Building Project Could Transform Site of Kensington’s Hawkins’ Produce

Building Project Could Transform Site of Kensington’s Hawkins’ Produce

Developer has talked about filling renovated space with live music, wine-tasting

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Hawkins' Produce

Via Google Earth

A redevelopment plan for the site of Hawkins’ Produce in Kensington could bring live music, food and a wine-tasting room to the historic property.

Chevy Chase-based developer Tom Brault said he’s looking to spruce up the corner of Detrick and Knowles avenues and transform it into a fun hangout spot.

“We’ve purchased the property with the goal of being cooperative to the community, listening to the community, making a really nice entrance point to the town of Kensington,” Brault said.

Hawkins’ Produce has been selling fruits and vegetables straight from the farm for almost four decades and has expanded over the years to offer eggs, preserves and freshly-baked goods, according to the business website.

Brault said his company, 10414 Detrick Venture, isn’t looking to demolish the 1920s-era building that now occupies the property. Instead, he wants to renovate the space to create a light, airy interior with 20-foot ceilings. A plaza with outdoor seating and attractive signage also forms part of his vision, he said.

Up to four different users could occupy the building once the project is completed, but Brault said it’s too soon to talk specifics.

However, Brault said he’s told the town’s mayor he’ll try to lure a frozen yogurt shop to the space. He’s also asked town leaders about amending state and municipal alcohol laws so a wine-tasting business could open at the site.

Town manager Sanford Daily said Kensington was a dry town until about a decade ago, and some of the old restrictions still persist in state statute.

But he said town leaders want to work with Brault to pull off the project, since the Hawkins’ Produce property is in an area where they’re trying to attract revitalization. A number of town properties were rezoned in recent years to encourage redevelopment, but Daily said no projects have gotten off the ground so far.

Brault said friends who live near the produce stand turned his attention to the site, and he is hopeful that the area will experience a renaissance. At the same time, he said he wants to celebrate the property’s past.

In the 19th century, a railway station stood there, and Brault said he’s calling the project “Knowles Station” as a nodto the site’s history.

Brault said he’s now working with the Kensington mayor, Tracey Furman, and development review board to secure approval for his plans, and he hopes to have the project complete by next summer.

News of the redevelopment was first reported by Montgomery Newsletter, a subscription-only real estate bulletin.

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