This project transformed a 2.18-acre underutilized parcel into a 199-unit multi-family residential development. The project features amenities, including a pool, courtyard outdoor kitchen, fitness center, cyber café, and clubroom space. The five-story residential development is located at 200 Olde Towne Avenue within the central business district.

Designated as an historic site locally and immediately adjacent to the CSX and MARC railway, the Y Site earned its name in 1888. Prior to the construction of the railroad tracks, its Y pattern enabled early steam locomotives to turn and reverse direction on the site.

The project presented complex engineering challenges:

  • Listing of the site on the Maryland Historical Trust Inventory
  • Noise concerns due to its close proximity to CSX and MARC train tracks
  • Zoning limitations on building height
  • Integration of existing public parking garage to maximize shared-use initiatives
  • Value engineering to lower the construction cost of previously proposed green roof.

As a historical site, any proposed buildings in this area should complement the established character of the zone. The final design had to reflect the Y Site’s rail history. Therefore, the building design incorporated a windowless Northeastern-style warehouse façade to blend with the Olde Towne Gaithersburg style.

The Northeastern-style warehouse rear elevation served another purpose. It also shielded all residential units and amenity areas from the noise disturbance of passing railcars.

The five-story residential building received a height waiver from the city of Gaithersburg’s Mayor and Council. This waiver aimed to create a stronger and more vibrant community in Olde Towne Gaithersburg.

The design included an extension to integrate the adjacent public parking garage into the new development. The six-story parking garage extension is connected to the building for shared residential and commuter use.

Application of value engineering and green design alternatives provided significant cost savings and benefits:

  • The initial design concept included a green roof and underground storage pipe system to provide stormwater management. However, this would have dramatically increased construction costs. To reduce cost, the design team proposed to replace the green roof with micro-bioretention facilities—also known as rain gardens.
  • The rain gardens provided sufficient stormwater treatment. Therefore, the design team removed the underground storage pipe system, and this achieved even more cost savings.
  • In addition, the micro-bioretention facilities within the courtyard maximized the landscape design and created a pleasant environment.
  • The Y Site’s stormwater management design also features porous pavers. These significantly reduce surface water runoff, irrigation needs, surface area temperatures, and improve appearance.

The Y Site development now provides high-end, affordable housing for the Olde Towne Gaithersburg community. It is within walking distance of major commuting transit lines as well as neighboring public parks and amenities. As the largest development opportunity in Olde Towne Gaithersburg, it showcases quality of design and construction within the highest standards.

VIKA’s services included:

  • Boundary and topographic survey
  • Preliminary plan
  • Site plan
  • Stormwater management plan
  • Construction documents
  • Construction administration services.