Tuesday, July 29, 2014

THE HAMPDEN DEMOLITION UPDATE (PHOTOS)

Demolition of The Hampden, one of the last affordable apartment buildings in downtown Bethesda, continues on Hampden Lane. The machinery is making short work of this solid, venerable brick building, as you can see in the photos. Some of the green awnings still in place were drooping over the windows. The Hampden is being obliterated to make room for The Lauren, with luxury condos "from the several millions." It's sad to see. Expect some lane closures at times in the area, due to the dump trucks that need to line up to haul the debris away.



DRUG ARREST ON FAIRMONT AVE., ASSAULT ON DEMOCRACY BLVD - BETHESDA CRIME UPDATE

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on July 26, according to crime data:

Drug arrest. 4900 block Fairmont Avenue.

Theft. 4900 block Bethesda Avenue.

Vehicle burglary. 10700 block Rockville Pike (Georgetown Prep/Strathmore area).

Vehicle burglary. 11300 block Rockville Pike (White Flint area).

Assault. 7100 block Democracy Boulevard.

Burglary. 8800 block Tuckerman Lane.

THE PARVA TO REOPEN AS PARVA COCINA & TEQUILA BAR IN BETHESDA

The Parva, a Latin American restaurant and lounge at 7904 Woodmont Avenue, is currently renovating its dining room, and will reopen as Parva Cocina & Tequila Bar. During the renovation, the upper level Parva Lounge will remain open for business on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.

While The Parva specialized in South American cuisines, including those of Colombia, Argentina, Venezuela and Peru, the new concept suggests a more Mexican theme. The owners recently opened a Tex-Mex restaurant and lounge in Wheaton, called El Fogón de Wheaton.

Stay tuned for details on the grand reopening.

Monday, July 28, 2014

BLAZE PIZZA BETHESDA CONSTRUCTION UPDATE (PHOTOS)

Construction continues at Blaze Pizza, scheduled to open this summer at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. As you can see in the photos below, Blaze follows the recent trend of new dining tenants at the mall who have taken their space - and branding - through the mall's exterior wall. The "fast-fired" pizza chain has attracted celebrity investors; Maria Shriver, her son Patrick Schwarzenegger, Boston Red Sox co-owner Tom Werner, and Panda Express founder Andrew Cherng are among those who have invested $3 million in the company.




ASSAULT AT SEARS + MORE - BETHESDA CRIME UPDATE

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on July 25, according to crime data:

Theft. 4400 block Montgomery Avenue.

Liquor arrest. Rockville Pike at Wilson Drive (NIH area).

Vehicle burglary. 7600 block Newmarket Drive.

Theft. 5400 block Tuckerman Lane.

Theft. CVS Pharmacy (Wildwood Shopping Center).

Theft. 5000 block Euclid Drive.

Drug arrest. I-270 at Rockledge Drive.

Assault. Sears at Westfield Montgomery Mall.

DOUGLAS DEVELOPMENT BUYS DOWNTOWN BETHESDA PARKING LOT (PHOTOS)

DC development powerhouse Douglas Development now has a third potential redevelopment site in downtown Bethesda. A Douglas real estate subsidiary, Jemal's Del Ray LLC, has acquired a parking lot at 4906 Del Ray Avenue for $2,000,000. The lot is located directly behind Home Care Assistance, formerly the home of longtime tenant O'Rourke, Ltd. Jewelers.

Douglas has two other properties poised for redevelopment in town. One is on the boards now, a luxury apartment building at 8008 Wisconsin Avenue. A second property, currently occupied by Tommy Joe's and Pines of Rome, is owned by Douglas, but no redevelopment plan has been announced publicly for it to date.
The parking lot is located to the
right of this building, along
Del Ray Avenue
Top photo: Google Maps
Bottom photo: Robert Dyer @ Bethesda Row

Sunday, July 27, 2014

BETHESDA CONSTRUCTION UPDATE - ARCLIGHT CINEMAS/DINING TERRACE AT WESTFIELD MONTGOMERY MALL (PHOTOS)

Construction fences have been removed outside of the future ArcLight Cinemas/dining terrace wing at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. Scheduled to open this fall, the wing will include the 16-screen ArcLight cineplex, as well as a host of new restaurant options for pre-theater dining.

A new sign has been installed at the garage entrance (above), and a larger scaffolding has been attached to the exterior to the left of the main entrance. You'll also notice that the area of the facade with the "gold bricks" has now been covered with a textured panel. A stone staircase is also more visible below the scaffolded area, and sidewalks/landscaping islands are now being constructed.




ASSAULT ON IPSWICH ROAD, DRUG ARREST BY NIH + MORE - BETHESDA CRIME UPDATE

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on July 24, according to crime data:

Theft. 7700 block Wisconsin Avenue.

Drug arrest. Rockville Pike at South Drive (NIH area).

Burglary. 8600 block Rayburn Road.

Theft. 8800 block Altimont Lane.

Assault. 5800 block Ipswich Road.

Vehicle burglary. 5300 block Carvel Road.

Theft. 5900 block Overlea Road.

Vehicle burglary. 5200 block Wissioming Road.

Theft. 5400 block Marinelli Road.

CONSTRUCTION PERMIT ISSUED FOR SANDY SPRING BANK AT 7550 WISCONSIN AVE. IN BETHESDA

A Montgomery County construction permit has been issued for the new Sandy Spring Bank branch, in the Class A office building at 7550 Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda. The 3,250 square foot branch will be on the ground level of Akridge's completely renovated and reskinned 10-story office tower, located near the Bethesda Metro Station. Sandy Spring will also be leasing office space on another floor in the building.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

MCDONALD'S JALAPEÑO DOUBLE REVIEW (VIDEO)

After months without a new entree on the menu (since the Bacon Clubhouse), McDonald's finally has a new burger - the Jalapeño Double burger. The Jalapeño Double features 2 of the standard McDonald's all-beef patties, white cheddar cheese, ranch sauce and - surprise! - jalapeños. And lots of jalapeños, it turns out. Some fresh sliced, and others crispy-fried.

Ironically, Baltimore was a test market for this burger last year. Now I finally get a chance to test it out, in this new video review.

BETHESDA CRIME UPDATE

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on July 23, according to crime data:

Vehicle burglary. 7700 block Wisconsin Avenue.

Theft. 5000 block Wilson Lane.

Theft. 7200 block Wisconsin Avenue.

Theft. 4800 block Earlston Drive.

Theft from vehicle. Tuscarawas Road at Iroquois Road.

Theft. 10500 block Rockville Pike (Grosvenor Metro vicinity).

Theft. 4900 block Nicholson Court.

Theft. Westfield Montgomery Mall.

Theft. 5800 block Nicholson Lane.

DEMOLITION OF THE HAMPDEN APARTMENTS UNDERWAY IN BETHESDA (PHOTOS)

The Hampden, one of downtown Bethesda's last affordable apartment complexes, is now being demolished on Hampden Lane. Several single-family homes on the future site of The Lauren ultra-luxury condos have been razed over the last few weeks. Yesterday, demolition began on the actual garden apartment structure itself.


Friday, July 25, 2014

MICROSOFT STORE OFFICIALLY CONFIRMED FOR WESTFIELD MONTGOMERY MALL

Microsoft and Westfield Montgomery Mall have now officially confirmed my June 4th report - a Microsoft Store is indeed opening at the Bethesda mall. The store will be on the mall's upper level, near Macy's. This is something of a return to the mall by Microsoft, as the company previously operated a kiosk here during the launch of the original Surface tablet.

The 1,273 square foot new store will sell those, as well as Windows PCs and phones, and the popular Xbox One game console. An Answer Desk is Microsoft's...answer...to the Genius Bar at Apple Stores. Microsoft says the store, its first full product line location in Maryland, will employ 25-30 people in total.

DRUG ARREST AND THEFT ON WESTBARD AVE. + MORE - BETHESDA CRIME REPORT

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on July 22, according to crime data:

Theft. 7600 block Old Georgetown Road.

Theft. 6800 block Wisconsin Avenue.

Theft. 9000 block Hempstead Avenue.

Drug arrest. I-495 Inner Loop at Connecticut Avenue.

Vehicle burglary. 8700 block Irvington Avenue.

Drug arrest. 5300 block Westbard Avenue.

Theft. 5100 block Westbard Avenue.

Drug arrest. Dickens Avenue at Lone Oak Drive.

Theft. 10300 block Rockville Pike (vicinity of Grosvenor Metro).

Vehicle burglary. 4400 block Tournay Road (Westmoreland Hills).

Vehicle burglary. 6700 block Newbold Drive.

Theft. 8300 block Burdette Road.

Theft. Westfield Montgomery Mall.

BETHESDA POST OFFICE PLANS TO REMOVE OUTDOOR MAILBOX IN AUGUST (PHOTOS)

The U.S. Post Office at 6900 Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Bethesda plans to remove one of its two outdoor mailboxes on August 21, 2014. According to a note posted on the mailbox, the removal is due to low demand. 

I can't argue with that. This is a minor issue compared to the many problems that remain after the debacle that was the Bethesda Post Office decision. No convenient parking. No functionally-accessible parking for the disabled near the post office entrance. No drive-by dropboxes for letters and packages. And not within easy walking distance of a major portion of downtown Bethesda.

Until the county can come to grips with the outstanding issues that remain with the new post office, a reduction to one mailbox seems trivial.


No convenient parking,
and no functionally-accessible
parking for the disabled

The consolidation of downtown
Bethesda's 2 post offices into
this location remains an
unsolved mystery

Who in Montgomery County
was involved in the selection
of 6900 Wisconsin Avenue, and
who wasn't involved?


Thursday, July 24, 2014

LUNCHBOX CHEVY CHASE PHOTO GALLERY

The hot lunch spot of the moment in Friendship Heights is local-but-celebrity chef Bryan Voltaggio's Lunchbox. Once located in Frederick, the revamped lunch concept now resides in Chevy Chase Pavillion. Prices reflect the Chevy Chase median income - a turkey sandwich cost me $10. But the high quality of the food, and star chef branding (and high-rent location), won't have most people expecting low prices here. Lunchbox opened about 10 days ago.












Wild Turkey sandwich