Saturday, April 18, 2015

VIP opens at Westfield Montgomery Mall (Photos)

Apparel store VIP has opened at Westfield Montgomery Mall, across from Crave on Level 1. If it sounds familiar, local entrepreneur David Castain previously leased space at the mall for a VIP outdoor apparel store in September of 2012. If you're still regretting the loss of the Burton store, VIP carries some Burton apparel.

Bethesda arson suspect charged, assault on Whittier Blvd. + much more - Bethesda crime update

Montgomery County Police have charged Bethesda resident Mansour Benkreira, 20, with three counts of arson, for fires he allegedly set in cars early Wednesday morning. The fires were set in vehicles parked on Wessling Lane and Glenbrook Road, in the Edgemoor neighborhood of Bethesda.

Police have another person of interest they are searching for in the case. If you have any information, please call the Arson Tipline at 240.777.2263.

Apparently, criminals don't file taxes, so April 15 was an unusually-high crime day in Bethesda.

Here's a roundup of all crimes reported across Bethesda on April 15, according to crime data:

Disorderly conduct. West Virginia Avenue at Wisconsin Avenue.

Vehicle burglary. 4400 block Rosedale Avenue.

Vehicle arson. 5100 block Wessling Lane (Edgemoor).

Vehicle arson. 7000 block Glenbrook Road (Edgemoor).

Vehicle arson. 7000 block Glenbrook Road.

Vehicle burglary. 7800 block Marion Lane.

Burglary. 5400 block Audubon Road.

Vehicle burglary. 6900 block Barrett Lane.

Vehicle burglary. 7800 block Hampden Lane.

Assault. 7100 block Whittier Boulevard.

Drug arrest. 9900 block Julliard Drive.

Theft. 7100 block Heathwood Court.

Vehicle burglary. 11500 block Rokeby Avenue.

Theft. 6700 block Rockledge Drive.

Theft. 7100 block Democracy Boulevard.

Theft. Sears at Westfield Montgomery Mall.

Gallery Bethesda luxury apartments leased up in less than a year

The Gallery Bethesda apartment tower was the first next-generation luxury building to open in downtown Bethesda after the real estate crash and recession. Its grand opening was last June 5, and less than a year later, Property Manager Manuel Majano reports that the building is 98.6% leased as of yesterday afternoon.

Regular readers may recall that the Gallery has already won an award as the top Lease-Up property in Maryland, from the Property Management Association. It was 80% leased last October.

If you want to move in, it sounds like you'll have to act fast.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Assault on Greentree Rd., 3 burglaries + more - Bethesda crime update

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on April 14, according to crime data:

Burglary. 8300 block Wisconsin Avenue.

Vehicle burglary. 7200 block Exeter Road (Edgemoor).

Theft. 4500 block Chestnut Street.

Theft. Suburban Hospital.

Burglary. 4700 block Merivale Road (Brookdale).

Theft. 10000 block Edward Avenue.

Burglary. 7400 block Wyndale Lane at 1:46 PM.

Theft. 11600 block Old Georgetown Road (Pike District).

Assault. 6300 block Greentree Road at 1:26 AM.

New banner at The Flats - ready to schedule a tour? (Photos) #Bethesda #DC

The Flats, now know as the Flats at Bethesda Avenue, is already leasing up. Yesterday, workers were installing a new banner with the property's marketing logo on the building. Management firm Bozzuto is sweetening the deal with a contest - if you sign a lease this month, you will be entered into a drawing for a $1000 gift card from The Container Store.

They have a Leasing Office at 4733 Elm Street, and are already scheduling tours. You can make your appointment online.

New renderings of future public downtown Bethesda public plaza at St. Elmo Apartments (Photos)

When many have been asking for more public spaces in downtown Bethesda, here's a sneak peek at one that is a few years away from being completed between St. Elmo and Fairmont Avenues. Developer Lenkin Companies is putting the finishing touches on its preliminary plan for the St. Elmo Apartments, and will submit it to the Montgomery County Planning Department in the next two weeks, its attorney Steve Robins said at a public meeting last night. Robins, of the Bethesda law firm of Lerch, Early and Brewer, said the applicant is currently seeking the subdivision approval to combine the 8 lots that will form the project site.

The plan includes a public plaza that will be joined with the existing pedestrian space at the neighboring Bainbridge Bethesda. A 30' pedestrian plaza will be the result, a place designed for people to relax and enjoy, Robins said. Many aspects will remain the same as the current Bainbridge patio, such as tables and chairs for seating, and plantings. 

What's new? A clock will be one landmark on the St. Elmo Apartments side, and a curving design will replace the straight pass-through now at the Bainbridge.

While there will be retail on both sides, the level of vibrancy that will contribute is questionable at present. The retail spaces at Bainbridge have been slow to lease up, and Robins said he expects retail tenants at the St. Elmo to be oriented more toward providing services to building residents than to restaurants. 

What's the timeline going forward here? Robins predicted the project would get a hearing before the Montgomery County Planning Board about 4 to 6 months after the plan submission. A final site plan would then require 6-8 months to complete. Groundbreaking would follow about two years later, meaning that we're talking about 2017 or 2018, depending how long the process takes.

The St. Elmo will be a 16-story tower with 210 apartments, and up to 15,488 SF of retail and office space. Designed by David M. Schwartz, the tower will offer 15% affordable units, higher than the required 12.5% under Montgomery County's MPDU program. The garage access for residents will be from the St. Elmo Avenue side of the building.

Images courtesy Lenkin Companies
All rights reserved

Thursday, April 16, 2015

2 downtown Bethesda drug arrests, auto break-in on Beacon Terrace + more - Bethesda crime update

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on April 13, according to crime data:

Drug arrest. Moorland Lane at Arlington Road.

Drug arrest. 5100 block Wilson Lane.

Theft. 7800 block Oldchester Road at 3:09 PM.

Theft. 11400 block Rockville Pike.

Vehicle burglary. 7200 block Beacon Terrace at 7:05 AM.

Would you wear a Bethesda shirt or hat? (Photos)

Of course you would! But where do you find apparel touting the Athens of the modern world? At Giant, it turns out, which has just added a selection of shirts, hats, and stuffed bears bear-ing the name of our hometown. Unfortunately, the T-shirt graphics are not really evocative of Bethesda. It seems these are stock items customized with the town name. Although the urban camo does fit, with Bethesda being the home of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Fountain activated, summer concerts scheduled at Veterans Park in Bethesda (Photos)

The annual start-up of the fountain in Veterans Park is always a sign of spring, and the approaching of summer. It also makes the park a more pleasant place to hang out or dine in.

Most importantly, it enhances the central purpose of the park - the memorial that commemorates residents of Bethesda and Chevy Chase who died in the wars of the 20th and 21st century. Stop by for a visit, at the corner of Norfolk and Woodmont Avenues. There is a Starbucks right across the street, a 7-Eleven nearby on Fairmont Avenue, and several restaurants steps away from the park - Jetties, BGR, The Parva, Bold Bite, Tastee Diner, Woodmont Grill and Black's Bar & Kitchen, to name a few. A Capital Bikeshare station is located at the Norfolk Avenue side of the park.

But on Thursday evenings in May, June and July, the park is also home to Bethesda Urban Partnership's diverse Summer Concert Series. Here is the lineup for this summer. Concerts are held between 6:00 and 8:00 PM.

Permanent sign installed at Barrel & Crow in Bethesda (Photos)

The temporary sign over the door at the under-construction Barrel & Crow at 4869 Cordell Avenue has been replaced with a permanent one. Stay tuned for an opening date.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Bethesda construction update: The Lauren ultra-luxury condos (Photos)

None of the actual condos "from the several millions," have been constructed yet at the future site of The Lauren on Hampden Lane in downtown Bethesda. Workers are still building the underground garage, which will offer the option of vehicle lifts for wealthy car-enthusiasts.

Another auto break-in in Wyngate; assaults in Pike District, Randolph Hills + more - Bethesda crime update

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on April 12, according to crime data:

Disorderly conduct. Norfolk Avenue at Woodmont Avenue.

Theft. 3700 block Chevy Chase Lake Drive at 9:03 AM.

Vehicle burglary. 5800 block Wyngate Drive (reported at 12:40 PM).

Assault. Nicholson Lane at Woodglen Drive at 3:30 AM (Pike District).

Assault. 4800 block Boiling Brook Parkway at 4:02 PM (Randolph Hills).

Street sweeping scheduled for Montgomery Lane in Bethesda

Signs are alerting residents around Montgomery Lane about imminent street sweeping that will occur sometime between tomorrow, April 16, and April 21, anytime from 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Livestream w/Michael Douglas & Jeremy Irvine at ArcLight Cinemas Thursday in Bethesda

Actors Michael Douglas and Jeremy Irvine will participate in livestream Q&A following the 7:00 PM showing of their new film, Beyond the Reach, this Thursday, April 16, at ArcLight Cinemas in Bethesda. The Q&A will be streamed live from Hollywood. Beyond the Reach is an R-rated remake of a 1974 ABC Movie of the Week, which starred Andy Griffith in the Douglas role.

The movie is a take on The Most Dangerous Game. But in this case, Douglas' tycoon only becomes the hunter after accidentally shooting a man on a desert expedition. His hunting guide, played by Irvine, is the only witness.

You can watch the movie's official trailer here. Tickets for the 7:00 Thursday showing are on-sale now, and available online.

ArcLight Cinemas is located in Westfield Montgomery Mall.

Photo courtesy Roadside Attractions

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Bethesda Place apartments upgrades entrance (Photos)

A new awning appeared not that long ago at the Bethesda Place apartments, at 7701 Woodmont Avenue. It's been blank, however, until now. The building's name and address now grace the red canopy, as the previous generation of apartment towers find ways to stay fresh amidst new, luxury competitors downtown.

The finishing touches were being applied as these photos were taken.

Assault on Hampden La., 2 cars stolen downtown + more - Bethesda crime update

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on April 11, according to crime data:

Disorderly conduct. Norfolk Avenue at St. Elmo Avenue.

Assault. 4900 block Hampden Lane at 10:16 PM.

Stolen car. Bethesda Library at 7:50 AM.

Stolen car. 8100 block Woodmont Avenue at 11:43 AM.

Theft. Westfield Montgomery Mall.

Assault. 11800 block Grand Park Avenue (Pike & Rose).

Villain & Saint paints exterior wall (Photos)

Villain & Saint, a new Robert Wiedmaier restaurant opening this Thursday at 7141 Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda, has a new exterior wall design as of yesterday. The front still looks like its predecessor, Markham's, for the moment.

Monday, April 13, 2015

More Wyngate auto break-ins, drug arrest on Woodmont Ave. + more - Bethesda crime update

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on April 10, according to crime data:

Drug arrest. Woodmont Avenue at Norfolk Avenue.

Vehicle burglary. Elm Street at Bethesda Lane at 8:52 AM (Bethesda Row).

Burglary. 8300 block Wisconsin Avenue.

Burglary. 5500 block Western Avenue (Chevy Chase Village).

Vehicle burglary. 6000 block Woodacres Drive [reported at 6:19 PM] (Wood Acres).

Vehicle burglary. 5800 block Wyngate Drive [reported at 6:01 AM].

Vehicle burglary. 5800 block Wyngate Drive.

Vehicle burglary. 11400 block Rockville Pike (Pike District).