“What are they building on Great Seneca and Key West?” Work Continues on PSTA Site Between Gaithersburg and Rockville

If you’ve been in the area, you’ve likely noticed a big construction site on Great Seneca Highway and Key West Avenue between Gaithersburg and Rockville at the former site of the Public Safety Training Academy (PSTA). For about a year, crews have worked to demolish the PSTA buildings and work towards a new community that will include 630 dwelling units (pictures of the construction site can be seen below).

The remaining PSTA facilities were demolished and crews began working on the construction of four (4) multi-family buildings, townhouses, and multi-family two-over-two multi-family units for a total of 630 dwelling units for a standard method project density of 0.46 FAR and 30% Moderately Priced Dwelling Units. So far, actual construction of the buildings has not yet started, but is slated to start soon. The Applicant, The Elms at PSTA, proposed to build the residential units, infrastructure, and amenities in the project over nine (9) phases.

The Site is generally bordered on the north by Key West Avenue (MD 28), on the east by Great Seneca Highway (MD 119), on the southwest by the Wootton Crossing Townhouses; and bordered on the south by a 6.25-acre parcel owned by Montgomery County that currently serves as the location of the County’s Innovation Incubator and the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence. The Site is constrained by a large underground gas transmission main located along the Site’s entire Key West Avenue (MD 28) frontage.

The Site Plan Applicant proposes 1,046,126 square feet of total development, consisting of 1,039,136 square feet of residential development and 1,740 square feet of commercial development. The ground floor 1,740 square feet of retail space will be co-located in the apartment building located at the intersection of Medical Center Drive Extension and Blackwell Road. As proposed, this retail is intended to activate the intersection and will be supported by on- street parking along Blackwell Road.

The proposed townhouse units will range in size as follows: twenty-four (24) – 16-foot-wide townhomes; 207 – 20-foot-wide townhomes; and forty-five (45) – 24-foot-wide townhomes. The proposed townhouse units and multi-family units will front either on streets or open space, and those that front onto open space will activate and enliven the open space. The 298 multi-family units will be located in four (4) mid-rise buildings that are 4 to 5 stories high, within the single buildable lot, and with surface parking facing Key West Avenue (MD 28). All four (4) apartment buildings are aligned to have frontage on Blackwell Street, a new master-planned road, and in close proximity to the proposed central civic green and future Corridor Cities Transitway (CCT) station. These various elements are highlighted in further detail below.

One of the buildings located the furthest west fronts onto Medical Center Drive and the building furthest east fronts onto the stream valley buffer/forest conservation area. The Application proposes surface parking to serve the multi-family buildings in order to account for site constraints. Elevation drops by 45 feet from the northwest corner of the multi-family parcel to the southeast corner of that parcel. The Applicant proposes the multi-family units to be placed within four buildings that break up and step down the grade. Based on the Property’s zoning, the maximum building height permitted is 150 feet. The Project will adhere with a maximum building height of 75 feet for the townhouses and the multi-family units and a maximum building height of 25 feet for the accessory clubhouse.

History of the site: For nearly 40 years, the Subject Property was the location of Montgomery County’s Public Safety Training Academy (PSTA), which served the specialized training needs of public safety agencies and was the primary training facility for the County Police Department and Fire and Rescue Services. The PSTA began to experience space limitations and faced significant capital needs for necessary improvements. Additionally, land uses within the area surrounding the former PSTA have undergone a transformation with significant additions of office, research and development, retail, and other commercial, and residential uses. According to Montgomery County’s Smart Growth Initiative, “This context coupled with the antiquated and aging nature of the current facility led to the conclusion that a new, modernized PSTA would be built in a more suitable location to best meet multiple public needs.2”
In 2010, the Montgomery County Council approved the GSSC Master Plan and associated Sectional Map Amendment, classifying the Property in the Commercial/Residential (CR): CR- 1.0, C-0.5, R-1.0, H- 150 zone. Since 2010, several commercial, residential, and retail projects have been approved in the GSSC Master Plan area and are in various stages of construction.

As part of the County’s Smart Growth Initiative, the PSTA’s relocation was completed in 2016 as an investment strategy to positively impact and improve County government facilities, economic development, and affordable housing. The Initiative primarily focuses on relocating old and overcrowded County government facilities to make way for a sustainable, transit-oriented community, and to boost the economic health and competitiveness of Montgomery County. The PSTA relocation is one of several County Smart Growth Initiative redevelopment projects on County-owned land that have been completed or are currently underway.”

Additional information can be found on the Site Plan, courtesy of Montgomery Planning.

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So What Else Indoor Vintage Event

SATURDAY 12/9/23 Join us for the ultimate year-end celebration of art, vintage finds, and fashion at CNXN.WORLD's Art & Vintage Event! Sponsored by So What Else, Inc. We will be hosting a hygiene product drive as well! Please bring items like soap, toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, and more to donate and make a difference. Sign up for a chance to WIN a $40 credit you can use towards any purchase at the event! We've got food, drinks, and more prizes during the event! Vendor Lineup: @thefoundrymd @poetic_sole @on2thenext_vntg @fleetwoodmarket @anatething @bimdayz @thriftlifeadvintage @yester_dayz @bratty_couture @camryncurtiss @crushthrifts @888deadgirl @ken_blendz @misfitbodega @mando.nc @mozartsthriftshop @seamslikenew @skuffstore @the.crucial.cookie @sowhatelsehelps Saturday, December 9th, 20231:30 PM to 6:00 PM4924 Wyaconda Rd, North Bethesda, MD 20852. See you there!


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