Senior housing development on Wisconsin Avenue expected to be approved this week

Senior housing development on Wisconsin Avenue expected to be approved this week

Proposal includes 340 units above retail space

| Published:

An illustration of the proposed development on Wisconsin Avenue.

via Montgomery County Planning Board

A proposed project to build a senior living facility on Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Bethesda is expected to receive its first round of approval from the Montgomery County Planning Board on Thursday.

Dallas, Texas-based developer South Bay Partners last year pitched a 319,000-square-foot mixed-use project that would yield 340 senior housing units above commercial retail space at 7340 Wisconsin Ave.

The plan includes independent senior living, assisted living and memory care units for people 55 or older. Fifteen percent of the units would be affordable housing, in accordance with local law.

The building would be 250 feet tall, according to Planning Board documents, and include 4,500 square feet of commercial retail space.

At least 5% of the property, about 900 square feet, would be public green space. South Bay has proposed that the open space be along the building’s front on Wisconsin Avenue, but Planning Board documents say those plans are fluid and could change.

A below-ground parking garage with 50 spaces is proposed.

The Montgomery County Planning Board will consider, and is expected to approve, the project’s sketch plan on Thursday. A sketch plan is the first in a multi-part development approval phase.

In the center of downtown Bethesda and across the street from the elevator to the Bethesda Metro station, the project area has sat fenced off and vacant for several years.

In 2012, development company Bainbridge bought the property from Exxon, which used to operate a gas station on the site.

In September 2014, the county Planning Board approved Bainbridge’s applications for a 14-floor, 225-unit apartment building with about 5,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and an underground garage. The approvals were for a building that would be 143 feet tall.

But the plans never progressed and South Bay bought the property from Bainbridge.

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

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