Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Change is permanent in Rockville's town center [Sponsored]

[Sponsored content]
by Robert Dyer

The only constant in Rockville's town center for the last 60 years has been change. Newcomers may find it hard to believe, but Rockville once had a charming, historic town center like those still found in Frederick and Hagerstown. But in the 1960s, city leaders decided to demolish it, and pursue "urban renewal."

Redevelopment brought with it brutalist office buildings, the Americana Centre, and the modern Rockville Mall, anchored by a Lansburgh's department store. Only a year later, Lansburgh's was gone, an ominous sign of what was to come. Urban renewal had more businesses checking the Yellow Pages for movers in Rockville, MD, than adding up profits. What was seen as the jewel in the crown of Rockville's urban renewal was ultimately considered an albatross around the city's neck - particularly by developers eager to replace it.

The arrival of the Metro subway in the early 1980s, and the much-later construction of "Regal Row" along E. Montgomery Avenue, failed to change perceptions. Over the next two decades, city leaders sought to start over again.

A new plan sought to recapture some of what had been lost in the misguided downtown demolition mania. Centered around a Federal Realty mixed-use project called Rockville Town Square, the new design would be one to emphasize public space. At its 2007 opening, that was primarily embodied in the namesake town square. Well-programmed with events, there's always something going on in the town square, providing an energy not found in wealthier downtown Bethesda.
Cambria Suites guest room
But the change didn't end there. Choice Hotels moved its headquarters to the town center from Silver Spring. Duball, LLC brought another high-quality development in 2015, with the Upton apartments and Cambria Suites hotel. Phase 2 of the town center's redevelopment is bringing Kettler's The Metropolitan at Rockville Town Center, the Brightview West End senior apartments, and the already-completed 475 N. Washington Street retail-office development by The JBG Companies.
The Metropolitan at
Rockville Town Center under
construction in January
The JBG project came to represent a larger demographic change in the town center. Almost all of the businesses in the new building are Asian-owned. As gentrification pushed residents and businesspeople in Chinatown out of the District, many found a new home in Rockville. The city has become a dining destination for Asian flavors, and the arrival of acclaimed chef Peter Chang in 2015 made official what those in-the-know already knew.

There are big changes still to come. The city is now studying a plan that would place MD 355 underground through the town center, opening up the land above for redevelopment, and the creation of a large park. That park could allow the annual Hometown Holidays event to again include large concerts, which were the main draw for the late-May celebration.

Whether you're opening a business, relocating your office, or moving into a new apartment in the town center, Artisan Movers can provide the professional planning and execution of your move. Seniors downsizing into the Brightview assisted-living apartments will appreciate Artisan's secure and climate-controlled self-storage facilities, enabling them to downsize their lifetime of "stuff" at their own pace.

Artisan Movers is a Rockville company, not an impersonal nationwide chain. They have a perfect 5-star rating on Yelp, where one customer raves: "I give Artisan Movers a huge round of applause. I would use them again, and recommend Artisan Movers!" Once you consider your individual situation, you may just conclude that Artisan Movers is the right move for you.

This content is sponsored by Artisan Movers.