Silver Spring is the first stop, and the only one now open, in Maryland. The community, founded in the 1840s by the ancestors of Acting Gov. Blair Lee III, is the county's largest retail center. In 1946, the Hecht Co. gambled and built its first suburban store "in a cornfield" in Silver Spring.

Today, the area around the Metro station is awaiting redevelopment from the once-flourishing commercial and industrial buildings - many now razed - to the proposed high-rise residential, retail and office complexes planned in the style of a mini-Manhattan.

The sector plan for the central business district calls for continuous pedestrian access linking the transit station to the Colesville Road-Georgia Avenue commercial strip. A two-story shopping mall would replace the existing shopping center at Colesville and Georgia. More high-rise offices would be built north along Georgia to Spring Road. New offices of the National Capital Park and Planning Commission are nearing completion at Georgia Avenue and Spring Road.

To the west and southwest of the Metro site and in "air rights" area above it, towering office-residential complexes are proposed. The eastern part of what is now the Falkland apartments would be redeveloped. Approximately 7,000 new apartments are proposed for the transit area. Along Colesville Road, existing small old retail storefronts would be rehabiliated.

Silver Spring, now crippled by insufficient parking and a lack of cohesiveness between the Metro station and retail stores a few blocks away, would become a more balanced "urban place," according to the plan.