Monday, February 11, 2013


Developer Kettler last fall proposed a new, luxury apartment building for the former bank site at 7535 Old Georgetown Road and Commerce Lane in downtown Bethesda.

Now the first images of what the 15-story, 120-unit "tower" might look like from several angles. 15 stories that close to Metro sounds awfully short, if the Planning Board is really sincere about "Transit Oriented Development."

I just don't get this idea of having a whole lot of 10-15 floor buildings spread all over town, and looming over houses (e.g. The Darcy) and smaller condos (e.g. the Eastham's building that is going to basically "eat" Crescent Plaza). As opposed to putting all of these units into taller buildings right at the Bethesda Metro station. You're getting a lot of traffic, and the farther away the building, studies show, the fewer who ride transit. I don't think we'll run out of banks anytime soon. But we are running out of gas stations rapidly. Some may laugh about that, but we'll check who's laughing when a "superstorm" hits Bethesda, and we run out of gas. Ha ha, ho ho, indeed. Remember, Metro and buses all shut down. Good luck with that.

I'm willing to give Kettler a chance to show how this could be a design unique to Bethesda, and offer some sort of public amenities, before making a final judgment on the project. It's certainly not as bad as some that are currently under construction, architecturally. I'm just not being knocked out by the design at this stage.


Anonymous said...

You suggest to put "all of these units into taller buildings right at the Bethesda Metro station". What properties are available for that?

Robert Dyer said...

This property (7535 Old Georgetown Road) is one of them. The current Bethesda police station is one. The former BP station. Several properties between Arlington Road and Woodmont Avenue. The fabled 4 Bethesda Metro Center idea. Among others.

Robert Dyer said...

And that gas station property at Wisconsin and Hampden Lane.

Anonymous said...

So what would consider an appropriate number of stories for a "taller building". Taller buildings, more apartments, more cars.

Robert Dyer said...

25+ stories. Same number of apartments and cars, just putting them in fewer buildings, right at the Metro station, so more people would actually consider using Metro. But you also need the transportation, sewer, etc. infrastructure to support the housing being approved. Montgomery County isn't taking that responsible approach to planning, unfortunately.