Tenants of a proposed apartment building at Old Georgetown Road and Nebel Street could enjoy historic warehouse design, new pocket parks and even a bikeshare station, said apartment developer Archstone at a public meeting last week at the Magen David Sephardic Congregation.
Representatives from Archstone presented their early concepts for a new building on the Montouri property, located across from Harris Teeter. Dubbed Archstone Old Georgetown Road, the apartment complex offers an opportunity to create something really “unique” to White Flint, says development associate Rebecca Snyder.
Archstone is working with architects Lessard Design of Tysons Corner on the building, which would have five or six stories and contain about 252 units wrapped around a central courtyard. Though the design hasn’t been completed, Archstone hopes to “draw inspiration from our surrounding context,” Snyder said, notably the stand of trees on the site and the train tracks behind it. They’d like to “[leverage] old warehouse design,” with lots of brick, glass and steel accents to create something that “feels like it’s meant to be there,” she said.
The building would have two entrances, one at the corner of Old Georgetown and Nebel, and a second at Old Georgetown and Wentworth Place with a driveway leading to an underground parking garage. Several ground-floor apartments along Nebel Street will have private entrances with porches and stoops, giving the building a “human scale,” Snyder said. “When you’re walking down the street, it’s more interesting.”
Snyder stressed the importance of “connections” between the building and the larger White Flint community, noting that it’s across the street from the future North Bethesda Center development and a few blocks from the White Flint Metro station. “Our goal is to bring folks to White Flint who aren’t interested in driving,” she said.
The complex will include two pocket parks that could tie into the Recreation Loop, a circuit of paths, trails and parks envisioned in the White Flint Sector Plan. Both pocket parks, which are being designed by landscape architects ParkerRodriguez of Alexandria, would have elevated wooden “decks” with seating for small gatherings or picnics. Archstone also hopes to place a Capital Bikeshare station in one of the parks, making it a “rest stop” for bicyclists using future bike lanes on Old Georgetown Road and Nebel Street.
Many of the site’s trees will be preserved, giving the parks an authentic, mature feel. “It’s not a manicured space,” said Snyder. “It feels more natural.”
In addition to the courtyard, the building will also have several other private gathering spaces, including a “click café,” a lounge with WiFi access and computers that’s common in many Archstone developments. The café will face Nebel Street and be designed so it “almost feels like an indie coffee shop,” said Snyder.
This isn’t the first proposal for the Montouri property. During the Sector Plan process three years ago, the owners, the Montouri Family Trust, proposed building a 300-unit, 20-story tower there. The property was also briefly considered as the future site of the White Flint MARC station, which will instead by located at the end of Nicholson Court.
According to Jody Kline, an attorney representing Archstone, the project will go before the Planning Board for a sketch plan and site plan review throughout next year. If it’s approved, the building should be completed by 2015.
In the meantime, the developer looks forward to giving the community something they can be proud of. “We’re so excited about the development in White Flint,” said Snyder. “We want to make sure we’re putting the right piece into the puzzle.”
Archstone was recently purchased by Equity Residential and AvalonBay, though as of this writing this project is still going forward, according to representatives of the company.