Ground Broken on Apartments in North Bethesda

Ground has been broken for Aurora, the second residential phase of North Bethesda Center at the White Flint Metrorail.

Bill Lamir of LCOR; Steve Sloan of KBR; Steve Floyd, Project Executive of KBR; Mike Cunningham, Senior Property Manager of KBR; Danielle Dove of KBR; Amanda Aleman of KBR; Chris Holmes, Senior Superintendent of KBR; Mike Sloan, Executive Vice President and Regional Manager of KBR; Jacob Pacheco, Superintendent of KBR; Todd Parker of LCOR

By Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor

North Bethesda, Md.—Ground has been broken for Aurora, the second residential phase of North Bethesda Center at the White Flint Metrorail. The 18-story, 341-unit rental property is slated for completion in mid-2014, with leasing beginning earlier that year.

The Aurora project is part of a larger, multiphase mixed-use development—North Bethesda Center at the White Flint Metrorail—which is on 32 acres near the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) White Flint station, on the system’s Red Line. LCOR is the master planner and developer of mixed-use development, which is on land owned by WMATA.

The mixed-use development’s initial phase, Wentworth House, opened in 2008 with a 312-unit high-rise building atop a 63,000-square-foot Harris Teeter grocery store. The next phase of the overall project, a 362,000-square-foot LEED silver office building developed by LCOR in a JV with USAA Real Estate, is currently nearing completion. When complete, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will occupy the building.

Berwyn, Pa.-based LCOR secured a $43 million construction loan earlier this year from Sovereign/Santander to facilitate the Aurora development, which is designed by WDG Architects. Aurora’s units will include from studios, one- and two-bedroom layouts, and most of them will have balconies or terraces. Building amenities include a roof deck, fitness center, swimming pool and community gardens. Aurora will also feature a 386-space parking garage.

Metro DC has been an intense growth spot for multifamily activity in recent years, and for good reasons. Investment specialist Marcus & Millichap predicts that vacancies will drop to 3.9 percent marketwide by the end of this year, putting upward pressure on rents. The company predicts that asking rents will be up 4 percent and effective rents up 4.7 percent for all of 2012. And there will be new households to pay those rents: a net of about 44,000 jobs will be added to the market this year, compared with 28,100 in 2011.