Monday, April 1, 2013

Construction Update: Old First Baptist Church of Wheaton Site on Georgia Avenue

From the far southwestern side of the Wheaton Mall parking lot
As reported here, Wheaton church to be turned into luxury condos in June 2012, the construction project on Georgia Avenue just south of LA Fitness and the intersection with Viers Mill Road is going to be the "Solaire-Wheaton," a 232-unit luxury condo building.

From outside Montgomery Royal Theaters

The project (that's the official website with photo) is scheduled for completion in March 2014 and will be 6 stories including a 2 level parking garage on the bottom (hopefully underground).  The new building is expected to have a swimming pool, landscaped courtyard, fitness center, and is hoping for LEED Certification. According to the Washington Post, "about 60 percent of the units will be one-bedroom apartments, 30 percent will be two-bedrooms and 10 percent will be studios."

The only problem I predict with this site is that it is difficult to get to by walking or biking.  I had to try three vantage points before getting a decent view of the construction (all of these photos are from March 9, 2013).  That area is hilly and has too much traffic driving through it on Georgia Avenue and Veirs Mill Road.

Maybe the people who live in this new large luxury building will do something to help calm the traffic at that intersection -- if they walk!  Otherwise they could make it worse by driving.  I hope this new development also helps combat the idea that Wheaton has a lot of low-income apartments.

From the intersection of Georgia Avenue and Veirs Mill Road
This location is the former site of the First Baptist Church of Wheaton, which has renamed itself Streams of Hope Church and relocated to Olney, MD. Their new location is farther north on Georgia Avenue, just north of the Intercounty Connector Highway.

I hope they are happy with their decision to cash out.  The new building bodes well for our neighborhood and we still have a lot of churches nearby.


  1. I agree that this project is going to be good for Wheaton -- you're right to point out that pedestrian access is a bit difficult despite the proximity to Metro, but I think we are likely to see MCDOT and SHA become more responsive to the need for better pedestrian accommodation as more locations like this are redeveloped with residential uses -- not "build it and they will come," but more like, "come and they will build it."

  2. Good post. The first thing that should be done to make the area more walkable is to pave sidewalks on the tiny traffic island at the intersection of Georgia and Veirs Mill and to paint crosswalks from the adjoining bus turn lane. You can see the natural movement of pedestrians from the dirt paths in the island. See here.

    1. That is a completely logical plan. When I look at the photos you linked to here I'm shocked this hasn't been done already!

  3. I have one more item to add to my pedestrian access improvement wish list! It would be great to see some additional sidewalks built around the ring road that encompasses Westfield Wheaton. The mall has a few sidewalks, but they're placed haphazardly and are often not contiguous. I visit the mall several times a week and I routinely see pedestrians walking in the the ring road from LA Fitness all the way around to Giant. This road will only become more dangerous with the increased traffic that Costco will bring. Sidewalks on the south side of the mall would have the ancillary effect of improving access to the new Solaire-Wheaton apartments that you mention as well.

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