The hotel owner that wants to convert the vacant Yacht Club of Bethesda space into a self-storage facility geared toward Woodmont Triangle residents got the support of a county advisory committee during its meeting today.
Jeff Randall, vice president of asset management for the firm that owns the DoubleTree Bethesda, wants to make the space (8111 Woodmont Ave.) a 24-7, keycard-accessible self-storage facility of about 55 units that would cater to existing and future apartment residents of Woodmont Triangle who have limited space.
Randall said he thought of the concept when trying to store all of his family’s stuff into his apartment in the Palisades building. Randall also said it’s unlikely another bar, restaurant or nightclub concept in the space would be as successful as the Yacht Club, which famously catered to the over-30 and over-40 crowd with owner Tommy “The Matchmaker” Curtis.
With the help of his attorneys at Lerch, Early and Brewer and Councilmember Roger Berliner’s staff, Randall devised a Zoning Text Amendment that would allow a self-storage facility in a retail space of downtown Bethesda.
The DoubleTree facility has a loading dock on-site, a distinguishing factor Randall said would likely prevent other properties from building their own self-storage businesses in basements or first floor spaces. That provision is included in the ZTA, which Randall said Berliner will probably propose at County Council.
Most members of the Woodmont Triangle Action Group, the advisory committee that issues letters of support or on Woodmont Triangle development proposals, said the self-storage concept geared at downtown Bethesda residents was a good one.
Some concerns remained about ensuring the self-storage cages were secure and utilized exclusively by Bethesda residents. Some said they would also like to see more public art in some of the space’s windows than Randall seemed comfortable with. Randall did say the facility would include new planters and lighting for the sidewalk and likely a new facade and entrance.