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This past spring, Bernstein Management Corporation submitted preliminary plans to the Montgomery County Planning Department for a stand-alone 175-foot building at 7121 Wisconsin Avenue. The Town submitted comments and, among other things, noted the lack of any connection between the building and a potential park on the current County surface parking lot directly behind the Farm Women’s Market (Lot 24).
Since those initial plans were developed, Bernstein Management has teamed up with EYA, a development group based in Bethesda. Together, they have revised the plans. EYA presented these plans to the Town’s Long-Range Planning Committee on September 5. Some background facts about the proposed development are available here. The current plans show additional buildings on Lots 24 and 10 (the parking lot between Leland and Walsh) and a potential park, and they provide for the undergrounding of all 300 spaces currently on the surface parking lots. An additional level of underground parking will provide spaces for the needs associated with the new buildings. The plans reflect what the developer would build if they paid for all costs associated with undergrounding the parking spaces -- approximately $15 million. The concept for development immediately in and around the Farm Women’s Market is something akin to Eastern Market or Union Market, both in D.C., and all first-floor spaces facing the market are retail spaces. The remainder of the space is residential, including townhouses on Lot 10.
These are conceptual plans that have not yet been submitted to the County Planning Board staff for review. Town Councilmembers have been actively engaged in discussions with County officials and the developers. While excited about the prospect of creating a park, Town Councilmembers have also expressed concerns regarding the height and size of the proposed 7 story building that would run along the east side of Lot 24. Therefore, they have asked the County to contribute to the project so that the developers can scale back their plans and provide for more open space.
While these plans remain conceptual, we’d like to hear what you think of the overall concept, the massing and heights of the buildings, the size and uses of the proposed park, etc. The developers are seeking to move quickly, so now is the time to fully register the Town’s views. The Town will make every effort to answer any questions about the proposed development plan, and Town Councilmembers will continue to provide input to this proposed project. Please send your thoughts and questions to email@example.com.