Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Renderings of new towers planned for Pooks Hill in Bethesda (Photos)
The plan will first go before the Development Review Committee (a multi-organization body that represents multiple utilities and public agencies) at 9:30 AM on Tuesday, May 26. It is currently scheduled to come before the Montgomery County Planning Board at its July 30 meeting.
A south tower would be constructed first, with the north tower following later. The site is bordered by the Capital Beltway, the Pooks Hill Marriott hotel, and the existing Promenade, Bristol Square, Pooks Hill Tower and Whitley Park Terrace developments.
While the multifamily buildings are very consistent with much of the existing character of Pooks Hill, placing this number of additional units a mile from the nearest Metro station gives many residents pause. Smart growth advocates have regularly cited a quarter-mile to half-a-mile from Metro as the ideal zone for high-density, transit-oriented development. This site is not within that proximity.
The developer is floating the idea of a Metro shuttle. That would seem like a necessary step, with the project potentially dropping 600 more cars into that immediate area. I also doubt that the Marriott parking lots are as underused as described during well-attended events at the hotel. Somebody will have to figure out where those cars are going to go on X-number of days out of the year. There is also the question of how to prevent traffic from the additional development from affecting the nearby single-family home developments. The Bethesda-Chevy Chase master plan's last update recommended turn and entry restrictions to address that matter.
Quadrangle is proposing to offer 15% affordable units, higher than the 12.5% minimum required by Montgomery County. The buildings are planned to be 160' in height, with approximately 625 units in total.
Among the amenities on-site will be a paved central plaza with a water feature, outdoor pools, club rooms, roof decks and landscaped gardens. Parking will be underground, and one of those garages will be constructed in Phase 1. The two towers are described as "chevron-shaped", and are being sited to preserve existing views from the surrounding residential buildings.
Images via Montgomery County Planning Department