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BETHESDA, MD-Construction on White Flint Place, the $170 million office and residential project, has gotten underway almost exactly a year after Montgomery County officials gave the sprawling five-acre endeavor in the North Bethesda area the thumbs up. Washington, DC-based developer Donohoe Construction Company is behind the project, which is expected to be completed at an undetermined date.

The complex will consist of a 10-story, 250,000-sf, Class A office building with 12,000-sf of ground-level retail space, and two 16-story apartment towers offering 453 luxury residential units. On site there will also be a four-level underground parking garage to accommodate more than 1,100 vehicles, and a 30,000-sf fitness facility. White Flint Place will be located in the northeast quadrant at Rockville Pike and Old Georgetown Road in close proximity to the White Flint Metro station.

The spot is a pedestrian-friendly area and Montgomery County officials secured assurances from the developer that the atmosphere would be maintained. Donohoe will incorporate courtyards and landscaping to shield pedestrians from ensuing traffic, which will be helped-along by medians with left-turn openings to the complex.

While this mixed-use project was conceived in the pre-economic downturn days of 2000 and 2001, it is still considered a viable and useful concept, the developers say. “We believe in the North Bethesda and Bethesda sumbarkets,” Donohoe president of development Peter Gartlan tells GlobeSt.com. “We have confidence that this market is still under-served.”

A recently released Grubb & Ellis trend report covering the first quarter of 2002 finds North Bethesda’s Class A market doing well with an end of quarter 6.1% vacancy rate. The average vacancy rate among class A office buildings for all suburban Maryland submarkets is 10.6%.

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