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In the News: Developers pitch ‘multigenerational community’ on Montgomery County land owned by religious groups

Brandywine Living at Strathmore

Washington Biz Journal — Two developers are advancing a shared plan to buy and redevelop religious institutions’ transit accessible property in North Bethesda as a “multigenerational community.” The proposed 15-acre community, located at 4910 and 4920 Strathmore Ave., would include a 145-bed senior assisted-living facility and 125 single-family homes, of which about 115 would be attached and 10 detached. Brandywine Living, a New Jersey-based senior care company, would build the former facility on the eastern part of the site. Bethesda developer EYA would build the latter homes on the western part.

The site presently comprises two parcels, or portions thereof: one occupied by a retirement home for nuns belonging to the Sisters of the Holy Cross, a Catholic religious order; the other by athletic fields belonging to the Academy of the Holy Cross, a Catholic girls’ high school. The academy would remain, using proceeds from the sale to help fund school improvements, such as a new “athletic and wellness center,” Danielle Ballantine, the academy’s communications director, told the Washington Business Journal.

The Montgomery County Office of Zoning and Administrative Hearings recommended April 6 the County Council approve the developers’ requested rezoning. The project aims to break ground next year, Jack Lester, EYA’s executive VP of acquisition and development, said in an interview. The joint undertaking aims to provide “a unique multigenerational community, where families, students of the adjacent schools, and seniors can interact and benefit from proximity to one another,” according to an earlier application document.

The Sisters of the Holy Cross took its part of the site to market specifically for a senior living facility, responding to a need they perceived in the community for such an operation, Sister Suzanne Brennan, who sits on the order’s governing body, said in an interview. “Having a senior living community so close to our campus will allow many opportunities for our students to interact with the residents of the Brandywine community and volunteer in many ways,” Ballantine said. Seniors from Brandywine might also “attend concerts and theater productions at the school” and “actively mentor our students on our campus,” Katy Prebble, the school’s president, said at a public hearing earlier this year.

“It really fosters the opportunity for empty nesters, for example, to have their grandchildren come over and also to have their moms and dads next door,” Brenda Bacon, Brandywine’s president and CEO, testified to the same hearing, referring to the joint project with EYA.

The properties sit about half a mile from the Red Line’s Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro station and the Garrett Park MARC station. EYA and Brandywine, separate contract buyers, would own their respective parcels but share entitlements, including an open space plan, according to land use attorney Erin Girard of Miles & Stockbridge PC.

Read the original article on Washington Biz Journal