Kensington Produce Stand Cleared Away To Make Space for Tasting Room, Eatery

Row of retail establishments could include phone store, ice cream shop


Published:

A conceptual drawing of the Knowles Station project at the site of Hawkins' Produce in Kensington.

DVA Architects

A roadside stand once known as Hawkins’ Produce has disappeared from a Kensington street corner amid plans to build a wine and beer restaurant and other shops.

Chevy Chase-based developer Tom Brault said he’s looking to revitalize the corner of Detrick and Knowles avenues with a row of four or five retail establishments.

The project, which began with site-clearing earlier this month, is the first significant redevelopment in Kensington since officials approved a new growth plan in 2012. Mayor Tracey Furman said she hopes it’s a sign of things to come.

“This is a good start,” Furman said. “I think people are happy about the redevelopment where Hawkins’ was. It had become unsightly. It was time for something new.”

The project at Hawkins' Produce began earlier this month with demolition work. Credit: Bethany Rodgers.

Brault said the largest section of his shopping center will contain about 3,000 square feet and will be devoted to the tasting room. The anchor eatery—which he described as a “high-end craft beer and wine restaurant—will have 20-foot ceilings, space for live music and outdoor seating areas, he said.

Next door, he’s looking to build two more retail spaces of about 1,250 square feet each, with a final section of about 1,100 square feet at the end of the row. Brault said he’s hoping to attract an ice cream parlor or frozen yogurt shop as one tenant. A phone store could occupy another space.

The retail center will be called Knowles Station and have a railroad theme in homage to the railway station that stood there in the 19th century, he said. He hopes to have the project complete by next summer.

Furman said she lives on Detrick Avenue, a short distance from the project, and is glad she’s finally seeing some dirt turning in town.

Although town leaders tried to stimulate development in their recent growth plan update, new construction has been slow to get off the ground. Furman said it takes time for properties to change hands or for owners to decide they want to take on a project.

Now, in addition to the Knowles Station project, a developer is interested in building a five-story senior-living facility on the site of the former Mizell Lumber and Hardware, a shuttered business.

Furman said she hopes the building activity inspires projects in other parts of the town’s business district, she added.

“We need it. It’s a little tired, and a little run down,” she said.

Another conceptual view of plans for the site of Hawkins' Produce in Kensington. Via DVA Architects.

Bethany Rodgers can be reached at bethany.rodgers@bethesdamagazine.com.

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