The Montgomery County Planning Board gave initial approval last week to the preliminary site plans for Pike & Rose, the replacement for Mid-Pike Plaza, an ambitious vision that would dramatically transform a 24-acre parcel in White Flint, at the intersection of Rockville Pike and Old Georgetown Road.
The preliminary plan, from Rockville-based REIT Federal Realty Investment Trust, proposes to convert the existing surface-parking-and-strip-mall into mixed-use pedestrian- and bike-friendly mega-development with interspersed public green spaces. The final buildout, which was designed by WDG Architecture and Baltimore-based Design Collective, would come in at just under 3.5 million square feet, with approximately half of that total being residential. A list of tenants for the finished development includes AT&T, Bank of America, and CVS, among many others, including - notably - an 8-screen, reserved-seating iPic theater.
Though the project represents a massive facelift for the area, planners have surprisingly received no complaints regarding the project from adjacent property owners or other members of the public, and the planning board was largely receptive to the plans at last week's meeting. Of course, final approval is contingent on developers meeting a long list of conditions, including providing recreation facilities, street improvements, bike parking, vegetated rooftops, and a per-residential-unit payment of just over 1800 dollars to Montgomery County schools.
In accordance with the latest trends in urban planning, plans for Mid-Pike Plaza place heavy emphasis on pedestrian-friendly access, traffic reduction, public spaces, and green solutions. The project, for example, includes a "road diet" that would sharply reduce traffic in the area, largely by reducing Old Georgetown Road to four lanes from six, and a "dramatic" reduction in parking. Phase One also includes generous apportioning of public green spaces; included in the site plan are two pedestrian plazas and a public green that would altogether account for 1.3 acres (of a total 6.7 Phase One acres). Planners have also required Federal Realty to include vegetated roofs on most of the buildings. Smaller pockets parks are splashed throughout the development, and most of the public spaces will be linked by a "recreation loop" of bike lanes and walking paths.
Construction is slated to commence in three phases, proceeding roughly from the southwest corner of the property and proceeding roughly northeast. Phase One, tentatively scheduled to break ground this August, will start with Building 10, located in the very southwesterly corner, a 200-foot-tall, 319-unit residential building with 13,300 square feet of commercial space, Building 11 (directly to the east of Building 10), a 100-foot-tall 251,000 square foot u-shaped office tower with ground floor commercial space, and Building 12, a 70-foot building which will front Old Georgetown Road, and consist of 174 residential units and just over 50,000 square feet of commercial space. Per an agreement with the county, the two residential buildings in Phase One would offer 12.5% moderately priced dwelling units (MPDUs). Phase Two would represent the approximate center of the trapezoidal parcel, and Phase Three would complete the north end of the development as well as fill in spaces on the west and southeast margins.
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