Demolition has begun at one end of Mid-Pike Plaza, and on Monday Federal Realty Investment Trust will break ground on a 3.4 million-square-foot mixed-use development on the site. In two years the first piece of a monumental transformation of White Flint is expected to be complete.
Gov. Martin O’Malley will join Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and Montgomery County Council members for the groundbreaking of Pike & Rose. The project signals the start of White Flint’s transformation under a master plan approved by the Montgomery County Council in March 2010.
The project will feature 1,500 residential units, 450,000 square feet of retail space, 1.1 million square feet of office space and a 250,000-square-foot hotel. It is located less than a quarter mile from the White Flint Metro station. It is scheduled to open in 2014.
Developers also are quick to add that the project’s first phase is expected to generate 688 jobs.
“Pike & Rose will dramatically enhance the quality of life in Montgomery County,” said Evan Goldman, vice president of development for Federal Realty. “We are excited about the development of Pike & Rose and what it represents for the area in terms of jobs and economic development. Pike & Rose will be arts-inspired both in its design and environment, delivering an inspired place to live, shop, work, dine and be entertained.”
The project is expected to create 550 permanent jobs and generate $1.1 billion in tax revenue over 30 years, The Gazette reported.
Meanwhile Mid-Pike Plaza tenants are in the process of relocating or closing. A.C. Moore moved to the Montrose Crossing Shopping Center earlier this year. Silver Diner, another business that brought traffic to Mid-Pike, moved up Rockville Pike to Federal Plaza in November, 2010.
A “Final Days” sign hung in the window of the Classique Home furniture store at one end of Mid-Pike Plaza.
Avisha Azad, whose family owns the store, as well as another location in Ashburn, VA, that will remain open, said the business received a notice to vacate in late June. Since then, employees have been marking down prices on the store’s high-end furnishings and Persian rugs.
While tenants knew the shopping center was soon-to-be razed, the family thought they’d be able to stay open until early next year. Now they are set to close July 22.
“A lot of people are really upset,” Azad said of the store's customers. “[They say] ‘If we wanted to live in Bethesda, we’d live in Bethesda.’”
Looking around, Azad remarked that the stretch of Rockville Pike where Mid-Pike Plaza is located already looks like parts of downtown Bethesda.
“From the business sense I can understand [the redevelopment],” she said.
White Flint’s makeover has garnered national attention for its size and scope, including a 2010 New York Times article with the headline: “Grand Makeover Is Set for Maryland Strip City.”
The shopping center will be transformed into a “pedestrian-oriented, urban-minded, mixed-use space” and will include two plazas and “a public green,” according to a Federal Realty news release. Apartments and the hotel will be located above the ground-floor retail.
Most rooftops will have vegetation on them to aid stormwater management. A rooftop garden on one of the residential buildings will offer the first rooftop garden plots for rent in the county, according to the release.
Hiker-biker trails will connect the development to the White Flint Civic Green and Wall Park, which is to be renovated. Both are within a quarter-mile of the Pike & Rose site.
One piece of the Pike & Rose development is already in place and was visible Thursday afternoon. Last month, the Pike Central Farm Market opened for business surrounding a newly created green space just feet from Rockville Pike and the former Silver Diner site. With 40 vendors, the market is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursdays and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.
Correction: The original version of this post incorrectly stated the total square footage of retail space for the Pike & Rose development. The project includes 450,000 square feet of retail space. The third paragraph has been corrected.