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Bethesda Police Station Deal Fizzles

Developer JBG has backed out of a deal to build a new second district police station as part of a larger residential project on Cordell Avenue.

Developer JBG has withdrawn from a land-swap deal with Montgomery County to develop a second district police station as a part of a mixed-use residential project on Cordell Avenue, Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center director Ken Hartman said at a Friday meeting of the Woodmont Triangle Action Group.

JBG will apparently move forward with a modified residential project, albeit without the police station.

Original plans called for JBG to develop a new, 30,000 square foot police station as part of a 600,000 square foot mixed-use development on Cordell Avenue between Woodmont and Wisconsin Avenues, with up to 400 units.

As part of a “land swap,” the county planned to give JBG the site where the aging current police station is located, where JBG planned to build offices.

The new station was estimated to cost $21.8 million—$8.7 million of which would be covered by the value of the current Montgomery Avenue police station site.

About $9 million more was earmarked in the county’s capital improvements plan for the station.

The project had been hailed by the office of County Executive Isiah Leggett as an innovative way to partner with the private sector and save money developing public facilities. A zoning text amendment passed last year afforded developers more density for agreeing to take on public facilities as a part of their projects as a way to incentivize similar partnerships.

Now, that deal is off, and the county is weighing their options, Hartman said.

Hartman said it wasn’t yet clear whether the county would seek to renovate the aging Second District police station at its current Montgomery Avenue site or search for another location.

“We’re exploring our options,” Hartman said. “We don’t want to be stuck in a situation where it’s another three years without upgraded facilities for police."

Negotiations on the deal stretched back to 2008.

"It's time to go to Plan B," said County Council President Roger Berliner (D-Dist. 1) when reached by phone. "I can't pretend to know what Plan B looks like."

The deal falling through came down to "dollars and cents," Berliner said.

Calls to JBG and a county spokesman for more details weren’t immediately returned.

This story has been updated.

Related Content:

  • Council Votes To Move Forward With Second District Police Station Deal
  • Complications Surround New Second District Police Station

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