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New Plans For Lakeforest Mall Redevelopment Call For More Than 750 Units

The entrance to the Lakeforest Mall in Gaithersburg.

An aging shopping mall in Montgomery County is slated for a major redevelopment. 

WRS Realty has released initial plans for the redevelopment of Gaithersburg's Lakeforest Mall that call for a mix of townhouses, condos and apartments totaling at least 750 units, plus retail, Bethesda Magazine reports

The South Carolina-based developer posted a sign outside the entrance of the mall with pictures of the conceptual site plan, MoCo Show first reported. The developer hasn't yet submitted plans to the city.

The plans call for between 500 and 600 townhouses, 120 to 150 condos and 175 to 250 apartments. The project would also include 400K to 500K SF of retail and 1,000 parking spaces.

The 102-acre mall property currently features 1.1M SF of retail space and 7,000 parking spaces. The mall, built by Taubman Co., opened in 1978.

WRS in July 2019 paid $22.5M to acquire the mall's 47-acre core, which didn't include the four anchor department stores. Only one of the anchors, Macy's, remains open, while the JCPenney, Lord & Taylor and Sears have closed since last year's acquisition. Many of the inline stores are still open.  

Gaithersburg in August placed a 12-month moratorium on the redevelopment to give it time to rezone the site for mixed-use. City Council Member Neil Harris told the Washington Business Journal in August that the moratorium wasn't meant to stifle development and the city still wants the project to move forward, but it wants more time to evaluate it.

WRS opposed the moratorium, saying it would make it more difficult to put together a financing package to acquire the anchors, which it is still working on. The city is holding three virtual forums Thursday to hear feedback from the public on the future of the property.