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The Upper Montgomery County Neighborhood Guide

Upper Montgomery County is inarguably transforming, albeit more gradually than some of the Virginia and DC neighborhoods to the south. Already beginning to replace its strip shopping centers are more pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use, transit-oriented developments.

Rendering of Pike & Rose

Rockville, the county seat, is home to a number of software and biotech companies, and is one of the region’s great remaining bastions of brick-and-mortar retail. The closure of White Flint Mall, long in decline, provided an opportunity for revitalization that planners and developers are looking to capitalize on.

Rockville’s White Flint redevelopment, which includes Federal Realty Investment Trust's Pike & Rose, shows that the area is agitating to modernize, but may not yet be able support the specialized boutiques like Warby Parker, Le Creuset, Apple and Lululemon found on Bethesda Row.

Gaithersburg, lauded on a national scale for its ethnic and socioeconomic diversity when it took the top spot on WalletHub’s 2016 ranking of 313 ethnically diverse cities, also is home to a number of tech companies.

Places like Rockville and Gaithersburg still must further densify before they can evolve into districts resembling closer-in, ultra-affluent Chevy Chase or Bethesda, with closely packed daytime worker bases that frequent the eclectic mix of shops and restaurants.

“We’re not yet in the walkable, transit-oriented stage, but we’re moving away from the car-oriented and strip mall days,” Friends of White Flint director Amy Ginsburg said.

Located outside the Beltway, upper Montgomery County’s growth is checked by its distance from DC’s jobs and attractions.