Saturday, February 17, 2018

Bethesda flags at half staff after Florida school shooting (Video+Photos)

Flags were at half staff for the opening day of the new 2nd District Montgomery County police station on Rugby Avenue, following this week's school shooting in Parkland, Florida. As they were at the Bethesda Metro Center plaza.

Old Georgetown Safeway closing sale now 50% off (Video+Photos)


The Safeway store closing in March at 7625 Old Georgetown Road in downtown Bethesda has just upped the savings in its store closing sale. Everything is now 50% off, "restrictions and exemptions apply - see store manager for details." As you can see, many shelves are already empty. You have to have signed up for the Safeway Club Card to get the savings (type in your phone number if you don't have your physical card).

Friday, February 16, 2018

Metrobus T2 stop at River Road and Beech Tree Road closed through Feb. 25

WMATA has announced that the T2 Metrobus stop (Stop # 20001329) on River Road at Beech Tree Road has been closed due to construction. The closure and construction are scheduled to continue through February 25, 2018. WMATA made the obvious suggestion of waiting for/exiting the bus at the Glenriddle Road, or Helmsdale Road instead.

Shuttered Bistro LaZeez now hit for failing to pay rent (Photos)

The last week has concluded as badly as it began for Bistro LaZeez at 8009 Norfolk Avenue in downtown Bethesda. Last Thursday, the Montgomery County health department closed the restaurant down. But yesterday, a landlord's complaint filed in the District Court of Maryland stated the bistro has failed to pay rent for several months. A sheriff's summons has been posted in the window. The document declares the restaurant owes $44,433.24 in back rent and late fees, and demands a total of $47,475.24 be paid by the trial date of March 7.

La Madeleine in downtown Bethesda to be replaced with residential building (Photos)

A sign was erected outside of La Madeleine at 7607 Old Georgetown Road yesterday announcing a proposed redevelopment of the property with a mixed-use residential project. The proposed building would have up to 200 residential units, up to 2600 SF of retail (suggesting a small building footprint - this is similar to the now-stalled Claiborne condos project's 2800 SF of retail space at 4820 Auburn Avenue), and an underground parking garage of unspecified size.

La Madeleine doesn't represent vintage Bethesda. But you know a restaurant has been here for a long time when it still has a stand-alone sign, before such business-promoting methods were banned by anti-business Montgomery County. Better to let motorists guess what the businesses are as they drive by - that's sure to augment business owners' bottom lines.

This is prime Metro-proximate land, and exactly the place density should go.A public meeting on the project has been scheduled for Monday, March 5, 2018 at 7:00 PM at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center at 4805 Edgemoor Lane, in Conference Room B - West Room.

Lucy Ethiopian restaurant to open Saturday in Bethesda (Photos)

Lucy Ethiopian Restaurant plans to open Saturday, according to an employee. Located at 4865 Cordell Avenue, it will be the second Ethiopian restaurant to open in as many weeks in a town that previously had none. The owners have an existing location in Silver Spring, and the menu here is expected to be similar, the employee said. Here is a sneak preview of the restaurant interior:

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Bethesda construction update: The Lindley at Chevy Chase Lake (Photos)

The Lindley, a high-rise luxury apartment building whose construction topped out in December, will be one of the first Purple Line projects to deliver at Chevy Chase Lake. An 11-story building with 199 units, The Lindley will feature a rooftop deck with bocce court and grilling stations, a park, a game room, a fitness center, multiple lounges, and a dog walk, as well as a selection of studio, 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom, or 3-bedroom apartments.

Pre-leasing of apartments is expected to commence in June, and first move-ins are anticipated in September. The Lindley's developers are EYA and the Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission. Design Collective is the architecture firm, and Donohoe Construction is the construction contractor.

Tastee Diner assembles team to protect their property interests during Marriott HQ construction

Downtown Bethesda landmark Tastee Diner will have a front row seat for the imminent excavation and construction of the new Marriott headquarters and hotel at 7750 Wisconsin Avenue. Deep excavations that go right up to the property line can sometimes be too close for comfort, and tower crane overswing agreements have to be worked out with adjoining property owners. To that end, the ownership of the diner is retaining a team of professionals, to watch out for the best interests of the property during the construction.

The diner will be represented by the law firm of Silver, McGowan & Silver, P.C. Local architect Steven J. Karr, AIA, is being retained as the owner's representative, agent and project gatekeeper. Rogan Stearns, P.E. of Stearns Engineering will be the consulting structural engineer, and the geotechnical engineer for Tastee will be Gerry Davit, P.E. of Professional Consulting Corporation.

Karr will play a key role in assisting Tastee's legal representation in negotiating a Support Structure and Crane Overswing Agreement with The Bernstein Companies and Boston Properties, who own the Marriott site. He will also review project plans, and coordinate with both Tastee's attorney and the Marriott project team throughout the excavation and construction. Karr will also monitor any physical impacts of the Marriott work on the Tastee building and property.

Tastee Diner is located at 7731 Woodmont Avenue, at the rear western corner of the Marriott site. Marriott actively sought to assemble the diner and Woodmont Grill properties into its headquarters site, but the plan was scuttled after the latter declined to sell.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Apex Building rubble (Photos)

Here's a look at the rubble remaining on the site of the demolished Apex Building at 7272 Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda, as well as views of the site with the building now missing from the skyline from various perspectives. The building will be replaced by a mixed-use project from Carr Properties, over a new Purple Line light rail station.

Fire at Hank Dietle's Tavern (Photos)

UPDATE 5:16 AM: MCFRS spokesperson estimates damage at $500,000, and says investigators so far believe the fire was "accidental."

UPDATE 7:14 AM: MCFRS spokesperson says "accidental" cause of fire has been pinpointed on  "discarded smoking materials" on the front porch.

A fire broke out at the historic Hank Dietle's Tavern at 11010 Rockville Pike around 3:00 AM this morning. The bulk of the fire has been put out, according to Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services spokesperson Pete Piringer. Damage has not been estimated yet, but Piringer described it as "significant." These photos posted by Piringer on his Twitter account clearly show exterior and interior damage to the 1950s roadhouse.
Photos courtesy Pete Piringer

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

New Bethesda police station to officially open Thursday, February 15

The new 2nd District Montgomery County police station, located at 4823 Rugby Avenue in downtown Bethesda, will officially open to the public this Thursday, February 15, 2018, at 5:00 PM. From then onward, the station's public entrance will be open to the community 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Routine walk-in services at the current police station, at 7359 Wisconsin Avenue, will be suspended around 7:00 AM Thursday. Those services will resume around 5:00 PM at the new police station. If you need such services Thursday evening, including fingerprinting, you are advised to first call the station after 5:00 PM, at 240-773-6700.

There is no free parking at the new police station. A public garage adjoins the station, but is now only open to traffic from the Woodmont Avenue entrance, at the traffic signal in front of the Bethesda Medical Building. The driveway next to the station is for police personnel only.