|Home > News Releases > 2005 > May > Rockville’s Mayor and Council Approve Akridge Development for Downtown|
Marylou Berg, Communication Manager, 240-314-8105
Rockville’s Mayor and Council Approve Akridge Development for Downtown
Revised Plan Calls for Lower Heights, Wider Sidewalks, Residences Reduced to 485 Maximum, Later Start Date
ROCKVILLE, Md., May 3, 2005—Rockville’s revitalization of its Town Center took another major step on Monday when the Mayor and Council approved the resolution by a 3-2 vote that will enable The Akridge Development Company to build a mixed-use development of 485 condominiums, restaurants with sidewalk dining and retail stores on what is now a surface parking lot across from the Regal Cinema and restaurant row on East Montgomery Avenue.
The approval of the complex development plan came after months of negotiations in which the Mayor and Council asked the developer to make significant changes to its original proposal. Members of the Mayor and Council wanted to make sure the new development mixed well with the existing buildings in Town Center and the new Rockville Town Square project that is under construction on an adjoining block.
Councilmembers Bob Dorsey, John Hall, Jr. and Susan Hoffmann voted in favor of the resolution. Mayor Larry Giammo and Councilmember Anne Robbins opposed its passage.
The Akridge Development will fill the open space between the busy block that includes Regal Cinema and numerous restaurants—and the Town Square development that will include luxury condominiums, restaurants, retail stores, offices and a new cultural arts building. Rockville Town Square also will be the home of the new Rockville Regional Library and a public town plaza.
The Akridge development will be built in two phases, with each phases physically separated by a new street that the developer proposes as “Renaissance Street.” In 1994, the then-owner of the properties was given approval for an office complex that could have had buildings as tall as 22 stories. However, with the residence market hotter than the current office space market, Akridge sought a change in use.
In September, Akridge (under the name of Rockville Renaissance West, LLC) proposed building 292 condominium units and seven “townhouse-lofts” in buildings of varied heights—some as tall as about 18 stories—on just the west half of the property. A public hearing, numerous public meetings and work with City staff resulted in the proposal that was adopted on Monday. Modifications in that proposal from one that had been presented on April 11 include:
· A maximum of 485 residences (down from 500 in the April 11 proposal)
· The maximum heights of the tallest buildings would be 144 feet (about 14 stories) along Maryland Avenue and 173 feet (about 17 stories) along Monroe Street (each decreases of one story from April 11)
· Construction would not begin prior to July 1, 2006 (this would allow public parking garages being built as part of Rockville Town Square to get closer to opening and minimize parking space loss that would result from the closure of the current surface parking lot)
· The surface parking lot on the east side of the Akridge project will maintain at least 120 available public parking spaces during the construction period of the first phase
· A parking coordinator, funded by the developer, will start on Oct. 1, 2005
· The developer will contribute $509,249 (an increase from $416,804) for traffic mitigation projects, including $150,000 toward the construction of the extension of Maryland Avenue
· Fifty percent of the moderately-price dwelling units will be marketed to senior citizens
· The developer will contribute $25,000 toward improvements to the nearby James Monroe Park
Earlier revisions in the project called for sidewalks as wide as 20 feet on some blocks that would allow restaurants the opportunity to offer outside dining.
The applicant has agreed to provide streetscape design guidelines and storefront guidelines during the design of the project.
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