Saturday, July 23, 2016

The final days of Bethesda's doomed Connor Building (Photos)

The Connor Building at 7720 Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda isn't long for this world, as it will be demolished this fall to make way for the long-delayed Westin Hotel project. Montgomery County's moribund private sector economy has depressed both the hotel and office markets. When business travel declines to an area, so does the demand for hotel rooms. The MoCo office market is so bad - the worst in 30 years, according to an executive at The JBG Companies - that the office tower part of the Westin project has been delayed indefinitely. That office building was to be on the site of the Bethesda Court Hotel.

It's hard to believe it was 2011 when I broke the story about the Westin hotel being built in Bethesda. Here we are now, in 2016, waiting for a groundbreaking scheduled for mid-2017.

Tenants in the Connor Building will be hitting the exits much sooner; all will be gone by the last day of this month. In a business-unfriendly county, some are just going to call it a career. Others have, or are, reopening nearby.
Maryland Stamps and Coins has managed to find a space a few blocks away. They will move at the end of the month to 4803 St. Elmo Avenue.
Smoothie King will close July 30, but have already opened their new location at 4710 Bethesda Avenue a long time ago.

C+M Interiors appears to have cleared out with no mention of where they have gone. There are still some rugs and floor samples in the space.
Before there was ever such a thing as Taylor Gourmet or South Street Steaks, Philadelphia Mike's was the only Philly sandwich destination in town. They are scheduled to close July 30, but the owners are intently searching for a new location in downtown Bethesda.
The last day at Kabob Bazaar will be this Sunday, July 24. But owner Bruce Sarvghadi says he is also searching for a spot in Bethesda. Until one is found, you can visit their Clarendon location at 3133 Wilson Boulevard.


And, of course, Comfort One Shoes has already moved to 7920 Norfolk Avenue, the former home of the Berry Yogurt yogurt-sushi combo experiment.

I'm excited about the new hotel being built, but always liked the vintage interior of this building. Definitely "Old Bethesda" all the way. Does anyone know if the same architect designed the one at the corner of Old Georgetown Road and St. Elmo Avenue (with the psychic and rug store)? They have very similar interiors and "arcade" corridors.

This is also another of the many disappearing buildings which used stone from a nearby quarry on their facades. The bank demolished for the Element 28 project comes to mind.

26 comments:

Jason said...

I'm excited for this too. Hopefully it'll help with the Woodmont Triangle revitalization. Shame for the office building delay; is the design staying the same without it?

Anonymous said...

I'm curious about that too. The two buildings look nice I the rendering curved around the courtyard, but with just one half being built I wonder what it will look like.

Anonymous said...

Blah blah blah moribund blah blah blah

Anonymous said...

Puts "moribund" and "Westin" in the same sentence and still doesn't realize how silly and out of touch he comes across.

Anonymous said...

NoVa has the region's tallest office building - and it's completely vacant.

Anonymous said...

Careful, Dyer might consider this relevant post a violation of comment policy.

Anonymous said...

Once again, Dyer refuses to consider that high rents are the most likely reason that some of the tenants are having trouble relocating.

Anonymous said...

Rosslyn's office vacancy rate - 31%

Arlington County's office vacancy rate - 21%

Wow, that's beyond moribund.

Anonymous said...

Are you sure Kabob Bazaar is actively looking? I heard he's hanging up the towel in Bethesda and will focus just on his VA location.

Will be fun to watch MD Stamp and Coin move. Their place is a mess -- no idea how they'll manage to pack it all up.

Wrol said...

What's Montgomery County's office vacancy rate for comparison?

Anonymous said...

The new Capital One corporate headquarters under construction in Tysons is impressive. So massive that 5+ cranes are needed in construction. A ton of jobs- good jobs- will be based there. Will be tallest building in DC area.

Now- can you ever imagine a building like that being constructed in MoCo? Serious question. I'd be shocked at this point to see an office building that massive built here. If you agree with this, let's try to find a solution.

Anonymous said...

The combined headquarters of Marriott-Starwood will be huge.

Robert Dyer said...

1:00: That was the previous rumor, but his latest statement is that they are looking for a new location. How active the search is, I can't verify.

Robert Dyer said...

11:08: This is an argument you lost a long time ago. When Bill Turque uses the word moribund in the Post, and a former chief of staff for a CURRENT County Councilmember says the MoCo economy is stagnant, it means YOU are the one who is "out of touch" claiming we are in boom times.

Robert Dyer said...

11:48: Completely fake headline. Capital One tower is the tallest office building in the entire region, and will have tenants when delivered - duh! - it's the Capital One world headquarters, you moron.

Anonymous said...

Bill Turque didn't say the entire county was "moribund", you Birdbrain.

Anonymous said...

Richard Fairbank is cool. Don't you be dissing COF. Hans Riemer get up your shorts again? I hate that F'n Pr1ck too. Smoothie King needs to get a spot in Cabin John Center or Potomac Crossing

Anonymous said...

The Capital HQ isn't open yet. But once it is open, the headline will simply change to "NoVa has the region's second tallest office building - and it's completely vacant."

Anonymous said...

Is the Monday/Goldman building the same as the Capital HQ or a different building?

Anonymous said...

@ 8:02 PM - No. The Monday/Goldman building is 1826 N. Moore St. in Rosslyn. It was completed three years ago and is still completely vacant. The Capital One HQ, currently under construction, is in Tysons Corner.

Anonymous said...

The new Capital One headquarters will be 470 feet high. Construction began in late 2014 and the building is expected to open sometime next year.

1826 N. Moore St. is 390 feet high.

Anonymous said...

11:12 PM I thought you said Dyer "glides" through Bethesda at night? Now you're saying he's running. If he can glide, why would he both running on foot after you?

It's probably good that he reports what happens after "business hours" (after 5pm). News happens after 5pm you know.

Robert Dyer said...

3:55: He said the eastern half of the County is "moribund." That's more than anyone in the local media has been willing to admit to this point. Hans Riemer's former chief of staff said the whole County's private sector economy has stagnated. Every sensible person is starting to support what I've been saying all along: moribund. I've now got the Council talking about adding automobile capacity to the Legion bridge. As my readership grows, I am having an impact on the discussion, no doubt about it.

Anonymous said...

Now that the Connor Building no longer has any tenants, I wonder what will happen to the parking lot behind the building. Although this lot was posted to be used for patrons of the businesses in the Connor Building, it was widely used for parking by people going to other businesses in the area (e.g. Starbucks).

Robert Dyer said...

5:24: I guess it depends if they still have a towing service, for security or liability reasons, for example.

Anonymous said...

we stopped shopping at the the Connor building a long time ago because of their overly aggressive tow policy.