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Rent Control, Senior Living And A Debate Over A Bike Trail: What’s Brewing In Bethesda

The Bethesda Metro station

1. There is a conflict brewing in Bethesda over a bicycle trail tunnel that is projected to cost $82.5M. Montgomery County leaders are currently debating whether to spend money to fund the trail or divert the money to the school system to build more facilities, Axios reported. If approved, the tunnel would be built under Wisconsin Avenue to offer an uninterrupted path for cyclists and pedestrians on the Capital Crescent Trail.

2. Lidl is finalizing plans to open a grocery store in the former Safeway space at Polinger Cos.’ Bethesda Place, local reporter Robert Dyer reported. A Lidl spokesperson confirmed to Bisnow that the chain will be opening a new location, but wouldn't confirm the address. 

3. Erickson Senior Living is working on a $4B national expansion plan in response to the growing U.S. baby boomer population. Part of the expansion that is already underway is the development of the first senior living high-rise tower in Bethesda, a 12-story tower on the campus of Marriott International's former headquarters. Erickson purchased the land for $104M in 2018 to convert it into a 2M SF continuing care retirement complex with up to 1,000 units.

4. This month, the Montgomery County Economic Development Corp. announced the launch of a new hospitality tech accelerator program. It will support companies developing innovative technologies to create a better customer experience. The inaugural cohort is planned for later this year and will happen in partnership with Bethesda Green’s Innovation Lab. The goal is to focus on some of the hospitality industry’s top sustainability challenges.

Polinger Cos.' Bethesda Place development at the intersection of Old Georgetown Road and Woodmont Avenue

5. Toll Brothers is developing 54 single-family homes as part of the 75-acre Amalyn development in Bethesda. Called the Nouveau Collection, it will include four single-family house designs including The Florin, which is a finished model home currently available to tour. Along with single-family houses, the Amalyn development will feature townhouses, a clubhouse, a Zen garden and walking trails.

6. Maryland developers are expressing concerns over a proposed wave of rent control legislation that would set rent caps much lower than they have been in recent years. Montgomery County Council members and representatives from other organizations have rallied in support of a bill to set a cap on rent increases, but developers are concerned that it will shrink their profits and impact their ability to get financing to construct new housing. 

7. A proposed new development project in downtown Bethesda would replace an office building with 348K SF of residential space and an estimated 12K SF of nonresidential uses for retail, childcare or medical offices, MoCo 360 reports. The plans for the development at 4405 East West Highway were submitted by Perseus TDC and include 350 apartments, 15% of which would be designated as affordable housing.