White Flint Mall Redevelopment
Visitors to the future White Flint Mall site in North Bethesda will see a dramatically different place than the regional retail shopping center standing along Rockville Pike today.
The Montgomery County Planning Board approved a sketch plan for a new mixed development project on the 45.3-acre mall site that will transform the retail establishment into a complete community featuring residential, office, retail and public uses including a large central plaza, a 2.3 acre addition to the existing White Flint Neighborhood Park, and an elementary school site.
It is the fourth mixed-use project approved by the Board in White Flint, reinforcing the 2010 sector plan< http://www.montgomeryplanning.org/community/whiteflint/> that encourages innovative, pedestrian-friendly development projects near the Red Line Metro station. Previously, the Board approved Pike and Rose (Mid-Pike Plaza), North Bethesda Market II, and North Bethesda Gateway, mixed-use developments that are expected to change the face of Rockville Pike from a sea of parking lots to a vibrant mix of uses. White Flint Mall is half a mile from the Metro station.
The development application is among the largest reviewed recently by the Board, consisting of 5.22 million square feet, including 2.87 million square feet of residential. The plan’s most transformative element is a new street network that creates developable blocks with many public spaces.
The White Flint Mall project will front Rockville Pike and the eastern part of Executive Boulevard, which, along with Nebel Street, will be extended into the site. A hotel is planned along Executive Boulevard, as well as offices. Residences are planned in a mix of mid-rise and high-rise multi-family buildings.
Developers plan to build a series of public and private streets that create blocks and include ample sidewalks and attractive streetscapes that encourage walking. Most will have on-street parking, although the majority of parking for the development will be underground. A pedestrian promenade will front Rockville Pike and interior courtyards will serve the multi-family high-rise residential buildings.
Environmental features will include stormwater management techniques, such as green roofs, bioswales, and bioretention structures. The proposed sketch plan features building heights and orientations that take advantage of passive solar lighting and heating.
As with the other Rockville Pike projects, White Flint Mall is located in the new Commercial Residential Zone, which fosters a mix of uses and public benefits to update the county’s aging commercial areas.