Sunday, June 05, 2016

Public meeting set for Apex Building redevelopment in Bethesda

A public meeting has been set regarding the preliminary plan and site plan for Carr Properties' redevelopment of 7272 Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Bethesda. The meeting will be held at 7:00 PM on Wednesday, June 22, 2016, at 4500 East-West Highway, in Suite 200.

Carr has previously shown its sketch plan for the project, which will replace the existing Apex Building with a mixed-use development of three buildings, with residential, retail and office space. One of the two sketch plan options contained a potential below-grade space for a cineplex to replace the existing Regal Cinemas Bethesda 10. However, it is dependent upon moving the historic Community Paint and Hardware Building, and the interest of Regal or another chain in signing a lease (assuming the theater space remains in the site plan).

We've got to make sure the replacement theater does remain in the plan, as the loss of a mainstream cineplex would be devastating for restaurants and shops that rely upon the "dinner and a movie" business. An economic development study prepared for Towson, MD showed that a multi-screen movie theater like Regal draws 20,000 additional people to a downtown area on weekends who wouldn't ordinarily show up.

Some will say, "let the market decide." I am confident the market will indeed have great interest in operating a theater; there is no competition for one in downtown Bethesda. The problem will be if the market never gets a chance, should the theater space be axed from the building before the market can weigh in.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

What year was that study published? Do you have a link to it?

Anonymous said...

If the building owner decides against a theater, doesn't that count as "the market deciding"?

Robert Dyer said...

7:19: Not if they never attempt to find out which chains might be interested first. I thought they said they had had very preliminary discussions with Regal about their interest in coming back.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I get it now. When property owners do what YOU want them to do, it's "the free market". But when they don't, it's "socialist dictatorship". Thanks for clarifying.

Robert Dyer said...

9:36: So you're in favor of gutting the downtown Bethesda economy by not building a replacement theater? "Thanks for clarifying." You're as much of a moron as the Council and Planning Board were in not understanding the basic economics of how movie theaters generate revenue for restaurants and shops.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you could actually give a link to the study, and the year it was published, instead of hysterical screaming about "gutting Bethesda".

Anonymous said...

"An economic development study prepared for Towson, MD showed that a multi-screen movie theater like Regal draws 20,000 additional people to a downtown area on weekends who wouldn't ordinarily show up."

The claim by the developers of "Towson Square" was 15-20,000 visitors to their $85 million project. Towson Square as 3,400 seats in 15 tiered auditoriums, 8 restaurants, and a parking garage for 850 cars. They would have to fill every seat between 5 and 8 times each weekend to meet their guesstimates. Perhaps this is why the development was sold two years after completion at a $45 million loss. In any case, the scale of the Towson multiplex is many, many times the size of the Regal and dwarfs any future multiplex at the Apex site.

Elm said...

If I was standing at the site of the Apex and the theaters were gone, AMC Mazza Gallerie would be the closest theater: one stop on Metro or a short Ride On ride. Why send MoCo residents to DC for the movies?

Every downtown in MoCo (Rockville, Silver Spring, Wheaton-soon) have a theater. Even the Kentlands "downtown" has a theater :)

Downtown Bethesda deserves one too. It's basic urban planning folks.

Robert said...

Diller Dyer. When will you finally realize it's less about disagreeing with your points and more about your lack of evidence and logic.

Anonymous said...

Landmark Bethesda Row - 8 theaters, just a couple of hundred feet away from the Regal is "chopped liver", per Robert Dyer and Elm Dyer.

Towson Town Square was (re-)built in 2007, and it looks like the data from the developer was from several years before that. So the data is a decade or more out of date - long before Netflix, streaming video and before large-screen, high-definition TV screens became ubiquitous.

Anonymous said...

"Ignorance is when you don't know.

Stupid is when you don't listen to someone who does know."

Describes Dyer to a "T".

Elm said...

2:18 PM
Landmark is great, but downtown Bethesda residents deserve a blockbuster multiplex too...just like Downtown Silver Spring has a wonderful multiplex in addition to AFI Silver. Check it out sometime! :)

Wow..Netflix killed theaters? iPic is packed and people love it. Regal in Silver Spring is a draw. Let's get a nice theater for downtown Bethesda! Urban planning 101 folks!

Remember when downtown Bethesda was MoCo's crown jewel, before the Council and Planners took their eye off the ball? Downtown Bethesda is great, but could be greater! Why settle for going into DC to catch blockbuster summer movies?

Elm said...

2:26PM You are back to ad hominem attacks on Robert Dyer.
Stick to debating the issues please.

Anonymous said...

@ 2:30 PM - You are back to being a whiny little pussy. And an obsessive stalker. Two minutes this time.

Elm said...

2:41 PM Get used to it. I'm not going anywhere.
Now, knock off the ad hominem attacks and stick to the topic at hand.
This about the Apex building and the demolition of the movie theater.

Anonymous said...

"I'm not going anywhere."

Dyer won't let you out of Mom's basement's subbasement?

Anonymous said...

Of all the people to talk about ad hominem attacks and staying on topic.

Elm said...

5:24pm get back on topic: Apex and movie theater.
You act like a child and have to be treated as such.
Stop the ad hominem attacks.

Anonymous said...

"You act like a child and have to be treated as such."

Immediately followed by...

"Stop the ad hominem attacks."

LOL

Robert Dyer said...

2:18: You obviously don't know anything about Landmark Bethesda Row, or you would know that it serves a different segment of the market - independent/arthouse films for older, wealthier audiences. Nobody trying to go on a date at the latest blockbuster is going to come to downtown Bethesda if we don't have a theater.

It's a great sign of the cancerous decay within the MoCo political cartel that, with no media scrutiny other than myself, they now believe they can make insane pronouncements like "Bethesda doesn't need a cineplex" and will them to be true.

The outcome in Towson doesn't negate the true premise of the study - theaters draw 20,000 more people. Towson's problem? TOWSON IS NOT BETHESDA!

Anonymous said...

"theaters draw 20,000 more people."

What a stupid claim. No wonder you continue to not provide evidence of an actual report. Anyways, if Regal actually is selling 20K tickets every weekend in Bethesda then of course they'll sign on in the new building. If there isn't adequate demand then they won't.

Anonymous said...

Dyer will contact the Regal first thing tomorrow morning to get their ticket sales numbers. He's America's greatest journalist.

Anonymous said...

"The outcome in Towson doesn't negate the true premise of the study - theaters draw 20,000 more people. Towson's problem? TOWSON IS NOT BETHESDA!"

You don't have the slightest idea of what you just said, you babbling fool.

Elm said...

7:29pm Yes, you're right and City of Rockville, Pike & Rose, Westfield, Silver Spring, Kentlands, etc. are all wrong about the economic importance of a multiplex theater.

Anonymous said...

@ 7:52 PM - You don't have the slightest idea of what Dyer said, either.

Elm said...

8:03PM When the Regal goes, downtown Bethesda needs a multiplex theater with blockbuster movies. What's so hard about that concept?
Folks come in for the theater and dine at the restaurants.

There are so many local examples of the role of theater plays with a downtown. Do some research. Look what City of Rockville did to reboot their downtown in the 90s.

Anonymous said...

@ 8:13 PM - You still don't have the slightest idea of what Dyer said.

Robert Dyer said...

8:33: You think Towson's demographics are equivalent to 20814 and surrounding? You believe theaters don't draw diners and shoppers downtown Bethesda businesses count on? Just be honest that you are one of those fellow travelers who think farmers markets and 3-person offices are the economic equivalent of having the Northrop, Volkswagen and Intelsat headquarters. Total insanity.

Anonymous said...

As someone who's from Towson, I wonder if anyone shrieking that we should be like them has been there lately. Because it draws huge crows on the weekends largely around the theater--true. But check the corresponding crowd data. Towson now is not Towson from 20 years ago, and I don't think anyone who lives in Bethesa wants it to become today's Towson, at least after dark.

Robert Dyer said...

5:36: I think you're coming at it from a different angle. My point was that, in terms of income level and disposable income, Bethesda is a far more lucrative market than Towson for a theater, as well as restaurants and shops. The business Regal is doing now in an old, outmoded theater indicates that the demand would be even stronger here with a new, state-of-the-art cineplex.

Anonymous said...

Dyer cites a study from Towson, then when that is pointed out, he says "we're not Towson!"

Robert Dyer said...

6:13: You better believe it, because the results IN TOWSON are not indicative of the results IN BETHESDA. But the study remains valid, regardless of whether Towson executed its business plan properly. Again, are you seriously claiming that losing Regal will not hurt restaurants in downtown Bethesda?

Anonymous said...

So how much business is Regal actually doing now? Are they selling anywhere near 20,000 tickets per weekend?

Anonymous said...

Since when does Dyer care about small business? He just goes on about why Montgomery County doesn't have 51 Fortune 500 headquarters. Yet he's even more pro-big government than the county council.

Why would anyone want to invest in this county if we're telling landowners not only what and how to build, but who to lease to? The state and county struggle to retain and attract economic development, but instead of solutions, this blog suggests nonsensical, borderline-fascist policies alongside absurd theories.

Anonymous said...

Why do you not shill for Regal like you do for ArcLight? Maybe your blog could increase the demand.

Anonymous said...

I agree that downtown Bethesda needs a mainstream movie theatre, but I doubt one of the big chains will make the investment. It will probably end up being a high-end chain like Arclight or iPic and I don't know that all three could survive so close to one another. This is simply the kind of theatre educated liberal people go to if they are going to see a mainstream movie.

I have been to the Regal ONCE. Probably 14 years ago. There was so freaking many commercials before the movie that I have never been back. At Landmark I used to buy my tickets in 10-packs and saw nearly everything they had to show.

The teenagers need some place to go see the latest Transformers or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie, but I doubt downtown Bethesda is not going to be that place. Gaggles of teenagers are not usually good customers at your restaurant. When Barnes & Noble finally gives up I kind of wonder where they are going to loiter.

Anonymous said...

"Netflix, streaming video and before large-screen, high-definition TV screens became ubiquitous."

Also, "blockbuster movies" aren't what they used to be. 2016 is not 1977. Really, the only reason for wanting to see a movie in a theater, instead of at home, is for the special effects. Because that's all movies have anymore. Everything is all sequels or re-makes.

Anonymous said...

"You obviously don't know anything about Landmark Bethesda Row, or you would know that it serves a different segment of the market - independent/arthouse films for older, wealthier audiences."

A much more desirable segment of the market. Who wants to watch a nice movie with a bunch of teens who are talking, texting and having sex? Also, "older, wealthier" folks bring much more business to the nearby restaurants.

Anonymous said...

Dyer sure doesn't fit the bill of "wealthier audiences"

Anonymous said...

Actually no he probably won't. Dyer's MO isn't follow through or asking anyone that might know anything.