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Vision for Crown Farm Development Seen by City

Gaithersburg officials and residents got their first inside look at the new Crown Development.

It may have looked like a normal Gaithersburg City Council work session. City officials and residents gathered as usual at city hall. But their meeting room was a bus and their agenda was a look into the future -- to a time when developers envision a community park, a new school, homes, boutiques and fine dining along Sam Eig Highway and Fields Road, opposite Washingtonian Center and Rio.

About 30 people—including Mayor Sidney A. Katz and City Council members Jud Ashman, Cathy Drzyzgula, Michael A. Sesma and Ryan Spiegel—Monday took a guided bus tour of the progress on Gaithersburg's Crown Development.

Karl Alt, director of development for Sunbrook Partners Inc. (the master developer of Crown), served as the group's tour guide, highlighting six key locations, or neighborhoods, on the property:

  1. Downtown Crown, which will serve as the commercial core of the community.
  2. Crown West, residential neighborhood.
  3. Crown East, residential neighborhood.
  4. Crown Central, residential/mixed use neighborhood.
  5. "Neighborhood 4", unnamed and home of community park.
  6. "Neighborhood 6", unnamed and home of a future high school.

"Everyone always sees Crown at the 100-foot level," Alt said. "You don't really get to see what 180 acres looks like from the ground."

Downtown Crown will feature 260,000 square feet of commercial retail space, according to Krista Di Iaconi of JBG Rosenfeld Retail. .

A Harris Teeter and LA Fitness—along Sam Eig Highway—will account for approximately 90,000 square feet (34.6 percent) of Downtown Crown's retail space, with another 40,000 square feet in lease negotiations with multiple restaurants, Di Iaconi said, including sit-down, fine dining as well as fast, casual.

Di Iaconi is also in progress of recruiting multiple fashion retailers for Downtown Crown.

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"Downtown Crown is a size that presents itself to, we don’t like to use the term 'lifestyle retail' anymore, but to a true mix of retail including your everyday services you need such as your grocery store, drycleaner, etc., but also fashion, boutiques and gift stores," she said.

JGBR should be able to make an announcement regarding the restaurants in four weeks and the fashion retailers by the end of 2012, Di Iaconi said.

The Crown West neighborhood, located along Fields Road and Decoverly Drive, will feature 339 townhomes and 59 single-family homes, Alt said, serving as the primary residential area of Crown Farm. Additional multi-family homes are set to be built along Diamondback Drive.

See above images for additional information about each of the tour's six stops on Crown Farm, including in the tour map.

Many of those future residents won't have to travel far to find work, Alt said.

"[One] thing that's great about Crown Farm is its proximity to Science City (Johns Hopkins University's proposed campus on Belward Farm) and Johns Hopkins University [Montgomery County Campus]," Alt said. "We see that as a great asset, with thousands of jobs for residents."

According to Rob Robinson of the Gaithersburg Planning Department, everything planned by JBGR and Bozzuto, with the exception of Harris Teeter and one additional stand-alone site, has final site plan approval and can go to building permits.

Model homes are expected to be completed by the end of 2012 and lots will go on sale immediately after, Alt said. A goal of having the homes built by January or February of 2014 has been set along with the development's grand opening in spring 2014, according to Di Iaconi.

Related Coverage: (July 18, 2012)

Jeff Banagan July 25, 2012 at 02:47 AM
Fashion Retailers? This is very exciting! Hopefully I won't have to drive all the way towards Bethesda for some good shopping!
Karen Friend July 25, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Hope those single families are truly so, not piled atop one another. Can't wait to see how things develop at Crown. Very exciting!
JMG July 26, 2012 at 01:06 AM
What will be the impact of increased stress on our local infrastructure, already crowded schools, Metro? When did we vote to transform our bucolic community into a sprawling city-scape of disconnected planned urban developments?
Michael Rochelle July 28, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Not a complaint, but as a member of one of the apartment complexes across the street from this project, I've already seen my monthly rent go up by over $100 for the past two years at renewal. What used to be a little over $1400 in 2010 is now over $1600. As the project continues, I'm wondering how much more of an impact that will have on the "market rate" for rents in our area. Although it sounds like an awesome place for shopping, I'm just hoping that many of us that already live in that area won't be forced out of our homes due to sky-rocketing rent increases, traffic congestion, and the general crowding that will occur due to being sandwiched between the Rio complex and this new one. When people have a choice to live in the hub of activity, that is one thing, but when the hub is built around the people that are already there, I just wonder how things will play out for myself and my fellow renters/owners off Fields Road.
LB July 30, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Washingtonian Center, across the street, hasn't been able to fill retail space for 5+ years, nor keep a number of places IN business. I wonder what makes this developer think they can do things differently. I am also curious what they will call themselves? I mean GAITHERSBURG? Really? This sounds too high class for Gaithersburg! Lakelands/Kentlands is already N. Potomac, so they can't have that. Hmmmm, thoughts or suggestions? Far North Bethesda ? (grasping at straws and status)
Karen Friend July 30, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Northeast Potomac...?
Jeff Banagan August 01, 2012 at 10:49 AM
What do you mean "Lakelands/Kentlands is already N.Potomac?" North Potomac & the two communities ARE right next to each other, but Lakelands/Kentlands are within GAITHERSBURG city limits. North Potomac shares its zip codes with Gaithersburg (20878), Rockville (20850), & Potomac (20854). That specific area of North Potomac that you mentioned shares 20878 w/ GAITHERSBURG. And not ALL of Gaithersburg is "low class" as you imply. The city is divided by east & west sections by I-270. (with the western section containing wealthier neighborhoods due to new development) Although the eastern section is more historic, it doesn't make that part necessarily "poor." I wouldn't give an over generalization about the city's demographics by looking at areas such as Olde Towne & the region that surrounds Lakeforest Mall. All cities within the county (& pretty much everywhere) has its flaws. There are worse communities in Montgomery County that are far worse than these areas in Gaithersburg (Wheaton for example). Gaithersburg is currently undergoing several changes & development that embrace new urbanism, giving it a bright future ahead (as the economy permits). We may not be able to recognize the city at all in the near future, & I'm talking about the entirety of the city, both western & eastern sections. Demographics are bound to change within the area due to new development. It's going to be interesting on how this all turns out. Proud resident of Gaithersburg, MD (20878)
David nhu September 03, 2012 at 04:55 AM
We are looking for the small 3 bedrooms single home with master bedroom on the ground, because we are 60+ couple, but enjoy city life. We don't need big land for single home, but we don't like single home at Kendland, all living room, bedrooms are one 2nd and 3rd floor. We suggest building the home for older people with master bedroom and bathroom on the first floor, so we don't have to climb on the stairs. Elizabeth Nhu & David Nhu
David nhu September 03, 2012 at 05:06 AM
Suggestion: People like single family home, one garage, one master bedroom /bathroom on first floor and living room, dining room. Others 2 bedrooms are in second floor.
ElizabethNhu September 03, 2012 at 12:17 PM
Hope to see a single small size home with the master bedroom, living room dining room in first floor. Don't like the Single Kentland home which has garage car in the first floor and bedrooms on the 3rd floor, living/kitchen are in the 2nd floor. Please build for older people, but still enjoy the fun of the Crown downtown place. Email us at Elizabeth.Nhu@gmail.com or davidnhu@yahoo.com. We need contact some to ask the single home design and side plan and HOA etc...
gf December 16, 2012 at 07:55 PM
Where can I find information on homes (to be) for sale in the Crowne Pointe area (under construction) in Gaithersburg?
Stu Moore January 12, 2013 at 03:06 PM
Petty and telling comments. Lets hope the like wear their aristocracy on their sleeve so we know who to avoid. And PLEASE, N. Potomac, always the Potomac wannabees.

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