While we are not fond of empty lots, some are admittedly nicer than others. From old asphalt to dirt to overgrown weeds, a neglected plot of land rarely provides much value to the neighbors. So when we heard through the Civic Design Review about the project proposed for an “empty” lot at 4701-15 Wayne Ave. in Germantown, we expected more of the same. But lo and behold, is that a wood fence we see, with mature trees and a mowed lawn?

An aerial view of the site surrounded by a residential neighborhood, all within several blocks of Wayne Junction
Cast stone, brick and corrugated metal give the building a raw, industrial feel
A cute fence encircles the lawn and mature trees at 4701-15 Wayne Ave.

In a vacuum, we might be upset to lose this pop of green within the city limits, but with Happy Hollow Recreation Center literally across the street, we are quite OK seeing this move on. In place of this lot, look for a four-story apartment building with 90 units and no car parking. This is a purely residential proposal for this RM-1 zoned lot, meaning this by-right project can proceed without seeking a variance, after completing the CDR process and other permitting, of course. Let’s together peruse some renderings and site plans from Moto Designshop, shall we?

An aerial view of the site surrounded by a residential neighborhood, all within several block of Wayne Junction
Brick and
Alternate view shows street trees will be added to replace the pop of greenery
Site plans show unit distribution and basement bike parking
Plans for upper floors and roof deck
Landscaping diagram shows landscaped courtyard and parklets on the east and west sides which will double as direct unit access

We can’t argue that this project stands out in form from the townhouses that dominate the area, but functionally this doesn’t stand out as much as you might expect at first glance. This building will sit on the edge of a main corridor, so it won’t break up any existing cornice lines. Speaking of breaking up, the lack of parking also means that there are no curb cuts to impact the pedestrian experience. The absence of commercial space may be a result of the lot’s zoning, but we’d imagine that this approach probably suits the near neighbors just fine.

Overall, we think this is a bold and interesting design in a rapidly evolving area. This spot is also transit accessible, being just a short walk from Wayne Junction Station and another project we covered earlier this year. We hope that we continue to see striking designs like this that add to Germantown’s character instead of attempting to replicate what’s already there.