SILVER SPRING – A new water feature, murals, mini-bowling and a locally owned winery are planned for the Ellsworth Avenue area of Downtown Silver Spring.
While the proposals have yet to be submitted to the county’s planning board, Peterson Companies and Foulger-Pratt Contracting officials have been working with county staff and expect their proposed $10 million overhaul will be presented soon.
“It’s time to do a refresher, and that’s what we are going to do,” said Bryant Foulger, managing principal of Foulger-Pratt.
“We are still developing this,” he said.
Downtown, which encompasses the area around the Silver Spring Civic Center, AFI theater and the Fillmore Silver Spring music venue and its surroundings, was last renovated 20 years ago. It is home to concerts, a theater, a farmer’s market, restaurants and shopping.
Downtown Silver Spring is a 440,000 square-foot area that runs from Ellsworth Drive to Fenton Street. It also includes Regal Majestic/IMAX Theatres, which recently was upgraded to include plush, reserved seating.
The area within walking within distance of the Silver Spring Transit Center.
“When we developed Downtown Silver Spring 20 years ago, we ushered in a new era for Silver Spring and served as a catalyst for the growth and development that has completely transformed the area into a vibrant, energetic downtown,” said Paul Weinschenk, president of retail for Peterson Companies.
According to the plans, part of Ellsworth Avenue will become green space; some retail stores and restaurants will relocate, including Lebanese Taverna, and new ones will move in.
The fountain, where children play in the water throughout the summer, will be upgraded, as will the nearby staircase, which leads to restaurants and shops on the second floor, Foulger said.
The Eleanor, a 7,700-square-foot store, is expected to be the focal point of the upgrade. Similar to its location on Florida Avenue in Northeast D.C., it will feature a bar and grille, a bowling lounge, more than a dozen arcade games and an outdoor patio.
Roll by Goodyear, which has stores in Bethesda and Rockville, will open across from the civic center.
Locavino, a locally owned wine bar is expected to open this summer. It will feature both a wine and beer café as well as a place to purchase wine. It has raised more than $12,000 in a recent kickstarter campaign.
Ulta, a chain of beauty stores, will be relocating and featuring a new store design. The LOFT clothing store will remain in its current location but will refresh the look of its store.
The Copper Canyon Grill is expected to undergo a renovation.
Foulger said none of the tenants who are relocating were forced to do so. “We are working with the tenants. It’s all done cooperatively,” he said.
The renovations will take place over time and will not occur all at once, Foulger said.
Work that can be done without modifying the site plan or needing extensive permitting will begin first, he said.
With the help of store upgrades, the area will look more vibrant and will include artwork and murals throughout.
“It will be brighter and more interesting than it is right now. We are going to have fun with it,” he said.
“We’re excited to, once again, lead the charge with a reinvigorated core,” Weinschenk said.
The downtown area has been the scene of much growth in the past 10 years.
According to Peterson Companies, more than 2,500 residential units have been created within a half-mile of the area, and another 1,000 units are expected to open during the next year-and-a-half.
The nearby former Discovery Communications building is undergoing a $15-million renovation and recently announced its first tenant.
The newly named Inventa Towers will be home to administrative space for the Children’s National Health System, which signed a 15-year lease and will take up 140,000-square-feet on four of the 10 floors, according to Foulger-Pratt.
The company expects to announce other tenants soon, Foulger said.