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What’s new for Kentlands Downtown Development?

Kentlands Downtown Working Group (KDWG) Update

Last month we introduced you to the players and plans for the Kentlands redevelopment. Every month we’ll share the latest updates as we inch closer towards a vibrant downtown we can all enjoy. Here’s the latest:

Market Square redevelopment work pending; signage proposal is approved by Planning Commission.

What’s the scoop on Market Square? Work on the Cinepolis movie theater and building out the paseo is pending. Demolition and permit requests are under review by the city.

In the meantime, on March 7 the City of Gaithersburg Planning Commission approved a new signage package for Market Square. The proposal included the guidelines for new tenants, imagery for construction fencing and directional signage to help people navigate Market Square. The newly approved signs include some artistically-inspired options like a giant “KENTLANDS, CITY OF GAITHERSBURG” sign on the side of Cinepolis. Kimco calls it a “celebration wall.” Check out some photo highlights on the Kentlands Downtown Working Group on NextDoor or our section on the Kentlands Crier website.

Kimco is looking ahead to their next stage of development, as they’ve recently requested approval for Sketch Plan Application (SK-7837-2018), which covers further redevelopment of Kentlands Market Square. The application proposes up to 1,200,000 sq. feet of commercial/non-residential space and up to 1,614 residential units on approx. 21 acres. You can view their plan at www.gaithersburgmd.gov/government/city-projects/kentlands-market-square and share your opinion to the City’s Planning Committee. Do it at the joint public hearing on April 16 or ahead of time by emailing planning@gaithersburgmd.gov.

To drive-thru or not to drive thru?

That is the question. As we’ve shared, Saul Holdings (the owners of Kentlands Square) has proposed a set of three buildings to be built in the Lowes’ parking lot between Chipotle and Mattress Firm. Saul would like one of them to have a drive-through.

As you may remember, Saul proposed the three buildings before and the city told them to go back to the drawing board due to traffic concerns from the drive-through. They’ve since revised their plan and the city allowed the public to weigh in until March 9.

There’s been a lot of conversation and controversy about the drive-through. Some are in favor of a drive-through for convenience and variety, some against because of its impact on walkability.

If you ask Mike Watkins, longtime Kentlands resident and former Town Architect, and Marina Khoury, current Town Architect, the drive-through as it’s currently proposed would mean less walkability, less pedestrian safety and a shift to a more car-friendly downtown that would negatively impact our sense of community. Where retail goes matters, Marina has said, and adding it as a drive-through could negatively affect the success of the other downtown businesses.

The Town-Courier did a great job of covering the drive-through controversy. Check out the full article at http://towncourier.com/proposed-drive-through-ignites-discussion/.

The Planning Commission is expected to make a recommendation to the Mayor and City Council by the end of March.

Remember – you can catch more news on Kentlands redevelopment by following the KDWG on NextDoor or by checking the Kentlands Crier website.

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