Tuesday, December 16, 2014


The JBG Companies unveiled the latest iteration of a redevelopment project that's been in the works for over 7 years last night in Bethesda. A new office building is the centerpiece of a proposal for the redevelopment of an existing office building at 4733 Bethesda Avenue, and the former Thyme Square restaurant next door.
View from across Woodmont Avenue
Going with office space is fairly risky move in Montgomery County right now, with two gleaming Class A office buildings at 7550 Wisconsin and 4500 East-West Highway unable to attract the high-profile corporate tenants they had originally planned for, and both struggling to find smaller businesses to replace those larger ambitions.

Yet JBG has developed some impressive office buildings in places like Friendship Heights, and their representative last night said the firm believes downtown Bethesda is a desirable place to work. I can't argue with that statement.
Bethesda Avenue view
The new office building has some resemblance to the hotel proposal it replaces, except the alternating window sections on the side have all been slid to the far left. What was formerly Thyme Square appears to become a small building labeled "Market" in the renderings shown last night. This project will potentially be involved in the creation of an at-grade Capital Crescent Trail along Bethesda Avenue, should the Purple Line be built in the future. JBG has expressed willingness to assist in developing that cycle track, which many CCT advocates have argued will put riders and pedestrians at risk crossing Wisconsin Avenue.

Developing the office project will require demolition of the existing 4733 office structure, perhaps the tallest building ever to be demolished in downtown Bethesda, by my recollection. JBG's representative said the method of demolition has yet to be determined, but that the work will be done "very carefully." The smaller building next door will be renovated, not demolished.

JBG says that even after potential approval by the Montgomery County Planning Board, it does not expect construction to begin on this project for another 2 or 3 years. The future of the plaza between this project and the Landmark Bethesda Row Cinema remains a hot topic of discussion for developers, planners, and residents.

Images courtesy The JBG Companies
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Rober Diller said...

Is 4735 part of this? The Blu Lounge?

Looks like that "market" only has an entrance on Bethesda avenue? Or does that Woodmont frontage get storefront retail also?

Robert Dyer said...

Robert, yes, although the exact configuration of Woodmont side was not depicted in the renderings.

Wrol said...

Weird they wouldn't highlight the side with the most connection to Bethesda Row

Anonymous said...

These are early concepts.

Anonymous said...

This might end up being a smart proposal. As stated in the post, JBG clearly understands the poor market for office space (regionwide) and is willing to get planning approval and sit on it until a anchor tenant comes along.

The office market will eventually rebound, as the we shake off the last vestiges of the recession and the number of jobs in the area grows, despite the teleworking trend and GSA stinginess. When a large tenant eventually does come along, while other developers have already committed to residential, JBG will have a shovel-ready project to propose that's practically on top of the Purple and Red Lines, and adjacent to arguably the most successful retail district in the county.

Anonymous said...

Wrol - maybe they're hoping that their building will extend "Bethesda Row" a few hundred feet east.

Wrol said...

That would be nice!! Expand the popular area. Introduce new landlords for hopefully some rent competition. Connect that existing retail and residential. Bridge the Row to 355. Win win everywhere.