Meixin Supermarket Demolished, Chase Bank Construction Starting Soon

by MCS Staff

Back in November of 2020, we let you know that Chase Bank was close to receiving approval to take over the location previously occupied by Meixin Supermarket (formerly Maxim) on Hungerford Drive (355) in Rockville. The building has now been demolished (photo below) in preparation for the upcoming Chase Bank building, but the process has been a long one.

Rockville’s Historic District Commission (HDC) recommended and found that the property met certain criteria for historic designation. City staff staff disagreed and recommended the the Planning Commission deny the change of zones from MXCD (Mixed-Use Corridor District) to MXCD-HD (Historic District) due to not meeting criteria for the designation. After   a vote late last year, the City of Rockville decided that the building did not meet criteria for historic designation and the decision to move forward with the plans for Chase Bank moved forward.

History of the Site: The Post-World War II era gave rise to residential and commercial development in Rockville, including new shopping centers and strip malls along Rockville Pike and other major roads. Hungerford Drive was completed in 1951, and it gradually became a successful commercial district. In June 1965, Leonard Kapiloff, operating as President of Lennard Enterprises, Inc., purchased property along Hungerford Drive from Charles A. Froman and his wife, Lora.

The land included parts of tracts of land called “Exchange and New Exchange Enlarged,” and “Valentines Garden Enlarged.” Two months after acquiring this property, Leonard Kapiloff and Vernon E. Miller registered as Trustees for Hungerford Associates. In 1967, Hungerford Associates platted a portion of the property which became the subject property, Lot 6, of City Center Subdivision.
That same year, Morris Stern opened Stern’s Furniture at 430 Hungerford Drive (now Walgreens, south of the subject property), in a new furniture showroom designed by prominent local architect, John H. Sullivan. Also in 1967, Irvin Schwartz, President of Youth Center, Inc. and Colony Shop, Inc., purchased Lot 6 from Hungerford Associates, and in 1968, Sullivan designed the new children’s clothing store, “The Colony Shop,” at 460 Hungerford Drive.
The architect for the subject building, John Henry Sullivan Jr. (1925-2014) was born in Washington, DC and moved to Montgomery County in 1928. John “Jack” Sullivan graduated from Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, after serving in World War II, and graduated from the Catholic University School of Engineering and Architecture. After working for several architectural firms, he opened Sullivan and Associates in 1957 in Rockville, where it was based until 1970. During Sullivan’s career, he designed banks, churches, schools, and public and institutional buildings. He also designed his family residence in Potomac, Maryland.
John Sullivan was an award-winning modernist architect, who was known for his ability to use brick to create surface texture and clear structural definition. His buildings had strong lines and geometric shapes. One of his award-winning projects was the Humble Car Care Center (1970) on Hungerford Drive, near the Colony Shop and Stern’s Furniture. The building had dramatic split gables that rose high above the building. Humble Car Care Center w as demolished in the 1980s to make way for construction of the Rockville Metro Station.
John Sullivan designed many buildings in Rockville, including the County Federal Savings and Loan building (1962), the Tenley Building (1964) and the award-winning Aspen Hill Library (1967). He also designed municipal buildings for the City of Rockville including the Elwood P. Smith Recreation Center (1959), and the Rockville Municipal Swim Center (1968). During the 1970s, as the president of SMS Design Group of Bethesda, Sullivan’s work included projects in the I-270 Research Corridor such as the Hoover Building (1969), DANAC Ocean Science Building (demolished, 1970), Hewlett-Packard (1972) and the Lingerfelter Building (1973).
In 2009, Mr. Sullivan and his lifelong friend and fellow Rockville architect, John Samperton, were featured in Peerless Rockville’s and Rockville 11’s award-winning multi-media documentary, “A Pair of Jacks.” The movie highlighted their lives, their careers, and the many contributions to Rockville’s mid-century modernist heritage. John H. “Jack” Sullivan Jr., died on June 17, 2014 in Rockville, at the age of 88. The ownership of the subject property is not found to have any important association with a significant person.
No information was found on Irvin Schwartz, President of Colony Shop, Inc. and Youth Center, Inc. Colony Shop may have been a retail chain or franchise; however, no information was found to confirm that. The store opened as a women’s clothing retailer and expanded to nine stores throughout Arkansas, and one store in Tennessee. Wynne, Arkansas may have been the company’s headquarters, where a large distribution center, now closed, used to be located.
There are several Colony Shops still in existence throughout t he country, some with the name “The Colony Shop, Inc.,” or “The Old Colony Shop, Inc.,” or “The New Colony Shop, Inc.” They all seem to sell clothes of a different variety, and may, or may not be associated with the Colony Shop, Inc. store that was located in Rockville. Irvin Schwartz’s name is the only name that is associated with the Colony Shop in Rockville from its debut in 1968, to the forfeiture in 1987.
In October 1985, the property transferred back to Hungerford Ltd. Partnership, Leonard Kapiloff, Trustee. In February 1995, the property was sold to Maxim Enterprises, Inc. Tien L. Chang was listed as the company President. The property is currently owned by Asian Square, LLC, and Zheng Hai Zheng is identified as the Manager. The building was an Asian Supermarket for many years, but it closed for business in 2019 and has remained vacant since that time.

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Steve July 25, 2022 - 3:42 pm

What Rockville DOESN’T need, another stupid bank.

Michael Zwolinski July 25, 2022 - 7:07 pm

Glad to see that eyesore gone. It was about time!


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