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County Issues New Solicitation for Bethesda Police Station Development Proposals

The county is starting the solicitation process from scratch after a land-swap deal with developer JBG fell though.

Montgomery County has issued a new document soliciting proposals for the development of a new 2nd District police station in downtown Bethesda.

The county initially issued a request for proposals for a project to replace the aging Bethesda station in 2008. The JBG Companies, based in Chevy Chase, offered the winning bid. But after years of negotiations, the developers backed out of a land-swap deal with Montgomery County that called for building the station as part of a mixed-use residential project at 7900 Wisconsin Ave.

JBG's plans for the modified project without the police station [PDF] were approved by the Montgomery County Planning Board Feb. 14.

With the original plans dead, timing will be a key issue as the county reviews proposals, according to Greg Ossont, deputy director of planning and development for the Montgomery County Department of General Services.

“The original solicitation went out in 2008, and we spent several years back and forth on it, and at the end of the day it didn’t actually happen, which means time is an issue here,” Ossont told Patch. “There’s a sense of urgency to get a definitive plan in place for the 2nd District police station.”

The request for qualifications and development proposals was issued Friday afternoon, and proposals are due by 4 p.m. April 8, according to the document. The solicitation requires proposals to include concepts for both the 2nd District police station at a location in downtown Bethesda and “creative, feasible” proposals for developing the site of the current police station “into its highest and best use.”

Officials believe the “land swap" is still the most cost-efficient way to get the station up and running. Under the swap, a developer would receive the station’s current site at 7359 Wisconsin Ave. from the county. The value of the site would defer some of what the county would pay to the developer for building the new station. The county would pay the rest.

“Leveraging the value of the existing police station site is a critical element of this,” Ossont said.

The county will consider proposals to build a stand-alone police station or a station as part of a larger development. How long construction of a new station would take will be taken into account for more complex projects.

A pre-submission meeting for those interested in submitting a proposal is set for March 8.

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