The Future of Lakeforest Mall

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December 8, 2019
MCS Staff

The City of Gaithersburg has recently authorized an outline of a development plan with the new owners of Lakeforest Mall, WRS Inc.

The agreement is to set forth a framework for the redevelopment of the property (Lakeforest Mall) away from its current status as a roughly 40 year old mall to a thoughtfully designed mix of uses (including residential, commercial, and retail uses).

Here are some highlights:

  • Lakeforest will submit and the City of Gaithersburg will process an application to rezone the property to MXD (both properties believe that’s MXD Zoning is in the public’s best interest).
  • Lakeforest may develop the non-residential portions of the property with at least minimum floor area ratio of the percentages of mixed uses as follows: Hotel 5%; Retail 25%; and Office, other 5%; and with least a minimum of 45% residential development
  • Lakeforest will submit a transportation analysis in accordance with the City C?ode requirement??.
  • Gaithersburg will use its best efforts to reasonably expedite the processing of Lakeforest’s applications.

A public-private evaluation process will be engaged throughout the planning effort.

While nothing is set in stone, it looks like we now know the future of the mall.

No dates have been provided regarding when the mall could close, if this is the direction WRS Inc. and the City of Gaithersburg ultimately choose to go.

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33 Comments

  1. December Diva on December 8, 2019 at 6:48 pm

    It is unfortunate what has happened to Lakeforest Mall. I worked there in the late 80’s and remember it was always busy. Rents were raised and it drove away some of the best stores. Now it is going to be torn down and those people who don’t drive and depend on that mall for shopping will gave nowhere to shop. Unless the housing that will be built will be affordable or for seniors… No housing needs to he built there. You say 25% retail… Stores that people who depend on that area will not be able to afford. I understand change but not greed

    • Annie Boone on February 25, 2020 at 11:44 am

      But, so many of the department stores that once supported the mall are failing and disappearing. Most people who live around there can go elsewhere to shop. Those that don’t have the ability or means to go elsewhere are not the demographics that would support such large shopping venues, anyway.
      I worked at that mall at two different stores back in the late 80s. It used to be jam packed full of shoppers.
      That was a time when you could buy all from a new washing machine to a diamond necklace all in one shopping trip. Then, one by one, they all closed up. No more toy stores, record stores, kitchen stores, shoe stores, etc. All of them went away.
      The last time I was there it was a ghostly experience. It was like a zombie version of what it once was.

  2. Linda Owens on December 8, 2019 at 11:51 pm

    I have been hoping for this outcome for over 10 years! Please move forward quickly! Not like how the golf course at Montgomery Village project has been lingering for years now. I am a 30 year resident of Gaithersburg.

  3. Marilyn Schuman on December 9, 2019 at 12:42 am

    Thanks for this information. Good to know they aren’t turning it into a Casino. Alas, a minimum 45% residential will continue to stretch our traffic/roads and schools way beyond what was ever intended.

  4. EG on December 9, 2019 at 2:54 am

    So is it still going to be a mall?

  5. Angela on December 9, 2019 at 2:48 pm

    Wonder what will happen to the ghetto apartment complex next door.

    • Angela a hater on December 10, 2019 at 4:01 pm

      Angela sounds like a hater y’all ?

      • Mark on January 21, 2020 at 10:16 pm

        Normal people call Angela a realist.
        Lake Forest area is a dangerous dump.

      • Stating the obvious on January 23, 2020 at 5:32 am

        Or just a resident calling it like it is ?

    • K. Hutchison on July 14, 2020 at 1:48 am

      You don’t mean Cider Mill, do you? I know somebody who lives there. She does not have a car, so Lakeforest Mall was a good place for her to shop. It looks perfectly fine, and it is a decent place for low-income people. There are regular inspections to make sure everything is in good condition. What makes it ghetto, in your opinion? The Latino people who are a large percentage of the people who live there?

      • K. Hutchison on July 14, 2020 at 2:05 am

        (continued) She still goes there to shop at the stores that haven’t closed. She can’t buy things on line and have them delivered to her apartment because there are some kids who may take anything that is left at the door. That hasn’t happened to her yet, but unattended packages could be tempting. That is true of any apartments.

      • Ann Murray on September 17, 2020 at 1:14 am

        i live at cider mill and over the years i have seen j b g propeerties buy it then some other company bought it and now cider mill is owned by h o c and cider mill has gone down hill ther4e have been two fires and shootings and drugs and i had a package stolen from out side of my door witch was two ans of raid bug spray i feel sorry for teh person who opened my package plus some idiots al ways pulling one of the fire alarms plus at least three times a month cider mill is all ways turning off the water for some reason or another plus some apts have mmice and cock roackes plus people arguing all hours of teh day and night

    • DeDe P. on August 12, 2020 at 2:02 pm

      It’s Changing to Section 8 as tenants leave the complex, thanks to the County Executive .

  6. Lawrence Tagrin on December 11, 2019 at 4:39 pm

    So 65% of the property goes to overpriced apartments and condos in an already congested area, 5% goes to a hotel within five minutes of four other hotels and hotels, and 5% goes to offices. The bottom line is that we lose 75% of the shopping area and the South Carolina company runs away with the profit.

    • Gloria on August 15, 2020 at 1:21 pm

      Well said. This is not development for the improvement of the Montgomery Village community. Housing is not needed. A hotel is only a good option if the Village gets a percentage of the revenue. This is a pure profit venture.

      It doesn’t even make sense to enter the Village and see a bunch of houses. We need something that stands out and that beautifies the area. How about turning it into a indoor outdoor town center with greenery and a walk/bike trail. It should include small businesses and businesses that provide fun activities. Most importantly, lease/rent should be affordable for the businesses.

  7. Montgomery Village Resident on December 12, 2019 at 12:51 am

    Any chance they could turn the Lakeforest transit area into a metro stop?

    • Gloria on August 15, 2020 at 1:22 pm

      That’s the best idea of them all!!!

  8. Chris Brown on December 14, 2019 at 4:38 pm

    We don’t need any more residential development in the area. The city is already far too big. We don’t need any more retail — remember, this was a mall and that failed. We don’t need office space either.

    Just knock the building down and rip up the parking lot; divide the parcel into four zones and put a school on each: elementary, middle, high schools plus an MC campus. Build parking garages under each to reduce paving; make the buildings several stories tall so you have room for expansion; make the rooftops green; surround the campus with parkland and multi use play fields. Bob’s your uncle.

    • Almost on January 23, 2020 at 5:34 am

      Honestly not a bad idea at all, although this is incrediblly close to GHS which is relatively new and expanded.

      • Cheez whiz on January 24, 2020 at 7:05 pm

        Also around the corner from Mont Village Middle and Stedwick Elementary. Btw, Seneca Valley and Northwest are only 3 miles apart and together will have over 4000 students when it all settles out.

        But really, the area doesn’t seem big enough for all that – think about all room the fields/stadium a high school would need if a little ole’ elementary needs 7-10 acres

  9. Gina Maryland on December 27, 2019 at 5:03 am

    Being that it is either really cold or raining about half of the year in this area, outdoor shopping is not a smart idea to keep pushing. I won’t “shop” at Pike & Rose or the Clarksburg outlets when it’s 20’s and blustery or even just very rainy. So, let’s be smart and not continue this trendy outdoor mall stuff. Also, the last thing we need are any more condos. The whole Pike is backing up with them and guess what – there aren’t THAT many jobs to warrant it. I know that a new enclosed mall would be wishful thinking, but certainly would make more sense than the other options. Check out how crowded Montgomery mall is all the time…

  10. Jessica M on January 13, 2020 at 3:59 am

    Like we need any more housing in the city of Gaithersburg! Look at Gaithersburg High School, built in 2016 and overpopulated in 1 year! Kids sit on the dirty floors for lunch. There aren’t enough classroom seats. I can’t imagine what the other schools are like! When I went to Gaithersburg Middle School, there were already 3 separate lunchtimes to accommodate the large number of students.
    Furthermore, we’re now having to drive 40 minutes to Montgomery Mall for simple shopping! It’s too much of a hassle to drive so far just to get a few new clothes, hang out with friends or to grab a bite to eat. I was really hoping they’d revamp it into a larger mall. I wonder what the 25% of retail will be…

  11. Henry M on January 17, 2020 at 6:40 pm

    Ike Leggett’s “Energy Tax” took all the business life and energy out of that Mall.

  12. Linda I Hutchison on January 23, 2020 at 4:40 pm

    There should not be residential properties there. We need the retail stores. I don;t have a car, but I can just cross the street to go to the mall. It is very convenient.

  13. Scott H on January 27, 2020 at 1:05 am

    Why not put a pop up town there like the Rio and Downtown Crown and Downtown Rockville. Those three have been a magnet for shoppers, real estate such as ground floor retail and upper levels residential spaces. Maybe the area isn’t as large I don’t know for sure but if successful could draw people who don’t drive, living within walking distance would be a plus. It would put some better looking places to go for eating out, shopping,

  14. Francisco on January 31, 2020 at 10:14 pm

    Enforce immigration laws and remove the gang scum in the nearby neighborhoods. This side of Gaithersburg will not be prosperous until the crime and immigration problem is addressed.

    • Quoth the Raven on July 30, 2020 at 5:54 pm

      If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

  15. Steve on February 17, 2020 at 9:30 am

    I walked through the mall this morning. It’s a bad seen. They need to do something about the crime. That’s what running people and businesses away.

  16. Filly k on April 1, 2020 at 4:49 pm

    I loved shopping at Macy’s and lord and Taylor.
    People are sad that they are not renewing their lease.
    Everyone is nice when I go into the Mall and I will miss it?

  17. JASON on April 24, 2020 at 2:33 pm

    Ridiculous
    lets add more housing to an area that cant support it. people living on top of one another. traffic is perfect the way its, lets add more !!! stupid developers and stupid people. Germantown is heading the same direction. people overloading the area, nobody thinks around here, lets just build cheap “bogee” looking apts n such. no thought goes into anything around here. might as well rename it Wuhan, Maryland…

  18. Nancy on June 28, 2020 at 3:07 pm

    You know–I honestly don’t know if we need more housing or not. I made the mistake of buying a condo in Montgomery Village near the Gaithersburg library back in 2005. It was the only affordable real estate that I could find, and the area was still decent. Trader Joe’s was here, and the mall still had some good shops. When the crash came in 2008, I lost a fortune on my condo, and the area started going downhill fast. When I sell later this year, I’ll lose a lot of money. In terms of safety and quality of life: When I complained about an aggressive police officer in my neighborhood a couple of years ago, the police chief told me I was living in an extremely dangerous area. I believe the description was, “the most dangerous area of Gaithersburg/Montgomery Village.” While I don’t want anyone pushed out due to “gentrification,” I would like to see the area improved in a way that benefits everyone. I’m not an expert, so I don’t know what that way is. I hope, pray for the best.

  19. Sophia X on October 15, 2020 at 11:32 am

    The big picture is that retail stores will not exist soon. Lazy America – buy online and buy CHEAP! I support only businesses that have a brick an mortar store.
    The sad turn of America is the fault of all those who sit in front of screens all day and refuse to go out to support small business and the hard working American dream.
    Covid came along and made things much worse – Businesses that have been around for over 40 years failed – due to lack of support during Covid and poor planning ! Their owners
    and employees are out of work. Who do you think will pay the unemployment? We all will! This old mall is the end of our retail environments as we know it. At this point, anything
    they build will be better than leaving it as it is…I hope that the crime rate goes down – but without jobs I do not see that happening!

  20. KidHorn on October 26, 2020 at 2:39 pm

    Seems the future is grocery stores, restaurants, phones, and HD\Lowes.

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