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This parking lot along the Capital Crescent Trail, known as Lot 31, will be redeveloped as a mixed-use project including residential and retail in a partnership between Montgomery County and two development companies. Although local environmental advocates are protesting the large county-subsidized parking garage included in this development as a "boondoggle," local blog TheWashCycle notes that the plan includes some excellent upgrades for the trail, which is often crowded at this location as it approaches Bethedsa's business district from the south. Peter Gray, of the Coalition for the Capital Crescent Trail, worked to ensure these improvements were part of the development. "The developers of Lot 31 are an excellent example of entepeneurs who entered into an early and open dialogue with trail advocates," he says, "which resulted in changes to the development that will enhance that project and also benefit users of the Capital Crescent Trail."
Upon completion, the development will include new bike racks and a new trail spur along its southern edge, connecting the existing section of trail to a courtyard for the new building and a drop-off location on Woodmont Avenue. Preliminary utility work recently began, though the project will not be completed until after Spring 2011.
This high rise, along with the high rise that will be built on the southeast corner of Woodmont and Bethesda Avenues, will eliminate all the morning sun at the popular fountain ouside Barnes and Noble and in this heart of Bethesda. Very sad -- not a cause for celebration.
I'm not wanting to join any celebration - having higher buiding density at this corner may be a big price to pay for some landscaping and an access trail across the south side of the Lot 31 property. But since the County is determined to develop this property, at least it is good to see the builder treating the CCT reasonably well and trying to include it in the design instead of trying to marginalize the trail.
There is still going to be sun at Barnes and Noble in the morning. The lot 31 building is going to be five stories high - about the same height as the building on the east side of Woodmont Avenue now. It is hardly a high rise.
A 12 story building is planned for the lot on the north east side of this corner, but it will be set back from Woodmont Avenue behind a public plaza, so it should be set back enough to not shade Barnes and Noble beyond the very early morning hours. The fountain will be just fine.
The Duke Ellington Building
2121 Ward Ct., NW
Washington, DC 20037