Protect Visible, Public Open Space

With significant increases in population and density occurring regularly, it is critical that we preserve and improve large, visible open space. A large, new tower is planned for on top of the current open space at Bethesda Metro Plaza. As proposed, the building would significantly diminish the open space and position it behind the building, effectively obscuring it from public view. We believe that open space can be protected when this structure is built – and we’ve offered a plan for a redeveloped Plaza that would reposition the new development on top of the low-rise building that currently exists near the rear of the plaza (the former food court). This would allow us to preserve, renovate and activate the large, visible open space along Wisconsin Avenue.

Designate the Plaza a Civic Green

As the Bethesda Downtown Plan is considered by the Council, we call on the PHED Committee to designate the center of Bethesda Metro Plaza a “civic green” as it has with three other locations in the Bethesda Downtown Plan. This would require that any new development happen at the rear of the plaza, thus protecting and enhancing the current open space. Click below to send the PHED Committee and email. Ask them to designate the center of the Bethesda Metro Plaza a “civic green” in the Bethesda Downtown Plan.
Email the County Council

Two Options: Large Visible Park or Small Hidden Park

Small, Hidden Park Option

Brookfield presents a plan for the Plaza that would allow for a 25-story building in the middle of the existing open space along Wisconsin Avenue with a much smaller interior park hidden behind it. Not all open space is equal -- Bethesda already has such “hidden” parks and plazas and these go largely unnoticed and unused.

This option would forever remove our unique opportunity for renovated, activated, public and visible open space in the heart of downtown Bethesda. Instead, it would remove half of the open space currently available and conceal it behind their new building.

Large, Visible Park Option

We have offered a plan for a redeveloped Plaza that includes the proposed new building – but located in a different place: on top of the low-rise building that’s currently near the rear of the Plaza (the former Food Court). Most critically, all of the large, visible community open space would be retained and enhanced along the Wisconsin Avenue frontage.

A vision for Bethesda Metro Plaza

People live, work and play in Downtown Bethesda because it is a thriving and vibrant community that prioritizes the cultural, recreational and personal experience. We embody the connected open spaces, arts and entertainment that are the fabric surrounding thoughtful, connected and aesthetically pleasing planning and development. Sacrificing prime, open space in the heart of downtown to erect a 290 ft. office tower does not meet our collective vision for what downtown Bethesda is and could be.

By re-activating the landscape that is Bethesda Metro Plaza, we can create open space that embodies our social identity and reinforces the sense of place and community we value. If we allow Bethesda Metro Plaza to be lost to another concrete building, we will forever lose the opportunity to use and enjoy an urban park.

Benefits of Urban, Open Space

Economic Benefit

  • Increased private and commercial property value

  • Contribute to local business

  • Attract and retain businesses and residents: Availability of park and recreation facilities is an important quality of life factor for companies choosing where to locate and for well-educated individuals choosing where to live

Environmental Benefit

  • Pollution abatement and cooling

  • Contribute to local business


  • Recreation opportunities

  • Contribute to local business


Similar to programming at urban parks like Bryant and Teardrop in New York City or Post Office Square in Boston, we have an opportunity with a revitalized Bethesda Metro Plaza to utilize public green space for solitude, activity and play. Some examples of potential programming include: