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Town of Chevy Chase Shares Images of New Concept for Project Around Farm Women’s Market

New park space, construction proposed for county-owned parking lots

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A conceptual drawing illustrating the locations and sizes of proposed buildings around the Farm Women's Market site.

EYA/Bernstein

The Town of Chevy Chase has posted images of a revised concept for development on properties surrounding the Farm Women’s Market in downtown Bethesda.

Development company EYA last week presented information during a community meeting about the proposal to build multifamily housing, townhomes and retail space on a collection of properties, including two county-owned parking lots.

An earlier version of the plan called for a 175-foot-tall building on the Villain & Saint property at 7121 Wisconsin Ave. However, this idea didn’t resolve the future of Lot 10 and Lot 24, the county-owned surface parking areas that many community members have wanted to turn into parks.

The revised proposal presented by EYA, which is working with the Bernstein Management Corp., does incorporate those lots, adding new construction to some portions and converting others into green space. By renovating the Farm Women’s Market and establishing new parks on the county lots, the project would generate about 2.67 acres of new green space, providing a total of about 4.8 acres of parkland when combined with Elm Street Urban Park.

The plan would also feature a 70-foot-tall building running nearly the full length of what’s now the parking lot behind the market, extending to Leland Street behind the Ford Building at 7101 Wisconsin Ave. Eighteen townhomes would stand on what’s now Lot 10, according to the new proposal. The updated version still features the 175-foot high-rise on the Villain & Saint site.

The developers have proposed replacing the roughly 300 surface spaces by building an underground garage, dedicating the first level to public parking and reserving the second for residents of the new housing. The designs are still in early stages, but a project representative last week estimated the mixed-use project would yield about 325 apartment units, 18 townhomes and 30,000 square feet of retail space.

The proposal hasn’t been submitted to the Montgomery County Planning Board for review, and Chevy Chase officials say they’re working with the county and developers to maximize the proposed park space. The town leaders have asked the county to contribute funds to help cover the cost of building underground parking, potentially allowing the developers to scale back their plans.

The project partners have said the proposed development is needed to help them bear the full expense of adding the underground parking, which they estimate could cost upwards of $15 million.

The town has asked residents to submit questions and comments to townoffice@townofchevychase.org.

A conceptual drawing of the proposed layout for development around the Farm Women’s Market property. The historic market building is depicted at the lower right (click to expand). Credit: EYA/Bernstein.
A diagram of the proposed development on the county-owned lot behind the Farm Women’s Market and on the Villain & Saint site (click to expand). Credit: EYA/Bernstein.

Bethany Rodgers can be reached at bethany.rodgers@bethesdamagazine.com.

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