WRS Unveils Plans for Lakeforest Mall

by MCS Staff

WRS Unveils Plans for Lakeforest Mall

WRS Inc., the owner of Lakeforest Mall (but not any of the pad sites), has put out a large sign at the food court entrance of Lakeforest Mall that contains a “conceptual site plan” of what’s to come for the area.

The plan for the 102 acre lot includes 500-600 townhomes, 120-150 condominiums, 175-250 apartments (multi-family), and 400,000-500,000 square feet of retail space with 1,000 surface parking spots.

This past August, the Gaithersburg Mayor and City Council passed a resolution to declare a one-year moratorium on development at Lakeforest Mall, and earlier this month the city asked for feedback on what the public would like to see at the Lakeforest location. This came after the expiration of development agreements with WRS due to the company’s inability to acquire the four pad sites (JCPenney, Lord & Taylor, Macy’s, and Sears along with their parking areas).

While the plans are out and available for everyone to see at the mall, the moratorium remains in effect until next August and nothing is set in stone.

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29 comments

S. Ali October 30, 2020 - 8:15 am

I’m possibly reading this map wrong but are they suggesting another wholesale club? I imagine not since SAMs and Costco are on the neighboring blocks. Or maybe it’s just an example and not actual plans. Apologies if this was already addressed in the information 🙂

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MCS Staff October 30, 2020 - 8:26 am

Renderings just throw ideas out there. It’s a conceptual plan put out by the company that owns the mall, but haven’t seen or heard anything that suggests the city is on board at the moment.

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A. Hinson October 30, 2020 - 8:31 am

Not going to lie, I’d love to see Costco relocated to this space.

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Anne Leigh October 30, 2020 - 9:00 am

Traffic congestion is already massive problem in that area. There is no way it can handle that many residents, and that is before factoring in the added traffic from the new development up Montgomery Village which has started.

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Maria Pena October 30, 2020 - 3:33 pm

I agree with Anne Leigh. Housing prices are probably going to gentrify the area more. And, seriously?, 1,000 surface parking spots? Not to mention the added traffic in the neighboring areas and feeding into 270. The pandemic is not going to last forever.

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TW October 30, 2020 - 12:23 pm

The Company does not own “the Mall.” They just own inner core. Until the company has ownership of the 4 anchor buildings and properties they have no business putting out plans for the entire property.

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Natalie October 30, 2020 - 9:15 pm

Maybe it’ll be BJ’s wholesale club

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Crystal October 30, 2020 - 8:43 am

I pray that the housing is affordable for the community!!

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Dave Ha October 30, 2020 - 10:41 am

based on the area, it’s pretty safe to assume it won’t be too expensive. I can’t see million dollar town homes going up there.

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Em October 31, 2020 - 1:47 pm

You’re kidding right ? They are already renovating down the road where Dennys, Big Lots was. These homes, Condos will easily be sold for over $400K

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Linda K October 30, 2020 - 8:48 pm

Why? And what qualifies as affordable?

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EM October 31, 2020 - 1:44 pm

Good luck with that. Absolutely won’t be affordable this area is already being renovated and pushing people out

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Jess October 30, 2020 - 8:52 am

That area does not need more housing. Definitely not multi-dwelling units. What are they trying to do, bring more trash in rather than get rid of it?

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Bob October 30, 2020 - 9:53 am

Should be high-rises and a red-line metro stop.

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SWood October 30, 2020 - 11:40 am

You do realise that the Red line has terminates several miles south of here, with absolutely no plans for an extension. There maybe a future extension as a light rail further west, following the existing freight lines, but even that is a pipe dream.

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Scott S October 30, 2020 - 10:48 am

In general the County does not need more housing…the same people promoting all this new housing are against widening 270 and adding better transportation options.

Adding 800 more living units will cause more congestion, more traffic, and more over crowding. How are MoCo and G’burg going to handle the additional people moving in? What are the plans to improvement infrastructure?

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J October 30, 2020 - 10:23 am

Most of the city focus group meetings have not been in favor of this plan. City residents seem to be more interested in some sort of community event space: perhaps a senior center, a 200 seat theater, park land, school, medical, etc. Personally, I’d love to see Best Medicine Rep, the professional theater company that has been at the mall for the past three years, be part of the new development. That would be a unique draw.

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RC October 30, 2020 - 11:49 am

Cant even begin to think how these many new homes will affect already overcrowed and underfunded elementary/middle schools in the area.

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TW October 30, 2020 - 1:15 pm

The City patiently waited a couple of years for a viable development agreement from WRS. Extension after extension was granted, but no concrete plan was submitted. They could not get agreement with all of the property owners which own a majority of the property. Since WRS could not provide this agreement, the City decided to move forward in the last few months preparing a master plan for the entire property. Many citizens, stakeholders, agencies have already participated via surveys, focus groups and now forums (you can still participate in these for the next week.) Putting out this plan is premature until the City compiles the results of the input and completes the Master Plan.
Also it would be great if MOCOShow would do some investigative reporting on the history of other WRS projects around the country that are ongoing or at a standstill.
Comments about the plan: how does this plan incorporate and invigorate transit (BRT, FLASH and RideOn)? How does this plan enhance the lakes for recreational walking or incorporate environmental practices to protect the Chesapeake Bay watershed? As others have mentioned, Schools will be impacted by this plan and may require dedication of property for a school.

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Francis Arbori October 30, 2020 - 6:39 pm

As much as I think about it, I cannot imagine that it will no longer exist, anyway it would be good to build condominiums for adults55 + that is cheap, and with all the other services such as restaurants, cinemas, coffee shop, ice cream shop, and some stores around , make easier to people ( owners ) leave very well , Plaza with beautiful gardens

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Roger October 30, 2020 - 3:09 pm

Very true trash all the way around the property
Look at the shopping center across the street

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Developer October 30, 2020 - 5:10 pm

The purpose of the display in the Mall is one attempt to get feedback from the community to the developer. Most certainly the conceptual plan will change over time based on input from the community and feedback from city officials over time. The purpose is to spark a conversation based on a visual representation of this one general preliminary drawing of what things could look like. Comment cards sit beside the display welcoming any comment along with contact phone number and email to communicate directly with the developer. By no means is it a display intended to presume anything is “for sure” by the developer, rather it is meant to be a visual conversation starter. Thanks.

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Q October 30, 2020 - 8:29 pm

GB and MC have already messed up this area beyond repair.Creating another place for gangs to congregate?

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OMG October 31, 2020 - 8:30 am

WRS is the Mall Core Owner. They are running this whole project on a shoestring with large debt I am told from within the City. If the City needs to place a development moratorium on the property shows the serious lack of confidence on this development! Looks like MS13 will have room for expansion!!

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Elle October 31, 2020 - 9:31 am

There’s no new home stock in this area, last built was Hidden Creek .
New home At higher cost homes draws new homeowners with the means to afford said homes
These higher cost homes bring more tax revenues to the county/city
Taxes fund the schools, so new homes will spur new schools to be built to accommodate the influx of children
New higher grade rental stock will push existing landlords to improve their rental properties because they won’t be able to compete for this new clientele
New homeowners and renters with more means naturally attract goods/services
Certain stores will not come if a certain retail mix doesn’t already exist in a location. IE if you see 1 type of store, typically you see another like shopping centers that have a Homegoods and a Michaels. That’s not by accident -I used to work in commercial leasing.
People have got to get away from the mindset that increased population is a bad thing. Don’t complain about areas like Kentlands, Crown,Travilah getting certain stores and it seems this area gets forgotten. It’s that business owners go where the disposable income Is highest.
I’d rather deal with increased traffic if the alternative is stagnant or slow crawl appreciation while those I know living in other areas of MoCO, DC and VA see exponential growth in their home values.
I’m a supporter of incorporating affordable housing, however higher cost homes has to be the driver or else the surrounding community will not see the benefits listed in my earlier points
West Virginia/Ohio/ Central Virginia is always an option for those afraid of too many people. Get all the space you could want

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Elle October 31, 2020 - 9:37 am

Also, higher cost homes, and higher cost rentals solve the issues with gangs. Simply put, Long term they can’t afford to continue to live in the area. They get priced out. Don’t forget, gang members also have to maintain a roof over their head just like any other person.

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EM October 31, 2020 - 1:47 pm

Good luck with that. Absolutely won’t be affordable this area is already being renovated and pushing people out

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Lady D November 13, 2020 - 8:13 pm

Communities change over time. Montgomery village was originally built to be like a second Potomac then eventually became how it is now. As a former resident from DC, a place that was truly gentrified, who moved here as a child and benefitted from a more socio-economically diverse community. I had more access to better schools, libraries, etc.

I would welcome my property value going up and improved schools from raised taxes and investing.

Affordability needs to be addressed but not at the cost of progress, growth, and improvement.

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KidHorn January 20, 2021 - 11:42 am

So, when will the gov’t use eminent domain and force the anchor stores to sell their properties?

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