Rockville weighs in on White Flint rebranding -- Gazette.Net


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Rockville’s stakeholders need to be involved if developers in White Flint want to talk about rebranding an area that could extend into the city, officials say.

A group of White Flint developers said it has hired a branding and marketing company to research several names for the area along Rockville Pike that extends north and south of White Flint. While the group did not outline a specific area, at a White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee meeting June 10, some committee members speculated that it could include the Twinbrook area of Rockville.

Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton said Tuesday that she was looking into whether anyone on the city’s staff was involved in the discussions.

“If not, we need to be, and the mayor and council need to be part of this discussion, as well,” she said.

Christina Ginsberg, president of the Twinbrook Citizens Association, said Rockville needs to maximize its own brand.

“I don’t understand what they think they’re going to achieve by renaming the whole area something different, except to exert control over it,” Ginsberg said. “I don’t think that Rockville’s going to look very kindly on that.”

On Rockville Pike, the city’s border stops just south of Twinbrook Parkway. Rockville has authority over development inside the city limits, and city officials already are working on a master plan for the area of Rockville along the Pike that would mandate lower building height and less density than the county’s White Flint Sector Plan.

Don Hadley, chairman of the Rockville Planning Commission, said the areas along the Pike are irrevocably interconnected, and it is in everyone’s best interest to have good branding for Rockville Pike. There might be some difference of opinion or feeling, he said, if the name that’s applied to the area primarily represents only one part of the Pike.

“The opportunity ... I think, would lie in finding commonality that does promote the Pike as a whole, but also emphasizes the beauty of differentiation,” he said. “You know, we’ve got something for everyone.”

Hadley said he thinks the city’s Planning Commission would try to hear all sides of the discussion if a branding concept were presented, but it looks as if the concept isn’t sufficiently developed enough for anyone to make a decision on it yet.

The developer group, White Flint Partnership, has said it plans to make a presentation about the marketing research at the Downtown Advisory Committee meeting at 8 a.m. July 8 at the Montgomery County Conference Center in North Bethesda.

ewaibel@gazette.net