16-story apartment building proposed for Woodmont Triangle

The  Lenkin Company offices at 4922 St Elmo Avenue could make way for a 16-story, 210- unit apartment building (file photo)The transformation of Bethesda’s Woodmont Triangle will soon have another project in the pipeline: A 16-story, roughly 210-unit apartment between St Elmo and Fairmont Avenues.

The Lenkin Company, a D.C. area developer with its offices in the existing two- story building at 4922 St Elmo Ave., plans to build the apartment on the same spot, directly south of the recently completed Bainbridge Bethesda.

Attorney Steve Robins, architect Craig Williams and landscape architect Thomas Rainier presented the project on Monday at a required pre-submission meeting. The group hopes to submit its sketch plan to the Planning Department in the next few weeks, the first formal step in an approval process Robins said will likely take a few years.

If approved, the project would mean the razing of Lenkin’s existing office building, parking lot and the buildings that house PizzaPass (4924 St Elmo Ave.) and Chef Tony’s (4926 St Elmo Ave.).

The building, for now known as the St. Elmo Apartments, is proposed to be 174 feet tall, the same height as the Bainbridge Bethesda next door. Robins and Rainier said the developer would like to build a publicly accessible cut-thru space that would compliment the just built public walk-thru at the Bainbridge project.

Robins said the developer is talking to Bainbridge officials to come up with an agreement to combine the two walk-thrus to create a “single uniform space.”

The proposal includes second-floor office space that the Lenkin Company would move back into once construction is complete. There are two proposed retail spaces on the first floor, for a combined commercial and retail space of about 15,500 square feet.

The entire building would offer a total of about 265,000 square feet, with a four-level underground garage including about 220 parking spots.

Williams said just more than half of the building would be made up of glass, with some setbacks and massing toward a 16th-floor pool deck and top floor roof terrace.

Some in attendance at the meeting seemed concerned about the glut of construction projects happening and planned for the immediate area around the property. Bainbridge Bethesda finished construction this year after a host of foundation-related problems and still face a lawsuit from an adjoining property owner.

Developer JBG is building its 17-story, 250-unit 7770 Norfolk Ave apartment building on the northeast corner of Fairmont Avenue. A 17-story, 70-unit luxury condo building from developer Starr Capital is in the pipeline for the other end of the street, at the corner of Fairmont Avenue and Old Georgetown Road.

Robins said it’s likely both those projects will be substantially complete by the time the Lenkin Company is able to start construction of its project.

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