STORM WATER SYSTEM
On Tuesday LCOR will unveil part of phase one of its $850 million, 32-acre North Bethesda development – specifically, the largest Harris Teeter supermarket in Maryland capped by a 17,500 SF environmentally friendly green roof. It is the first – but probably not the last -- green roof for the grocery store chain. Nearby residents "enjoy the view tremendously," LCOR vice president Michael Smith, says, "the store itself is just phenomenal."
So yes, Tuesday's crowd – 1,000 attendees are expected -- is sure to ooh and aah over the grocery store's design: a two-story, 63,000 SF structure at the base of Wentworth House, the recently-delivered first apartment building at North Bethesda Center. What they probably won't notice is the eight-building project's storm water management system. It's not quite as sexy as a green-topped Harris Teeter, but it delivers greater environmental benefits – and may well turn out to be a model for similar development in Montgomery County.
Basically it is a system that collects rainwater in tanks that are below grade and that siphons the run-off into the county system, Smith explains. By contrast, the typical approach is to build at-grade pools, which are not very aesthetically pleasing and also takes up space that could be used for more development, Smith says.
It's a novel approach to storm water management – and one the country is eager to continue to pursue. Only a few have been developed in Montgomery, Smith says. "I know [Montgomery County officials] are working with other property managers near us as well on this."
The savings for a below grade system are minimal – Smith says the numbers for both approaches pencil in very close to one another. The financial benefit is the opportunity for additional development. "We have the potential to add one more building to North Bethesda Center because of this," he says. If LCOR were to opt for a new building, "it would probably be another residential project," Smith says.
Still under development, North Bethesda Center sits halfway between downtown Bethesda and downtown Rockville. It's a Main-Street style projects that will link the four residential and four commercial buildings to the Red Line White Flint Metro station. All together it will deliver 930,000 SF of office space and 202,000 SF of retail space.