The rise of the suburban downtown
Then: An aging relic of Montgomery County’s car-dependent past, Mid-Pike Plaza was a 1960s-era shopping center anchored by a Toys R Us and surrounded
by nearly 1,400 parking spaces.
Now: Mid-Pike Plaza is no more. The Silver Diner
has moved up the road to Federal Plaza, and much of
the old shopping center has been demolished. In its
place is rising Pike & Rose, a 3.4-million-square-foot
mixed-use project by Federal Realty that will include
1,500 residential units, 430,000 square feet of retail,
1. 1 million square feet of offices and a 250,000-square-
foot hotel. The development will be laced with citylike cross streets and tall buildings, and will be within
walking distance of the White Flint Metro station—all
signs of what’s to come for the neighborhood.
DOWNTOWN SILVER SPRING
Then: After a long decline and several false starts, the
D.C. area’s first suburban shopping district was on the
cusp of a renaissance, with $1.2 billion in public and private backing. The old downtown was gaining momentum—on the same weekend in 2003, the Discovery
Channel moved into a striking glass building and AFI Silver opened in a renovated 1938 movie house.
Now: Multicultural downtown Silver Spring is booming
with new ethnic restaurants (several of them Ethiopian),
coffeehouses and upscale apartment buildings. One highlight has been the opening of The Fillmore music hall in
2011 in the empty shell of a former J.C. Penney department store. But one big question remains: Will the long-awaited transit center—the cost of which has soared from
a projected $26 million to $131 million—finally open?
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Pike & Rose in Rockville
The fountain in downtown