**Post is updated to correct the retail square footage and the description of the public walkway**
ProMARK Real Estate and Foulger-Pratt held a public community meeting on May 27th on their newly designed preliminary site plan for the East Village project of the North Bethesda Gateway. Dick Knapp, senior vice president at Foulger-Pratt, offered the presentation on this project he’s working on with fellow developer, ProMARK Real Estate.
East Village, one site within the larger North Bethesda Gateway area, will be at the corner of Nicholson Lane and Huff Court, next to the White Flint Mall site. The neighboring Fitzgerald auto property, on the left side of the image below, is still in midst of discussions and no sketch plan has been put forth by a developer yet. The East Village at North Bethesda Gateway property is also set off a bit from the other development sites along Rockville Pike, which will give this development a chance to create a sense of a close community for the future residents as the White Flint district blooms.
Back in January 2013, Foulger-Pratt and ProMARK Real Estate proposed their sketch plan of East Village property, which is the image to the right. A sketch plan is a preliminary sketch of the layout of buildings across the site of development. No architectural details are included in the sketch plan, however. The original sketch plan for East Village included the layout of office, residential and retail spaces on the site. This sketch plan was approved back in the beginning of 2013. The developers decided to amend the original sketch plan by scaling back the high-rise office space and creating a intimate neighborhood feeling with more room for retail and residential space.
Currently, ProMARK Real Estate and Foulger-Pratt are working to submit their updated site plan to the Planning Board. A site plan is comprised of an architectural plan with detailed engineering drawings that are most often displayed at a bird’s eye, top-down view. The site plan also includes the design of each building including the materials used and other aesthetics. To understand the changes that took place between the approved sketch plan and the site plan, a comparison of the two is presented. With the details included in the site plan, the developers provide a better understanding of their plan to create this “timeless” and urban community.
At the public meeting, Knapp focused heavily on creating a sense of timelessness and a memorable social community for the region. By cutting out the office space and incorporating more room for residential and retail space, the developers decided to include mid-rise multi-material buildings. East Village will now include 2 phases of buildings with various types of textures, materials, and colors that will give the project a since of asymmetry and a city/urban feel. The developers hope to create a “collection of buildings,” not two gigantic buildings that are overpowering and intimidating for future residents.
Similar to what was proposed in the sketch plan, East Village will include great spaces for retail on the ground floor. The new site plan proposal includes about **32,000 square foot space for retail. Knapp hopes that East Village can bring in local, neighborhood restaurants and shops such as Raku, Gilly’s, Busboys and Poets, and local yoga studios, places where a social community can be built.
East Village also will provide amazing public and open space for residents. For example, there is a proposed public walk, East Village Lane, which will connect East Village and North Bethesda Gateway to other developments along the Pike. Furthermore, there are proposed courtyards for each of the phases. The public walk will be a pedestrian only space that will have high visibility from various terraced units and elements of urban safety incorporated into it. **The pedestrian connection/walkway will be built in grade to the site so the walkway will remain at a flat surface. At the end point of the walkway, however, there will be a ramp and stairway to reach the street level because the walkway is built in grade to the buildings. In the image of East Village Phase 2, you can see the East Village Lane that will be the public walk way between the 2 phases.
There will be three access points to enter the East Village site: one through East Village Lane, one from Huff Court (which will remain a public street) and one from the proposed private street on the right side of East Village.
The new site plan shows the 2 phases of residential space within East Village, including 400 residential units in Phase 1 and 210 residential units in Phase 2 for a total of 610 residential units. The average unit size will be 750 square foot, which a range between 500-1200 square foot units. In addition, there will be about 70% 1 bedroom units and 30% 2 bedroom units.
The phases will include amenities such as a private theater, a private gym, and private party rooms. These amenities are necessary to attract individuals to live in the building and compete with other developments popping up across the region. In addition, Phase 1 will include a courtyard/plaza and terrace apartments that overlook the retail space. Phase 2 will also include another courtyard and the pool for the residents.
Parking for the residential buildings will be underground. There will be between 684-687 parking spaces for residents of East Village, which is 92% parking, 22% more parking than the minimum percentage prescribed in the White Flint Sector Plan.
Because East Village is set-off from the main strip of Rockville Pike, attracting residents to “live and play” at East Village will be ProMARK Real Estate and Foulger-Pratt’s biggest issue. Nicholson Lane is a high-traffic area, which they hope will work to their advantage. With the large amount of public space this plan offers, the developers hope to incorporate more local art and night-time activities for residents that will offer great attractions. The plaza off Huff Court will be used for all types of programming that the developers hope will attract Generation Y singles, mature couples of Generation X, and Aged-in Place Baby Boomers.
If you missed the first chance to hear the presentation on East Village at North Bethesda Gateway, please come to the White Flint Sector Plan Implementation Advisory Committee meeting tonight at 7 pm at the Federal Realty Investment Trust Headquarters where we will hear the presentation again. Hope to see you there!