Grosvenor-Strathmore Plan Changes Could Permit More Than 1,100 New Homes, 260-foot Buildings

As featured in Bethesda Magazine

Planning staff finalizes recommendations for Metro property

Roughly 1,100 new homes and two high-rises of up to 260 feet could spring up around the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro station in North Bethesda if officials get behind a Montgomery County planning staff recommendation.

The proposal up for discussion at Thursday’s meeting of the county Planning Board would raise allowable building heights to 160 feet along Rockville Pike in the Metro-owned area surrounding the station. However, county planners have also suggested permitting the construction of two “signature buildings” that are 100 feet taller.

Drafted changes to the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro Area Minor Master Plan would also create a transition zone where building heights would gradually step down to the height of an existing four-story building across Tuckerman Lane from the station.

Drawings showing proposed transition area between development on the Metro property and Tuckerman Lane. Credit: Montgomery County Planning Department.

The recommendations stem from a series of public meetings about development plans for the Metro property, which is now covered by a 412-space surface parking lot and other station facilities. Planning staff have proposed granting the site a building density that rough estimates show could yield 1,145 dwelling units.

Staffers also are envisioning a civic green near the station entrance, a retail area with stores and classroom space and a linear arts plaza.

Metro’s board of directors in February gave the system permission to negotiate an agreement with D.C.-based development company Fivesquares. The price that Metro will get for the property will depend partially on the building density that it is assigned by the Planning Board.

Khalid Afzal, acting chief planner for the area, said staffers will give board members an update on the proposal during Thursday’s meeting as they finalize the drafted plan amendments. The proposal will then return for a public hearing and formal vote, he said.

The existing surface parking lot at the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro station. Credit: Andrew Metcalf

Proposed heights for buildings around the Metro station. Credit: Montgomery County Planning Department.