Like many other mixed-use developments in the Washington area, Crown in Gaithersburg is geared to people who are interested in ditching their vehicles.
“We wanted to create an urban quarter where people could park and stay. Walk to shops, walk to the park, be close to their jobs,” said Robert H. Zeiller, executive vice president of Westbrook Properties, the developer of Crown.
The 182-acre Crown is close to Interstate 270 and is bordered in part by Sam Eig Highway, Fields Road and Omega Drive. The internal streets, including Hendrix Avenue, Hemingway Drive and Goodall Street, are named for musicians, writers, artists and scientists.
Four neighborhoods — Downtown Crown, Crown West, Crown Central and Crown East — will include an integrated mix of residential and retail space, small parks, wide sidewalks and eventually a clubhouse, pool and ball court.
Crown is approved for up to 2,250 residences. Approximately 120 have been built and 94 sold. Townhouses by three builders — KB Home, Pulte Homes and M/I Homes — dominate. Ryland Homes has started construction of stacked townhouses, and Wormald is building single-family houses.
Townhouses set against a green landscape convey a suburban ambience with urban amenities down the block.
24-hour shopping: “Our original vision was to get a retail developer that could create a sense of place and attract other retail,” said Zeiller. “Harris Teeter was willing to open before most of the residents were in place. That gave us a jump-start to the town center and made all the difference.”
“Harris Teeter is open 24 hours,” said Marcus Lai, a resident. “It’s nice knowing if I want something from the grocery store, I can walk over anytime.”
Downtown Crown is a vibrant shopping and dining center with plentiful parking. “I grabbed a salad at Chop’t, and it was nearly full at 1:30 even though it only opened a few weeks ago,” said Charles Maier, with Maier & Warner Public Relations/Marketing, which represents Westbrook.
Amazing Art Studio, Blo Blow-Dry Bar and Body by Blo, Downtown Crown Wine & Beer, Floyd’s 99 Barbershop, LA Fitness, Smashburger, Starbucks, Verizon, Venti Tre, Coastal Flats, Paladar Latin Kitchen and Wells Fargo are open. Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and La Madeleine will open soon. Rum Bar is hiring.
Elbow room: Lai and his wife moved from a house in Ballston.
“We went with a three-story KB Home corner unit. We have a ton of light and more than 20 windows. It doesn’t feel like a typical townhouse, long and narrow. Really, it feels bigger because there’s so much space,” Lai said.
Jordy Kane and his wife, Julia Gutierrez, moved from a one-bedroom rental in Grosvenor. “We bought a Pulte house even before ground was broken on the models. We’re absolutely happy,” he said.
Kane lives in a 16-foot-wide, four-story unit with three bedrooms and a roof terrace. “The roof terrace was a main selling point,” he said. “When we moved in last year, we got the last bit of fall light, and when it turned to spring and summer, we put out furniture.”
Crown homes offer open-concept living. Kitchens spill into dining areas that flow into living rooms. Big pantries, many cabinets, and counters with ample space for elbows and stools are featured. Master bedrooms are large, and adjoining bathroom suites offer double vanities. Flooring is a mix of hardwood and carpeting. Some entry halls are marble.
Parks and rain gardens: Bulldozers are grading land for the Retreat, a clubhouse with an indoor 27-foot climbing wall and outdoor six-lane lap pool. A great room with couches, activity rooms and a kitchen will complete the inside. A covered veranda and fireplace will let residents warm up when the season turns.
The original Crown Farm farmhouse, built in 1894, has been preserved and renovated and will be sold as a private residence. The farm’s ivy-covered white silo and a couple of red and white outbuildings will be preserved as features of City Park, a five-acre park operated by the city of Gaithersburg. Two acres will remain open and three will be reforested.
Five little parks within Crown — West Park, Steinbeck Park, Crown Park, Meditation Park and Green Park — allow walking, biking, sitting, picnicking or reading. Environmentally friendly landscape features that capture rainwater — some colorful with flowers — line sidewalks.
Transit: A shuttle runs to the Shady Grove Metro station. Crown will be a stop on the future Corridor Cities Transitway — a bus-rapid transit system that will combine the features of buses and light rail — that will run along Decoverly Drive. Crown is located near the intersection of Interstate 270 and the Intercounty Connector, an 18-mile toll road linking Interstate 370 in Montgomery County and Interstate 95 in Prince George’s County. Baltimore is 49 miles away.
Schools: Rosemont Elementary; Forest Oak Middle; Gaithersburg High.
Audrey Hoffer is a freelance writer.
Five builders operate from sales offices in Gaithersburg.
Townhouses are priced from $499,990; single-family houses are priced from $1.1 million.
Builders: KB Home, Pulte Homes, M/I Homes and Ryland Homes sell townhouses, and Wormald sells single-family houses.
Features: The townhouses have outdoor living space and private garages. The single-family houses have two-story entrance galleries, oak staircases, tiled laundry rooms, Viking appliances and granite countertops.
Bedrooms/bathrooms: 3 to 5/2.5 to 4.5
Square footage: 1,462 to 2,899 for townhouses and 4,689 to 4,971 for single-family houses.
Homeowner association fees: $128 to $186 per month.
Sales: For information on the models, go to www.smarturbanliving.com .