The project to redevelop Wheaton has lost its private partner.

B.F Saul, a company that owns, manages and has developed properties across the Washington region, has pulled out of its role developing a residential property next to the Wheaton Metro station.

Though B.F. Saul was brought on to help develop a larger mixed-use property, the County Council's most recent plans for Wheaton redevelopment downgraded the company's portion of the project to a half-acre that would hold about 250 apartments and 30,000 square feet of retail.

"This comparatively small site and opportunity does not match Saul's corporate growth strategy so we must reluctantly withdraw our name from consideration to be part of a county partnership," firm Senior Vice President Robert Wulff wrote in a letter to county officials. However, Wulff said the firm wants to stay involved in the project, such as by conducting a feasibility study in preparation for other parts of the project.

County officials said they were not surprised by the decision.

"Their eyes were on the development of a larger parcel," said General Services Director David Dise, adding that the lot considered for B.F. Saul doesn't have a definitive plan at the moment.

Once the county knows what it wants to do with that area, they might put out a bid for another private developer. Or they might choose to develop it themselves.