Future Plans for Lakeforest Mall Still on Hold

Gaithersburg councilmembers reluctantly agreed Tuesday to give WRS Inc. Real Estate Investments another three months to negotiate with the anchor stores at Lakeforest Mall before moving forward with a yearlong study of how best to use the land.

WRS, which owns the mall, originally was given 150 days to work out a plan in which it would then speak for the major stores at the mall, including Lord and Taylor and Macy’s, thereby making it easier to develop future plans.

Currently, WRS and representatives from the four stores each would have to approve any plans for the mall on Russell Avenue, where currently many stores are vacant.

Kevin Rogers, WRS executive vice president, told council members he had hoped to work everything out in 150 days, but said, “Business is messy. Sometimes it takes a little longer than originally expected.”

He explained, “We had all four anchors, but some funding fell through.”

Council members had planned to hire SmithGroup to complete a one-year special study area master plan for the mall. During that time, no zooming map amendments or development applications would be permitted so that the town could create an overall plan for how best to use the 103-acre site.

SmithGroup was one of 13 companies that sent in proposals for the study.

After listening to Rogers’ request for more time, council members agreed to put the study on hold for up to three months.

“I am extremely frustrated by the position that we are in,” said Councilman Ryan Spiegel.

While the council would like to work with WRS, “our job is to do what is in the best interest of the City,” he said.

Despite repeated requests for updates prior to the Feb. 18 meeting, “We heard nothing, crickets for over a month,” Siegel said.

He said he “will reluctantly okay a one-time only moratorium if and only if WRC will keep us informed.”

Council Vice President Laurie-Anne Sayles noted, “This is one of our last developable parcels of land in our city. We are looking forward to hearing good news.”

Councilmembers hope that the study they tabled would guide the them as to the best use of the land and appear to be in agreement to approve it when the new 90-day deadline is over.

They would like to see a mix use of retail, residential and commercial use, which would require rezoning of some of the eight parcels.

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Suzanne Pollak

About Suzanne Pollak

Suzanne is a freelance reporter with Montgomery Community Media. She has over 35 years professional experience writing for newspapers, magazines, non-profit newsletters and the web.

Comments

2 Responses to “Future Plans for Lakeforest Mall Still on Hold”

  1. Avatar
    On February 19, 2020 at 3:04 pm responded with... #

    There is alot to do main point is put the place in such an good area naime some brand estore. They may stay and the others side new fresh man on local business

  2. Avatar
    On February 22, 2020 at 2:38 pm responded with... #

    I have lived in Gaithersburg since 1973, there was a beautiful lake on the site of the mall, my mother & I would blackberry pick while my little boys fished! Gaithersburg has grown immensely since then but not considering too many places that afford green space/parks! Maybe consider taking down all the brick & mortar and creating a park that families can enjoy! Gaithersburg does not need another housing development or shopping that adds more traffic congestion, we certainly have our fair share!

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