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Movie Theater Nixed and Less of Everything Else: The Latest Plans for a Downtown Bethesda Site

by Nena Perry-Brown

Newer sketch rendering of the proposed development. Click to enlarge.

A movie theater is no longer in the plans for a new mixed-use project in downtown Bethesda. 

Woodfield Development and Starr Capital have amended the application to raze and replace the surface parking lot at 6936-7000 Wisconsin Avenue (map) with a mixed-use development, making the project slightly smaller. The project would now have up to 188 units rather than upwards of 200 units, above roughly 8,000 square feet of commercial space rather than up to 15,000 square feet of commercial space. And the project will no longer have a theater on the ground level.

The site is designated for by-right construction of 110 feet, offering an additional 22 feet of building height for any project which included a movie theater; in the current proposal, the development team is committing to setting aside at least 17.5 percent of the residential space as moderately-priced dwelling units (MPDUs) in order to get twelve additional feet in height.

Although it is unclear what motivated the development team to back out of the plans for a theater, planning staff previously implied that the proposed theater seemed to be a ploy to get additional height. As the theater would have occupied just 4,000 square feet of commercial space, the clearance heights were lower than is typical for black box theater use, and no operator for the theater had signed on.

SK+I Architecture is the designer. The Design Advisory Panel is reviewing the sketch plan application tomorrow.

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/movie-theater-nixed-and-less-of-everything-else-the-latest-plans-for-downto/15425

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