by Mike Conroy
The Lakeforest Mall has long been an important part of Village residents’ lives, especially now with the site ready for development changes, right on the doorstep of the community. The mall property falls within City of Gaithersburg’s limits, but input from Montgomery Village residents on the future of the site is under consideration.
Before the October 22 Montgomery Village Foundation (MVF) Board of Directors meeting, Kevin Rogers of Charleston, SC-based WRS Inc. Real Estate Investments made a presentation to the Board about the future of the Lakeforest Mall.
Rogers reviewed the current site, saying it contained over 1 million square feet of retail and 7,000 surface parking spaces. The new proposal will level all the buildings on the 102-acre site and turn it into a mixed-use development consisting of 500 to 600 townhomes, 120 to 150 condominiums, 175 to 200 apartments and 400,000 to 500,000 square feet of retail with 1,000 surface level parking spaces. He said the bulk of the residential units would be concentrated on the southern portion of the site, between O’denhal Avenue and Lost Knife Road. The middle of the site would contain a Main Street with residential units above smaller retail, similar to tenants who currently occupy the mall’s interior. The north end of the site would hold the two anchor stores and take advantage of the topography to add a parking garage. He identified the two anchors as Costco and The Home Depot, and noted they are highly probable to be the anchor stores. Rogers noted interest from other competing anchor stores if those identified did not pan out. Along the perimeter of the site would be pad locations for restaurants, banks and other stores or businesses.
Rogers said that WRS has also had conversations with major residential developers to build the townhomes, (NVR, Ryan Homes, Lennar, etc.) but does not have a specific builder at this stage. He noted, however, that there was much interest in the project. Currently, the City of Gaithersburg has a moratorium on the property. WRS was hopeful to have plans and permitting accomplished within 12 to 18 months once they receive approvals from the City of Gaithersburg. He noted that once financing and final anchor stores were secured, the moratorium could potentially be lifted, but there was no guarantee of this happening.
For more information about the project, background materials and process details visit www.gaithersburgmd.gov/government/projects-in-the-city/lakeforest-master-plan.