot project at the shopping center and surrounding properties. Residents strongly opposed the proposal, saying the plan called for buildings that were too tall and too tightly packed.

After Regency took over the project, the developer dramatically downsized the plans and adjusted them to include a larger, more centralized green. The first phase of the developer’s proposal would focus on the shopping center site, where Regency wants to construct two mixed-use buildings separated by the open space. The existing Giant grocery store would occupy the three-story south building, and the north building would be five stories tall and supply space for shops and 190 multifamily housing units.

The western portion of the property is slated for 72 townhomes.

Later phases of the project would include development on the Manor Care and Westwood II properties and on a surface parking lot near the one-story Bowlmor Bethesda building.

The developer initially reported the project was tentatively scheduled for a Sept. 13 meeting. However, planning officials say no date has been set; they're reviewing the development proposals and will schedule a tentative date based on when the preliminary plan is accepted.

Phasing plan for the Westwood Shopping Center project (click to expand). Via Regency Centers.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this article included an outdated phasing plan for the project. The article was also updated to clarify that no planning board hearing date has been set for the project.

Bethany Rodgers can be reached at bethany.rodgers@bethesdamagazine.com.

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