While developer Keating Project Development, Inc, plans to keep its residential component intact, it will eliminate almost all of the commercial space in its planned redevelopment located at 7001 Arlington Road in downtown Bethesda.
Currently existing on the property is a United States Postal Service (USPS) distribution facility. Previous plans indicated that the USPS would expand on site as a tenant, once the low-rise development was completed. But the latest amendment to the development plans brought before the Montgomery County Planning Board shows that the USPS is no longer interested in leasing commercial space at the project which leaves 23,000 square feet out of 30,000 square feet unaccounted for. Instead the USPS will shutdown the major facility before the residential apartment project breaks ground.
Because of the unanticipated changes, Keating is reducing the commercial space of the project down to only 7,000 square feet.
On the flip side, the amount of residential units will be increased, from 105 dwelling units to 145 including 15 percent MPDUs, up from the minimum 12.5 percent. The news of the USPS vacating the space in Montgomery County complicates matters for the developer, but the severe reduction in commercial space is a missed opportunity to drastically change and activate that side of Arlington road.
A meaningful reduction in the number of parking spaces from 287 to 215 fits within the scope of the urban Central Business District. The lowest level of the garage has been removed but counter to urban design methods, the remaining portion will be visibly present.
The overall project square footage will now stand at 172,000 square feet instead of the previous 195,000 square feet. The structure will maintain its massing and height, with five stories or about 60'feet.
The Planning Board unanimously approved the Development Plan Amendment.