As mentioned before, much of the October Implementation Advisory Committee meeting focused on an amendment to the plan for Federal Realty’s Pike and Rose development. The first phase of Pike and Rose is well underway, with residences slated to open in the spring of next year and retail in the fall. Additionally, earlier this month the Planning Board approved plans for phase 2 of the project. However, neither of these plans included the building at the corner of Old Georgetown Road and Rockville Pike (where the Starbucks and Bank of America are located).
Federal Realty is not planning on redeveloping this part of their land for 10 to 15 years. However, they did not want to leave the building as is for many years while new buildings spring up around it. Therefore, they are proposing a new façade, outdoor seating areas by Starbucks and Chipotle (which is moving to where Serenberry used to be), landscaping improvements and better pedestrian circulation for this area.
The plan also includes adding about 1,000 square feet to the area behind the future Chipotle location to hide the trash/loading area from view on Old Georgetown Road. Federal Realty’s Evan Goldman explained that this will be a small retail shop.
One member of the IAC raised the concern that this amendment does not include enough pedestrian and bicycle improvements, a crucial component of the White Flint Sector Plan. Goldman explained that there will ultimately be three pedestrian/bicycle entrances to the area, notably one at the corner of Old Georgetown and Rockville Pike (currently, a fence restricts access to the area from most of the street). This pedestrian crossing will continue to be marked in front of the Bank of America drive-through tellers. The light poles in the sidewalk will also be removed, and there will be a broader concrete area at the corner to create more room for both pedestrians and cyclists. Once Muse Alley (a pedestrian only street) opens, there will be even more access to the site.
Ultimately, Federal Realty and the community compromised. The entrances to the site will be wider than originally planned, ultimately going to eight feet wide. The fence, which some people thought should be removed, will stay as a way to control pedestrian traffic while the big surface parking lot that is currently there remains very active. However, the fence will be moved slightly to improve drivers’ views of pedestrians when they are turning on to Old Georgetown Road from the Pike.
Once FRIT incorporates changes agreed upon at this meeting to their plan, they will go before the Planning Board. The date for this has not yet been set. Federal Realty hopes to start the project in January, aiming to complete the improvements by May or June of 2014.