Developers Want To Sell Site Approved for Building Near Walter Johnson High

By Caitlynn Peetz posted August 15th, 2019 on

Project allowed to proceed before moratorium took effect

Untitled design - 2019-08-15T095632.579

Pooks Hill apartments site


The owners of property near Walter Johnson High School are selling the property, marketing it as one of the few Bethesda development projects allowed to proceed during a residential building freeze.

The county Planning Board approved the Pooks Hill Apartments development in 2017. The approval allows up to 631 residential units on the 6-acre property north of the National Institutes of Health.

Two buildings up to 16 stories tall can be built on the land, with average apartment unit sizes of about 845 square feet.

On a website for the property, Los Angeles-based marketing company CBRE highlights that the property is exempt from a moratorium in the area that generally prevents residential building.

On July 1, about 12% of Montgomery County was placed into a building moratorium because nearby schools are over capacity. Residential building projects in the areas around those schools that are in a one-year moratorium can’t receive Planning Board approval. Projects already approved, like the Pooks Hill development, can proceed.

“While other planned developments without [approval] are now blocked from moving forward due to the Moratorium that went into [effect] on July 1, 2019, Pooks Hill Apartment Land has a comparative advantage in the now supply-constrained market,” the website says.

Developers and property owners could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

The CBRE website also lists the property’s location — equidistant from downtown Bethesda and Pike & Rose in White Flint — as a draw for potential buyers.

A third draw, the website says, is the site’s proximity to several life sciences companies, federal agencies, the National Institutes of Health, Walter Reed Medical Center and the future Marriott International Headquarters, all within 2 miles of the site.

The website does not indicate the selling price for the property.

The Planning Board’s approval for the site allows two underground parking garages and two rooftop pools.

The buildings would total 645,657 square feet and include up to 631 units. Ninety-five units, or 15 percent, would be moderately priced dwelling units, as required by county zoning law.

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