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New luxury residential development approved for Germantown area

Scheduled to be completed approximately in the autumn of 2020, the Fairchild Apartment Development Plan was approved July 26 by the Montgomery County Planning Board to be built at the location of the parking lot across from the Germantown Regal Cinema along Aircraft Drive and Century Boulevard. 

This parking lot currently serves customers for IHOP, Red Robin, and Senor Tequila’s. The restaurant buildings will not be removed for the construction of the apartments. When contacted, managers of these restaurants were unaware of the apartment development plan. A worker at Red Robin said that although he was not aware that this construction would take place, a new apartment complex would be “awesome.”

David Reece, a 38-year resident in Germantown, said he disapproves of the apartment development, adding that if the government allows companies to “do more buildings” they should also “do more roads,” since the area “does not have the road systems” to handle the incoming apartment residents. Reece also emphasizes that new roads should be, “for public use… not toll roads.” 

The company that will construct Fairchild Apartments, GTTCE, is a family-owned business that has developed other buildings in the area, such as the Regal Cinema, Safeway and the restaurants that currently occupy the lot. 

The apartment complex will sell luxury-studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom units, some of which will be available for purchase as moderately-priced dwelling units. Underneath the building, a parking garage will be constructed, sections of which can become residential spaces if the demand for parking decreases. 

Besides residential space, the Fairchild apartments will add pedestrian walking and biking space to the existing sidewalks and include a major public facility such as a library or recreation center. 

Peter Henry, the owner of GTTCE, claimed that the complex, “will be the tallest building in Germantown.”  Addressing the issue of limited space for his development, he said that it is not an issue, instead saying “it’s the best thing in the world: and he hopes that the Fairchild Apartment plan, “will act as a pivot point for higher density in the town center.  By higher density, he refers to high-density, mixed-use areas that are zones where many people live in a few buildings that serve as work, shopping, and living space as opposed to having separate zones for buildings of separate purposes.

Henry said that this “kind of design needs to be encouraged these days” as it discourages car use, which harms the environment. Henry imagined a tight-knit community of people who can walk or use public transit to get to work, do grocery shopping, or enjoy entertainment while saving on car-related expenses such as gas and insurance. 

In terms of the exterior building design, Bridget Schwiesow, the head of communications for the Montgomery Planning Board, said that the structure would “be going for a modern industrial feel.” 

Henry described the design plan as inspired by “Fairchild Aircraft,” which was an aircraft company from the early World War I period, with offices on I-270. 

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