If the Purple Line light rail is built, the Bethesda station must include a 92-foot high fan tower that the Maryland Transit Administration is proposing for the open area near the Bethesda Row Cinema and Capital Crescent Trail tunnel.
The ventilation tower would be used in the case of a fire emergency inside the tunnel, where the Bethesda station would be built. MTA would build a second ventilation tower on the east side of the tunnel.
On Thursday, during a Purple Line briefing at the Montgomery County Planning Board, Planning Staff and MTA officials discussed options for making that fan tower compatible with the upscale retail that would surround it.
Staff and Purple Line project manager Mike Madden suggested a variety of tactics, architectural treatments including making it into a clock tower, a glass structure or incorporating it into the coming development around it.
“We do have a concept of what it could be,” Madden said.
Future development includes building higher at 7200 Woodmont Avenue and a Federal Realty project on the north side of the tunnel. The station, which MTA projects would be one of the 16-mile light rail system’s busiest with 15,000 daily riders, will include access and a connection to the Bethesda Metro platform at Elm Street and Wisconsin Avenue.