Florida-based Regency Centers plans on redeveloping the supermarket-anchored shopping center, Westwood Complex, in Bethesda, Maryland, but those plans might not end up happening if members of the community get their way.
According to the Washington Post, the site on Westbard Drive houses what is believed to be a historic African-American cemetery. Because of this, members of the Macedonia Baptist Church have instead asked for a museum and a memorial that would commemorate the black community that existed along River Road until the mid-20th century.
While approximately a dozen members of the church protested a housing commission meeting in order to ask for the church to do a study of the cemetery, the commission said it was unable to vote on the issue due to a related lawsuit still currently in litigation.
The Washington Post reported that this lawsuit was filed by Montgomery County residents who argue that the Westbard Sector Plan will negatively affect them. The County Council approved the plan in May 2016. The lawsuit was filed in September.
Regency Centers’ plans for the project involve turning the properties into a retail center with 60-foot-tall buildings, townhomes and apartment buildings, underground parking, a street grid, and parks, as reported by Bethesda Magazine.
• Negotiations stall over vanished African-American cemetery in Bethesda [The Washington Post]
• County Council Approves Controversial Westbard Sector Plan [Bethesda Magazine]
• Regency Centers Buys Westbard Developer Equity One [Bethesda Magazine]