Thursday, June 15, 2017
Equity Residential unveils plan for new high-rise near Bethesda Metro (Photos)
A 150' building with 15 stories (really quite low in height, if you consider it's right across the street from a Metro station), the Edgemont II will still sit even with The Christopher, due to the grading of the land there. The project will add a new underground garage section with about 75 new spaces to serve the 175 new apartments. New residents will access their spaces from the existing garage ramp.
No new curb cuts will be needed, as the new building will share the existing loading dock access.
Stoll acknowledged the ghastly pedestrian environment currently found on that stretch of Woodmont between Old Georgetown Road and Hampden Lane. Dark and - with the exception of Cesco at the Newlands Building - bound by uninviting building facades and retaining walls, it is a monument to failed planning in Montgomery County. With no retail and only one restaurant, it is utterly unappealing for pedestrians after dark.
Alas, retail is not in the cards for the Edgemont II. Stoll blamed the narrow width of the building design for their decision to omit retail space. I certainly would like to hear the Planning Department's explanation if they don't press for retail frontage, because this building will lock down that block for decades to come.
What Stoll did promise, is to make other efforts to improve that horrible pedestrian experience. Construction could begin in two years, Stoll said, and the company plans to file its Sketch Plan and Preliminary Plan in July.
Most attendees were from The Christopher, and many expressed concerns about the new building, and even aired out some beefs regarding the existing Edgemont. One unhappy camper who couldn't believe this addition would be allowed by the County asked, "Does anyone on the County Council live in Bethesda?"
The most primary concern was the impact on views from The Christopher. "I bought this unit because of the view," one Christopher resident said. Stoll said the glass-heavy facade of the new building could be made opaque, so Christopher residents wouldn't have to see their new neighbors. Residents quickly pointed out that they were more concerned about the new residents watching them from their balconies and windows.
Loss of sunlight, and construction staging and noise were among the other concerns. But some are already annoyed by the existing Edgemont building, which they declared has an "ugly" roof and noisy "generators" and air conditioning apparatus.