Approval Recommended for Lakeforest Redevelopment By Gaithersburg Planning Commision

by MCS Staff

The Planning Commission, based upon the findings presented herein and the evidence in the record, recommend approval (with conditions) of Z-9444-2022, the Lakeforest Mall Rezoning & Sketch Plan, to the Gaithersburg Mayor & City Council earlier this week. The Mayor & City Council hold their record open until 5 p.m. Friday March 10, 2023 with anticipated Policy Discussion April 3, 2023 (photos of what’s to come available below).

In a January meeting, WRS Inc. stated plans to demolish “as soon as they can.” Financing requires the mall to remain as an option in case “things go really sideways”, which would have cause WRS to have to look at re-tenanting the mall, but things are looking very optimistic following the recommendation. Previously, WRS mentioned 2024 as a target date for demolition to occur and new construction to begin.

Lakeforest Mall first opened on September 12, 1978. At that time, the mall’s anchor stores were JCPenney, Sears, Woodward & Lothrop, and Hecht’s. The mall was one of the first in the United States to feature an indoor ice skating rink on the lower level, in the “H section”, along with being the biggest indoor shopping mall in the county at the time of grand opening. The ice skating rink was replaced by a NTI Theaters movie theater in 1984, later renamed Cineplex Odeon Lakeforest 5, then by a food court, which now occupies the space. The mall was built on top of Lake Walker, a park on the property prior. The mall opened with approximately 30-50 stores, with some of the first stores being relocated from the then nearbyindoor Village Mall (now an outdoor strip mall called Montgomery Village Center since 1991) and absorbed onto the property.






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