|The new building would be|
on the site of the parking lot
pictured at upper left
Commissioners were convinced it was too much, too soon for Rockville Town Center. Chair Don Hadley said he would not necessarily oppose the change at a later date, but not at this stage of the town center's development. One central question was whether the nature of the town center has been fully defined or realized yet. It seems to be primarily a dining destination right now, and just how urban it should become - compared to Bethesda, for example - is not yet determined, in Hadley's assessment. Parking is felt to remain a concern in town center, and was the developer's albatross at last night's meeting.
Ultimately, the Commission voted 4-1 to recommend non-approval of the request, with the motion being made by Commissioner Jack Leiderman. Commissioner John Tyner, the lone dissenting member, argued that the increased density would be essential to the commercial viability of Rockville Town Center. Several tenants have vacated, or been evicted from, Rockville Town Square over the last few months. Some have blamed rising rents, while others feel the parking situation is responsible, relative to the free and easy parking offered by nearby competition like Rio/Washingtonian Center.
Duball's phase 1 project is already under construction across from the proposed new building site, featuring The Upton apartments, and a Cambria Suites hotel.