The Westbard Vision

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ConceptImage

Concept Rendering of the New Westbard Ave in Bethesda from Equity One


Equity One, a publicly-traded real estate investment trust specializing in neighborhood retail shopping centers, acquired Westbard Shopping Center, Westwood Center II, Westwood Towers, Springhouse by Manor Care, Bowlmor Lanes and two Citgo gas stations on Westbard Avenue in Bethesda.  The properties stretch over 22 acres.
The company states that their mission is to create a “modern, comfortable gathering space offering convenient shopping and dining integrated with community spaces, green places and a walkable streetscape.”  While their “vision” for Westbard/Westwood is still a conceptual one, plans are moving forward rapidly towards approval of a Final Master Plan from Montgomery County slated for the Spring 2016.
The vision includes a complete renovation of the area including redesigning traffic flow from adjacent River Road and Massachusetts Avenue, including pedestrian walk-ways, street redesigns and more.  There is a plan to add about 600 residential units which has created elevated concern from area residents about the already overcrowded schools and local streets.
Through a series of community meetings in the Summer and Fall 2014, Equity One gathered comments and feedback from area residents.  In addition, on March 4th, 2015, they completed a traffic analysis using Wells + Associates, their traffic engineer.
Their analysis determined that “even with all of these changes, the identified intersections will still allow traffic to flow at a satisfactory level measured against the nationally recognized standards employed by the county.”  Montgomery County will also conduct a traffic analysis in the near future.  Incidentally, residents may like to hear that the plan includes a shuttle to the Metro Red Line.
In February of 2015, Equity One shared its initial concept plans for the redevelopment of the area and provided a power point presentation on their website including renderings of the proposed changes.  Click here to view the presentation.
Upcoming important dates include a public hearing of the draft plan currently scheduled for May 14, 2015.  In the Fall of 2015, the County Council will hold a Public Hearing.  The Final Master Plan is slated for approval in the Spring 2016.
For a full list of dates and activities see the Montgomery County website at: www.montgomeryplanning.org/community/westbard.
Facebook.com/PlanWestbard
Information hotline at 301-495-4567
To track Equity One progress including their presentations, proposed plans, blog posts and Frequently Asked Questions page, visit: WestbardVision.com
As for us, we will be closely tracking the progress of these activities.  Feel free to Contact Us to discuss opinions and thoughts on the big changes ahead for our community, including impacts to residential home values.