Rockville Pike Towers Face Another Delay

Rendering of Saul Centers plan for Metro Pike Center, via Planning Department

The developer that wants to build three towers along the west side of Rockville Pike in North Bethesda will ask for another extension from the Montgomery County Planning Department.

Saul Centers, which hopes to build two 300-foot-tall apartment towers and a 200-foot-tall office complex on the site of the existing Metro Pike Center, will ask for and likely get another extension of the review period for its Sketch Plan on March 13.

Saul Centers got its first extension back in December.

According to Planning Department staff, the Bethesda-based developer needs more time to respond to comments it got at the Development Review Committee, a pre-approval process meeting all developers go through with State Highway, County Transportation and other agencies.

The developer’s plan calls for three streets to run east-to-west from Rockville Pike to Woodglen Drive, which will be extended north from its current terminus at Nicholson Lane.

But in development review meetings in November, State Highway Administration officials said they don’t want three additional opportunities for drivers to turn on or off of that section of Rockville Pike. County transportation officials don’t want three intersections on Woodglen Drive either. The White Flint Sector Plan imagines the extended Woodglen Drive as a bike lane-lined street to provide access to eastbound Marinelli Road.

The project also includes a 300-foot residential tower and a 200-foot residential tower on the east side of Rockville Pike near Nicholson Lane, on the site of the Staples-anchored shopping center at 11503 Rockville Pike.

The developer tweaked the plan once, adding more ground floor retail space after residents at the nearby The Wisconsin condos said the newly developed blocks would lack activity.

Gary McManus, spokesperson for Forest City Washington, said The Grand apartment building is well aware of the project and currently is not opposed to it. Forest City owns The Grand, which is behind the Metro Pike Center.

A tentative Planning Board hearing on the plan will be set for April 17.

Rendering via Montgomery County Planning Department


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