GAITHERSBURG, MD. — WRS Real Estate Investments, a retail and mixed-use owner-operator based in Mount Pleasant, S.C., has successfully rezoned a 100-acre site in Gaithersburg that houses Lakeforest Mall. The Gaithersburg City Council approved the rezoning of the site to mixed-use in a 5-0 vote and also approved the sketch plan of the future development. Gensler has been engaged to lead the creation of overall design guidelines for the project.
WRS purchased the core of the 1.1 million-square-foot regional mall in 2019. On a single day in 2022, the developer purchased the mall’s remaining department stores: J.C. Penney, Lord & Taylor, Sears and Macy’s.
The plan calls for WRS to redevelop Lakeforest Mall as a mixed-use village comprising up to 1,600 new residential units — a mix of for-sale and rental units — and up to 1.25 million square feet of commercial uses such as retail, restaurant, dining, hospitality and life sciences. Construction may commence as early as 2024, according to WRS.