2021 | Development

399-unit apartment building proposed on Battery Lane in Bethesda

Project would replace two buildings with one complex

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A rendering of the proposed development project on Battery Lane in Bethesda.

via Montgomery County Planning Department

Montgomery County planners have begun formally reviewing a development project to replace two aging apartment buildings with one new complex.

Last week, WC Smith Development officially filed plans with the county Planning Department to demolish two existing apartment buildings with 87 total units at 4901 Battery Lane. The plan is to replace them with a 12-story building with 399 new units.

Fifteen percent of the units (about 60) would be designated as affordable housing.

The existing buildings are called the Cambridge Square Apartments, according to Planning Board documents.

The new project includes multiple courtyards, a rooftop amenity space and an underground parking garage with 322 spaces. The new building would be 120 feet tall.

The property is within walking distance of both the Bethesda and Medical Center Metro stations. There is a stop for the Bethesda Circulator nearby and there are Ride-On and Metro Bus stops on the adjacent property, according to Planning Board documents.

The project is separate from a multi-phase plan to redevelop several other properties on Battery Lane.

In 2019, the county’s Planning Board approved a multi-phased redevelopment plan for what is called the Battery Lane District. The plan involves razing six aging apartment buildings and replacing them with new complexes.

In total, 477 apartments in that project will be replaced with 1,530 new units, a net increase of 1,053 units.

Plans also include 12,000 square feet of commercial space, a “two-way cycle track on the north side of Battery Lane,” several through-block connections to join the neighborhood with Woodmont Avenue and significant landscaping, according to project documents.

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.

Development is expected to happen in phases spanning about 15 years. Each current apartment building will remain in use until its turn for redevelopment.

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