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ROCKVILLE, MD-A ground breaking yesterday kicked off construction of Rockville Town Square, a public-private endeavor that will yield a multi-faceted commercial hub in the heart of the city. The City of Rockville, RD Rockville LLC and Federal Realty Investment Trust have joined forces to realize the $350-million project. Rockville Town Square is expected to spur the renewal of the city’s Rockville Town Center, a 60-acre central area that is being cultivated as a Downtown live-work-play destination with a “small town” atmosphere.

Rockville Town Square will sit on a 12.5-acre parcel in the middle of Rockville Town Center, and will feature 630 upscale apartments and condominiums, as well as 170,000 sf of retail space, a library and a cultural arts center. Work on all elements of the project began with the groundbreaking, although there will be some removal tasks ahead. Speaking to GlobeSt.com, a Rockville Town Square spokesman says that there are still some functioning stores on the property that have a grace period before they have to vacate. These stores and other retailers were provided funds for relocation, and some of them have even planned to return to the site when it reopens down the road.

“We expect in the summer of 2006 we will open the library, cultural center, Maryland Avenue, and the retail space on Maryland Avenue, as well as the first delivery of residences” Federal Realty director of development Don Briggs tells GlobeSt.com. “All retail will be completed before the end of 2006, as will the remaining residential units.”

Other developments have begun or are in the works to fill out the remaining acreage of the greater Rockville Town Center, including Folger-Pratt’s 170,000-sf Rockville Metro Plaza project, which will be supplemented by two additional structures.

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