In the lobby of the new Frederick apartment complex The Bottling Plant sits a reminder of the site’s history: a 1950 Coca-Cola machine that the building’s owners have rewired so that it can once again provide cold bottles of Coke to visitors.

The apartment building itself is newly built, although across a parking lot, the structure of the original 1947 bottling plant sits along North Market Street. The complex’s developers, Washington, D.C.-based Brick Lane, are talking with various restaurant owners in the hopes of attracting a restaurant to the space.

“It was very important to us to make this project open to the public,” said Brick Lane’s Jeff Gross, about the plans of bringing a restaurant to the complex.

The city was adamant about keeping the original facade of the plant building, said Rick Conrath, of GTM Architects, which designed the building.

With 86 units on about 5 acres next to Gov. Thomas Johnson High School and Rose Hill Manor Park, the building provides a variety of units, which range in price from $1,750 per month for a one-bedroom, one-bath to $3,025 for a three-bedroom, two-bath apartment.

About 13 percent of the building’s units have already been rented, Gross said Thursday.

The building was constructed in 1947 as a bottling and distribution center.

Coca-Cola stopped bottling products at the site in 1979, and it served as just a distribution center until all operations were closed in 2008.

In 2014, city officials pursued a historic preservation overlay, which would have made it subject to a number of strict restrictions for renovation and redevelopment.

The Board of Aldermen opted to deny the request in a slim majority but was able to control some of the development details when they placed a series of conditions on a rezoning approval in 2015.

Brick Lane was attracted to the property partly because of its location, which provides easy access to the neighborhoods along Md. 26 and to downtown Frederick, as well as to the Rose Hill Manor property, Gross said.

The company tried to tie the buildings into their local history, as well as reminders of the unofficial corporate connection to Coca-Cola.

The paint in the building’s common room was a pale green, meant to evoke the color of the glass in Coke’s iconic bottles.

With board games, a plush couch and a big-screen TV, the common room that looks out onto the patio and pool area is meant to be a place where neighbors can get to know one another, Gross said.

Meanwhile, the public areas and hallways are filled with maps of Frederick County and other areas of Maryland, and an old black-and-white photo of a Frederick High School graduating class hangs in the room where residents will pick up their mail.

Gross said his father, an urban planner, used to bring him to Frederick from their home in Washington to look at the architecture and other features of the historic downtown.

While much of the company’s work has been done in Washington, they’ve enjoyed working on the project in Frederick, he said.

“We love Frederick. It’s been a really warm community and really welcomed us in,” he said.

Follow Ryan Marshall on Twitter: @RMarshallFNP.

Ryan Marshall is the transportation and growth and development reporter for the News-Post. He can be reached at rmarshall@newspost.com.

(28) comments

jsmith09

Bottling Plant to me is way overpriced for what you get. There are a lot better apartments down 270 that have twice the amenities that bottling plants have with comparable rent. You get 'dinkey' amenities for a one-bedroom near $2000. It is ridiculous to pay that much in Frederick. The Bottling Plant already started to lower to price on the one-bedroom so, that tells you something. Maybe they should do some market research before they come in at MC/DC prices for an apartment building with one building with a dentist office and resturant and a 'small' outside park. I be ok with the price if the building provided better amenities, location, etc. There are better apartments buildings around Frederick with better locations, amenities, etc. for way lower rent.

The Grape of Wrath

At those prices I expect a six-pack of Coca Cola every week for the duration of the lease. Make mine Mexican Coke.

llrowse

👍

jgrose79

If developers invest in old properties and can get people to pay them for the prices they charge, who cares? Move somewhere else. It wouldn't have become this way had all these liberals from MoCo not headed our way in the first place. They always want everything their way. Well, build your own properties and then charge people less if that's what you wanna do. Good luck with that. Plus, I like less crime which is what you get with wealthy buyers. Sorry, that's just how it works. The downside is a bunch of liberals voting for more stupidity in our area. What a hard place to be stuck in. I live in 10.5 acres in a 5,600 sf timber frame custom home I built myself. I pay $2,900 a month. Including my taxes of $500 a month. Do the math. I'll take the mountains over living in downtown like some hipster throwing their money down the drain renting an apartment.

wantstotravel

Those rent prices are just plain mean and greedy.

TaraS

Those rental prices are ridiculously high.

sue1955

Tara, this development was planned to be marketed to young hipsters with high incomes. This place is for the prospective renters who are looking for walking distance to fine restaurants on a virtually daily basis and foot traffic to patronize stores chiefly on Market Street.

And, although the rents are high; for folks who can afford a comparable apartment elsewhere where the rent is at $4,000-plus/month (in addition to higher taxes and higher utility bills; e.g., BGE), they will look at this place as a bargain.

I am not defending the high prices nor the typical sales pitch for this lifestyle. Lessors are always touting amenities (where applicable) that have nothing to do with an actual unit. I detest that. I am just giving a different viewpoint.

jwhamann

It’s a two mile walk to downtown.

The Grape of Wrath

But only 2 minutes in your electric car.

llrowse

👍

FrederickFan

City officials claim to care about affordable housing but do absolutely nothing to support it. The developers run the show and even had historic preservation requirements waived on this project.

sue1955

FF, didn't the city earmark property near Frederick High School where that used car place was originally? What ever happened to the property that was to be built close to the old Comcast building on East Frederick Street? There is also that new apartment complex called "The Fred." I believe that has lower rent and is technically classified as "affordable."

Burgessdr

FrederickFan.  Arent you terribly dense, a rock maybe.  There was a 71 unit affordable housing recently completed on w Patrick called Sinclair.  Recent 59 unit on N Market called North Market.  A 101 unit called Sharps Square under construction on Motter.  An 83 unit under construction on E Church.  And a 150 unit in the works on W South.  And BTW these projects can only be built financially with state tax credits and the city is using all it can get.  And BTW there was no historic district requirements waved for the Coca Cola project because it wasnt in the historic.  Geezie peezie. 

Kelpfarming

Im gonna guess the history will bed driven by identity check offs... that the 45th african american to drive a truck worked there. And the 27th woman to box sodas worked there too.

Nobis

Yes, that's exactly what we need. Apartments for $37k a year, ha! I'm actually surprised they reached 13% capacity. Just another example of why government needs to get back into the affordable housing construction business. We have a growing homeless population and a majority of jobs that do not support the predatory rent prices in our community. Developers aren't interested in affordability. They're interested in squeezing every possible dollar out of their investment via rents, even if that means sitting on a near vacant property for decades. We need government intervention to compete with these entry level capitalist and we needed it yesterday.

sue1955

You got that right, huskycats. That was one of my immediate thoughts upon reading the article. In the '70s, I lived in a high-rise in Rockville which had a fine (4-star) restaurant in the lobby level of the building. Residents had their own assigned parking spaces underground (underneath the building). However, parking for the restaurant took precedence for the surface lot. Believe me, it was a pain for dates and other visitors coming to see me at my apartment. Often, dates/visitors had to park in a nearby shopping center and walk over to my place. Anybody staying overnight --- well, that presented more problems.

Typical delusional developers, especially marketed to the well-heeled young. Smart prospective renters are not going to care about the memorabilia. For example, people want to retrieve their mail and get to their unit. They are not going to be gazing at that old school picture. And, the old-fashioned Coke machine --- how long is that going to hold up? I can see that being "an attractive nuisance."

That relatively new apartment complex down right off Market Street is experiencing parking problems for the residents. All that touting energy efficiency as an ammenity all goes out the window when, everyday, issues like parking reduce your quality of lifel.

pretzel

Just keep bringing MC into Frederick, because we sure need more people. Oh and traffic

llrowse

And the arrogant attitude

huskycats

Where's the parking going to be for the restaurant? What's going to be done about the traffic in that area? It's a nightmare already.

sevenstones1000

Those are DC rents. Good luck finding people in Frederick who can afford those rents who aren’t buying a home. People choose apartments because of location (walkable neighborhood, close to work or excellent schools) or because they are cheaper than owning. Neither of these things is true here.

sue1955

seven; indeed, these are high rents. Especially $3,025.00/month for a 3 bedroom, 2 bath apartment. But, you are generalizing about what people look for in an apartment. Young individuals and, particularly parents, look for walkable neighborhoods, close to work, excellent schools, put a premium on that criteria. That is not what middle-age and older people look for. We look for decent appliances including full-size washer and dryer in the unit, enough satisfactory lighting, decent ACCESSIBLE kitchen cabinet space, carpeting. More importantly, people don't want to live under others with kids. Nobody wants to hear the pitter-patter of little feet who fun from one room to the other. Not to mention, jumping off furniture.

sevenstones1000

Good luck with finding middle aged people with no teenagers who want to pay that rent and don’t own a house.

sue1955

seven, you may be right. But, there is a demographic (especially outside Frederick County) that are looking to get out of their houses (that they own, predominantly) because they don't want to mow grass and shovel snow. I know people who have done that. It's really typically an excuse that they are downsizing, but they really just want to be around different people and don't want to replace a roof on their current property. Selling their current property enables them to have money to buy another home.

I do "hear" what you are saying, nonetheless.

bobcat21532

I didn't see a (fire) sprinkler head one in the apartment interior photo. Perhaps for some reason they weren't required, but they could have still put in a sprinkler system...

Greg F

Because you can’t see them in the handful of images here doesn’t mean they aren’t there. It’s code. Go tour them and see.

petersamuel

Bobcat: I walked around one of the apartments the other day. It was fully sprinklered. The general quality of equipment and finishes is very high. It is certainly 'upmarket' in line with the rents.

VeryTiredPanda

$3,025 for a three-bedroom, two-bath apartment.

Uh- WHAT.

llrowse

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