Monday, July 06, 2015

Theft in Bethesda Crest; drug arrests on Cordell Ave., River Rd. + more - Bethesda crime update

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on July 3, according to crime data:

Disorderly conduct. Tommy Joe's.

Drug arrest. Cordell Avenue at Woodmont Avenue.

Vehicle burglary. 5000 block Bradley Boulevard.

Theft. 4900 block Cedar Croft Drive (Bethesda Crest).

Drug arrest. 5100 block River Road.

Theft. 5300 block Western Avenue.

Theft. 10400 block Old Georgetown Road (Wildwood area).

Do trees make this downtown Bethesda park feel unsafe?

The Montgomery County Planning Board will take up the refurbishment plan for Caroline Freeland Park at its July 16 meeting. Named after a prominent figure in county planning history, the park lies on property where a neighborhood of single-family homes once stood.

It contains a number of mature evergreens, pines and cypress trees which the county's Department of Parks says are blocking sight lines. "This leads to a perception of an unsafe condition, and thus inhibits some from freely using the park, especially in the evening," their report to planners states. The report recommends removing or significantly pruning those trees.

It's an interesting issue, because one of the community complaints about the Bethesda Downtown sector plan has been the lack of significant park spaces that are not simply hardscaped plazas or pocket parks. One would think mature trees would be of value at this site. All of the trees currently also serve as a noise buffer and air quality contributor for the residential neighborhood directly behind the park. It's unclear what extensive use this park would have after dark under the current proposal, and its nighttime use is necessarily limited by its proximity to residential Edgemoor anyway. So it would seem like a crime and policing issue more than the fault of the trees.
Tree removal plan
with red Xs to show
those to be removed
(click to enlarge)
The Parks Department has presented its final proposal to upgrade the park from its current conditions in this report. You may recall I gave you an overview of the general concepts in January.
"The Rockery" will lead
from Arlington Road's
sidewalk into the park
The Rockery - a line of natural boulders - will be a central element in the department's final recommended plan, as well as the creation of a "neighborhood green" within the park. They envision a lawn that can be programmed with yoga or fitness classes, among other activities. The currently-closed segment of Hampden Lane would be further developed into a pedestrian promenade, and the playground would be expanded to 5876 SF. That new playground would also be designed with equipment to better serve a wider variety of age groups.

There is an error in the report's history of downtown Bethesda. The report claims the arrival of the railroad had spurred growth in downtown Bethesda by 1894. But the railroad actually didn't reach Bethesda for another 15 years after that.

Images via Montgomery County Planning Department

Fish Taco coming to Bethesda

Cabin John's Fish Taco is expanding to Bethesda. A new location is in the works at the Shops at Wildwood (a.k.a. the Wildwood Shopping Center) on Old Georgetown Road. It will be located in a 3283 SF space next to Chopt at the Federal Realty-owned shopping center.

This will be another venture by Francis Namin of Food Wine & Company in Bethesda. Fish Taco features - yes - fish tacos on the menu. But they also have rice bowls, salads, burritos, quesadillas and their famous Brioche Bread Pudding.

The restaurant is specifically inspired by tacquerias in México City and Baja California. 

They've hired the architecture firm of Steven J. Karr, AIA, Inc. and Winmar Construction for the buildout of the space. This sounds like a winning combination - the Karr firm was behind the successful Norfolk-Cordell II building in Bethesda that houses Urban Heights, Smashburger and Dunkin' Donuts; Winmar was the construction firm that did the build-out for one of the DC area's hottest restaurants, Le Diplomate.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Burger Tap & Shake inches closer to Bethesda with Tenleytown location

Burger Tap & Shake and Shake Shack likely top the restaurant wish list of most Bethesda burger fanatics. Those who've followed my ongoing Shake Shack Watch know that Douglas Development has previously brought that NYC import to one of its properties in the District. Douglas currently has at least a couple of downtown Bethesda spaces available. Douglas most recently landed BTS at its 4445 Wisconsin Avenue retail building in Tenleytown, just "down the pike" from Bethesda.

That Tenleytown location is expected to open tomorrow, July 6, according to a press release. A short Red Line trip will bring you to the Six Buck Chuck, the popular BTS house burger with lettuce, pickles, onion, tomato and AP sauce. AP sauce is their not-so-secret secret sauce - a blend of mayonnaise, mayo, ketchup, house-made barbecue sauce and chipotle sauce. That burger is made with 30-day aged, naturally raised Local Harvest beef chuck and brisket, and served on a buttered, toasted house-made bun.

Shakes are another high point, as the restaurant's name suggests. In addition to a variety of classic and modern flavor, adult milkshakes like Talladega Nights and Oreo Speedwagon add alcohol. A dozen craft beers on tap, wines by the glass and specialty cocktails will round out the upscale beverage menu.

With Chef Jeff Tunks' Passion Food Hospitality (which includes BTS in its portfolio) poised to open a new location of their Passion Fish concept on Bethesda Avenue later this summer, the countdown to adding one of the burger "kings" of Washington in Bethesda continues with resigned optimism.

Photo: Burger Tap & Shake

Sex offense in Grosvenor, auto break-in on Cromwell Dr. + more - Bethesda crime update

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on July 2, according to crime data:

Vehicle burglary. 7700 block Meadow Lane (Chevy Chase).

Theft from vehicle. 5400 block Westbard Avenue at 9:23 AM.

Drug arrest. 9000 block Connecticut Avenue (near Beltway interchange).

Theft. 5400 block Grove Street (Chevy Chase Village).

Theft. 5400 block Wisconsin Avenue.

Vehicle burglary. 5500 block Cromwell Drive (Springfield).

Assault. 6400 block Whittier Court.

"Other sexual offense." 5400 block Grosvenor Lane at 2:10 PM.

Drug arrest. Rockville Pike at Strathmore Avenue.

Theft. 4700 block Wilwyn Way (Randolph Hills).

Bethesda construction update: 7770 Norfolk luxury condos (Photos)

The balconies actually have railings, as The JBG Companies' 7770 Norfolk luxury condominiums evolve toward completion at 7770 Norfolk Avenue in Bethesda's Woodmont Triangle. There's even some glass installed at the ground level now. 

7770 has at least one ground floor tenant already on board - Community is an upscale diner that will be open early and late, just what's needed for that dark and deserted block of Fairmont Avenue after business hours. It was switched from rental apartments to condos a few months back, suggesting the condo craze could be making a return to downtown Bethesda.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Alex and Ani to open at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda (Photo)

Alex and Ani will be taking over the just-vacated Things Remembered space at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. You previously could buy some of their product line at Nordstrom in the mall, but this is their first actual boutique in Bethesda.

Alex and Ani products have a unique selling point - the bracelets and other pieces are touted as being infused with "positive energy." In fact, they are imbued with "positive intention" during the manufacturing process. The company's website promises that this energy will "empower the wearer and reflect the unique qualities of the individual."

If this sounds like the place for you, they are currently hiring staff for the new boutique.

Vehicle break-in wave continues in Bethesda, Chevy Chase - Crime update

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on July 1, according to crime data:

Vehicle burglary. 7700 block Wisconsin Avenue.

Theft. 4800 block Bethesda Avenue.

Vehicle burglary. Unit block of Primrose Street (Chevy Chase Village).

Theft. 5300 block Western Avenue.

Vehicle burglary. 7200 block Summit Avenue (Martin's Additions).

Vehicle burglary. 9800 block Belhaven Road (Ashburton).

Vehicle burglary. 9600 block Montauk Avenue (Georgetown Village).

Theft. 10400 block Fernwood Road.

Theft. 7100 block Westlake Terrace.

Shanghai 66 Innovation Kitchen posts Coming Soon signage in Bethesda (Photos)

Coming Soon signage is now up in the Dining Terrace for Shanghai 66 Innovation Kitchen at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. Shanghai is the latest venture from Ivan Liang, the man behind the popular Bob's Noodle 66 and Bob's Shanghai 66 in Rockville.

The menu is yet to be revealed, but will center around dumplings and organic fillings and ingredients.

They're hiring, and the beginnings of their official website have gone live.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Bethesda construction update: Solaire Bethesda luxury apartments (Photos)

Let's check in at the site of the future Solaire Bethesda luxury apartments, at the former home of Eastham's Servicenter on Wisconsin Avenue at Woodmont Avenue. This project is being developed by Washington Property Company, and has one ground floor restaurant tenant already, True Food Kitchen.

Car stolen from Overlea Rd., auto break-ins spike in Bethesda, Chevy Chase + much more - Crime update

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on June 30, according to crime data:

Assault. 7700 block Woodmont Avenue at 12:24 AM.

Assault. 7700 block Wisconsin Avenue at 6:58 PM.

Theft. 7900 block Norfolk Avenue.

Theft. 7200 block Woodmont Avenue.

Vehicle burglary. 3600 block Shepherd Street (Chevy Chase Section 3).

Vehicle burglary. 3600 block Taylor Street (Chevy Chase Section 3).

Vehicle burglary. 6800 block Georgia Street (Chevy Chase Section 3).

Vehicle burglary. Unit block of Farmington Court (Farmington).

Burglary. 8600 block Jones Mill Road (Rock Creek Knolls).

Theft. 3200 block Leland Street.

Stolen car. 6000 block Overlea Road (Fort Sumner).

Vehicle burglary. 6200 block Stoneham Road (Ashburton).

Vehicle burglary. 6200 block Stoneham Court (Ashburton).

Vehicle burglary. 10300 block Rossmore Court (Wildwood Manor).

Burglary. 5900 block Avon Drive (Wildwood Manor).

Vehicle burglary. 9900 block Montauk Avenue (Georgetown Village).

Theft. 5700 block Luxemburg Street.

Theft. 6400 block Bells Mill Road (Marymount).

Assault. 10600 block Mist Haven Terrace.

Theft. 11400 block Rockville Pike (Pike District).

Theft. 7100 block Democracy Boulevard.

Nighttime utility work ahead on Wisconsin Ave. in Bethesda

Utility work required for the 8300 Wisconsin construction project in downtown Bethesda is tentatively scheduled to take place between 7:00 PM and 5:00 AM beginning July 13.

A request for a temporary noise waiver has been filed with the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection. The utility work will take place in the southbound lanes of Wisconsin Avenue (MD 355), and I assume will likely require temporary lane closures as well. It is being done at night in compliance with Maryland State Highway Administration requirements that such projects not interfere with daytime traffic or pedestrian activity.

This project is expected to take 30 days to complete, and will take place on weeknights only.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Car stolen in Chevy Chase Section 3, Pike District assault + more - Bethesda crime update

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on June 29, according to crime data:

Vehicle burglary. 7600 block Old Georgetown Road.

Theft. 8000 block Norfolk Avenue.

Assault. 4600 block N. Park Avenue at 2:42 PM.

Stolen car. 7000 block Georgia Street at 5:46 AM (Chevy Chase Section 3).

Theft. 9700 block Montauk Avenue (Georgetown Village).

Theft. CVS Pharmacy (Shops at Wildwood).

Theft. 10500 block Aubinoe Farm Drive (Wildwood Manor).

Theft. Westfield Montgomery Mall.

Assault. Executive Boulevard at Woodglen Drive at 9:58 PM (Pike District).

Theft. 12100 block Whippoorwill Lane (Montrose Woods).

Capital Crescent Trail reopens to Bethesda Avenue (Photos)

The section of the Capital Crescent Trail between Ourisman Honda's garage and Bethesda Avenue reopened Wednesday. For the last few weeks, trail users had to detour via the Flats at Bethesda Avenue while workers redid this part of the trail.

The paving job looks great, providing a very smooth surface. Cyclists and joggers were already taking advantage of the new trail segment yesterday.

TARDIS to arrive at Bethesda Row Friday night

Attention Doctor Who fans: Barnes and Noble at Bethesda Row is the place you will want to be this Friday night, July 3 at 7:00 PM. Those who travel by TARDIS will find Doctor Who trivia, giveaways, special offers and more. The store is encouraging fans to come in costume as their favorite Doctor Who character for the event.

According to the BBC, the TARDIS "has survived missile attacks, extreme temperatures, gunfire, alien onslaughts and even the assembled hordes of Genghis Khan couldn’t get through its doors."

So I'm anxious to find out how it fares in Montgomery County's rush hour traffic.

Barnes and Noble
4801 Bethesda Avenue

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Sumner auto break-in spree continues, assault at Medical Center Metro + more - Bethesda crime update

If you live in the vicinity of Glen Mar Park or Sumner, make sure your car doors are locked and all valuables are removed from the interior. One or more thieves are breaking into cars in those neighborhoods in recent days. Report any suspicious persons or vehicles to Montgomery County Police.

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on June 28, according to crime data:

Assault. Medical Center Metro station at 6:57 PM.

Burglary. 4800 block Auburn Avenue at 12:44 AM.

Theft. Wisconsin Circle.

Drug arrest. I-270 at Grosvenor Lane.

Vehicle burglary. 5000 block Scarsdale Road (Sumner).

Vehicle burglary. 4900 block Rockmere Court (Sumner).

Vehicle burglary. 5100 block Sangamore Road (Sumner).

Vehicle burglary. 5000 block Baltan Road (Sumner).

Burglary. 6500 block Lone Oak Drive at 10:35 AM (Fernwood).

Burglary. 10900 block Montrose Avenue at 1:03 PM (Garrett Park).

Theft. 10400 block Fernwood Road.

Theft. Westfield Montgomery Mall.

Stolen car. 11400 block Schuylkill Road at 12:41 PM (Randolph Hills).

Sign/awning installed at Kendra Scott at Bethesda Row (Photos)

Here's the first activity seen for a while at the future Kendra Scott boutique on Bethesda Avenue at Bethesda Row. The permanent signage/awning was installed yesterday.

Kendra Scott is expected to open this summer, as early as this month, but stay tuned for an official opening date. Scott is known for her jewelry worn by celebrities like Nina Dobrev, Jessica Alba and Sofia Vergara.

Things Remembered closes at Westfield Montgomery Mall (Photos)

Things Remembered has closed at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. The store, which specialized in personalized gifts, was a longtime tenant at the mall. As you can see in the photo below, the space is already mostly cleared out. 

Is demand for monogrammed items down, or is it because there are just more options of where to order them (mostly online) than in the 1980s?

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Sex offense on Alta Vista Rd., auto break-ins in Sumner/Glen Mar Park + more - Bethesda crime update

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on June 27, according to crime data:

"Other sexual offense." 5300 block Alta Vista Road.

Vehicle burglary. 4700 block River Road.

Vehicle burglary. 5200 block Belvoir Road (Glen Mar Park).

Vehicle burglary. 6000 block Madawaska Road (Glen Mar Park).

Burglary. 5800 block Rockmere Drive (Sumner).

Liquor arrest. 8600 block Burning Tree Road.

Drug arrest. Old Georgetown Road at I-495 interchange.

Disorderly conduct. 6100 block Tuckerman Lane.

Assault. 4800 block Randolph Road (Randolph Hills).

Surface parking lots still in demand in Bethesda (Photos)

Downtown, urban car dealerships do have their logistical challenges. Witness the influx of Volkswagens and Volvos to the far end section of the parking lot at Westwood Shopping Center in Bethesda. They are from Ourisman Volkswagen and Volvo, a new dealership located in the ground floor of a luxury apartment building on Arlington Road.

That dealership is primarily centered around its small, street level showroom. While some cars were seen in the building garage there, these appeared a little over a mile away on Westbard Avenue a few days ago. They're taking up a few rows of the freshly-repainted parking lot, which has previously hosted the film crew of National Treasure 2, and served as a staging area for the Barack Obama campaign on Election Day. Although the main parking area is crowded during business hours, this end portion is rarely used beyond as a truck turnaround or as overflow parking for Westland ES or Bowlmor.

For all the criticism of surface parking lots, they apparently remain a necessity.