A Washington Post story today says the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, the owners of the 7272 Wisconsin Ave. building, is in talks with Montgomery County to raze the building in exchange for denser zoning as part of the Bethesda Purple Line Station Mini Master Plan Amendment.
The state says it can build a better Purple Line Station — bike and walker trail included — under the Apex Building if the building is demolished before construction.
David Silver, with D.C. firm Holland & Knight, was hired a few weeks ago by the pharmacy association to represent it in talks with the county.
Planning staff had previously said the owners of the building wouldn’t even return phone calls about the possibility of redeveloping the building.
Mike Madden, chief of the Purple Line project for the Maryland Transit Administration, also appeared to be confused about who actually owned the building in a June Planning Board hearing. Madden said the building’s owners apparently held it as part of a retirement package, which might make them more reluctant to tear down the building than a traditional developer.
Silver said the building is owned by an entity that is a subsidiary of the pharmacy association.
He also said recent news about Purple Line funding made the project seem more viable.
“I don’t know that they’ve changed their minds. It’s more that they’ve become focused on the opportunity,” Silver said. “It has really become, with the funding, more viable now. The county and state approached them. They are interested and we’re going to look at all alternatives. We’re really just in an information gathering mode now. We’re going to listen and we’re engaging consultants to evaluate it.”
Three open houses on the plan are scheduled for next month.