Wisconsin Avenue Developers Drop Movie Theater from Project Proposal

Wisconsin Avenue Developers Drop Movie Theater from Project Proposal

Fewer residences, less retail space included

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Updated renderings of development plans for 7000 Wisconsin Ave. in Bethesda

Photo via Bethesda Downtown Design Advisory Panel

Developers of a Wisconsin Avenue property have ditched plans to include space for a movie theater and decreased the number of residences included.

Plans for the property at 7000 Wisconsin Ave. in Bethesda previously included space for a roughly 4,000-square-foot theater, 200 residences and 11,000 square feet of additional retail.

Revamped plans, submitted to the Bethesda Downtown Design Advisory Panel, exclude the theater and decrease the number of residential units to 188, 17.5% of which will be affordable housing. Approximately 8,500 square feet of retail space is proposed for the project.

Planning documents do not indicate why the company decided to drop the theater. Developers and an attorney for the project were not available for comment.

Because the project is no longer set to include a movie theater – outlined as an incentive for greater density when the County Council finalized development guidelines for the area – it will lose 10 feet in height, dropping the proposed building to 122 feet tall.

Developer, Bethesda-based Starr Capital, first indicated its intent to include a theater in the project shortly after the Regal Cinemas closed at 7272 Wisconsin Ave.

On the property now is a single-story retail building with a Mattress Firm and martial arts studio with about 15 parking spaces.

The sketch plan includes an underground parking garage with 120 parking spaces and also provides public open space to “break up the massing of this block,” according to Planning Department documents.

Additionally, the plan includes a through-block connection to provide pedestrian access between Wisconsin Avenue and Strathmore Street.

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

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