Battery Lane project receives next round of Planning Board approval

Battery Lane project receives next round of Planning Board approval

1,130 new apartments proposed

| Published:

A rendering of the sites proposed for redevelopment in Bethesda.

Rendering via Aldon Properties

A pitch to overhaul the Battery Lane district in Bethesda received its second round of approval from Montgomery County planners on Thursday.

Next, project leaders with Brown Development will choose the site of the first phase of development and begin designing the first building, according to a message from Douglas Wrenn, senior vice president of Aldon Properties, the company that owns the site.

Developers will have to again receive approval from the Planning Board before construction can begin.

Plans call for razing five aging apartment buildings on Battery Lane and replacing them with new complexes, capped at 160 feet tall.

In total, the Montgomery County Planning Board on Thursday gave early approval to replacing 411 apartments with 1,130 new units, a net increase of 719 units.

A sixth building is expected to be redeveloped later, which would include additional apartments.

New apartments will range in size from “co-living units” and studios to two-bedroom units, according to Planning Board documents.

Plans also include 12,000 square feet of commercial space, several through-block connections to join the neighborhood with Woodmont Avenue, and significant landscaping, according to the development application.

Some walkways would be widened, more public open spaces would be added and a new parking garage would be built.

Also included in the project proposal is improvements to The Bethesda Trolley Trail, which provides a pathway around the National Institutes of Health connecting Rugby Avenue to Old Georgetown Road.

The project passed in a 3-0 vote from the Planning Board on Thursday.

“I would just say I think this is a great project,” Planning Board Chairman Casey Anderson said. “It is exactly what was contemplated and hoped for at the time the master plan was drafted.”

Anderson also said the project designating 20% of new units as affordable housing will be a “great asset” to downtown Bethesda.

Construction is expected to begin in late 2021 or early 2022. Existing buildings will remain in use until their turn for redevelopment.

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at caitlynn.peetz@bethesdamagazine.com

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