The design of the redeveloped lakefront at RIO Washingtonian Center in Gaithersburg Credit: Peterson Cos.

Patrons of the RIO Washingtonian Center will see major changes, including the addition of new restaurants and upgraded cinemas, as the Gaithersburg lakefront shopping, dining and entertainment complex undergoes a $30 million redevelopment.

Peterson Cos., the Fairfax-based company that owns the complex off of I-270, announced Tuesday the project includes the arrival within the next year of Silver Diner. The upscale diner chain, which has locations in Rockville and elsewhere in Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey, will open its 15th location by early summer 2019, according to a press release. The company’s plans were first reported Tuesday by Washington Business Journal.

According to Peterson, the redevelopment’s first phase will extensively update the RIO building and include “better connectivity to a new and expanded boardwalk, greenspace overlooking the lakefront with generous seating options and a performance stage, a redesigned pedestrian bridge and other common area enhancements.”

Rendering of the planned Silver Diner at RIO Washingtonian Center. Credit: CORE architecture + design

“We are confident these enhancements to the physical environment as well as the retail, dining and entertainment offerings will secure RIO’s position as the heartbeat of the community for many years to come,” Paul Weinschenk, Peterson’s president of retail, said.

He told the Business Journal that the redevelopment project is an effort to make the complex more competitive with other nearby shopping centers such as Kentlands Market Square and Downtown Crown in Gaithersburg and Bethesda’s Westfield Montgomery mall.

The complex includes the RIO building, which first opened in 1982, and the Washingtonian Center and Washingtonian Waterfront, which were developed in 1997 and 2004 and included a 9-acre lake. The second phase of the project will unite the project under the unified brand name of RIO, the company said.


Upgrades to the complex’s AMC RIO Cinemas 18 are expected to be completed by November and will include 1,840 luxury reclining seats, expanded menu options and MacGuffins Bar.

Other restaurants expected to open early next year in the complex include Yard House, a sports-car chain boasting an extensive craft-beer selection; Lanzhou Hand Pulled Noodles, Kung Fu Tea and The Baked Bear.

Dave & Busters, a 39,000-square-foot dining and entertainment center under construction near the cinemas, is expected to open next summer.


The redevelopment is scheduled to be completed in 2020, according to the company.