A building of shuttered retail in the middle of downtown Bethesda could be getting some new life with a development proposal from Chevy Chase-based JBG Companies.

JBG, which owns the eight-floor office building at 4733 Bethesda Avenue and the connected retail property at 4735 Bethesda Avenue, will seek Planning Board approval to tear down and rebuild the entire structure with a more appealing set of retail spaces.

The project would do away with the empty Blu Lounge building facing the abandoned Reed Street and Capital Crescent Trail, which could improve the area’s looks and help activate the open space known as Woodmont Plaza.

JBG presented its sketch plan for the development at a required community meeting on Monday.

The new building would be 242,000 square feet of mostly office space with 13,000 square feet of ground floor retail and restaurant space.

The move comes after a joint development deal with the property owner of neighboring Bethesda Row fell through. JBG had proposed a hotel for the open area of Woodmont Plaza to be developed in partnership by Federal Realty, before the deal fell through earlier this year and left the space with an uncertain future.


Planners working on the downtown Bethesda area’s new master plan have identified the space as a potential Capital Crescent Central Civic Green, that would serve as a “green gathering area for movie goers, cyclists and foodies,” and as “a lawn space for people watching, events and large gatherings.”

Renderings via JBG