Monday, February 10, 2014


A major redevelopment study is underway for Lot 667 in Bethesda, which consists of several buildings along St. Elmo, Norfolk and Fairmont Avenues in the Woodmont Triangle. The study, by the architectural firm of Steven J. Karr, AIA, Inc., is being conducted for White Flint Express Realty Group and Greenhill Capital. According to SJK, a final design concept for a new commercial/retail building is expected to be completed by March. The new through-lot structure would contain 15,000-30,000 square feet of space.

Current tenants of the properties within the lower-case-b-shaped lot include Red Tomato Cafe, BCC Automotive, Fresh Grill, BlackFinn and Bold Bite. Red Tomato, BCC and Fresh Grill have already vacated their spaces, in an ongoing property damage dispute between Greenhill and the Bainbridge Bethesda project adjacent to the lot.

Redevelopment is not the only option, however. SJK is also advising the owners of the Red Tomato site in regards to the alleged damage to that structure. In June, SJK will furnish the owners, management and legal team with recommendations. Those findings, and the outcome of the court battle, will likely determine the future of Lot 667. 

The lot in question does not include Hanaro or Bangkok Garden.

Should a redevelopment go forward, it would be a major, cross-block change affecting several street fronts. Karr has completed two recent projects: the Norfolk-Cordell II building (Smashburger, Roof and - soon - Dunkin' Donuts/Baskin Robbins) and a retail center at the corner of Rockville Pike and Rollins in Rockville. While one concern would be the question of current popular tenants returning to a new structure, Karr's recent track record is strong. Both new buildings seemed to match market demand perfectly, quickly becoming fully-leased, even as other vacant spaces in Bethesda remain empty. And feedback I've heard on Norfolk-Cordell II's "windows on Woodmont Triangle" design has been highly-positive so far.


Anonymous said...

So the landlord removes the tenants claiming the buildings are unsafe despite inspections from the county and third party engineers(albeit hired by the developer) and is now looking at a major redevelopment? Very fortunate timing - no lease buyouts, insurance proceeds for the lost rent, and a potential liability claim on top of that to fund some predevelopment work.

Here's hoping Fresh Grill finds another Bethesda location. They were by far and away the best Burger spot in town.

Anonymous said...

We're finally getting the rest of the story now I see.

Brad Longley said...

That's certainly an interesting conspiracy theory that does sound like it has its merits!

The "best burger spot in town" comment might be stretching it a bit, considering there's Five Guys, Burger JNT, Smashburger, Bold Bite, and more - all with excellent burgers and some with awards to go with it.

Anonymous said...

Definitely just a theory but I wouldn't be surprised if had legs.

In terms of burger spots if you're looking for the singular best burger in town Fresh Grill may not have topped the list but in terms of variety and accross the board quality I have it at #1. All the burgers were great and the chicken/fish sandwiches were amazing. I haven't really found anything I love at BGR and haven't made to to Smashburger yet so I may have spoken too soon.

Anonymous said...

With Lenny Greenberg as a landlord, you bet he would do exactly what Anon 6:59 mentioned above. And Steve Karr's building designs are boring and uninspired. Take a look at his other projects, they all look the same.