A new shopping center is coming to the site where the historic Park Hall manor once stood on Frederick’s east side.
The project, known as Gateway East Plaza, is slated to consist of a 41,600-square-foot shopping center and 100-room hotel on four lots facing the interior corner of East Patrick Street and Monocacy Boulevard. The city’s Planning Commission last week conditionally approved a preliminary subdivision plat, a final site plan for construction and a forest conservation plan for the project.
The subdivision plat will turn the existing three lots — totaling 11.41 acres — into four lots and make way for eight potential development sites. The forest conservation plan approval also included a vote on the removal of 21 specimen trees, which passed in a 4-1 majority with Commissioner Katie Isaac opposed.
The site planned for the Gateway East Plaza development is vacant but was once the home of an 1870s-era brick manor and surrounding historic buildings known as Park Hall.
In 2012, demolition of the historic structures spurred a public outcry and inspired the city’s demolition review ordinance, which the Board of Aldermen passed in 2013. The ordinance requires all city properties 50 years or older outside of the Frederick Town Historic District to undergo a review from the city’s Historic Preservation Commission before demolition is granted. The reviews determine whether properties are eligible for individual historic designation.
Planning commissioners discussed the project at workshops in December, May and July before approving the plans Aug. 14.
Gabrielle Collard, the city’s manager of current planning, said the developer, Germantown-based Rodgers Consulting, will need to come back to the Planning Commission for approval of architectural elevations for each of the development buildings as they move forward. All of the plans establishing the construction, square footage, location, parking and other details of the development do not need any further approval unless the developer decides to change something, she said.
The property owner is listed as Jordan Crossing LLC, and the applicant is S. Jordan Development.
The context and location of the site, as well as the design considerations that come into play as a result, were topics of discussion in the workshops leading up to the Aug. 14 approvals. According to staff members’ comments, the city’s 2010 comprehensive plan includes the property in the East Frederick small planning area and identifies East Patrick Street at Monocacy Boulevard as a “major city gateway.”
As a result, staff members and the applicant have collaborated to make pedestrian safety and circulation improvements part of the plans. The improvements include using stamped asphalt treatment for pedestrian crossings and allocating two future access points to adjoining developments. As a condition of approval, staff members recommended the applicant record reciprocal access agreements allowing connectivity when the adjacent sites redevelop. The report also said more notable circulation improvements include a main private access road directing traffic from East Patrick Street to Monocacy Boulevard providing access and direction through the site. The developer, in turn, agreed to dedicate a portion of land facing Monocacy Boulevard for future expansion of the corridor.
Several members of the public also commented on the project at the Aug. 14 hearing.
Julia Ferguson with East Frederick Rising said the nonprofit group supports the development in the area. Alan Feinberg, an east side resident and East Frederick Rising member, said the development could be a great way to pull people back in to downtown but voiced concerns about potential traffic issues.