2021 | Development

Bethesda Row project would replace Uncle Julio’s, add 245 housing units

Commercial, residential development planned for Bethesda Avenue, Arlington Road

A rendering of how a project along Bethesda Avenue and Arlington Road would look

Image from Hickok Cole

A developer is figuring on about 245 residential units as part of a proposal to remake a stretch of Bethesda Row, replacing the Mexican restaurant Uncle Julio’s.

The 275,000-square-foot mixed-use development would be along Bethesda Avenue and Arlington Road.

The property owner, Federal Realty Investment Trust, expects to keep much of the retail space intact, but Uncle Julio’s would no longer be there, according to early plans.

Some people who tuned in for a community meeting on Monday expressed disappointment about the possibility of seeing Uncle Julio’s gone.

A development plan shows an L-shaped residential tower on the block, behind existing retail space. The new building would have retail space on the first floor.

Part of the building project would be 70 feet high. At its highest point, it would be 100 feet high.

The property is in a commercial-residential zone that allows buildings up to 90 feet high. However, the building will be allowed to exceed that height limit if it surpasses the minimum requirement for affordable housing, known as moderately priced dwelling units, said Patricia Harris, an attorney with Lerch, Early & Brewer.

Montgomery County requires that at least 15% of the units be considered affordable, based on 65% of the average median income. This project is scheduled to have 17.6%, Harris said.

Harris said during a virtual community meeting held Monday night that the development team expects to file a sketch plan and a preliminary plan in the next few weeks.