A pair of development companies wants to transform seven office buildings in Rockville into Montgomery County’s next mixed-use destination.
Bethesda-based 1788 Holdings and Bethesda-based Lantian Development announced Wednesday that they bought the two-story buildings on Shady Grove Road between Choke Cherry Road and Gaither Road for $50 million.
For now, the developers plan to renovate five of the buildings and start an aggressive marketing campaign for new tenants to fill about 145,000 square feet of vacant office space. They also plan to demolish the buildings at 2 Choke Cherry Road and 4 Choke Cherry Road.
Over the next 10 years, the companies plan to spend more than $500 million to transform the entire 31-acre site into up to 2 million square feet of commercial office space, medical offices, retail, hospitality and residential uses.
Larry Goodwin, principal with 1788 Holdings, said he hopes to finish selecting an architect in the next 60 days and have a project plan in front of the City of Rockville's Planning Commission by the end of this year.
At the same time, the developers will work on more detailed plans for the first phase of the project, which contains the two buildings that will be demolished. Goodwin said construction on that portion of the site could begin by the end of 2016.
“This design will mirror other pedestrian-friendly projects in the suburban Maryland region, highlighted by street-level retail and anchored by a grocery store and office component,” read a press release announcing the project. “Residential units and a hotel will be positioned on the upper-level floors of the development.”
County Executive Ike Leggett lent his support to the project in the press release, calling it “just the type of creative thinking and substantial investment that spurs economic development activity and attracts companies, retailers and consumers alike.”
Leggett also said the county “is impressed with this plan,” even though it will be up to the City of Rockville to approve it.
The project site is a few blocks east of I-270 and about one mile west of the Shady Grove Metro station. It won’t be the first residential development in the immediate area.
King Farm sits just south of the site and developer Gables Residential just delivered its fourth and final apartment building part of the Gables Upper Rock project just east of I-270. Goodwin also pointed to the shopping center across Shady Grove Road, which is anchored by Home Depot and a Nordstrom Rack.
"From everything I've heard and seen, the Gables development is doing exceptionally well. The shopping center is doing well, so we knew it would be a really good retail location," Goodwin said. "Rarely do you get to buy 31 acres surrounded by as much density as this. Usually, you're doing this in a greenfield setting. We had the opportunity to do something in a very proven location so it's very exciting for us."