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WPC Lands Loan, Prepares To Break Ground On 22-Story Downtown Bethesda Apartment Tower

A rendering of WPC's planned 22-story apartment tower at 7607 Old Georgetown Road.

Construction is moving forward on a 22-story multifamily tower on the former La Madeleine site in Downtown Bethesda

Washington Property Co. is preparing to break ground on the 198-unit apartment project after securing a $69M construction loan from Bank of America, Bisnow has learned. 

The developer also received preferred equity investment from FCP for the $107M project. Shalom Baranes Associates designed the project, and Clark Construction is serving as general contractor. 

WPC Vice President of Development Bobby Akines told Bisnow the team closed the construction loan on Thursday and plans to begin construction on Oct. 19. 

"We did a solicitation and reached out to a number of banks, and we had been talking to Bank of America for a while and hadn’t yet done a deal with them, so they, as well as a couple other firms, showed interest in the project," Akines said. "Ultimately we just got the best terms and the best fit with Bank of America, and we've been wanting to build a relationship with them for quite some time."

The property at 7607 Old Georgetown Road sits one block north of the Bethesda Metro station. French café La Madeleine closed permanently in November, and WPC acquired the property from a family that had owned it for over two decades. 

The Downtown Bethesda site where Washington Property Co. is planning a residential high-rise.

The developer closed on the acquisition in January for $13M, property records show. It went under contract on the site in early 2018, and it then brought its plans to the Montgomery County Planning Board, which approved its application in January 2019. 

The plans call for 168 market-rate apartments and 30 moderately priced dwelling units. The building will also have 1,500 SF of retail and four levels of underground parking with bike storage, plus a new Capital Bikeshare station.

The building's amenities will include a penthouse fitness center, a rooftop clubhouse and terrace, a ground-level lounge and a pet grooming station. The project will be WPC's sixth apartment building under its Solaire brand, including an under-construction 26-story tower that will be the tallest building in Silver Spring.

For its latest project, Akines said he thinks renters will be drawn to the location near the Metro station and the walkable restaurant and retail amenities in Downtown Bethesda. He said the developer sees increased demand from young renters to live in walkable suburban areas like Bethesda where they can have more space for slightly less money than downtown. 

"Bethesda used to be only for older renters or empty nesters," he said. "We've tried to design this project to straddle something that's attractive to a younger cohort of renters while also catering to older renters whether in their 30s to empty nesters. We tried to make an offering that is appealing to a wide variety of people."