WDG-Designed Mixed-Use Project Gets Green Light in Bethesda

Bethesda, Md.—The proposal for Woodmont Central, a 585,000 square-foot mixed-use project in Bethesda, Md.’s Woodmont Triangle neighborhood, has been approved.

Bethesda, Md.—Woodmont Central, a proposed 585,000 square-foot mixed-use project designed by WDG Architecture PLLC to visually stand out as a major component of the revitalization of downtown Bethesda, Md.’s Woodmont Triangle neighborhood, has been given the green light by the Montgomery County Planning Board.

Woodmont Central is being developed by Donohoe Development, which tapped WDG to mastermind the architecture and provide urban design services for the three-building residential and commercial complex.

The Gallery at Bethesda is the multifamily segment of the project and consists of two buildings, one a 16-story structure and the other reaching 17 stories high. Accounting for an aggregate 494,000 square feet, they will house the property’s 455 luxury residential units. The towers will hover above a central plaza and, in addition to a long list of amenities for residents, will feature a total of approximately 20,000 square feet of ground-level retail space.

Green is a main theme of the project. Not only have the buildings been designed to meet the requirements for LEED certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, but practically half of both rooftops will be covered in grass. The roofscaping also encompasses such coveted extras as gardens, sun decks, sky lounges and swimming pools.

“The Gallery at Bethesda will enhance the Woodmont area with two distinctive towers, a public plaza, shops, and restaurants,” Rick Hammann, principal-in-charge of the project for WDG Architecture, notes in a prepared statement. “Donohoe has envisioned an urban transformation that optimizes this site and really brings it to life for the community.” And while it is two blocks away, the 91,600 square-foot, six-story structure that comprises the project’s office component is linked to the two-building apartment segment by architectural style.

“We were trying to tie the whole neighborhood together contextually,” Hammann tells MHN. This involved such activities as transferring residential and commercial density between the Gallery at Bethesda site and the office parcel to maximize the usage of both; increased density is a key feature of Montgomery County’s plan for the neighborhood.

“We worked with the residents, we worked with the county, and of course with our clients, and we’re pleased as architects and planners that we could pull this off,” he says. “This is the beginning of a whole new wave of development that will be occurring over the next 10 years in Woodmont Triangle. Woodmont Central’s two residential towers and office building are steps one, two and three.

“This project is going to spark revitalization and help create the next phase of smart growth in the Woodmont area. It’s going to encourage some very healthy development. It’s the right design in the right place at the right time.”

WDG has put its design stamp on many other multifamily developments in partnership with Donohoe, including the 312-unit Gallery at Rosslyn, a 19-story high-rise developed in neighboring Arlington, Va.; the 205-unit Whitney at Bethesda Terrace Theatre, also completed in 2003; and Washington, D.C.’s The Residences at Park Hyatt, which opened with 85 units in 2002.

Ground will break on the first residential building at Woodmont Central’s The Gallery at Bethesda in mid-2012, paving the way for 221 new units.

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