WRS Inc., a real estate investment firm based out of South Carolina, that purchased Lakeforest Mall and all four anchor sites, will present their latest plan for Lakeforest Mall on Wednesday, January 4 at 1pm at Asbury Methodist Village (409 Russell Avenue) in Gaithersburg. According to the Village News, “Guests should enter via the Gatehouse at 301 Odendhal Avenue and continue straight. The Rosborough Cultural Arts & Wellness Center is on the right (building 409) with parking across the street. Additionally, the City of Gaithersburg Joint Planning Commission/Mayor and City Council Hearing on the plan is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023 at at City Hall, 31 S. Summit Avenue, Gaithersburg, MD 20877.”
WRS held a similar informational meeting on October 20 at the mall. WRS purchased the core, ponds, and forest conservation of the mall back in 2019 and added the four anchor sites earlier this year, spending a total of $75 million to acquire Lakeforest Mall. This evening they announced that they have worked with the City of Gaithersburg since March and plan to submit their zoning application and sketch plan in the next couple weeks. The target date for demolition of the mall and the start of new construction is currently 2024, with a more specific date to come after the approval of sketch plans. The sketch plan requires at least 35% “green space” and WRS stated that initial sketches are currently at a little more than 35%. Green space is defined as trees, grass, walking/biking areas, etc.
The current retention pond will be “cleaned up” and a boardwalk is in the plans for a dining experience on the water that was described as being similar to what is available at nearby Rio Lakefront. WRS has also heard from several different movie theaters that are geared towards adults with food offerings and a bar, mentioning one that has a very robust civic program that would allow community groups to use one theater per week for their own functions. No specific names were given and it was noted that a discussion “doesn’t mean it’ll happen.”
A national builder has signed on to build all the various type of housing that will be available at the new development (areas G-P in the map pictured below). The name has not been released yet because the builder wants to announce it in a future press release. MCDOT has would also like to see an enlarged transit corner that will likely be located in area F. Area C would be heavily retail. “A place you’d go once a week to fill up the car with things you’d bring home to fill up the pantry.” A few in the crowd began to discuss Costco possibly moving to the new development, but it was never mentioned by WRS. Area D would be designated for medical offices, a space for a business to move its headquarters, lab space, etc.
Following the approval of its zoning application and sketch plan, WRS will work on site development that will include a series of detailed site plans. Below are the images displayed by WRS at tonight’s meeting:
Would love to be part of public in this meeting