Developer Bainbridge is asking the Montgomery County Planning Board to grant it an extension for its 7340 Wisconsin Avenue project plan review. Bainbridge wants more time to iron out issues for the 17-story mixed-use tower it plans for the former gas station site near the Bethesda Metro Center.
These issues include public use space and sector plan conformance. In plain English: the former is in regard to public plazas, seating areas, etc. that could be utilized by non-tenants on the property; the latter refers to the existing Central Business District master plan that favored office use near the Metro. Since that 1994 plan, the demand for office space in Montgomery County has dropped severely. No large employers have moved their headquarters to Montgomery County in quite some time (as in a decade or more). This is one reason Bainbridge favors a residential use, as demand for housing is sky-high.
The extension would run until January 27, 2014, and planning staff is recommending the board approve the request.
I think it is certainly smart to take extra time to get this right, as the site is prime property steps away from the Metro station.