A battle is on in the Bethesda real estate market. The Darcy and the Flats, high-rises with multimillion-dollar condominiums and apartments, are  opening next spring. Now comes the Lauren, a boutique building filled with 29 “estate quality” residences crowned by a — get this — $10.5 million, 7,200-square-foot penthouse.

The building is designed by Miami architect Robert Swedroe, who specializes in high-end, exclusive buildings where residences are served by direct-access elevators. Swedroe was the design/architect of building three at the Park Somerset complex in Chevy Chase and for the apartment addition to the Kennedy Warren in Cleveland Park.

“Bethesda clearly, at this point, is becoming a new downtown destination,” said David DeSantis, partner with TTR Sotheby’s International Realty.

“In the same way downtown Washington is experiencing all this new energy with City Center, you have the same type of new energy in downtown Bethesda with residents of Montgomery County.”

I asked DeSantis about the buyer profile for the penthouse. “These are people who live in Bethesda and Potomac right now, have big single-family homes … and now the kids are gone,” he said. “They don’t need a 10,000-square-foot house. But they want the same level of luxury. They want to be able to get into the elevator, go downstairs and down the block to go do dinner or see a movie without getting in a car. It’s the pinnacle of what they’ve been working for.”

The project is being developed by 1788 Holdings and by Persimmon Capital Partners. 1788 Holdings is a District-based real estate investment company formed in 2010 by Larry Goodwin. Persimmon is a private equity/real estate investment firm with offices in Washington and Baltimore.

Originally posted November 2, 2014 – By Thomas Heath