A 17-story, 72-unit luxury condo building with ground floor art incubator space on Old Georgetown Road is headed toward its final development approval.
The 4990 Fairmont Avenue project is set for its site plan review and approval on Thursday, April 3 at the Montgomery County Planning Board. The project, from Chevy Chase-based Starr Capital, will fulfill its public space requirement by dedicating 2,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space to the county for art studios that would be managed by the Bethesda Urban Partnership.
The developer would also make the existing five-foot alley between the property and a county parking garage 11 feet wide and add brick. The idea is to create an “arts alley” type set-up with multiple doors to the studios and where the artists’ work could be shown.
The project is unique for downtown Bethesda in that it would include above-ground, not underground, parking.
The first four stories of the building would be for parking, with a total of 7,000 square feet of retail space and art studios wrapped around the parking on the ground floor. The site plan, if approved, would require screening with metal panels, windows and an aluminum louver system on the upper floors of the garage.
The 72 condos, 12 of which would be moderately priced, would be on floors six through 17 of the building. Vehicle access to the garage and a residential lobby would be on Fairmont Avenue.
The developer got community support for the project by proposing the art space. An art incubator space has been an objective of the Bethesda Urban Partnership and some members of the Woodmont Triangle Action Group (an advisory group made up of residents, business representatives and developers) since a similar plan for the 8300 Wisconsin development fell through.
Starr Capital had hoped to break ground on the project in the fourth quarter of this year, according to its website. But Eastham’s Auto Servicenter, the popular auto repair shop that’s moving from Wisconsin Avenue, recently signed a one-year lease to use the shuttered gas station on site.
Renderings via Starr Capital, Montgomery County Planning Department