Monday, November 5, 2018

Mayor & Council to hold another meeting on Rockville Town Center Nov. 13

The Mayor and Council will have another special meeting devoted to the future of Rockville Town Center on Tuesday, November 13, 2018 at 7:00 PM at City Hall. Unlike the open-comment public forum a few weeks ago, there will be no public testimony at this meeting. There will be no Community Forum at this worksession, either. The public is invited to attend and listen to the discussion, and the meeting will also be shown on Channel 11 on cable TV, and live-streamed on Facebook.

Options, ideas and suggestions compiled by stakeholders and City staff will be the basis for the conversation at the meeting. The City has also released a set of responses from Rockville Town Square developer and landlord Federal Realty to questions asked at the previous public forum:

How are Federal Realty Investment Trust and the City marketing Rockville Town Square and Rockville Town Center?

FRIT creates and produces a special events program for Rockville Town Square. For 2018, exclusive Rockville Town Square marketing programming included Fitness on the Square, Salsa at the Square, The Rockville Town Square Ice Rink, Holiday Tree Lighting, digital media outreach, and promotional support for merchant-initiated events & promotions such as the Finnegan’s Wake St. Patrick’s Day Street Festival and Dawn Crafton Dance Connection’s non-profit initiative to provide dance classes to the underserved community of special needs children and adults.  Federal has also partnered with VisArts by donating for free their Pop-Up spaces on Maryland Ave which offer creative workshops to the public throughout the year as well as with the revolving art installation in the windows facing Route 355.  Collaborative initiatives executed in 2018 between Federal Realty, the City of Rockville and VisArts includes the summer “Create” program featuring free, weekly, artistic workshops on The Square and the art display from local artist, Emily Eisinger, whose art is featured under the ice at the ice rink.  The City of Rockville also funded six additional concerts for the 22-week Friday Night Live concert series produced by Federal Realty.

Why are so many stores closing?

Federal Realty has a reputation for creating a unique mix of local, regional and national merchants to create entertaining and attractive shopping and dining experiences.  It’s not uncommon for independent business owners to have more challenges than the larger chains, and unfortunately, this can result in lower success rates, causing a higher turnover of tenants.  We understand that this can be frustrating to consumers and is equally frustrating to us.  However, we still believe that adding local and independent merchants can add exclusive and unique offerings to the property not found anywhere else. We have had some successful independent merchants at Rockville Town Square such as Finnegan’s Wake, SushiDamo and Spice Xing. In addition, many of the national franchise chains are locally and regionally owned.

What are the lease rates and how do they compare to Federal Realty Investment Trust’s other local properties?

Lease rates are determined through the evaluation of many variables including, but not limited to, location, product or service type, store size, capital investment and length of the lease term.  After all of this is assessed, the rent is then measured in the context of lease rates within the broader marketplace. Additionally, lease rates and lease provisions are negotiated between the landlord and merchant over a period of time and then mutually agreed upon at the time of lease signing.

Does anyone debrief with the businesses that close to understand what went wrong and learn from it?

Federal Realty is in constant communication with our merchants from beginning to end.  Whether a merchant is opening, operating or closing a store, we value and pursue feedback and knowledge from our merchants, not only from the perspective of the individual, but from a broader view of the market as well.

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