Montgomery County Planning Board Approves Bethesda’s Tallest Building

by Nena Perry-Brown

The Apex building at 7272 Wisconsin Avenue

This morning, the Montgomery County Planning Board unanimously approved an amended proposal for a development that will replace the Apex building at 7272 Wisconsin Avenue (map) with Bethesda’s tallest edifice.

The approved development from Carr Properties will deliver 360,000 square feet of office space, 14,572 square feet of retail space and 480 residential units. Approximately 60 of those units would be set aside as moderately-priced dwelling units for households earning up to 70 percent of area median income. The residences will be split across two towers linked by a glass-enclosed skywalk. The offices would front Wisconsin Avenue and the retail would front both Wisconsin and the southern portion of the public plaza. A portion of the Capital Crescent Trail is also meant to run through the site.

Rendering for 7272 Wisconsin Avenue

Carr Properties is hoping to clear the building by springtime in order for the Maryland Transit Administration to stay on schedule for construction of a Purple Line stop at the site. That light-rail stop will be accessed below-grade via Elm Street and an elevator and stairway will provide access from Elm Street to the Red Line’s Bethesda Metro station.

The retail space is large enough to allow the movie theater on the site to return, although the likelihood of that is now in question. An additional 7,500 square feet of open public space will also be created.

The developers sought approval today to add 45 feet to the height of the building, originally approved in concept at 250 feet tall. With a recent zoning text amendment to the Bethesda Downtown Plan, buildings that contain major public facilities which interfere with the ability to provide necessary parking can seek approval to add floors to the maximum height. Towards that end, the additional height will create four floors of parking above the Purple Line station to accommodate the planned 720 parking spaces and mechanical equipment for the transit operations.

A motion also passed to reconvene a hearing on the project on January 19th and continue soliciting public opinion in the meantime.

7272 Wisconsin Avenue

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/montgomery_county_planning_board_approves_bethesdas_tallest_building/12022

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