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Long-Stalled North Bethesda Project Lands Construction Loan, Breaks Ground

A rendering of Foulger-Pratt's 335-unit East Village project.

A long-planned project near the White Flint Metro station broke ground this month after the development team secured a construction loan.

Foulger-Pratt and Promark Partners secured a $72.5M loan for the 335-unit East Village project in North Bethesda, MAC Realty Advisors announced Tuesday. 

MAC Realty's Andrew McAllister, Nick Rubenstein and Pate Hardison assisted the developers in securing the fixed-rate, construction-to-permanent loan and said it was from a national lender, but declined to disclose the name.

McAllister tells Bisnow the loan was placed last month and the project began construction Oct. 5. He said the deal had interest from at least a half-dozen funding sources, but the coronavirus pandemic has still made it a difficult market.

"Construction debt is not easy right now," McAllister said. "You have to go really deep into the list because so many of the national banks hit pause ... You have to do a deep dive to get multiple term sheets, which we did."

Foulger-Pratt CEO Cameron Pratt told Bisnow the team is confident in this project because the multifamily market is stronger in suburban areas like White Flint than downtown. 

"There has been an outmigration from Washington, D.C., and other urban core areas," Pratt said. "So the close-in suburbs that are still amenity-rich and still have those convenient amenities that people sought in urban locations are very well-positioned to absorb that outmigration."

The building is the first of two phases planned for the East Village project, which is ultimately slated to deliver nearly 600 units. The project first received Montgomery County approval in 2013 and originally was planned for 614 units. The developer went back to the county in June 2019 proposing to scale back the unit count to 564 but to increase the number of three-bedroom units. 

Pratt told Bisnow in June 2019 he hoped to break ground within 18 months, a projection he has just beat, and that the team reduced the unit count because of rising construction costs. He said the revision created a more economical parking garage that reduced the cost of the project. 

The project sits near the intersection of Nicholson Lane and Rockville Pike, less than a half-mile from the White Flint Metro station and less than a mile from the Pike & Rose mixed-use development. It is just north of the site of the former White Flint Mall, which has long been eyed for development.