Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Saul Centers moving forward with 10-building project on Rockville Pike (Photos)

Saul Centers is preparing to begin the process of redeveloping 18.36 acres of commercial property at 1500-1616 Rockville Pike. The mixed-use project is like a small city, consisting of 10 buildings of residential, office and retail use. It will directly abut the Pike, Halpine Road and the Metro/CSX tracks at the rear of the site. Saul won key concessions from the city after lobbying the Mayor and Council, which included deletion of a long-planned access road on the east side of the Pike.
Sketch plan of
Twinbrook Metro Place
The development will have its own road network, including extensions of Chapman Avenue and Congressional Lane, and a main road called Festival Street. This project will be only 150 feet from single-family homes in Twinbrook, and 600 feet from the entrance to the Twinbrook Metro station.

Notably, Saul is requesting a cap on the total number of vehicle trips generated by the project, rather than specific limits on the number of housing units, etc. The company says that will allow them flexibility for a project that will take a significant number of years to complete. Saul will also request a parking reduction, and designation as a "Rockville Champion Project," which will give them more flexibility on retail tenant spaces and signage restrictions. However, the developer is giving a rough estimate of what will be included in the development as follows: up to 1865 residential units, 431440 SF of office space, 472950 SF of retail (including shopping, dining and grocery store), a 9000 SF theater, and a 226-seat "cultural amenity" space.
1.1 acre Central Park shown
in upper right corner
A 1.1 acre "Central Park" is the dominant green space feature planned. An anchor building for the park will have two levels of dining, with dining terraces that overlook the park. Attorneys for the applicant say that this building will become "a destination for the entire City of Rockville." The park is expected to host regular events and activities.

Seven of the buildings will have elevated courtyards for residents and office workers to use. The residential buildings and office building fronting Rockville Pike are expected to have two levels of retail at their bases. All parking will be in garages, with a proposed total of 3900 parking spaces for all uses on the site.

The properties assembled by Saul for this project are: 1500 Rockville Pike, 1580 Rockville Pike, 1582 Rockville Pike, 1584 Rockville Pike, 1592 Rockville Pike, and 1616 Rockville Pike.

17 comments:

  1. Oh goody. More building, more shopping, more restaurants, more festival space. More DENSITY. More reasons to move out of MoCo.

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  2. Hope this project isn't at the expense at their project down the road in White Flint. The 300' buildings in that one are a lot more impressive.

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  3. Ugh, more depressing news for Rockville. Stop developing, we're overcrowded as it is. More traffic for Rockville Pike, impossible parking, expensive shops and restaurants....can't wait.

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  4. ...and you thought schools were overcrowded now?

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  5. Strange to see the comments, I viewed this as good news. Not only does this development include a decent sized green space that is lacking along the Pike, but it also includes a substantial amount of new office space that should attract new tenants and businesses. Also, most of the light retail locations that are included in this development have been vacant for years awaiting a development plan, so I am glad to see movement here.

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  6. Developers have to guarantee that public amenities will be replaced. Every time these centers are built, we lose a bit of our area's provisions in the process. Could be simple necessities----school space, normal retail, etc...And in my opinion, this is not really that progressive. There are still way too many cut through roads, with more driveways on the Pike than need be. There should be a larger pedestrian promenade. People should have to park and walk in. Other progressive cities are doing it---MoCo is so backwards at times. Really.

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  7. PS...Central Park sounds cool..will it have brambles?

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  8. "431440 SF of office space"

    That's five times as much as that project in Fredericksburg you were touting a few weeks ago.

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    1. This is crap. B.F. Saul already has plans to approach the Mayor and Council to have much of the 431,440 SF of office space converted into residential. This will blow the doors off traffic gridlock and school overcapacity in Rockville.

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    2. Even if Saul drops 3/4 of their proposed office space here, they will still have more than that project in Fredericksburg.

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    3. 10:00: You do realize that Saul Centers is a massive company constructing a large-scale mixed-use community, while the Fredericksburg project is a father-daughter team of investors building a single office building?

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    4. I don't follow your point, Robert. How is this in Fredericksburg's favor rather than MoCo's favor?

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    5. It's in Fredericksburg's favor because they have a hot office market, and we don't. The more jobs you create within a jurisdiction, the less residents have to drive on the major commuter routes into DC or Northern Virginia in the morning, thereby reducing traffic congestion. Jobs also don't have the same financial drain on taxpayer funds in services as adding new residents does.

      So, particularly adding 1000+ housing units, and possibly most of the office site now being converted to residential, too, that's just making us more of a bedroom community and requiring tax hikes. It's been proven in Montgomery County that residential development creates a financial expenditure that far exceeds the revenue it generates - that's why we are in a structural deficit year after year.

      That doesn't mean this is a terrible project. But in the context of the original comment on Fredericksburg vs. Rockville, Frederickburg is winning this matchup from an economic development standpoint. Rockville and Montgomery County will be in the red on this Saul Centers project, and that's a fact.

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    6. And, in contrast, the City of Fredericksburg will be in the black on the office building project referred to.

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  9. I'm surprised at such negative comments as well. Renovating the Pike's old strip-mall storefronts to provide a walkable, bikeable, updated community, like you find in surrounding states and European countries makes sense to me. I enjoy having options and take advantage of Rockville Town Center and Pike and Rose's close locale.

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    1. @ "S Matthews" I couldn’t agree more about the “Pike's old strip-mall storefronts…” they’re out of date, an eyesore and a very inefficient use of space….. HOWEVER, the rest of your statement bears scrutiny. First, when developers use the term “walkable, bikeable,” it means greatly reduced or no parking spaces in newly “planned communities.” Until Rockville has a better north-south mass transportation solution (even when it’s working Metro is overpriced and already at capacity) and ANY east-west mass transportation solution, people will still need to drive cars. Cars need parking spaces and uncongested roads. These “amenities” are lacking in Rockville developer plans and City/County/State budgets and plans. And when it comes to Europe, you are drawing a false equivalence. I’ve spent a lot of time in many European cities. Our local governments have a lot to learn from them, when it comes to managing developers like you. In many western European cities they actually plan developments and cities with needed INFRASTRUCTURE in mind. Those cities have set aside billions to pay for comprehensive mass transit and schools. A lot of that capital comes from developers. Here, developer dollars fix elections, so the politicians they purchase can making zoning laws developer friendly (i.e. more profitable for developers). Our pay-to-play system does work and is not going to work in the future. It will only produce more traffic gridlock, more overcrowded schools and, of course, more profit for developers. [If I didn't know better, "S. Matthews" sounds a lot like Todd Pearson.]

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  10. And you price out the small local merchants that can make a living with reasonable rents, but will have to close and join the ranks of the unemployed.
    But wait! There could be 15 moderately priced dwellings that people can basically play a little lottery to see who is deemed okay to be a part of the community.
    How generous.

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