Friday, July 23, 2021

Should Meixin Supermarket building in Rockville be declared historic?

The Rockville Planning Commission will consider whether or not the vacant Meixin Supermarket building at 460 Hungerford Drive should be declared historic or not at its July 28, 2021 meeting. City staff advised against changing the property's zoning to MXCD-HD (Historic District) in May. The city's Historic District Commission ruled otherwise on May 20, finding that the property met the criteria for designation, and recommending application of the Historic District (HD) overlay zone through the filing of a Sectional Map Amendment.

Now the Planning Commission will make a recommendation to the Mayor and Council regarding the fate of the property. JPMorgan Chase wishes to demolish the supermarket to clear the way for a Chase Bank branch. Planning staff is not recommending historic designation. While the building was designed by prominent Rockville architect John "Jack" Sullivan (1925-2014), staff argues it is not an exceptional example of his work. 

Historic preservation organization Peerless Rockville, by contrast, has supported historic designation for the property. Peerless Rockville Executive Director Nancy Pickard noted in a May 2021 letter that the city's 1986 Historic Resources Management Plan is now outdated, placing 90 years of growth and architectural styles into a single period of consideration. Pickard suggested the city update its criteria to consider Midcentury Modern structures like the supermarket in the appropriate context, before making a final decision in this case.


  1. Historic??? Hilarious.

  2. I hardly see the merits of preserving this site a an example of "Midcentury Modern" architecture. If Mr. Sullivan was such a prominent local architect, surely there must exist more worthy structures to save. This example may warrant a footnote in the HDC documents, if that. Perhaps the motive for its preservation is to stall the addition of yet another bank building, probably with drive-thru, in an area inundated with this service.

  3. When was this thing built? Does anyone remember the Pancake Cottage restaurant which was in the same area in 1970s and 1980s?

  4. This "thing" was build in 1968 by Sullivan for a Leonard Kapiloff, a Rockville attorney, and became the relocation site for two urban renewal displaced stores, The Colony Shop and Youth Center, formerly located at what is now 25 E Montgomery Ave, in courthouse square. The Pancake Cottage was located at 39 Hungerford Drive, adjacent to the RVFD, now the site of Nail Tech.

    1. Thanks.I actually like the building, but I would take down the sign.I would preserve this building if the choice were mine to make. You remember the Pancake Cottage, that was an interesting Rockville restaurant, good place.

  5. Bldg out of place, tear it down.

  6. This building needs to be removed. Ultimately the question should be asked, the original "pink building" or the original People's Drugstore or the original Giant grocery store, should they have been deemed historic for "Peerless". I vote to disband Peerless for holding back Rockville. Because of Peerless, Americana Centre Condos uses the historic designation not to install ADA compliant ramps or entryways in the building.