Thursday, January 17, 2019

La Panetteria space for lease

The restaurant space currently occupied by La Panetteria at 4921 Cordell Avenue is now available for lease, according to an online listing. A longtime Italian restaurant in downtown Bethesda, La Panetteria is still in operation. The listing claims the space will be available in 90 days.

An offer of a space for lease does not necessarily mean a tenant is going out of business or planning to close. Landlords will sometimes put a space on the market to see if they can get a tenant who can or will pay a higher rent, for example. This has actually happened several times downtown in recent years.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Bethesda construction update: 7900 Wisconsin Avenue (Photos)

JBG Smith's 7900 Wisconsin Avenue project is now about six stories above street level. There's a long way to go still before this mixed-use project tops out, but the general form is starting to take clearer shape from the Woodmont Avenue perspective.

The project is supposed to be anchored by a Trader Joe's grocery store; just over 12000 SF has been set aside for a grocery store tenant. There will be 20035 SF of restaurant and retail space in total on the ground floor, with 475 rental apartments above in the 17-story, cantilevered building. A pass-through will provide pedestrian access between Woodmont and Wisconsin Avenues, as well as to the ground floor businesses. The mirrored ceiling of the pass-through, and unique plaza design and landscaping, make this one of the most-eagerly-awaited public spaces in downtown Bethesda.

Mini Mart begins selling beer and wine in Bethesda (Photos)

Beer and wine are now available at Mini Mart, a convenience store located at 8006 Norfolk Avenue in downtown Bethesda. The store recently got a new owner and new name, and now has a new liquor license from Montgomery County. Along with a selection of wine bottles, customers will find standard favorites like Budweiser, Miller Lite, Corona and Goose Island IPA.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Woodmont Grill feels effect of Marriott construction again

For the second time in as many months, work related to the Marriott International headquarters relocation in downtown Bethesda has impacted the restaurant next door, Woodmont Grill. This time, utility work for the HQ project being performed by Pepco damaged sidewalk pavers in front of the restaurant. The Marriott development partners say that the damage should be repaired by the end of this week. Last month, Marriott excavation work ruptured a water line leading to Woodmont Grill, which is the highest volume restaurant in downtown Bethesda.

Meanwhile, on good weather days (fortunately, I was able to get these photos just before the storm hit), there can be more than 200 dump truck trips to and from the Marriott site per day. Blasting and overnight work are both scheduled to commence on or after February 1, 2019.

Bethesda snow update + more storms later this week

Montgomery County will attempt to get back to business today, after crews spent Monday finally plowing residential streets. The County government will be open. Montgomery County Public Schools will open two hours late.

All County recreation and aquatic centers will open on-time this morning, except senior centers, which will open at 10:00 AM. However, if your aquatic lesson is before 9:30 AM, it is cancelled for today. In fact, any program, class or activity that was scheduled before 10:00 AM this morning is also cancelled for today, as are senior nutrition and transportation programs.

Recreation programs for children five and under (tiny tots) that begin before noon are cancelled.

Metrobus, Metrorail, MARC trains and Ride On buses are all operating on normal weekday schedules today.


Rockville's Mayor and Council meeting that was postponed last night has been rescheduled for tonight, January 15, 2019 at 7:00 PM at City Hall, 111 Maryland Ave. Tonight's meeting agenda still includes:

A vote on a resolution to extend the moratorium on the filing, acceptance and receipt of applications for special exceptions, plans and plan amendments for certain uses in the mixed-use employment (MXE) zone, until July 1.

A report from the Adequate Public Facilities Standards (APFS) Work Group on Schools, regarding options to address a potential residential moratorium.

A presentation and discussion of the Planning Commission’s draft of the North Stonestreet Avenue Comprehensive Master Plan amendment.

A public hearing on the plan for the Shady Grove Neighborhood Center, a proposed mixed-use center with commercial, office and residential uses at 15825 Shady Grove Road, 2 and 4 Choke Cherry Road, and 2092-2098 Gaither Road.

A consent agenda that includes authorization for the city manager to execute a contract to purchase 6 Taft Court.

Takoma Park

The City of Takoma Park's offices will open at 10:30 AM this morning.

Montgomery Village

The Montgomery Village Foundation office will be open today. All Village recreation classes scheduled before noon are cancelled, except Seniors in Action, still meeting at 10:00 AM this morning.

Suburban News Network

Two other potential snowstorms are approaching the area later this week. Snow showers are possible Thursday afternoon, and a second storm could hit Sunday, a day that will have a low temperature of 10 degrees, according to The Weather Channel.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Open mic night coming to Norfolk Avenue Starbucks

The hidden talents of Bethesda residents may be revealed later this month at the Starbucks at 7700 Norfolk Avenue. An open mic night is being launched, and will be held on the third Friday each month from 6:00-8:00 PM. Considering that this is one of many businesses forced to cut back evening hours after the Montgomery County Council's "nighttime economy" initiative ended up tanking nightlife in downtown Bethesda, anything that gets them to stay open to 8:00 is a positive, right?

Bethesda snow update

Woodmont Avenue at Norfolk Avenue
near Veterans Park in Bethesda
Montgomery County was hit hard by Winter Storm Gia over the last 48 hours. Snowfall totals ranged from 9.5-10.5" in parts of Bethesda to 11" in White Oak, 11.5" in Rockville and 12" in Germantown and Damascus.

Suburban News Network

A Snow Emergency is in effect. The federal government is closed.
Conditions are poor on Massachusetts Avenue
at Cromwell Drive in Bethesda, a state road
Montgomery County Public Schools are closed today, as is the Montgomery County government. All County facilities except for police and fire stations are closed, as well.

Metrorail subway lines and MetroAccess are operating on a normal weekday schedule, but Metrobus is on a Severe Snow Plan, meaning service is mostly limited to main thoroughfares. Ride On bus is operating on a normal weekday schedule. MARC train is operating on an R schedule. Northbound I-270 just south of Montrose Road is in bad shape, with multiple collisions reported in that area this morning, including one involving a police cruiser.
Route 355 at Mannakee Street
in Rockville
Rockville city government and city facilities are closed today, and tonight's Mayor and Council meeting has been cancelled. City trash collection won't take place today, and will be delayed one day for all customers the rest of this week.
Route 29 at Randolph Road
in East County
Takoma Park's city government announced last night it would be closed today if the federal government closed, as it has. City-operated child care is also closed today. City Manager Suzanne Ludlow claims that trash will be collected on-time today, and for the rest of the week. Takoma Park does have its own snow removal service, so perhaps they will be able to clear streets enough to do this.
Georgia Avenue at
Aspen Hill Road

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Bethesda snow update - forecasts, cancellations, closures

Bradley Boulevard at
Bradley Shopping Center
Snow continues to fall steadily across Bethesda. The National Weather Service is forecasting a total of up to 12" of accumulation by the time the storm ends this evening. Montgomery County is currently plowing primary roads and snow emergency routes. Metrobus is operating on regular Sunday hours, but many routes may have detours due to road conditions, especially along secondary streets. Ride On buses are running on normal Sunday schedule. All community use activities in Montgomery County government and public school buildings today are canceled. All 3 major airports are open, but individual flights are subject to cancellation - call ahead before leaving. Amtrak's Northeast Corridor is operating with some delays.
Old Georgetown Road at
Cedar Lane
Here are some of the cancellations that have come across the Suburban News Network news desk this morning:

Church in Bethesda (5033 Wilson Lane)

Cera Wax Studio

La Bohemia Bakery

Chef Tony's *brunch* - will make decision later on dinner service
Call 301-654-3737 for updates

Pool at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center fitness center

River Road westbound
near Wilson Lane

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Bethesda snow accumulation forecast revised upward as Winter Storm Gia path changes

Suburban News Network

Winter Storm Gia's path has drifted northward as it approaches the D.C. area, and forecasters have adjusted their snow accumulation totals accordingly. Montgomery County is now expected to receive between three to six inches by Sunday evening. The start of the snowfall is now expected to begin two hours later today - 4:00 PM instead of 2:00, indicating the storm has slowed slightly. Gia is currently advancing over the I-81 corridor. A slower storm could mean totals would be at the higher end of the forecasted spectrum.

County Executive Marc Elrich appears to be taking a proactive approach to the storm. Major and secondary County roadways had been pretreated by Friday night, while the state was behind schedule in treating highways they control within the County. "I ask all Marylanders to put safety first by staying off the roads during the storm, following your local weather forecasts, and heeding all warnings,” Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said Friday.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Yuki Pearls closes at Bethesda Row

Yuki Pearls, a boutique selling imported Japanese pearls, has closed at Bethesda Row. The For Lease sign is back up at the former home of Capital Teas, located at 4806 Bethesda Avenue. You'll notice the removal of the Yuki Pearls sign has uncovered the old Capital Teas logo awning.

Purple Line permit challenged in court under Clean Water Act

Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail and two Montgomery County residents filed a legal challenge to a critical permit for the Purple Line light rail project construction in federal court Thursday. The suit alleges the Army Corps of Engineers erred in approving a "dredge and fill" permit for the Maryland Transit Administration, as the action violated the U.S. Clean Water Act.

The federal water law required that the ACE demonstrate that there was no alternative transportation project that would improve east-west travel in the Maryland suburbs without disturbing federally-controlled waters and wetlands. Jim Roy, VP of Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail said Thursday that the ACE failed to evaluate alternatives and declare one to have the least potential impact on waterways.

Chevy Chase attorney John Fitzgerald and retired U.S. Foreign Service officer Len Scensny are the two residents who joined FCCT as plaintiffs in the case. The suit asks the federal district court in Maryland to rule that the MTA's permit is invalid. Maryland officials just confirmed that the controversial Purple Line project will begin operation at least a year later than state and county officials had told the public prior to the 2018 elections, yet another election year cover-up by the Montgomery County cartel.

Safeway issues "storm alert," crews treat roads ahead of Bethesda snowstorm

The first winter storm of 2019 is about thirty hours away, and preparations have been a mixed-bag, particularly as forecasters scale back the expected accumulation numbers for the D.C. area. Some Safeway stores in the county have posted signs outside declaring a "Storm Alert," exhorting customers to "Be Prepared! Stock up on supplies today!" But there was no apparent rush on supermarkets as of last night. The Safeway store at the Shops at Sumner Place in Bethesda was fully stocked with milk, bread and paper goods inside, and snow shovels and firewood outside. Other grocery stores visited last night were equally well-stocked.

Montgomery County's Department of Transportation was a bit more busy. Trucks were pretreating roads from Bethesda to Burtonsville Thursday night into Friday morning.

Suburban News Network

Winter Storm Gia is expected to hit Montgomery County around 2:00 PM tomorrow. Temperatures should be just above freezing at that time, but will drop below 32 degrees over the next few hours after that. Expect a snow accumulation of around 2 inches by Sunday night. Low temperatures will make for dangerous travel conditions.