Construction will begin next week on a large office, hotel and shopping complex at Bethesda Metro Center, now that a $130 million loan has been obtained from the Bank of New York, local developers Rozansky & Kay announced yesterday.
The project, at the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Old Georgetown Road in the heart of the commercial part of Bethesda, will include a 17-story office building, a Hyatt Regency Hotel and a shopping arcade surrounding a large, open plaza. It is scheduled for completion in February 1985. The $160 million center is believed to be the largest and most expensive private construction project in Montgomery County.
"If you were looking for the best location in the county, you would select the Bethesda Center Metro site," Alan I. Kay, a partner in Rozansky & Kay, said yesterday. The project is incorporated into the Metrorail system, which ties it directly to downtown Washington, he pointed out.
Alinda C. Burke, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's assistant general manager for public services, called the Bethesda center the most significant joint development project to date in WMATA's station area development program. The center will produce long-term revenues--up to 99 years--both from the leasing of land to Rozansky & Kay and from the substantial number of transit trips to be generated by the center's hotel, office and retail mix, she said.
Metrorail and bus facilities at the Bethesda site will be ready in mid-1984 in conjunction with the opening of the Red Line from Van Ness-UDC to Shady Grove, Burke said. The center project, which will include weather-protected bus bays and "kiss-and-ride" waiting spaces, will permit transfers among bus, rail and automobiles beneath the plaza covering the Metro facility, she added.
Montgomery County Executive Charles Gilchrist also expressed pleasure yesterday at the construction go-ahead. "This is as fine an example of public and private cooperation as anyone could hope for," he said. The county stands to gain $1.3 million in annual tax revenues from the project, which is expected to create 450 hotel jobs, 160 retail positions and more than 1,500 office and professional jobs.