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Renaming Rockville Pike

Washington DC

With all the new development planned over the next 10 years for the two miles between Edson Lane and Rollins Avenue in "The Area Formerly Known as White Flint," the community is looking for a new name. We have one to suggest—and maybe you do, too.

Here's ours: Rocky Road. We're quite serious. So what if it's a fun name? It should be a fun area. And catchy names stick. One of the hottest neighborhoods in New York these days is "DUMBO" in Brooklyn (stands for "Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass." Or you can go with an acronym like NoBe (for North Bethesda), although that's not original with us. TriBeCa, SoHo, and NoMad in NY; SaMo and WeHo in LA; SoMa in SF; and NoMa in DC have all come out of nowhere to enter the lexicon of our time. But it doesn't need to be an acronym. Cleveland Park and Capitol Hill have made it. The RB Corridor is almost there. And an acronym, even if it looks okay in print, is no guarantee of success: Who ever says "NoVa"?

Federal Realty development VP Evan Goldman tells us what's forcing a decision is that his firm's Pike & Rose (that we wrote about yesterday) is coming online—residential opened last month and retail arrives in 60 days. "Ideally the area can now create a larger brand and market itself jointly," he says. The Washington Post did an online survey a couple months back and got some great names, but admittedly some could be controversial: "Gridlock"; "North North Georgetown"; and a suggestion to "just give in and call it Starbucks."

Although some have proposed variations on Pike Place, Seattleites may consider that plagiarism (we snapped their market of that name above), and Evan realizes other property owners (JBG, Saul, Lerner, Gables, LCOR, and Foulger Pratt) may feel that favors Federal. Although White Flint will remain the name of the Metro stop, the point of the renaming, Evan says, is to move forward into a new era, with a cool new name. With Holly Sears of the Montgomery Business Development Corporation as point person, ideas are being collected and debated. Streetsense has been tasked to hold a "charrette" in September for 100 stakeholders, led by Gabby Rojchin. Evan reminds us that billions will be invested in the area—eventually Pike & Rose will be 3.5M SF, and the Lerners are taking down White Flint Mall and potentially putting in 6M SF of mixed use. This is serious.

So, here's your chance for immortality: contact our reporter with your suggestions and we'll print some: Chris.Baird@Bisnow.com. And if you're having trouble thinking creative thoughts, just go to Gifford's for ice cream, and for inspiration order a…Rocky Road