Developer Roger W. Eisinger has asked Rockville's mayor and City Council to lease to him the city-owned parking garage as part of his plan for redeveloping the downtown shopping mall.Rockville Redevelopment Corp., builder and owner of the mall, has declared bankruptcy after 12 years of failure to attract big-name retailers to the mall and keep its smaller stores rented.
Doug Horn, Rockville's director of community development, said Eisinger has offered to buy into a shared ownership of the mall, refinance the property and pay overdue utility bills, provided he gets use of the city's underground parking facility. The developer has proposed leasing the garage at $40,000 a year for four years, then taking full control and making annual payments of $563,000.
The City Council, at its meeting last week, asked its staff to negotiate terms of the lease proposal with Eisinger and the sponsors of the $82 million Town Center redevelopment project, Winmar Co. of New York and Nordal Associates of Seattle. The council directed city planners to review how Eisinger's interest in the mall parking garage could be coordinated with the Town Center developers' plan for downtown parking, Horn reported. Downtown parking space is considered crucial to both the mall and the separate, nearby downtown renovation project. Eisinger proposed that 300 of the garage's parking spaces go to developers of the planned Town Center hotel, Horn said.
Eisinger made a similar offer to the council last year, Horn said, but he decided not to buy the mall when the council refused to consider giving him control of the parking garage. Horn said council members at the time were concerned about having enough parking space for the downtown redevelopment project.