2021 | Development

Amended Bethesda development proposal is back with more residential units

Building on Cheltenham Drive would be up to 90 feet high

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A rendering of a proposed building at 4725 Cheltenham Drive in Bethesda

Image from Community Three

A proposed project in Bethesda is back after a delay, with a new developer, a smaller building and more units.

When it came before the Montgomery County Planning Board last year, the proposal at 4725 Cheltenham Drive was expected to have between 67 and 83 units.

Now, 110 units are proposed, even though the size of the building has dropped from 80,000 square feet to around 77,000 square feet.

The units in the current iteration of the project are smaller, Grant Epstein of owner/developer Community Three said during a virtual community meeting on Tuesday night. He said they average about 550 square feet.

The maximum building height of 90 feet has not changed.

A Midas car repair shop is on the quarter-acre parcel, which is adjacent to a CVS Pharmacy, near Cheltenham Drive’s intersection with Wisconsin Avenue. An Acura dealership is across the street.

Community Three of Washington, D.C., has taken over the project from Bozzuto Development Group, which, in July 2020, submitted an application for approval of a sketch plan. The Planning Board voted in November to approve the plan.

There was no explanation during Tuesday’s virtual meeting of why the project stalled and changed hands, but others also have been delayed or derailed during the pandemic.

Another change in the project is parking. The earlier version of the project called for one level of underground parking with 23 spaces. The new version does not include any parking.

Epstein said Community Three has found that so few residents use parking when it’s offered in projects of that type, it makes sense to leave it out.

In response to a question posed during the meeting, several people said residents, without designated parking for their building, would not be eligible for neighborhood parking permits. A county parking garage is nearby.

Community Three plans to submit the project to the Planning Board for a site-plan review within about a week and hopes to break ground in the fall of 2022.