15 Sep 2014
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Residents Ask 'What Now?' For Rockville Town Center

Town Center Action Team reconvenes to consider new development and next steps.

Residents Ask 'What Now?' For Rockville Town Center

 

In search of a unifying vision for the second phase of Rockville Town Center redevelopment, city residents and officials reconvened the Town Center Action Team on Tuesday. 

About 30 people attended a meeting at City Hall, including Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio, City Council members Bridget Donnell Newton and Mark Pierzchala and city planning chief Jim Wasilak.

Residents, officials and one representative of developers expressed concern that, unlike the first phase of Town Center redevelopment—in which the city worked closely with developers and businesses to build Rockville Town Square, the second phase thus far has nothing tying it together.

“It’s a concern about the piecemealing that’s going to happen,” Marcuccio said.

Plans in the works

The next stage of redevelopment is focused on a property north of the existing Rockville Town Square. It comprises about 7 acres north of Beall Avenue, between North Washington and Rockville Pike.

Click here for more on the city’s Town Center Master Plan.

Properties considered for redevelopment in Phase Two include:

Click here for a map of all of the city’s development projects under review.

Rockville’s role

Newton, the City Council’s liaison to TCAT, compared the planning process to where the city was in the mid-1990s when Rockville Town Square was first being considered and city officials were talking with developers.

“You have to decide what it’s going to be and whom it’s going to go with,” she said.

While Rockville does not own any of the parcels associated with the second phase of redevelopment, the city would construct Maryland Avenue to Dawson Avenue extended.

“That gives the city a stake,” Newton said.

Next steps

Tuesday’s was the first TCAT meeting since Jan. 31, leaving those in attendance debating how to reorganize the group. A subcommittee could be formed to nominate a new chairperson.

Joseph Jordan, a former TCAT chairman, said the city seemed to pull back resources from the group’s last few meetings giving “the sense that the city wasn’t interested in TCAT.”

For now, developers are as unsure as residents about the downtown area’s future, said Nancy Regelin, an attorney representing KSI/Cornerstone, which plans to redevelop the Bank of America building at 255 N. Washington St.

“We don’t really quite know what’s happening around us,” Regelin said.

Meeting attendees said the group should bring developers and business owners to the table with residents from around the city.

“The value of TCAT was business owners, property owners, residents, were all in the same room,” Regelin said.

Representatives of Duball LLC have asked to present at an October meeting of TCAT, Newton said.

Duball plans to build a 384,897-square-foot project with a Cambria Suites Hotel, residences and street level retail space across the street from the new Choice Hotels International headquarters in Rockville Metro Plaza II. The Choice Hotels headquarters building by Foulger-Pratt is rising above Middle Lane and Rockville Pike near the Regal Cinemas.

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