The revitalization of Kentlands Downtown is exciting to watch. The paseo, making way for smaller sit-down and quick-service dining establishments, as well as boutique retail and fitness, the new luxury cinema, and updated facades in Kentlands Market Square; the At Home buildout in Kentlands Square; and the anticipated Kentlands Apartments at the Diya Restaurant site are all being tracked with anticipation. But, as the great Tom Perry wrote, “the waiting is the hardest part.”
The Oct. 22 “Future of Kentlands: Happy Hour & Panel Discussion” hosted by the Kentlands Downtown Working Group (KDWG) at the Kentlands Clubhouse sought to address that. Bringing together developers and other influencers in Kentlands’ downtown revitalization, the discussion was very well attended.
The panel consisted of three members of the KDWG, including Josh Wooldridge, The NRP Group vice president of development, Neil Burka, Federal Realty senior regional property manager, and Brian O’Looney, Torti Gallas + Partners principal. Joining the panel were representatives of Kimco Realty: Caren Garfield, director of multi-family development, and Gregory Reed, vice president of development.
All shared a common goal. The purpose of Kentlands Downtown revitalization is to create a third space—in addition to work and home—where the community can gather to shop, dine, have fun and socialize. With the migration of retail to online shopping, commercial areas must offer an experience that outweighs the convenience of ordering products on your iPhone. And despite the long-term projections for more residential in Kentlands Downtown, our retail will not be able to be supported by our residents alone. Kentlands needs to be a destination—a place to hang out, grab a meal and do a little shopping before dinner.
Discussion touched on the many improvements now in progress and those that are anticipated.
The KDWG panel spoke of the Kentlands Apartments project, a 365-unit multifamily apartment complex and seven-level parking garage located at 913 and 917 Quince Orchard Road (the current Diya Restaurant site). The schematic development plan is scheduled for policy discussion by the Mayor and City Council on Nov. 19.
The panel also noted that given the long-term lease signed by At Home for the former Kmart space, the planned revitalization of Kentlands Square will not begin for 10 to 15 years. Approved by the Mayor and City Council on July 17, 2017, phase one of the Kentlands Square mixed use redevelopment will feature up to 1450 multifamily units and up to 784,080 square feet of commercial on the 12 acres currently featuring At Home and a parking lot.
Also coming to the Kentlands Square shopping center owned by Saul Centers are three commercial infill buildings. These buildings, which include one drivethrough, will offer up to 16,000 square feet of commercial space and be constructed in the current Lowe’s parking lot space between Mattress Firm and Chipotle/Cold Stone Creamery. Discussion highlighted the benefit of connecting Kentlands Square to Kentlands Market Square via an improved road that will activate the space with outdoor seating, welcoming street front and pedestrian-friendly walkways.
Those assembled were especially interested in hearing from Caren Garfield and Gregory Reed, representing Kimco. Garfield’s presentation showed the current Kentlands Market Square as well as renderings of what’s to come. Cinépolis will open in 2019, she said. This luxury cinema, that according to their website “offers guests enhanced moving-going experiences,” will offer 10 theaters. Cinépolis, she added, will be the anchor of the new and improved Kentlands Market Square. The rendering of Cinépolis showcased an Instagram-worthy “KENTLANDS” emblazoned on the side of the theater.
The renderings of the new paseo (or outdoor walkway) show new spaces that will be available to tenants. Garfield said that the paseo gives business access to Market Street as well as parking on the other side. It also gives Kimco a chance to get creative with smaller spaces. Kimco imagines that these spaces will be of interest to both quick-service and sit-down dining establishments. The paseo will be 36-feet wide, with different pavers, and festival lighting throughout. The space formerly occupied by Largent’s, at the intersection of Market Street and Center Point Way, has been transformed into two separate spaces. A separate entrance with access to the top floor has been created. Salon Lofts, a space for independent beauty professionals and their clients, will occupy the top floor.
According to Jennifer Maisch, Kimco director of corporate communications, reached through a follow-up email, Salon Lofts is expected to open in the spring of 2019. Foundry Fitness is going into a space on Market Street West and expects to open midway through 2019, she added. Garfield also spoke of the façade facelift underway now. In addition to the use of natural materials like wood and stone, the brick already in use on several buildings is being refreshed.