Gaithersburg’s Crown opens for business, welcomes homeowners -- Gazette.Net


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Downtown Crown has officially opened its doors to business with a new Starbucks open and more retailers soon to follow, while the new community is already home to several families who moved in over the last few weeks.

Starbucks began adding its caffeine to Crown on Friday, according to Crown spokeswoman Tammy Murphy. A Starbucks spokesman did not return phone calls to find out how the new store is doing.

LA Fitness plans to open its doors by the end of this year to capitalize on the post-New Year’s workout frenzy, and Harris Teeter is looking to welcome customers in January 2014, Murphy said.

Restaurants like Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, La Tagliatella, Asian Nine and Lime Fresh Mexican Grill will eventually join Starbucks, according to Crown’s website. A few retail stores, like Verizon Wireless, will also come to the center soon.

Businesses are not the only thing to have moved into the development.

Crown West, a residential section that lies in the middle third of the Crown area, is now a functioning neighborhood with several families already moved in, Murphy said. About 50 homes have been sold so far, and since Aug. 22, seven households have closed on their townhomes, which were the first units to go up in the neighborhood.

“Crown is officially a neighborhood now with people occupying some of the homes,” Murphy said.

Work doesn’t stop there, however, as Crown developers have turned their attention to signage for the mega-center.

At a Gaithersburg Planning Commission meeting on Sept. 25, commissioners unanimously approved a plan that will allow Bethesda-based Streetsense to install three types of signs throughout Downtown Crown.

According to city documents, one primary monument sign will be placed at the development’s main entrance at the intersection of Fields Road and Sam Eig Highway, sitting parallel with the highway. Designed with curved grooves, the 40-foot long sign will have internal lighting, and the words “Crown” and “City of Gaithersburg” on the front.

Secondary signs with the same curved groove design and light feature will be at Crown’s four entryways, the intersections of Ellington Boulevard and Fields Road, Crown Park Avenue and Alcott Place, Ellington Boulevard and Diamondback Drive, and Sam Eig Highway and Diamondback Drive. These three-dimensional rectangular prisms will stand about 10 to 15 feet high and have “Downtown Crown” etched on all four sides.

Additionally, Downtown Crown’s parking garages will have mesh or vinyl hanging banners. At Garages A and B, on Copley Street and Alcott Place respectively, banners will project from the side of the building with metal support arms holding them in place. For Garage C on Copley Street, banners will hang flat against the building.

Estimated costs for Crown signage were not discussed at the meeting or in city documents.

At the same meeting, the Planning Commission approved a site plan for a community center in Crown Neighborhood 3 at the intersection of Decoverly Drive and Crown Park Avenue.

Nestled on 2.35 acres, the center will be between 4,800 to 9,500 square feet and likely have two swimming pools, three hard surface areas including bocce ball and tennis courts, a playground, community gathering areas and a parking lot, according to city documents. Gardens, walking trails and bike paths will be placed throughout the property.

A suggested Homeowner Association fee for the community amenities was not included in the proposal.

Developers broke ground on the Crown project, built on the former Crown farm, in October of 2012. Aside from 320,000 square feet of retail and commercial space, the property will eventually be home to over 2,000 residential units.



jedavis@gazette.net