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New Multifamily Projects, Transit Updates And More: The Latest In Bethesda

The Wilson and The Elm development, the new home of Fox 5 in downtown Bethesda.

1) The Montgomery County Planning Board earlier this month approved the first draft of plans to redevelop two apartment buildings on Battery Lane in Bethesda. The new development will be a 12-story apartment building with 399 units, 15% of which will be designated as affordable housing. The plans were filed by WC Smith Development and will need to pass two more rounds of review by the Planning Board before construction can start.

2) Construction on the Purple Line, the light rail project that would have its western terminus in Downtown Bethesda, has been delayed for years after the previous contractor walked off the job. It was originally supposed to have opened later this year, but last week, in moving to approve the contract for a new builder, Maryland transportation officials laid out a new timeline and budget. The project, running across parts of Montgomery and Prince George's counties, is now expected to cost $9.6B, up from the initial $5.6B estimate in 2016, and not carry passengers until 2026.

3) In December, news channel Fox 5 moved from its home in Friendship Heights in Northwest Washington, D.C., to a new high-rise in downtown Bethesda. The newsroom is now located on the sixth floor of The Wilson, a 23-story, 60K SF building developed by Carr Properties near Metro’s Red Line and the planned terminus of the Purple Line.

Federal Realty's 909 Rose office building at the Pike & Rose development.

4) Federal Realty Investment Trust has signed three new tenants to 909 Rose, a 212K SF office building in North Bethesda: Carl M. Freeman Cos., Prudential Financial and financial service provider ACA Group. This building is part of the budding Pike & Rose, a transit-oriented neighborhood in North Bethesda. 

5) Washington Property Co. announced in October that it would be moving forward with a 22-story multifamily tower on the former La Madeleine site in Downtown Bethesda. The building will include 198 apartments — 168 market-price and 30 moderately priced units — one block north of the Bethesda Metro station. It will also feature 1,500 SF of retail and four levels of underground parking with bike storage. 

6) Also in October, the Anne and Bernard Spitzer Charitable Trust started work on a more than $10M capital improvement program for 4800 Hampden Lane, a Class-A, 185K SF office building in Bethesda, Cushman & Wakefield, the leasing agent for the building, announced. The redevelopment will include a new conference center, a fitness center, a bike storage facility and an updated lobby. The improvements are expected to be completed in fall 2022.