Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Two Hour Tour

On a recent Thursday, the Partnership borrowed the City van (Thanks City of Frederick DED and especially Heather Gramm, our fantastic driver!), loaded up about 10 Design Committee members and headed south to take a tour of both Park Potomac and Downtown Silver Spring.  Why?  The Design Committee was following up on an offer from Brigg Bunker with Foulger Pratt to tour a couple of example projects in the area.  Foulger Pratt has been selected by the Brick Works to develop their 60+ acre parcel located between Interstate 70 and South Street – to the east of East Street.  While not within the traditional bounds of Downtown Frederick, the Brick Works site will have a significant impact on downtown when it develops.  The Partnership and many of the involved stakeholders agree that the development of the site should be complementary and not competitive to Downtown Frederick.  The Partnership wants to remain involved and be a part of the evolution of that idea – from the current concept to a future reality. 

The great news is that both of the developments we toured are very well done and provide interesting ideas to consider for the Brick Works site.  The Park Potomac site includes a significant amount of residential and I think some on the tour got to daydreaming about the potential positive impact of more downtown (or near downtown) residents.  

Both sites included public art – a great feature that I think most of us would love to see incorporated into the Brick Works site.  The art helped create a sense of excitement in an all new environment, providing a bit of the texture that historic communities have in abundance.  

Finally, we talked a bit about the current difficulties in the office market, despite some of our desires to see some significant new office space in close proximity to Downtown Frederick.  It will be a challenge to think thru 10 + years of growth on this site and how the uses, the mix and more will change in the intervening period.  

All in all, the tour was very successful, enabling all of the participants to talk through ideas and think a bit about what the future could bring. 

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