The 110' tall building will house 58 condo units, and only 2800 SF of retail space, described as being about the size of a Starbucks. While the height limit on the parcel is technically 90', 110' will be achieved by offering 15% affordable units. The developer did not find any further height advantage promised in the Bethesda Downtown sector plan, currently being updated by the Planning Board and County Council. As it is, Novo is also attaining the 110' height through density transfers from properties on Old Georgetown Road.
Parking will be underground, with the garage entrance to be located on the Auburn side. That will help maintain a walkable streetscape on the Norfolk side of the property, where a wide Bethesda Streetscape-standard brick sidewalk will be installed. The now-ubiquitous green roof with rooftop deck will be an amenity atop this project.
Why not go bigger by acquiring the adjacent properties, considering the project shares a block with the 17-story Gallery Bethesda luxury apartment tower, and its future twin, The Rugby?
Novo says they actually want to do that. They are interested in acquiring the properties around the 4820 Auburn site for a larger footprint. But they acknowledge the challenge in regards to dealing with multiple landowners. If they can do it, they say they will revise their current plan. If they can't, that current plan prevents windows from being installed on the sides of the building that could face future buildings on those adjacent properties.
The Planning Board is expected to take up the sketch plan this fall, with the site plan to follow at sessions in the spring of 2017.
|Diagram shows 2000+ SF|
of street-level retail
at bottom left of light
blue square that represents
|View of building from|
next block of Norfolk
|Properties the developer|
would like to acquire are
shown in these photos