Construction Begins on $10 Million Renovation of Downtown Silver Spring

Construction on a planned $10 million renovation of the Downtown Silver Spring development is underway, with a new elevator installation next to the entrance to the former Eggspectation location, according to Laurie Yankowski, regional director, marketing for co-owner The Peterson Cos.

The elimination of the existing elevator is part of a number of changes coming to the Fountain Plaza that were presented publicly in September 2019.

“We want to open this space up to where we can have events,” Bryant Foulger, chairman of DTSS co-owner Foulger-Pratt, said at the time.

To that end, the large existing staircase will be removed, and replaced with what Foulger described as a “lighter, much lacier, more transparent” type of staircase, while the elevator is being moved into the building.

In addition, the renovation will include eliminating the current fountain, which is old, breaks down frequently and is difficult to repair. A water feature with a sculptural element will replace it. The exact nature of that feature has not yet been determined, Foulger said in 2019, though he noted that children would not be encouraged to play in it.

The temporary stage will be eliminated, and a series of wooden forms will be installed on the plaza area, which can be used for seating when there are no activities.

“In order to do a stage,” Foulger said, “all those [wooden] elements will be built on a rail, and when it comes time to have a stage, all of those pieces slide together like a jigsaw puzzle and they form a stage.”

In recent months, the renovation added large murals and new paint on many of the complex’s buildings. Other changes will be coming to the Gateway Plaza as well.

The Planning Board approved the site plan for the renovation in July, and then declined multiple requests for reconsideration.

The plan includes a proposal to permanently close Ellsworth Drive to vehicular traffic from Fenton Street to just beyond Fountain Plaza, and lay down nontoxic artificial turf to create a “linear urban park.”

The approval is contingent on the county consenting to abandon that stretch of Ellsworth. If the County Council declines to do so, the plan must provide an alternative to the artificial turf.

The new elevator installation should be completed in the spring, Yankowski told the Source.

Rendering showing a planned new staircase, with the elevator gone, courtesy The Peterson Cos. Photo by David Lay.

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