Thursday, March 26, 2015

Bethesda construction update: Element 28 luxury apartments (Photos)

While the tower crane on Old Georgetown Road is what people notice the most, construction at the Element 28 luxury apartment site is still very much below street level. The mixed-use project by Kettler will eventually rise to 15 stories, with 101 apartments and 3500 SF of retail space.

Count me as slightly skeptical of the late-2015 delivery date at this point, but there's a lot of year left to go...

Bethesda Tattoo open house April 1

Bethesda Tattoo is having an open house at its new home at 8227 Woodmont Avenue on Wednesday, April 1 from 6:00-10:00 PM. There will be raffles, prizes and food from 4935 Bar & Kitchen. The event is free, but attendees must be 18 or over.

Robbery at Whitman HS, burglary in Edgemoor + more - Bethesda crime update

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

Theft. 7100 block Woodmont Avenue.

Burglary. 7800 block Exeter Road (Edgemoor).

Theft. 5400 block Wisconsin Avenue.

Theft. 4400 block Willard Avenue.

Robbery. Walt Whitman High School.

Upstairs at Bethesda Row terrace to get makeover

Upstairs at Bethesda Row, the luxury apartment building that straddles Bethesda Lane, is giving its terrace a refresh. The $25,000 upgrade will include repaving, landscaping, and new grills, fireplace and lighting fixtures. For more information on the Federal Realty building, visit the UBR website.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Spring weather gets Bethesda deli working on its patio space (Photos)

Although it's seemed more like winter in the last few days, the arrival of spring has brought back outdoor patio dining in downtown Bethesda. It appears spring will bring an update to the patio at Heckman's Delicatessen on Cordell Avenue. Men were working there yesterday afternoon. Stay tuned for updates.

Hillandale Road could reopen in 6 weeks - what took so long? The story:

Residents who use Hillandale Road regularly ask me what's taking so long to reopen the road. As you may recall, Montgomery County was forced to close the road last October after a culvert failed. At the time, engineers estimated the road could be closed for up to six months.

The worst case scenario indeed played out, as the MCDOT's Division of Highway Services yesterday announced the fix is finally underway, and could allow the road to open on-schedule in six weeks if all goes well.

What was the holdup?

According to MCDOT, it turned out that the needed multi-plate pipe was only available from one vendor. That Florida vendor could only recently deliver the pipe to Maryland.

I noticed something was up at the site last week. The barricades were haphazardly moved aside one day, and a county police cruiser was parked on the road near the Bethesda public pool. By the next day, the barricades were back up again.

At last the end of the tunnel is nearing for Hillandale Road. I have to say, though, that the closure greatly sped up trips on Little Falls Parkway for two reasons. Obviously, there was no red light at that intersection, and, second, there wasn't that problem of people jamming the right lane of the parkway by making slow turns onto Hillandale.

In fact, given Hillandale's reduced role in accessing downtown Bethesda, the reopening could be a minor negative for some drivers who are just trying to get to and from Arlington Road.

Newly-activated Bethesda traffic signal gets the green light (Video/photos)

The new traffic signal on Arlington Road that lit up last week is now fully operational, and stopping traffic. In addition to the signals themselves, you'll notice the strict directional arrow that controlled turns out of the Bradley Shopping Center has been rubbed off the pavement. That means you can turn either way coming out of there with the new signal.

Here's a video of the signal in action, and some additional photos:

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Assault at Suburban Hospital, robbery in Pike District + more - Bethesda crime update

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on March 21, according to crime data:

Assault. Suburban Hospital at 8:23 PM.

"Other sexual offense." Clyde's of Chevy Chase.

Assault. 6200 block Winston Drive at 1:18 AM.

Theft. 7100 block Democracy Boulevard.

Robbery. 11700 block Old Georgetown Road at 6:09 AM (Pike District).

Rite Aid reopens in Bethesda after car crashes into store (Photos)

Rite Aid has reopened at 5350 Westbard Avenue in Bethesda. The Westwood Shopping Center drugstore was ordered by Montgomery County to close after a BMW sedan smashed through the side wall, and into the store, last Thursday. While the store is open again, the gash in the building remains covered with plywood.

Chicken on the Run reopens in Bethesda after fire (Photos)

Peruvian chicken spot Chicken on the Run has reopened at 4933 St. Elmo Avenue in Bethesda. The restaurant had been closed since Saturday, March 7, when a stove fire caused damage in the kitchen.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Assault at Bethesda Marriott, theft on Dorset Ave. + more - Bethesda crime update

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on March 20, according to crime data:

Theft. 4900 block Dorset Avenue (Somerset).

Assault. Bethesda Marriott.

Theft. 5300 block Tuckerman Lane.

Theft. 6700 block Rockledge Drive.

Theft from vehicle. Pepperell Court (Al Marah).

Burglary. 7100 block Democracy Boulevard.

Theft. Nordstrom at Westfield Montgomery Mall.

Downtown Bethesda bank closing May 8 (Photo)

Santander Bank has announced it will close its branch in Artery Plaza on May 8, 2015, at 3:00 PM. If you are a customer there, you should ask your teller about how to manage your account after that date, as the branch is not moving. You can also call 855-806-6516 for more information.

Easter Bunny arrives at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda (Photos)

The Easter Bunny made his annual arrival at Westfield Montgomery Mall on Saturday. Join him for photos, as he holds court near the Center Court on Level 1 through April 4.

His hours are:

Monday-Saturday 10:00am-9:00pm
Sundays 11:00am-6:00pm

The Bunny also takes what Westfield calls "a carrot break" at these times:

Monday-Saturday 1:00-2:00pm/5:00-6:00pm
Sundays 2:30-3:30pm

I caught him taking a carrot break on Saturday:

Auntie Anne's opens at Westfield Montgomery Mall (Photos)

America's favorite soft pretzel is being hand-rolled again at Westfield Montgomery Mall. Auntie Anne's has opened its new kiosk on Level 2. Stop by to watch pretzels being made, and try one of their other specialties like pretzel dogs and lemonade.

Kendra Scott to open at Bethesda Row

Thirteen years ago, Kendra Scott launched a modest line of jewelry with $500. Today, Scott is a jeweler to the stars, whose creations adorn celebrities like Selena Gomez, Nina Dobrev, and Eva Longoria. Now Scott is expanding her Austin-based empire to Bethesda Row.

A Kendra Scott boutique will fill the vacant former home of the Picture Frame Shop on Bethesda Avenue. Earrings, necklaces, rings, bracelets and accessories also include custom colors and bridal designs.

Philanthropy is also a major part of the Kendra Scott brand, with stores hosting events to benefit local individuals and charities, in addition to national causes. She also has a line of Kendra Gives Back charms, from which 20% of the proceeds go to charity.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Def Leppard's Rick Allen at Wentworth Gallery in Bethesda (Photos)

Celebrity sighting!
Rick Allen greets fans at Wentworth Gallery
Saturday at Westfield Montgomery Mall
A packed house greeted Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen Saturday afternoon at Wentworth Gallery in Bethesda, which hosted an exhibit of his fine art titled, "Angels and Icons." There was a long RSVP list to start with. But a sign announcing the presence of a member of Def Leppard (on the busiest shopping day of the week, no less) naturally drew walk-ins at the gallery, which is in Westfield Montgomery Mall. The crowd included at least one local celebrity, Fox 5's Steve Chenevey.

Montgomery County Police officers
were on hand to provide security for Allen

Allen's works took up the entire
gallery's wall space
Allen (center) meets his fans
While full VIP meet-and-greets were granted to those who purchased Allen's works, the rock star was gracious enough to remain afterward to greet fans who stood for the full 3 hour show. Of course, free beer and wine helped them pass the time.
The packed house included Fox 5
anchorman Steve Chenevey (right)

British phone booths

The U.S. Capitol (Allen now lives in

America and the U.K. are major
themes in Allen's works

These smaller works were under $800

Allen tackles the complexities of
America in several variations on
this theme, which centers
on his hand

LED lights on Allen's drumstick tip
capture every strike in a live performance
of the Hysteria hit, "Rocket"
You can see Allen's face at the top center,
from the original, long-exposure photograph
that provides the basis for this mixed-media
piece on canvas, titled, "RhythMantra"
There was also a lot of detail to examine in Allen's mixed-media on canvas art - at least while they remained on the wall. Many pieces were snapped up by fans, with the lowest priced works being just under $800. You can still purchase works from the exhibit from those that remain at the gallery. Call 301-365-3270, or visit their website for more details.

This London scene, like the Capitol painting,
sold at the show yesterday

A younger Joe Elliott performs on a flatscreen
near some of Allen's works in the lobby of the
Wentworth Gallery


...and back to the U.K, to Def Leppard's
birthplace of Sheffield
A portion of each painting's proceeds went to Project Resiliency's Warrior Resiliency program. The program, co-founded by Allen and his wife, Lauren Monroe, helps wounded servicemembers through workshops, retreats and holistic care. Allen does more than lend his name to the charity. He is an active participant. While he did not trumpet it himself at yesterday's event, Allen reportedly spent many hours visiting with wounded servicemembers at Walter Reed on Friday.
A Wentworth employee brings down a
work based on another drum performance,

which one lucky fan would
be taking home



After taking time to meet
with every fan, Allen made
an exit for his second show,
at the Wentworth Gallery
in Tysons Corner

Heading out the door
toward Nordstrom,

the police escort made it
worthy of a rock star exit

Elvis has left the building...

...but not before posing for a photo
with the world's biggest Def Leppard fan