A Sky-High Vision: Ellsworth Place Set for 20-Story Residential Expansion

Plans for a significant new residential project above Ellsworth Place in downtown Silver Spring are taking shape, following the submission of a development application to the county’s Planning Department.

UrbanTurf reported Tuesday that a recently filed sketch plan details the construction of a nearly 20-story, 450-unit apartment project above the mall on Colesville Rd. at Fenton St.

The current five-story mall will act as the foundation for the new development.

We reported last year that GBT Realty, the Brentwood, Tenn.-based owners of Ellsworth Place, revealed plans for expanding the mall by adding residential space on top of the building. The proposed project aims to incorporate approximately 425,593 square feet of residential space on 91,248 square feet of available land.

The development falls within the zoning area outlined in the Silver Spring Downtown & Adjacent Communities Plan, which was approved by the County Council in 2022.

According to presentation slides posted online ahead of a virtual community meeting last November, the current zoning allows for proposed plans that feature a building height of approximately 300 feet, integrating the existing retail mall. The plans also included up to 450 multifamily units, which will incorporate county-mandated moderately-priced dwelling units (MPDUs), as well as rooftop amenities including a pool.

Ellsworth Place, which opened in the early 1990s, had initial plans for future construction above the mall that included an office tower, according to UrbanTurf. GBT Realty acquired Ellsworth Place from previous owners Petri Richardson Ventures for $92 million in 2018, which included the right to build atop the mall.

Pedestrian access to the new tower was planned and constructed in 1991 in conjunction with the initial office tower plans, according to BLDUP. Per the planning documents, parking is not included in the project due to its transit-rich location in downtown Silver Spring.

The county’s Development Review Committee will soon review the planned development in the coming months. Additionally, the 13,000-square-foot Commas food hall and Outback Steakhouse are scheduled to open at Ellsworth Place this spring.

Rendering Courtesy of GBT Realty

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