Montgomery County Adding Affordable Units in Downtown Bethesda

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Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich announced the redevelopment of two blocks on Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda that will be transformed into housing and green space. 

Broad Branch Development is leading the effort, which will bring 271 housing units to the area, with 66 affordable housing options.

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Elrich made the announcement Thursday at 7935 Wisconsin Avenue, directly behind Benihana, which is one of the sites of the new housing. 

“This project is the way we need to get affordable housing done,” Elrich said. “This plan doesn’t just increase affordable housing in areas where it is surely needed, it also meets the intent of the Bethesda Sector Plan.”

The Bethesda Sector Plan is directed at offering Bethesda residents a downtown that is a model for sustainability, accessibility, equity and innovation, with more affordable housing by 2035.

The units will be built across two lots. One will have 224 rental units, including 45 in the Moderately Priced Dwelling Unit program, 34 reserved for those earning 70 percent of the area median income (AMI) and 11 units for those earning 50 percent of AMI. The second lot will have 47 condos with 21 serving as apartment units, seven of them reserved for people at 50 percent of AMI, according to Elrich.

The median household income in Bethesda was $172,873, according to the 2020 U.S. Census Bureau.

The plan also includes the addition of a greenway between Highland and West Virginia avenues that will offer an open space in downtown Bethesda, another requirement of the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan.

Broad Branch principals Shane Crowley and Jason Weinstein were on hand at the announcement, and noted they were looking forward to investing in Montgomery County, which they both call home. 

Requests for comment from Broad Branch were not immediately returned.

Keith Loria can be reached at Kloria@commercialobserver.com.