Friday, March 20, 2009

Montgomery Mall Expansion Set for Summer


The expansion of Bethesda’s Montgomery Mall, previously approved by the Montgomery County Planning Board in 2007, will now proceed as early as July. Mall owners the Westfield Group have targeted 200,000 square feet of space in the 40-year-old mall, including the present movie theater on site, for selective demolition, along with the neighboring Westlake Crossing shopping center. In its stead, Westfield and the project’s architects, Gensler, have envisioned a massive 720,000 square foot build out from the current mall complex at 7101 Democracy Boulevard.

At present, the expansion is set to include a new 70,000 square foot multiplex movie theater, an overhauled 20,000 square foot food court, a “fashion wing” devoted to high-end apparel and two new five-story parking garages.

According to the Australia-based Westfield (who also happens to be one of the largest retail property holders on the planet), the “$19 million redevelopment will result in May Company [Macy’s] expanding and remodeling its existing store through the acquisition of the top level of the JC Penny department store. The lower level of the JC Penny store will be utilized to create 5,900 square meters of mall space, including an Old Navy store.” Once completed, the mall is expected to grow to roughly 1.8 million square feet.

The mall’s epically frustrating parking lots, which lure some 11 million visitors to the Montgomery County fortress-like shopping destination each year, will also go under the knife for a transit-friendly makeover. Along with a relocated Sears Auto Center, a new “six-bay bus transit center” will be constructed along the mall’s rear, giving the heavily traversed junction of Democracy Boulevard and Old Georgetown Road a new commuter destination (and for local high schools students to smoke between trips to Sbarro.)

Construction is currently planned to occur in three phases, with the transit center and fashion wing slated to go up first. Whiting Turner will be serving as general contractor.

18 comments:

Chris L on Mar 20, 2009, 6:31:00 PM said...

Haven't they heard? It's 2009. We don't build suburban style malls anymore. At least make it an outdoor lifestyle center.

Then again, I thought we weren't building new highways too, yet here we are with the ICC. What's up with Maryland lately? For the "smart growth" state, there's an awful lot of dumb growth going on.

Anonymous said...

What is up with these Maryland Haters trying to PREVENT Montgomery County and PG County from looking as Upscale and Modern like Northern Virginia with their SUPER MALL EXPANSION of Tysons Corner, Building New Indoor Upscale Malls like Dulles Town Center, Massive Monster Springfieled Mixing Bowl, the $Multi-Million Virginia Beltway Widening(along with HOT Lanes), Building two Major County(Fairfax and Prince William) Parkways, attracting High Paying IT Jobs, and Attracting Fortune 500 Business HQ's such as the Hilton in which it was supposed to have relocated to Montgomery County.

Its ahame that this 2009 and we still have the Good Ol' Boys from the Old Dominion trying to Sabatoge All forms of Business and Economic Growth in the Free State of Maryland........

The Civil War is Over, please stop trying to Damage the goals of making Suburban Maryland more competitive with Upscale Shopping Mall Having Northern Virginia, because we true Marylander's are sick and tired of having to leave the State to find decent Upscale Indoor Shopping Malls especially since the New Expanded Tysons Corner has taking alot of Customers away from Montgomery and Wheaton Malls....

Jason F said...

I don't think Chris was arguing that Virginia is a good model; that's not smart growth either. Just because its good for corporations doesn't mean its smart growth - hell, I'm sure the car and oil industries think malls are a fabulous idea.

mattnsa on Mar 23, 2009, 12:50:00 AM said...

Anonymous - you have to look at what NVA, i.e. Fairfax County DOESN'T have: a truly walkable downtown like Bethesda, the incredible concentration of high-end retail in another "downtown" like Chevy Chase/Friendship Heights, the upcoming transformation of the Rockville Pike (arguably the highest concentration of retail activity in the region) into a more coherent and attractive boulevard-like experience, the renewal of Silver Spring into a successful downtown and smaller successes that will breed more of the same like Rockville Town Center and Kentlands. MoGoCo is at the forefront of transforming from series of stereotypical suburbs to a chain of vibrant urban settings. What MoGoCo is doing now will start attracting more and more jobs, investment, etc and it'll take years for Fairfax to catch up. Now if only the Purple Line were heavy rail and underground.....

Anonymous said...

Is there a link to any renderings or other visuals on how the mall will look when done?

Lurker #1 said...

He said, "utilised"...was that a freudian slip?

Lol

Anonymous said...

JC Penney? That store has been long gone... Hopefully the drawings are up to date...

Daniel Kessler on Mar 23, 2009, 10:03:00 PM said...

The new movie complex should be a nice addition. Very few people who live near the Mall ever go to the movie theater there, because it sucks.

Also, the parking garage on the west side of the mall by the food court entrance is so quirky. If it doesn't get demolished, I hope that it will at least get renovated.

Anonymous said...

Jason F said...

I don't think Chris was arguing that Virginia is a good model; that's not smart growth either. Just because its good for corporations doesn't mean its smart growth - hell, I'm sure the car and oil industries think malls are a fabulous idea.

RE: If we do a True Regional(People of the Entire Mid-Atlantic and Southern) Survey/Referendum of which Suburb(MD vs VA) of the DC area provides better Resource of Quality of Life I can guarantee that more than 50% will choose the VA Suburbs over the Maryland Suburbs mainly because of Steady High Paying High Tech Employment Growth and Better Resource of Upscale Shopping Centers.

Also if we do a True Reliable Survey of the number of people that Reside/Pay Taxes in Maryland that Ventures over to Virginia to Shop at their Upscale Rich Shopping Centers Versus People that Reside/Pay Taxes in Virginia that Ventures over to Maryland to shop at their Shopping Centers; I can Guarantee that the accurate numbers will show that Marylander tax paying residents shop more in Virginia(or any nearby State such as Delaware, Pennsylvania, and/or New Jersey)than Virginians traveling to Maryland to Shop.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Is there a link to any renderings or other visuals on how the mall will look when done?

RE: There are and from what I have seen the renderings look very attractive.

Anonymous said...

mattnsa said...

Anonymous - you have to look at what NVA, i.e. Fairfax County DOESN'T have: a truly walkable downtown like Bethesda, the incredible concentration of high-end retail in another "downtown" like Chevy Chase/Friendship Heights, the upcoming transformation of the Rockville Pike (arguably the highest concentration of retail activity in the region) into a more coherent and attractive boulevard-like experience, the renewal of Silver Spring into a successful downtown and smaller successes that will breed more of the same like Rockville Town Center and Kentlands. MoGoCo is at the forefront of transforming from series of stereotypical suburbs to a chain of vibrant urban settings. What MoGoCo is doing now will start attracting more and more jobs, investment, etc and it'll take years for Fairfax to catch up.

RE: I'm sorry but I'm not buying that Argument since Fairfax County is planning a MASSIVE change to Tysons Corner that will make it more of a Walkable Downtown Style Development with 4 NEW Metro Rail Stations and making it the second Largest Employment Sector Outside of Washington, DC. You want to talk about Fairfax County of pre-2000 but your ignoring what I stated above and the Fact that Arlington have two Upscale Indoor Shopping Malls that are just as large and is Surrounded by Walkable Mix-Use Communities that are not only served by Multi-Lane Highways(I-66 and I-395) but also 3 Metro Rail Subways with Several Stops in which Bethesda, Silver Spring, and Rockville can't top that due to NIMBY'sm and Political Corruption Red Taping.

mattnsa said...

Now if only the Purple Line were heavy rail and underground.....

RE: You are right because the Purple Line "Light Rail" is not going to be Regionally Valuable since Most people in the Region are Accustom to using High Speed Heavy Rail Subways and the Light Rail runs through Existing/Old Developed Communities that are NIMBY(such as Takoma Park) Rich, that have so-call local people quick to argue "Historic Preservation" whenever there are attempts to revitalize/rebuild old areas.

Jack said...

Wow, where did you hear this? As a representative of a nearby neighborhood, I've been in pretty close contact with Westfield on the project.

Westfield is including a "lifestyle center" on the north side of the mall, an outward facing semi-circular area with interesting restaurants, etc. Also my community coalition asked Westfield to provide more outward-facing shopping on the west side to improve the pedestrian experience, a 50% reduction in the size of the parking garage on that side, several architectural improvements, and generally much better pedestrian access and safety along Westlake Drive past the mall (and bike lanes too). These requests were all agreed to. At an early point the community also requested a grid of alley type internal pedestrian streets, more like some other new retail developments (King Farm, Lakelands, etc.). But there was very little room for that. Traditional shopping malls still have their place in society. Westfield really came through for the community in the end -- more than most developers would I think.

Jack said...

I'm serious -- What is your source on this, dcmud?

Daniel Kessler on Mar 26, 2009, 10:23:00 PM said...

The Wikipedia page on Montgomery Mall was updated, but of course it was undone because this couldn't be confirmed from any "reliable" source. (Nothing personal, DCMud contributors!) I checked the developer's web page for info, but found nothing.

So, as Jack asks, who/what was your source?

Anonymous said...

What difference does it make where dcmud gets its source about Montgomery Mall.

Its a fact that they are going to Expand the Mall.

Its not like no one knew about the future expansion plans and if they didn't know about it(or act as if they didn't) then that will further prove that the people that are against the plans to expand the mall are not true Montgomery County/Maryland Tax Paying Citizens.

Again I can see why people from across the River(NOVA) would be very angry against the plans to expand Montgomery Mall; hey no one raised hell when Virginia Expand Tyson's Corner to over 300+ Stores and since then it has rapidly decreased the population of people shopping at any of the Montgomery County Malls.

Daniel Kessler on Mar 27, 2009, 1:53:00 AM said...

I thought this project would get underway in winter 2008, but I guess either that was false or the project was put on hold.

I care about where the info came from because I didn't see anything new on the Montgomery Planning website about the project. Knowing the source might help me learn more about the project.

I'm really surprised that Potomac Gazette (at least online) did not mention the recent approval.

Ari on Apr 7, 2009, 12:18:00 AM said...

I'm afraid your information is old. These are the exact details of the expansion they did in 1991. THe food court was built, Macy's Home took over the top of the old JC Penny, the Nordstrom wing is the "fashion wing" and the bus bay was created.

Anonymous said...

The Westfield corporation has neglected Montgomery Mall in Bethesda for years. It used to be one of the most upscale malls in the whole DC metro area.

It would definitely be a great thing for Bethesda if Westfield spent some big money completely renovating Montgomery Mall into the powerhouse that it used to be!

There should also be quick shuttle buses between the Mall and local subway stations in order to increase customer traffic there. A subway station at the mall itself would be even better, however shuttle buses will be a good start too!

I still believe that Maryland is decades aheads of Virginia when it comes to education per capita, wealth per capita, and just the fact that it is far more modern and progressive.

Virginia still has a long way to go as it is still a southern state.

 

DCmud - The Urban Real Estate Digest of Washington DC Copyright © 2008 Black Brown Pop Template by Ipiet's Blogger Template