During the presentation, a JBG representative said a national grocery store chain had signed a lease for 13,000 square feet of retail space. Pressed on which chain it was, the representative declined to identify it. Later, he identified a parking area as designated for "Trader Joe's" customers. After attendees noted he had just revealed the grocery store's name, he expressed regret at the gaffe. In such a large gathering, the cat was unfortunately out of the bag, to the delight of some Trader Joe's fans in attendance. Despite the slip-up, don't expect official, public confirmation of the signing at this juncture by the parties involved in the project. By the way, there is already a Trader Joe's in downtown Bethesda, in the Shops of Wisconsin at 6831 Wisconsin Avenue.
Other interesting new details emerged last night, as well.
The 17-story apartment building will also house 8,000 SF of restaurant space, a key factor in activating the nicely-designed public plaza between Wisconsin and Woodmont Avenue. There will be 4 levels of underground parking for residents, and Trader Joe's and restaurant customers. They do not expect blasting to be necessary for the garage, as they will utilize machinery to remove rock.
After the Bainbridge excavation, the potential for adjacent properties to be damaged during the excavation process seems to be foremost on everyone's mind. Concerns raised regarding potential damage to Fairmont Plaza were dismissed, based partially on the fact that Fairmont Plaza's foundation is further below ground than 7900 Wisconsin's will be. One sensitive factor is that - while the units in Fairmont Plaza are separated from the 7900 project by a ground-floor retail and garage entrance extension, its underground garage does border the dig site for 7900 Wisconsin. That matter will be dealt with by JBG and the owner of the Fairmont Plaza garage, representatives said.
Construction is scheduled to commence in January or February of 2015, and the site will eventually host two tower cranes. The construction will take 28 months to complete. As expected, this demolition and construction schedule does not correlate with the owner of Fitness First's statement that his gym would remain at 7904 Wisconsin Avenue through 2019. That building will be torn down as part of the construction starting in early 2015. The upshot at last night's meeting was that those details could not be discussed publicly right now.
|Fitness First is a tenant in|
one of the buildings slated
for demolition, but has
said it's not going anywhere