Friday, June 10, 2016

WMATA seeking more density than currently allowed for redevelopment of Grosvenor Metro site

Existing apartment towers adjacent
to Grosvenor Metro station
WMATA is asking Montgomery County for additional density beyond what the existing master plan allows for the redevelopment of a parking lot at the Grosvenor Metro station. In response, the Montgomery County Planning Department is initiating a minor master plan amendment process.

Since it is illegal to use that process for just one property, it will be interesting to see which additional properties nearby might be included in the scope of work for this amendment. In Aspen Hill, for example, small properties like gas stations were added to the amendment that rezoned the Vitro/BAE property.

Any added density will only increase the number of students that would enter Montgomery County Public Schools' Walter Johnson cluster in the coming years. Add in the WMAL site, Rock Spring, White Flint 2 and the recent supersizing of Pooks Hill, and...well, this could be pretty controversial among current and prospective Walter Johnson cluster parents.

The specific density increase - if any - that WMATA will receive will be determined through the amendment process. WMATA has been soliciting for a developer partner since the fall of 2013. A person who had examined the solicitation documents told me he estimated that their concept, under the existing density limits, would have allowed up to 600 units and building heights of 143-175'.
WMATA wants to redevelop
the surface parking lot in
the lower right quadrant of this
Google Maps satellite image.
Note forest preserve on
far right, and stormwater
facility at bottom right
Grosvenor Metro has many topographical issues that limit the developable space. An existing stormwater management facility on the site cannot be relocated underground without great expense. The 600 unit estimate above assumes WMATA would not be willing to pay for that relocation. There are also steep slopes, and a forest preserve area on the station property.

WMATA's 2013 plan included an underground parking garage beneath the new development, and the ability to extend part of the building out over the Kiss-and-Ride area at a height of 16 feet and 9 inches. Ingress and egress for residents would be via curb cuts on Tuckerman Lane.

Ground floor retail was also included in WMATA's plan, and parking provided would be less than one space per unit.


Anonymous said...

Glad they are adding more density right next to the metro!

Anonymous said...

Whether the published numbers are to be believed or not, this kind of high density development next to metro will stress our system less than single family homes.

Anonymous said...

This is a great spot for a new tower.

"Any added density will only increase the number of students that would enter Montgomery County Public Schools' Walter Johnson cluster in the coming years"

How many kids do you think live in these apartment high-rises? Especially with all the studio and sub-700 SF 1BR units popular these days. And the rare 2BR units are all leased by roommates.

I live in a high-rise and I'll go months without seeing a kid. Certainly no one on my floor has any kids. This type of building is for millennials, empty-nesters, and other families without children. 600 single-family homes in Rockville or Clarksburg would stress the education system a lot more.

Anonymous said...

Now that I live here (in a house, built by developers), we should stop all future development. You know, just to be on the safe side.

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

There are enough empty office buildings in Rockledge as well as Executive Blvd in North Bethesda that can be converted into school.

More density at Grosvenor please! And add more retail as well, a CVS/Walgreens there would do amazing with so many residents nearby as well as people entering/exiting the metro.

Anonymous said...

This is truly "smart growth" - density right at METRO. Grosvenor should be a transit connection for improved shuttles (eventually BRT) to Rock Spring & Montgomery Mall.

The major concern is how to deal with the interim loss of parking at Grosvenor station.

Anonymous said...

I believe the existing parking garage is underutilized, so it shouldn't be a problem

Anonymous said...

Super-sizing of Pooks Hill? Do you mean the Marriott Property, or is something else afoot?

Robert Dyer said...

4:45: Yes, but there are also two big townhome developments being built adjacent as well. More Grosvenor than technically Pooks Hill, though.

Robert Dyer said...

7:14: I don't recall taking a position for or against in my article. It's a fact that schools are already a big concern in the WJ cluster, as the planners themselves have acknowledged. That's why there have been at least two public meetings about schools related to Rock Spring and White Flint 2.

Kalnel said...

@Robert Yup, the townhouses are outside the Beltway, several miles from Pooks Hill, inside the Beltway.

Anonymous said...

I thought talking about another property is considered non related and against comment policy and is to be deleted?

Peter said...

I wonder if it would actually be a better idea to buy out and redevelop the low-rises across 355 from the Metro.

Anonymous said...

That's Dyer hypocrisy for you. He's just buddies with Lenny Greenberg so he deletes negative news about his friend under the pretense of comment policy violation.