For the past six months, the community has waited for positive news on upgrades and new tenants for Kentlands Market Square. Hope was sustained mid-January when Paragon took over Kentlands Stadium Theatre 10 from longtime owner Paul Huang, bringing the promise of more first-run films, reclining leather seats, and small plates, flatbreads and salads in addition to the normal movie theatre fare.
In mid-February, Largent’s fans began dining on the second floor only because of water damage due to a burst pipe and renovations to the first floor. Turns out, these renovations are being made to bring a new, gourmet restaurant concept to Largent’s. Manager Juan Mata said that the second floor will continue to offer live music and a sports bar theme, while the first floor will feature upscale dining. He is not 100 percent sure when the first floor will reopen, but said that this will be soon.
Despite these bright spots, Kentlands Market Square continues to languish with much empty space and no physical improvements to shopping center facades or common spaces. Beatty’s most recent mid-March vacancy, Medifast at 120 Market St., occurred because the company consolidated operations to its Rockville Congressional Shopping Center location. According to a Medifast spokesperson, the Kentlands Market Square location lease was up, and the two Medifast locations “were very close together.”
Many longstanding vacancies have not been addressed.
Hakuba and Star Diner, both November 2014 closures at 705 and 706 Center Point Way respectively, remain empty. The Star Diner closure was the second in less than a year with Nick and Elda Cordone operating the diner for only six months. Liz Bakery at 119 Market St. closed for good in December 2014, following an extended temporary closure due to a May 24, 2014 fire. Persiano Gallery, long operating on Market Street West, moved to the former Bally’s Fitness location, 188 Kentlands Boulevard, in January. Persiano’s former Market Street West space remains empty, and only Dr. Karl Lee, General Dentistry, and Two Left Feet currently populate that block.
Despite late 2014 reports by Beatty leasing agent Chris Saa that Mathnasium was coming to 206 Market St. East, the space adjacent to DryClean Station, that storefront remains empty.
Bob Auxier of Blittzed Marketing, public relations spokesperson for Beatty and Kentlands Market Square, said that “bigger, better improvements are coming” with “different placements.” Beatty has been working aggressively to bring nice tenants, he said, which “takes time and they are being very selective.”
According to Auxier, big news is coming soon, to be revealed when a lease is signed on the Star Diner space. He said that a lease will be signed any day now and after that, an overall plan for Kentlands Market Square will be revealed—something that will make Market Square “the focal point of the Kentlands business community.”
Auxier said the revitalization of the Square will include programming in a variety of arts and entertainment events. Blittzed Marketing met with Councilmember Neil Harris and City of Gaithersburg staff in mid-January regarding a proposed schedule of events in Kentlands for 2015. According to Michele Potter, director of Gaithersburg’s Parks, Recreation and Culture, concerts at the former Star Diner are part of this proposed lineup.