Rockville Town Square

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This project transformed 12.5 acres of aging strip retail into a vibrant mixed-use setting and community focal point. The new town center now has a WiGi-enabled urban park, national and locally based shops and restaurants, a new county library, a cultural art center and 644 condos and apartments.This project transformed 12.5 acres of aging strip retail into a vibrant mixed-use setting and community focal point. The new town center now has a WiFi-enabled urban park, national and locally based shops and restaurants, a new county library, a cultural art center and 644 condos and apartments.This project transformed 12.5 acres of aging strip retail into a vibrant mixed-use setting and community focal point. The new town center now has a WiFi-enabled urban park, national and locally based shops and restaurants, a new county library, a cultural art center and 644 condos and apartments.This project transformed 12.5 acres of aging strip retail into a vibrant mixed-use setting and community focal point. The new town center now has a WiGi-enabled urban park, national and locally based shops and restaurants, a new county library, a cultural art center and 644 condos and apartments.

Location: Rockville, MD, USA. Rockville, a close-in suburb of Washington, D.C.

Located in the heart of Rockville Maryland, a close-in suburb of Washington, DC, the project reflects the transformation of 12.5 acres of aging strip retail into a vibrant mixed-use setting and community focal point. The development followed a comprehensive and carefully deliberated master planning phase and adhered to strict design guidelines, which has proven highly successful with residents in the region. The project is an integral component of a broader vision for redevelopment in the city, which addresses nearly 500 acres of land.

The city owned approximately 4.5 acres of the site and collaborated with the private-sector landowner of the remaining property to create an energetic new core for the community. A failed 1970's-era shopping mall and deteriorating strip centers had contributed to a decline in the city's retail economy, which city administrators sought to reverse. The city also wanted to address a shortage of multifamily housing and the lack of an appealing town center environment.

A robust public-private coalition was formed and pursued a planning process that would delineate the arrangement and character of the mixed-use setting in extensive detail. Guidelines emphasized the importance of addressing the character of the surrounding neighborhoods, including many historic civic and residential structures. The project opened in 2006 with new shops, restaurants and housing components.

Amenities and features include many restaurants and shops, condominiums and apartments including affordable units, a public library, office space, an arts and innovation center, a large landscaped plaza and green space, architectural variety and broad sidewalks with street lined streets.

Lessons learned: The success of the project was driven by the community-based planning process. The redevelopment afforded the opportunity to remove a deteriorating strip shopping center, a gas station, and some aging townhouse units which together were both unattractive and failed to optimize land use in the vital downtown core. The decision to accommodate both the county library and the arts and innovation center on the site served as inspiration to develop an inviting surrounding neighborhood that embraced these civic functions with a pedestrian-friendly environment and host of community amenities and services. The public-private process was enhanced by a commitment by all stakeholders, including the residential and retail developers and design team, to follow a strict set of design guidelines.

Transect Zone(s): T5 center.
Status: Complete
Guiding Charter Principle(s): Principle 4, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 23, 24
Project or Plan's Scale: District
Features: Affordable/subsidized housing, Transit oriented development.
Land area (in acres): 12
Total built area (in sq. ft.):
Total project cost (in local currency):
Retail area (in sq. ft.):
Office area (in sq. ft.):
Industrial area (in sq. ft.):
Number of hotel units:
Number of residential units (include live/work): 644
Civic uses (type and size): library, arts center
Parks & green space (in acres):
Residential types: Low-rise flats, Townhouse/rowhouse/maisonette.
Project team designers: WDG Architecture, Street Works
Project team developers: City of Rockville

Previous site status: Redevelopment

Starting/Ending date of construction/implementation: -