Circuit Court Upholds Planning Board Approval of 5500 Wisconsin Redevelopment

September 16, 2022
Circuit Court Upholds Planning Board Approval of 5500 Wisconsin Redevelopment Thumbnail

5500 Wisconsin Sketch Plan approved by Montgomery County on November 18, 2021

The Friendship Heights Village Council and Donohoe Development/Carr Companies signed an agreement on September 2, 2022, in which the Village Council withdrew its opposition to the proposed redevelopment of 5500 Wisconsin Avenue and pledged to support the project moving forward.

The Village Council decision came on the heels of a Circuit Court ruling upholding the Montgomery County Planning Board’s approval of the Sketch Plan for 5500 Wisconsin.  The Village Council had filed an appeal opposing the Planning Board’s decision.  Circuit Court Judge Jeannie Choe ruled from the bench against the Village Council’s appeal at an August 26 hearing.

“The Village Council’s decision to support 5500 Wisconsin comes after months of negotiations and reflects Friendship Heights residents’ overwhelming backing of our proposal,” said Jad Donohoe, Senior Vice President of Development for Donohoe Development Company.  “We were most gratified to see so many Village residents come forward to express their excitement and support for our plans to bring much-needed vitality to the neighborhood.”

The agreement between the Village Council and Donohoe Development/Carr Companies includes a number of adjustments to the plans for 5500:

  • Eliminates the building entrance on the corner of South Park and Hills Plaza and moves it to the new shared street.
  • Creates at least two pick-up/drop-off spaces and four more spaces for delivery vehicles on the shared street.
  • Makes the shared street one-way, heading east from Hills Plaza to Wisconsin Avenue.
  • Adds ten garage parking spaces over the County-required minimum number of spaces.
  • Allows contractors working in the building to park in the garage.
  • Building height remains at 18 stories plus a penthouse, but the number of units decreases from 380 to a maximum of 320, creating apartments that range from small to large.

Based on the Village Council’s plans to acquire the “Red House” on 4608 North Park Avenue, Donohoe agreed to pay $1 million to purchase most of the development rights from 4608 and transfer them to the 5500 property. Height and density are more appropriate for 5500 Wisconsin, which is part of the Wisconsin Avenue commercial corridor.  The Village is required to close on the purchase of 4608 North Park by September 30, 2022.

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