Where We Live | Kentlands in Montgomery County, Md.

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The Kentlands community, started in 1988, was constructed over more than a decade. Multiple builders were used to ensure the houses were architecturally distinct. (Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/For The Washington Post)

The Kentlands community, started in 1988, was constructed over more than a decade. With multiple builders used to ensure that the houses were architecturally distinct, the result is a quaint and beautiful neo-traditional or “new urbanist” community in the city of Gaithersburg, Md.

Developer Joseph Alfandre, with architects Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, envisioned a bustling suburban neighborhood with a distinct urban feel. Houses built close to one another and close to the street were meant to encourage residents to interact with their neighbors. The community still contains buildings from the original Kentlands farm, such as Kentlands Mansion, a landmark since 1900, and the Gaithersburg Arts Barn, a visual and performing arts center.

Alfandre credits Jeff Campbell, who is now retired from the Saul Investment Group, as an unsung contributor to the development of Kentlands.

“Campbell represented Saul the financier, and worked exceptionally in understanding the project needs for the municipality, citizens groups, and planners,” Alfandre said.

Kentlands is roughly bordered by Quince Orchard Road to the northwest, Great Seneca Highway to the northeast, Main Street and Inspiration Lane to the southeast, and Darnestown Road to the southwest.

Today, Kentlands is a tightknit, walkable community with many amenities and conveniences, protected natural areas, man-made lakes for strolling, jogging, or walking the dogs and a lot of green spaces. It’s a place where residents can walk to Whole Foods for groceries and kids can ride their bikes to Market Square for an ice cream. Schools are also within walking distance.

Kentlands Market Square is a 250,000-square-foot, open-air shopping center with restaurants, stores and a movie theater. Dave Hofmann, a board member of Kentlands Citizens Assembly, said Market Square was very vibrant in the beginning, but after the 2008 economic slump, things went downhill. Kimco Realty purchased Market Square in 2016 for $23 million.

“They are doing a wonderful job resurrecting what was a wonderful market square and vibrant business sector,” Hofmann said.

Tom Simmons, Kimco’s Mid-Atlantic region president, described Market Square as “a diamond in the rough when we bought it.”

Kimco plans to revitalize the center in three phases and bring some of the architecture up to today’s standards as well as adding a “paseo” with pedestrian-friendly walkways, a mix of stores and multifamily rental properties.

The newest feature of Market Square, the Cinepolis luxury movie theater opened two months ago with fully reclining leather seats, gourmet concessions and waiter service.

The Kentlands Citizens Assembly and the City of Gaithersburg organize several events in the neighborhood, such as the annual Kentlands 5K, Fourth of July festivities, a Memorial Day barbecue, Oktoberfest and performances at the Mansion.

John Schlichting, director of planning and code administration for the city of Gaithersburg, and his wife bought their five-bedroom, four-bathroom single-family detached home in 1992.

“We moved in within the first year of the Kentlands,” he said. “We fell in love because it had everything we could want, all in walking distance. Jogging trails, swimming pools, playgrounds, and performance spaces. There are also bike trails in the Kentlands and in nearby Muddy Branch Creek. I’ve actually run from Kentlands to the Potomac on the Muddy Branch trail, which is just gorgeous.”

Meredith Fogle, a real estate agent with Old Line Properties, lives in Kentlands and describes it as a unique neighborhood that has maintained its appeal for home buyers of all ages and stages in their lives. It has apartments for young singles, townhouses for folks looking to downsize and single-family houses for families. There’s also a retirement property, Kentlands Manor, in the heart of the neighborhood.

Fogle believes Kentland’s appeal comes from the neighborhood’s design and vibrant downtown area, solid schools and its proximity to biotech companies, other industries and Washington. Hofmann said he knows of a family that has three generations living in the community. The youngest generation owns a single-family house, their parents live nearby in a townhouse, and the grandparents live in Kentlands Manor. All live in walking distance of each other.

“Having the extended family so close together allows everyone to better help each other,” he said. “Kentlands community fosters that sort of transition.”

Living there: In 2019, the average sale price for single-family houses was $864,746; for townhouses, $541,006; and for condos, $356,698, according to Bright MLS data. The lowest-priced home sold was a two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo for $242,500; the highest-priced house sold was a four-bedroom, five-bathroom house with a lake view for $1.2 million. There are 12 homes on the market, ranging from a two-bedroom, two-bathroom condominium for $289,900 to a four-bedroom, four-bathroom house with park views for $1.2 million.

The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,534, and $1,934 for a two-bedroom unit.

Transit: By bus or car, it’s about five to 15 minutes to the Shady Grove Metro station. Ride-On and Metrobuses serve the neighborhood. The MARC train stops at Washington Grove, about a 10- to 17-minute drive from Kentlands. Great Seneca Highway and Darnestown Road are the major thoroughfares.

Schools: Rachel Carson Elementary, Lakelands Middle and Quince Orchard High.