Details of Westbard assisted living project shared during public phone meeting

Details of Westbard assisted living project shared during public phone meeting

Developer originally wanted apartment building, then switched plan

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A rendering of a proposed assisted living facility in the Westbard neighborhood.

From Kensington Senior Development LLC

The developer working on plans to build an assisted living facility in Bethesda’s Westbard neighborhood shared details and answered questions Thursday in a public meeting held by phone.

The facility would be one phase of a larger project that also calls for redeveloping the Westwood Shopping Center.

The phase originally had 210 apartments and 34 townhomes. A preliminary plan with about 138,000 square feet of multifamily development was approved in May 2019.

But the developer recently replaced the apartments with an assisted senior living facility, to be managed by Kensington Senior Living. Regency Centers is the company leading the project.

The assisted living facility would consist of about 105,000 square feet on about 2.9 acres, according to a presentation document.

The applicant, Kensington Senior Development LLC, hosted the meeting.

Usually, public meetings to discuss a project before plans are submitted for review are held in a public place in the community, giving neighbors a chance to look at them and ask questions in person.

But because of a statewide prohibition on crowds to avoid the spread of the coronavirus, a meeting about the proposed assisted living facility was held Thursday evening by phone instead. A presentation document with details and images was posted online, so people could follow along at home.

People who called in asked a wide range of questions, including about the building height, parking and a construction timetable.

Representatives working on the architectural, traffic and landscape details of the project joined the call. With many people on the call at once, and many not identifying themselves, it was sometimes unclear who was speaking.

A site plan would be submitted next month. A hearing likely would be held in the fall.

The construction schedule would depend on a realignment of Westbard Avenue and could run about 22 months.

The assisted living facility would be six stories above grade, about 75 feet high.

It would have about 112 senior living suites, accommodating around 155 residents. Each of the suites likely would be about 400 to 500 square feet.

The rental cost could start at around $5,000 a month, covering a room, meals and housekeeping, a project representative said on the call.

There would be about 130 parking spaces, with two levels below grade and one at grade. Representatives on the call said that number is more than what is required and would be sufficient, since residents at the facility are unlikely to be driving.

One person who called in to the meeting said she was glad to see a senior living facility, which does not add children to the school system.

The shopping center phase of the project, which is separate and was not up for review during Thursday’s phone meeting, includes a new Giant grocery store, ground-floor retail and parking, and about 300 apartments.

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