Spotlight on Community: The Darcy + The Flats
2016 BALA Gold Winner for Infill Community
More than a decade in the making, Lot 31 transformed a public surface parking lot in the heart of Bethesda, Maryland into luxury residences, outstanding retail, beautiful public spaces, and expanded public parking. Importantly, the project is a text book example of an outstanding mixed-use project and an extremely successful Public Private Partnership. Montgomery County owned one of the most valuable and underutilized sites in the Washington Region in the heart of the renowned Bethesda Row development.
The project team, selected in 2005, navigated the challenges of extraordinarily complex entitlements, survived the Great Recession and the extraordinary challenge of securing financing for this entirely speculative and complex $215 million project in 2011 to deliver an outstanding mixed-use project in 2015. The development converted a 3.3 acre surface parking lot into a four level, 940-space below-grade public parking garage for Montgomery County and two residential buildings with a total of 250 units with ground floor retail. The project includes 25% affordable units, 40,000 sf of retail, improvements to a significant public trail immediately adjacent to the project and an additional 20% of open space.
The result has been exceptional by all measures:
- a state of the art public parking garage that includes 60’ column free spacing, parking count indicators for easier space identification, and car charging stations,
- a residential project that provided the County with more than twice the required affordable units on site,
- a substantial increase in the County’s tax base,
- vastly expanded and enhanced public spaces; including major enhancements to one of the busiest hiker/ biker trails in the Nation, and
- top of market sales and rents for The Darcy condominiums, The Flats apartments and the retail.
This mixed-use public private partnership has enhanced the community, provided tremendous public benefits and been a financial success.