Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Triangle Art Studios signage appears at the Cheval Bethesda condo tower

The vacant artist spaces in the neon alley behind the new Cheval Bethesda ultra-luxury condo tower at 4960 Fairmont Avenue are finally showing some activity. Triangle Art Studios logos have been stenciled on the doors of the units. The Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District had advertised the spaces to local artists with a July 27 deadline earlier this year. Rents start at $855 a month.

Escape Quest finally moving forward on Fairmont Avenue

Escape Quest - it's not a story of Bethesda residents trying to escape 24-hour construction, but rather a new escape room attraction at 4936 Fairmont Avenue. Its opening has been long delayed since I broke the story about it in April. 

Now there are signs the Alexandria-based company is again moving forward. They have applied for a liquor license with Montgomery County. Their hearing is scheduled for October 18 at 11:00 AM.

For the uninitiated, escape rooms are a game set within a themed room where players must use their wits and puzzle-solving skills to figure how to get out within a time limit. Escape Quest's existing King Street location has rooms based on a lost Mayan temple, a pirate ship, and even a serial killer's "secret lair."

Perhaps a serial killer can bring some life to dead Fairmont Avenue. Escape Quest's Alexandria location has earned the title of "Best Date Night Ever."
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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Dior celebrity makeup artist event at Nordstrom Sept. 26 in Bethesda

Dior will be hosting a special celebrity makeup artist event at Nordstrom at Montgomery Mall in Bethesda on Wednesday, September 26, 2018 from 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM, with special off-the-floor Master Classes at 12:00 PM and 6:00 PM. Dior makeup artist Ricky Wilson will join the Diorshow Traveling Team for a luxury event with complimentary appetizers and cocktails.

Wilson will demonstrate the new makeup trends for the fall season, and how to appear "ageless." Limited one-on-one consultations will be available with Wilson, and you will receive a special token of appreciation with purchase.

Call the Dior counter at 301-365-4111 to reserve your appointment now. Westfield Montgomery Mall is located at 4111 Democracy Boulevard.

Peet's Coffee to open in Friendship Heights

Peet's Coffee is coming to Friendship Heights in Chevy Chase. They will be located in a 2093 SF space next to MAC at 5330 Western Avenue in the Shops at Wisconsin Place. Peet's will have outdoor patio seating. The Shops at Wisconsin Place is also rumored to be the next home for Tabendeh, a jewelry store currently located across the street in Mazza Gallerie.
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Monday, September 17, 2018

New sign at Bonobos at Bethesda Row?

The sign was removed on the storefront of Bonobos at 4836 Bethesda Avenue yesterday. It appears a new one is being installed, but stay tuned.

The Shade Store looks ready to open at Bethesda Row (Photos)

The Shade Store looks like it could open any day now. An upscale window shade and blind retailer, the store is located at 7116 Bethesda Lane.

La Madeleine suddenly "temporarily" closes in Bethesda

La Madeleine has been closed for the last three days at 7607 Old Georgetown Road in downtown Bethesda. The owner says the closure is "temporary," and due to "an emergency maintenance issue."

While there is a redevelopment planned for the restaurant property, the plans for that have not even been approved by Montgomery County yet. It would literally be impossible to break ground on that project before later in 2019 at the earliest, so if the restaurant were to permanently close now, it would not be because they're kicked out for the development.

Western Workaround picking up steam at White Flint dealership site

The "Western Workaround" (in purple)
urban street grid proposed in the 2010
White Flint sector plan
The recent closure of the Nissan dealership at 11605 Old Georgetown Road was seen as the removal of a logjam in construction of the delayed "Western Workaround" urban street grid in White Flint. Sure enough, a major development project is now being introduced for the site.

One thousand apartments, and up to 110,169 SF of retail and restaurant space, is proposed in the new development's sketch plan. A required pre-submittal public meeting on the project will be held Thursday, September 27, 2018 at 7:00 PM at the former Capital One Bank, which is located right next to the dealership at 11575 Old Georgetown.

It's encouraging to hear that the project includes a substantial amount of ground-floor retail and restaurant space to activate the new street grid. This will substantially improve the ambiance for restaurants and apartments at Pike & Rose that face the current car dealership.

One hopes this project, unlike the majority proposed and approved after the White Flint sector plan passed in 2010, will actually be built. Pike & Rose remains an island as the only major "town center" development so far, which has led to some frustration at Federal Realty at the failure of the County to deliver the promised infrastructure the developer has contributed toward.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Bethesda Curry Kitchen reopens

Bethesda Curry Kitchen has reopened as planned, after a utility wire mishap cut off power to the restaurant for nearly a week. After a couple of days to restore fresh food supplies, the restaurant is again serving customers at 4860 Cordell Avenue.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Signs lit for Anthropologie & Co. and Terrain Cafe at Bethesda Row

More signs have been installed at the future Anthropologie & Co. at Bethesda Row, and some of them are now lit. Among the new signs are blade signs, meant to be seen by pedestrians walking along the sidewalks outside the former Barnes & Noble bookstore, and some for the restaurant that will be part of the new store, Terrain Cafe. Scroll down to see these, plus some exclusive updates on the interior construction of the store and cafe.

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Friday, September 14, 2018

Bethesda Curry Kitchen hopes to reopen today

It's been a long week for Bethesda Curry Kitchen, which was forced to close when a utility wire was improperly left dangling over Cordell Avenue, and thereby was snagged and pulled down by a truck late last week. Pepco finally came to restore electricity to the restaurant on Tuesday, a full five days after it was knocked out.
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The owner had to remain closed on Wednesday and Thursday to restock the restaurant, and thoroughly clean and sanitize from the power outage impact. The restaurant is now expected to reopen for business today, September 14, 2018. It's good to hear the owner took extensive steps to ensure that customers are getting fresh food; hopefully the owner can recoup his substantial losses from Pepco, as it was their code violation that caused the extended closure.

Thai Kitchen opening today in Bethesda - here's a sneak peek (Photos)

The Thai Kitchen plans to open today at 7015 Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Bethesda. They are in the former Fish Taco space. Here's an exclusive sneak preview of the interior and menu:

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Tire store coming to Elm St.

An unnamed tire retailer is coming soon to 4919 Elm Street, formerly home to Bethesda Pet. But it's very likely to be a new concept from tire giant Goodyear. One possibility is Roll by Goodyear, a.k.a. Let's Roll, with the latter branding seeming insensitive given the term's 9/11 association. That new Goodyear retail and mobile service concept is coming soon to Rockville Town Square, in a similar garage-free space.

Goodyear is hiring for "Let's Roll" in Bethesda, but is not giving the street address. But the company filed for a trademark on the phrase "Tires on Your Terms" last month, a term that appears on the signage here. That trademark approval is still pending. Goodyear also trademarked "Roll by Goodyear," and "Roll by Just Tires," in May, but not "Let's Roll."

Harris Teeter to drop overnight store hours in Bethesda

Harris Teeter is the latest victim of the crash of downtown Bethesda's nighttime economy. The store at 4805 Battery Lane plans to no longer be open 24 hours a day. New store hours will be from 6:00 AM to midnight. The move leaves Safeway at 5000 Bradley Boulevard as the only 24-hour grocery store downtown.
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Late night hours have become a dark and quiet time in downtown Bethesda since the failure of Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Riemer's disastrous "nighttime economy initiative." The fiasco resulted in the closure of 15 nightspots in Bethesda to date, the closure of the 24-hour Hamburger Hamlet, the end of overnight pharmacy counter hours at CVS Pharmacy on Arlington Road, and late night hour cutbacks at businesses like Barnes & Noble and Nando's Peri-Peri.

There just aren't enough people out at night anymore to sustain nighttime businesses. The large flow of clubgoers that once spilled out onto downtown streets around 2:00 AM have mostly decamped to the District for nightlife, cutting off vital revenue to the County's budget, which is now in the red every year. Riemer's failure was capped off by his move to strengthen and preserve the County's archaic government liquor monopoly, which is killing bars and restaurants in MoCo, and sending even more spending money into the District instead.