The “Timeless” East Village at North Bethesda Gateway

**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.

Original sketch plan for North Bethesda Gateway. The East Village site is on the right.

Original sketch plan for North Bethesda Gateway. The East Village site is on the right.

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.

East Village Phase 2 Illustrative only, subject to change ProMARK Foulger-Pratt 2014

East Village Phase 2
Illustrative only, subject to change
ProMARK Foulger-Pratt 2014

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.

East Village Phase 1

East Village Phase 1
Illustrative only, subject to change. ProMARK Foulger-Pratt 2014

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!

The timeline: Cranes over White Flint

Part of an occasional series looking at how the new White Flint will come together.

Cranes are rising over White Flint as the vision of the White Flint Sector Plan becomes a reality. But while some projects are humming along towards opening day, others are proceeding more slowly. In our next Timeline post, let’s take a look at the status of four local developments in various stages of planning and construction.

North Bethesda Market II could have the tallest building in Montgomery County. Rendering from STUDIOS Architecture.

Gables Wall Park: Groundbreaking in 2015

While Montgomery Parks looks at renovating Wall Park, located at Executive Boulevard and Nicholson Lane, developer Gables is moving forward with plans to build apartments next door.

“Our project is moving forward slowly but surely,” writes Eddie Meder, development associate at Gables. The Planning Board approved Gables’ sketch plan for the project in October, meaning they will next have to submit a preliminary and site plan, with more detailed information about how the development would work, and get it approved. That process could take up to a year.

Meder hopes to hold another public meeting in the spring to let everyone know what’s going on with the project. The goal is to start construction in “mid-to-late 2015,” he says, adding, “Of course, that may be a little optimistic.” Executive Boulevard cuts across the proposed building site today, and it’ll have to be moved as part of a project the county and state are working on called the Western Workaround, which is scheduled to start around the same time.

East Village: 2015-2016

Foulger-Pratt and ProMark have teamed up to build East Village at North Bethesda Gateway, a project at Rockville Pike and Nicholson Lane aimed at younger Millennials. They plan to replace a 1960’s-era office building with two mid-rise buildings containing 640 apartments and 36,000 square feet of retail space.

Both the apartments and the retail spaces will be smaller than average, to keep rents low. The developers hope that will draw younger renters who can’t afford some of White Flint’s more high-end buildings, and “local, authentic” retailers that don’t need a lot of space.

The developers originally planned to break ground by the end of 2014, but this week, Rob Eisinger at ProMark told us that they now anticipate doing so in late 2015 “assuming the site plan process goes smoothly.” That means the first building may not open until the end of 2016.

Metro Pike Center: Wait and see

Standing at Rockville Pike and Nicholson Lane today, you’ll see a Staples and a two-story strip mall with a David’s Bridal in it. But Bethesda-based BF Saul, which bought the two properties, plans to replace them both with high-rise apartments and offices over shops along a new linear park.

BF Saul proposes a pedestrian plaza along the west side of Rockville Pike.

BF Saul proposes a pedestrian plaza along the west side of Rockville Pike.

Dubbed Metro Pike Center, the project’s had a few design changes after residents complained about there not being enough street-level retail proposed along Rockville Pike. A “sketch plan” outlining general features of the project is now under review at the Planning Department, says Brian Downie, Senior Vice President for Development at BF Saul, who anticipates having a public hearing before the Planning Board next February.

But it’s unclear what will happen after that. If their sketch plan is approved, BF Saul will have to submit a more detailed site plan later before breaking ground. “We don’t have any set project timeline,” Downie wrote in an email to FOWF. “That timeline takes shape as the application moves forward.”

We also asked Downie what’s happening with Woodglen Drive, which will extend from its current end at Nicholson behind Metro Pike Center to Marinelli. Evan Goldman of Federal Realty, which is building a segment of Woodglen at their Pike + Rose development further north, wants BF Saul to scoot their proposed street over to make the connection.

Downie says it’s staying the same for now, writing, “The [street] alignment in our drawings tracks the alignment settled almost six years ago,” when the property’s former owner, Holladay Corporation, submitted plans for a similar project. Changing the street may also also require permission from the owners of the Grand, an apartment building behind Metro Pike Center.

North Bethesda Market II: Eventually

One of the most anticipated projects in White Flint may be the furthest away from happening. North Bethesda Market II, located at Rockville Pike and Executive Boulevard, would contain Montgomery County’s tallest building, at over 330 feet tall, along with a movie theatre and a plaza designed for events and festivals. It’s a more energetic version of its sister development, North Bethesda Market, located across Executive Boulevard and home to the county’s current tallest building.

Montgomery County approved the project in 2012. But if you’re waiting for shovels in the ground, you may not wnat to hold your breath. “We don’t have anything to share on NoBe II at this time,” writes Greg Trimmer, principal at developer JBG, in an email to FOWF. “We are fully entitled, but have not yet submitted for permit.”

Foulger-Pratt Presents its Latest Sketch Plan

At the last White Flint Implementation Advisory Committee Meeting, Foulger-Pratt’s Vice President Dick Knapp presented their latest plan for White Flint redevelopment.  Working again in partnership with ProMark Real Estate, the project is situated on a 2.7 acre site at Nebel Street and Marinelli Road.  The property includes the former home of a Sport and Health Club and a fully-leased office building which houses tenants like The ARC of Montgomery County.  Foulger-Pratt purchased the property back in December 2012 for $5.1 million.

The plan to is to provide “relatively affordable mid-rise housing,” says Knapp, and it will come in the form of two six-story buildings with underground parking.  A central courtyard between the buildings will link the ground-floor amenity spaces of the LEED certified structures.  Expected to break ground next year, the first building would deliver in 2016 with 206 units (and 190 parking spaces).  The second building would deliver the following year with 156 apartments and 136 parking spaces.  Located a short walk from White Flint metro, Knapp suggests that the project will target “young, entry-level Millenials” who want to be near transit but are still sensitive to price.

Although the buildings are slated as apartments, Knapp noted that the design is flexible.   Seventy percent of the units will be studios and one bedrooms, the other 30% will be two bedroom units.

There are still many details to finalize for this project, called Tilden Place, so stay tuned as we learn more!

New Sketch Plan, Road Designs to be Unveiled June 10th

The White Flint Implementation Advisory Committee will have its monthly meeting next Monday, June 10th, at 7pm in Wall Park/Shriver Aquatic Center’s Multi-Purpose Room.  The agenda is packed with work and it’s poised to be an eventful evening.

First, Foulger-Pratt and ProMark will present their proposed sketch plan for a piece of property on the southwest quadrant of Nebel Street and Marinelli Road.  The two are already partnering on Nicholson Lane’s East Village at North Bethesda Gateway project.

Second, Montgomery County Department of Transportation will present their proposed design for several roads and intersections within the sector.  We’ve referenced before that this design had to reach 35% completion to trigger the necessary funding mechanisms to move forward.  On Monday night, we’ll see what MCDOT has in mind for making our roads more walkable complete streets.

The Agenda is rounded out by various reports from other White Flint players, including County Implementation Coordinator Dee Metz and Lead Planner Nkosi Yearwood.

The following morning, at 8am on June 11th, the White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee will have their monthly meeting at the headquarters of Federal Realty Investment Trust (1626 E. Jefferson Street).

The public is welcome at both meetings and, as always, we’ll have updates from each here on the blog.


East Village promises “heterogeneity, surprise” for White Flint

Bird's-eye view of East Village at North Bethesda Gateway. Rockville Pike is at the bottom.

Bird’s-eye view of East Village at North Bethesda Gateway. Rockville Pike is at the bottom. Images from Foulger-Pratt.

UPDATE: We’ve added images courtesy of Foulger-Pratt of the current proposal for East Village and the former design for comparison.

The White Flint Sector Plan envisions Rockville Pike as a grand boulevard with tall buildings. But what about the side streets? Is there an opportunity to create a more intimate experience there?

Dick Knapp, senior vice president at Foulger-Pratt, has proposed doing just that at East Village at North Bethesda Gateway, a project he’s working on with fellow developer ProMark at the corner of Nicholson Lane and Huff Court, next to White Flint Mall.

“In a vital city, there’s heterogeneity and surprise,” said Knapp during a public presentation last Thursday night in the 1960’s-era office building that would give way to East Village, which would contain 640 apartments in two six-story buildings and 36,000 square feet of ground-floor shops along a narrow, private street.

He called Rockville Pike a future “Gold Coast,” where grand buildings would ask accordingly high rents and draw high-end stores. At East Village, Foulger-Pratt and Promark hope to draw young professionals seeking an urban experience with “smaller, cheaper” living spaces and local, “authentic” retailers. Knapp described the project as “our village concept, human scale closer to the street.”

Huff Court, which today is lined by parking lots, would become a “vibrant retail street,” says architect George Dove of WDG Architecture, which is also one of three design firms working on Pike + Rose. One-fourth of the site will be set aside as open space, including a small plaza.

Knapp suggested future retail tenants could include casual dining places like Busboys and Poets, coffee shops and yoga studios. “We’re trying to create a ‘third space,'” he said, using sociologist Ray Oldenburg’s term for venues that were neither home nor work, but a place where people could gather and build community.

East Village would include a private street parallel to Nicholson Lane that would eventually run between Rockville Pike and a future MARC station at the end of Nicholson Court. Along the new street, ground-floor apartments would have “real doors” with stairs and stoops, providing visual interest.

County planners have designated the street for pedestrians only, but the developers say it would be bad for retail. They would prefer to build a street that accommodates cars as well, although at very low speeds. On-street parking would allow some visitors to even pull over and stop.

“There will be more feet in the street than tires in the street,” says Knapp. “Without the cars, the space just becomes dead.”

Original site plan for North Bethesda Gateway. The East Village site is on the right.

Original site plan for North Bethesda Gateway. The East Village site is on the right.

New site plan for East Village, showing shorter apartment buildings.

New site plan for East Village, showing shorter apartment buildings.









East Village is half of a larger scheme for North Bethesda Gateway, which Promark created in partnership with the owners of the Fitzgerald auto dealership and a retail building across Huff Court. A sketch plan for it approved two years ago proposed several 12-to-20 story buildings containing a mix of apartments, offices and retail space.

Since then, the three landowners have decided to work independently. Foulger-Pratt and Promark revised the concept for their half, taking out the offices and slightly reducing the amount of apartments and retail. This allowed them to swap out taller buildings, which would have to be built out of more expensive concrete, for shorter, more affordable wood-framed buildings.

Not having offices also means the project will generate 45% fewer car trips during rush hour, allowing them to provide less parking, though there will still be an underground garage.

“We’ve reduced the congestion, reduced the density, and provided more affordable housing,” notes Dove. “There’s been a change in the younger generation. We want to encourage people to walk to the Metro.”

While East Village will include about 80 moderately priced dwelling units, even market-rate apartments could rent for less than others in the White Flint area. Rents are estimated to range from $1500 for a 475-square foot studio to $1600 for a 650-square-foot one-bedroom, and $2175 for a 900-square-foot two-bedroom. By comparison, a comparably-sized studio rents for $1635 a month at North Bethesda Market, which opened in 2011.

The apartments will be “compact but very well-finished,” Knapp says, showing images of units with hardwood floors and granite countertops.

Foulger-Pratt and ProMark will file an amended sketch plan at the Planning Department later this month; if it’s approved, it’ll go through the site plan process. Knapp anticipates that they’ll break ground by the end of 2014 and the first building will open by the end of 2015.

White Flint Property Changes Hands

Located two blocks from the White Flint Metro Station, the property at 11600 Nebel Street has been purchased for $5.1M by Foulger-Pratt Development, LLC.  Presently a fully-leased office building, the property has been up-zoned as part of the White Flint Sector Plan.  We’ll keep an eye out for more information on Foulger-Pratt’s plans!