Thursday, June 16, 2016

Developer unveils redevelopment plan for Steamers property at 4820 Auburn Avenue (Photos)

A developer specializing in small residential buildings with under 100 units is proposing to build one at 4820 Auburn Avenue, currently home to the dilapidated ruins of Steamers. Heather Dlhopolsky of Linowes and Blocher, LLP, said applicant Novo intends to file its sketch plan with Montgomery County in the next week or so.

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
building footprint



View of building from
next block of Norfolk
Properties the developer
would like to acquire are

shown in these photos



34 comments:

HR Poopinstuff said...

Looking forward to leaving a few steamers in the construction porta johns once they start building that thing.

Anonymous said...

Bigger question: Will they still sell coke in the bathrooms?

Anonymous said...

I don't think they sold in the bathroom, just used it there. But yes, I assure you there will be coke sold on this site once it is open.

Anonymous said...

Only 2,000 sqft of retail is extremely disappointing.

Anonymous said...

So, you encourage bigger/taller in real Bethesda, but oppose it in Westbard (pretentious fake Bethesda)?

Anonymous said...

And they will acquire those other properties. Won't be able to move, park or be able to see the sun soon. Whew!

Anonymous said...

WEST WHAT??? WEST BARD!!!
WEST WHAT??? WEST BARD!!!
WEST WHAT??? WEST BARD!!!

Wrol said...

They mention they would go bigger with acquisition of neighboring properties. Has there been any comment on responses so far? Would love to see more density here and buildings not compromised by midblock property limitations.

Anonymous said...

Would MoCo consider eminent domain to get the other properties? It's in the public interest.

Robert Dyer said...

6:18: Downtown Bethesda has a Metro station; Westbard does not.

Anonymous said...

These buildings are historic!

Anonymous said...

Downtown Bethesda is...downtown.
Westbard is...not.

Anonymous said...

So the guy that wants to build more roads and highways only wants to build housing by metro.

Anonymous said...

This idea that Westbard Avenue = Bethesda's downtown commercial business district is crazy.

Someone needs another bus tour of Westbard Avenue!

Anonymous said...

How many housing units will be in Westbard compared to Bethesda?

Anonymous said...

Wait- I am confused- Dyer sells coke out of his mom's basement?

Anonymous said...

I've never understood why Dyer and his shill think that the County Council's bus tour of Westbard was somehow a bad thing. Perhaps one of them could explain?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

my fingers smell like cheese

Anonymous said...

9:31AM - What's the matter? No one reading your stories today? Gotta come over here and beg?

Anonymous said...

Downtown Bethesda started out as a rural crossroads. And it became "downtown" long before the Metro was built.

Anonymous said...

11:11 AM So, did Manhattan. What's your point?

JackASobel said...

Can anyone explain the rationale by which developers receive up to a 22% density increase in return for providing only 2.5% additional Moderately Priced Dwelling Units (MPDU's)?

Robert Dyer said...

2:16: $$$$$$

Robert Dyer said...

9:29: A) It emphasized most of them are carpetbaggers who aren't familiar with the areas they represent.

B) They drove past sidewalk snow violations - some on County property - and did nothing about them after their bus tour ended, despite having passed a $6M sidewalk shoveling law a year earlier.

Anonymous said...

Part of the problem with the bus tour is that Councilmember Reimer insisted he saw two Metro stations walking distance to Westbard Avenue. That was news to folks living in the area.

Anonymous said...

Correct it's about money. It costs a lot to subsidize a unit as MPDU so the developer rightfully gets something in return (density).

Anonymous said...

Westbard and Chevy Chase Lake are on their way and we couldn't be more excited!

Anonymous said...

Silly sidewalk violations that if they weren't reported yet then every single person who saw it before and after also did nothing about them.

Anonymous said...

Including Robert Dyer, if he didn't call it in.

Anonymous said...

The council riding in the tour bus.
Over here on the left you'll see the beautiful homes of the county's 1%. We get a lot of money from them in taxes.
Now a few blocks over, here we have the, well, less advantaged people in the county. We don't get much tax revenue from them, with their lower valued homes and lower wages. Let's put all the county's crap here! We'll atart with parking 400 buses...

Anonymous said...

And the less advantaged people get subsidized services out of the deal.

Anonymous said...

What exactly do *those* people get? A handful of lower-rent apartments 25 miles away? Condos that even at subsidized amounts cost more than the houses they already own?

Anonymous said...

@6:59 Re-read 5:54. He/she isn't talking about MPDUs