High-Rise Condo on Wisconsin Clears Planning Board

High-Rise Condo on Wisconsin Clears Planning Board

Toll Brothers City Living planning 106 units at site of former surplus store

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A rendering of the Toll Brothers City Living project at 8008 Wisconsin Ave.

Toll Brothers City Living

A 14-story condominium project has cleared key land-use hurdles, which will mean a new construction project on Wisconsin Avenue.

Toll Brothers City Living plans to build a 106-condominium high-rise at 8008 Wisconsin Ave., a 0.62-acre site of the old Ranger Surplus store, a dry cleaners and the beer-and-wine store on Woodmont Avenue known as “the Beer House.” The Beer House closed recently.

Emily Vaias, a Bethesda lawyer representing the developer, said the project needs to get plats approved and a traffic mitigation study. Construction could start in early 2017, she said. The project could take 18 months.

The Montgomery County Planning Board approved the site’s project plan, preliminary plan and site plan at its meeting Thursday. The project plan is the first step in the process, providing a conceptual footprint of the project, Vaias said. The site plan provides detailed architectural drawings and the preliminary plan allows a developer to re-subdivide the lots.

Toll Brothers City Living is a division of Pennsylvania-based Toll Brothers.

A chain link fence crosses the stairs at the entrance of The Beer Store on Woodmont Avenue, which has closed to make way for a 14-story condominium project. Ranger Surplus and a dry cleaners have also closed because of the project. Credit: Douglas Tallman

The company bought the rights to the project from Douglas Development of Washington, D.C., in February. Douglas had started the project in 2013, envisioning 140 apartments on the site. But the company ran into a problem when county officials said any new construction on the site would require the developer to give up extra right of way to allow a future bus rapid transit station and route on Wisconsin Avenue. It was the first redevelopment project to be affected by the new right of way rules in the county’s 2013 master plan for bus rapid transit.

Toll Brothers received all three approvals at once because Douglas had completed much of the work, Vaias said.

“We just continued from the Douglas approvals,” Vaias said.

The project, at Wisconsin and Cordell avenues, will include more than 150,000 square feet of residential living space, and the building will be a maximum of 143 feet tall, according to the staff report from the planning board. Toll Brothers sought a 22 percent density bonus, adding 27,401 square feet to the project. In return, the developer was required to set aside 15 percent of the condominiums, or 16 units, as “moderately priced dwelling units,” or MPDUs.

The project’s ground floor incorporates 5,793 square feet of nonresidential space, which could be used for retail, restaurant or other uses, the report says.

Toll Brothers will pay about $694,000 toward the Battery Lane Urban Park as part of the project.

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