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An Inside Look At Pike & Rose’s Crown Jewel

by Aaron Kraut — October 9, 2013 at 2:05 pm 660 0

The empty shell of a building at Mid-Pike Plaza will one day hold eight movie screens, a massive gym with an outdoor studio space and a glass-enclosed music venue overlooking a tree-lined street grid.

It’s mostly cement now. But in about a year, Rockville-based developer Federal Realty Investment Trust hopes to set the standard for the redevelopment of White Flint with 11800 Grand Park Avenue — the main attraction of its Pike & Rose project.

The eight-story retail and office building will have restaurants and stores facing Old Georgetown Road and a Del Frisco’s Grille facing Grand Park Avenue, a new street that will extend south to a realigned Executive Boulevard and north through the development.

A 30,000-square-foot Sport&Health club will occupy parts of the second and third floors. Nearby will be a staircase and escalator to the luxury iPic movie theater.

It will have eight screens. Each theater will sit 90 people, some even in the comfort of reclined seating and blankets as if in business class of an airplane. The theater will have an internal laundry service.

There will be outdoor seating places overlooking “Muse Alley,” a pedestrian walk-thru similar to Federal Realty’s Bethesda Lane at Bethesda Row.

Then, there’s the 250-seat music venue, which will be operated by Strathmore. Federal Realty’s Evan Goldman said the project was morphed over six months of talks with Strathmore CEO Eliot Pfanstiehl from seasonal outdoor space, to performing arts tent to what’s envisioned for it today.

Goldman said the idea was borne out of a plea from Pfanstiehl for development partners at an event a few years ago.

“I think I emailed him during the meeting,” Goldman said.

Strathmore will book the venue with jazz, rock, folk and other performances on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Strathmore and Federal Realty will then book weddings, celebrations and corporate events for the space when it’s not being used for music.

The music space will have a tilted roof and glass on three sides that can be opened to the new community below.

Federal Realty has branded the effort as “RePIKEalization,” a transformation meant to play on the well-known Rockville Pike, but not so much its strip shopping centers and large surface parking lots.

On the east side of the building is a 173-unit apartment rental building that Goldman said will cater to a younger set. He expects the units overlooking an outdoor fitness studio space to go first.

“We’ve found people really like interesting and unique things to look at,” he said.

On the west side of the building, a tower crane is busy helping workers build an 18-story, 300-unit apartment building that Goldman said will be more expensive and probably more suitable to empty nesters.

Federal Realty hopes to get its plans approved tomorrow for the second phase of its project. The first phase will be the first completed large-scale development under the 2010 White Flint Sector Plan.

Goldman said being first will allow Federal Realty to “set the standard.” But the development will have to meld with projects planned for across Rockville Pike, at White Flint Mall and elsewhere around the metro station to create a real place.

And that process will have to be natural. Goldman said he doesn’t expect those surrounding the old Mid-Pike Plaza to instantly identify it as Pike & Rose.

“People in this area are too smart for that,” Goldman said.

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