ROCKVILLE — Representatives from a company that plans to build a new neighborhood in Twinbrook said their new mixed-use development will be like Rockville’s very own French Quarter.
On Monday night the Rockville City Council unanimously voted to continue with proposed development in Twinbrook along Rockville Pike under the City’s champion project status designation, one of many steps needed before the project is finally approved. The City’s champion project status designation will allow the developers to build without providing an access road.
The project, called Twinbrook Quarter, is a proposed development along an 18-acre stretch of the east side of Rockville Pike north of Halpine Road.
“This multi-phase, long-term plan for Twinbrook Quarter is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get it right for the community,” said Thomas Gallas an attorney representing the developer. “It’s your model definition of a champion project – we think – transforming this random, disorganized shopping center into a world-class, walkable, transit-oriented district.”
Saul Holdings Limited Partnership, the company planning the development, is proposing to build 1,865 condos and apartments, 10 new buildings ranging from 20 to 200 feet in height and a central park. Overall the project would consist of 31,440 square feet of office space, 472,950 square feet for commercial space and a 9,000-square foot theater. A Wegman’s supermarket would be the anchor retail store for the new development.
There’s no set date for construction to begin, and could take years to build, according to one of the lawyers representing Saul Holdings.
“I think one of the other ironies of naming it ‘Twinbrook Quarter’ is that it could take a quarter of a century to build this project and that’s a pretty awesome task for all of us,” said Bob Dalrymple, an attorney representing the developer.
Currently located on the site are a CVS Pharmacy, a Party City store and a Sheffield Furniture store. If approved, the development would transform the site into a new neighborhood across the street from the Twinbrook Metro Station, which would be connected with a sky bridge as part of the proposed development.
While early on in the process with no public hearing dates set, members of the Council spoke approvingly of the project, voting unanimously to allow the project to proceed under the City’s champion project designation. A proposed development meets champion project status if it located on the south pike, is five or more acres and either increase multi-family housing, increase employment, provide more bicycle or pedestrian access or more public space.
Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton praised the project, saying the proposal would greatly improve what she called a mostly empty parking lot, which currently occupies the space.
“Whatever you do there will be better, and I know that you are going to do even better than better,” she said. “I just think we need to be honest about what is there now.”