- The Washington Times - Monday, March 27, 2000

The developer of Reston Town Center has bought 268 acres in Clarksburg with plans to build a new community of homes and stores there.
The project, developer Terrabrook's first in Maryland, would occupy an important site for Montgomery County.
"It's the last of the 'corridor cities' along I-270 Gaithersburg, Germantown, Clarksburg that hasn't seen significant development," said Sue Edwards, team leader on Interstate 270 planning at Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission.
The county has long planned for development of the property, as part of its 40-year-old "wedges and corridors" plan that defines development corridors along major roads, split by rural wedges where open space is preserved.
"The project will be the retail and commercial center [for the area]. It will set the identity for new development in Clarksburg," she said.
Clarksburg Town Center, to be located near Exit 18 on Interstate 270, would include 1,300 residential units, to be built out in three phases over several years. There would be 186 single-family detached homes, 681 town houses and the rest would be apartments or condominiums. Plans include 150,000 square feet of retail space and 100,000 square feet of offices.
Terrabrook, which paid $14.5 million for the land, hopes to start construction early this summer, said Tracy Graves, director of marketing for the developer. The county has already approved a site plan for 768 units on half of the property.
The site is bounded by Frederick Road, Clarksburg Road and Stringtown Road, next to the existing Clarksburg Historic District.
Developers are attracted to the undeveloped site for several reasons. County officials eventually want to set up a light rail line that runs from Shady Grove through Clarksburg to the Frederick County line. Growth in Frederick and Urbana to the north make Clarksburg a good home for people who shop and work there, Mrs. Graves said.
"If we open the right product at the right price, they'll stop here," she said.
Other landowners are also discussing plans for 3,500 more homes in the area on two nearby sites. Annandale-based Elm Street Development is in talks with county planners about building a 2,000-home development. County planners also expect to rezone another nearby property to allow 1,500 more homes. Annandale-based Rocky Gorge Enterprises is the buyer that plans to develop the property, according to the Montgomery Newsletter.
Terrabrook's plan calls for mixing the variety of housing and a civic buildings while preserving a sense of open space, she said. That's in keeping with "neo-traditional" community planning, a school of design that has become popular in recent years by trying to create downtowns like those before the advent of zoning rules in the 1950s. Neo-traditionalist designers criticize zoning for breaking up communities according to uses, such as housing, stores, industry, offices.
"We believe we can create a sense of community with this plan," Mrs. Graves said.
The project is designed to take advantage of the proposed light rail stop, a feature of "transit-oriented" development sites that try to emphasize alternatives to automobile travel outside the community.
Despite having a name in common with Reston Town Center, the two projects will be very different, Mrs. Graves said. Clarksburg will be a far smaller project than Reston, which has 4 million square feet of office space. However, the developer will keep a close eye on architecture in Clarksburg, as it did in Reston, she said.


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