Planning Board To Vote on High-Rise Project at Former Steamers Site in Bethesda

Montgomery County planners are expected to vote Thursday on a developer’s proposal for a 58-unit high-rise on the former site of Steamers Seafood House in Bethesda.

Planners earlier this week talked about the project to construct a 110-foot building called the Claiborne at the intersection of Auburn and Norfolk avenues. Steamers was open for 19 years at the 0.3-acre site, but its owners closed it in August 2015 amid financial struggles. NOVO Properties of Washington, D.C., bought the site last year for $4.65 million.

Now, the developer, 4820 LLC, wants permission to build up to 73,200 square feet of residential space and 2,800 square feet of space for retail and other uses, according to a staff report that recommended plan approval.

Planning Board members on Monday said they appreciated the architectural designs for the building, which include a rooftop terrace and a decorative street front. Imagination Stage will be the Claiborne’s neighbor on Auburn Avenue, and land use attorney Heather Dlhopolsky said the developer wanted the building’s entryway to draw people into a creative part of town. The project calls for brick pavers arranged in a chevron pattern on the sidewalk and some “funky” seating, she said.