26-Story Apartment Complex Next In Line for Silver Spring’s Ripley Neighborhood

Bethesda developer’s plans include connecting Dixon and Silver Spring avenues to improve traffic flow

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A Bethesda developer has proposed plans for a 26-story apartment and retail center in Silver Spring’s Ripley District, an area near the Transit Center that was known in the last century for its jumble of auto-repair shops and low-rise warehouses along railroad tracks.

Ripley West LLC’s design for the project shows an L-shaped building along Dixon Avenue that slopes to 23- and 16-story sections connected by a transparent glass thoroughfare connecting each section at the 16th level, according to a sketch plan recently submitted to the county Planning Board.

The project, Ripley II, includes 18,083 square feet of ground-floor retail space and up to 440 multi-family residences. Washington Property Company is Ripley parent company for the project.

The residential portion includes a sixth-floor club lounge, dining area and collaborative work space, as well as a fitness center and pool.

Developers also call for extending Dixon Avenue to join with Silver Spring Avenue near the southern edge of the property to improve traffic flow. The project includes a public plaza on the west side of the Dixon and Silver Spring avenues intersection.

A proposed garage is four levels with final numbers of parking spaces and bike storage space to be determined. However, the sketch plan describes a “dedicated bicycle entry and storage room” adjacent to Metropolitan Branch Trail, an 8-mile hiker-biker trail that parallels Metrorail and train tracks between Silver Spring and Washington’s Union Station.

The project would continue the developer’s vision of redesigning Silver Spring’s Central Business District from “uninviting,” borderline “urban blight,” to a successful urban center, according to the sketch plan.

“Where others saw a struggling, deteriorating, and more often than not failing and forgotten (and all too frequently unsafe) part of the CBD … (Washington Property Company) saw incredible opportunity for revitalization and began assembling properties and coordinating public and private efforts to transform this neighborhood from decay to … another important part of the successful revitalization of the CBD,” the development application reads.

As part of an agreement with the county, Ripley West also completed construction on Progress Place in December 2016, a center providing services to the homeless.

Ripley II would be the second completed project by the developer, totaling 1,000 apartments, 150 moderately priced dwelling units and 28,000 square feet of retail space, in Silver Spring.

Washington Property affiliates developed nearby Solaire Silver Spring and Eleven 55 Ripley, both high-rise, mixed-use buildings. The privately held commercial real estate company has holdings and management contracts at commercial buildings throughout the Washington region.

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