Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Apex Building obliterated in Bethesda (Photos)

The Apex Building at 7272 Wisconsin Avenue is pretty much gone, its demolition restoring temporarily the view from the Wisconsin Avenue bridge over the former CSX railroad tracks (now the Capital Crescent Trail) as it was before the late 1980s. Carr Properties is building a mixed-use tower on the site, which has already signed Fox 5 as a tenant. A Purple Line station will also be built underneath the new development. The Apex Building was best known over the years for former tenants United Artists Bethesda 10, a.k.a. "UA"/Regal Cinemas Bethesda 10 and UNO Pizzeria & Grill.




35 comments:

Anonymous said...

If the building is demolished, they should be able to open the sidewalk back up.

Friends of Woodmont Triangle said...

Downtown Bethesda deserves a multiplex cinema.

Anonymous said...

Bethesda has a multiplex cinema, just two blocks away. Dyer even reported on it a few days ago.

Robert Dyer said...

8:35: You've obviously never been there. They show arthouse films, not mainstream blockbusters that draw the big crowds. Last year, they showed Beauty and the Beast, Wonder Woman and possibly one other mainstream film, but everything else was arthouse. We need a new cineplex to replace Regal, and right now it looks like - as with everything else - Helpless Hans Riemer and the County Council have failed us again.

Friends of Woodmont Triangle said...

Right- Silver Spring has AFI Silver but also a multiplex Regal. The Regal drives large crowds into that area of downtown Silver Spring. Exactly what Bethesda needs again now that we've lost our multiplex. Urban planning 101.

Anonymous said...

Dyer Family 101

Anonymous said...

Would you please stop with the Hans Riemer nonsense? It's childish and pathetic and hurts your credibility.

Why should a private property owner be forced to build a movie theater anyway, especially with Arclight at the mall? If it makes financial sense they'll built it. And the owner of the block with FedEx Office already said he was bringing in a new theater.

Anonymous said...

9:20 AM Public benefits can certainly be negotiated.

The Regal Bethesda was well served by transit. There's metro bus to Westfield from our downtown, but it's not the same as being on Metro.

iPic is great, but is more expensive and auditoriums are smaller and sell out quicker.

Anonymous said...

"9:20 AM Public benefits can certainly be negotiated."

What an idiot. Thank god you're not in charge of my tax dollars.

Anonymous said...

12:39 PM Stonehall on Battery/Woodmont initially had a "high quality" restaurant required as part of the approval process. You can approve projects with contingencies.

The Planning Board is supposed to take a holistic view of a project.

Anonymous said...

"take a holistic view"

What are you, some kind of hippie fruitcake?

Anonymous said...

1:48 PM Thank god you're not in charge of my tax dollars.

Anonymous said...

2:14/1:34 PM/10:02/8:48/8:21 AM - What "tax dollars"?

Anonymous said...

So, Mr Dyer, your position is that the county council should mandate which types of businesses open where?

Interesting that you blame the lack of cinema here on “helpless Hans” and simultaneously put him and his colleagues on blast for their support of the Westbard development. Reading this blog one might reasonable conclude that you have a tendency to blame him for just about anything you don’t like.

Robert Dyer said...

3:49: Suburban, non-transit-oriented Westbard is not downtown Bethesda. Every credible downtown area has a cineplex. Bethesda is now the only urban center in the County to lack one. The major reason we don't have it, is because the Council and Planning Board ignored my advice to not only make a new theater a priority, but to also make it a mandatory condition in the minor master plan amendment for 7272 Wisconsin. They actively chose not to.

Like it or not, much like the missing provisions for construction of the full CCT tunnel under Wisconsin Avenue, the theater was the total responsibility of Helpless Hans and his colleagues on the Council and PB.

9:20: How is ArcLight an option for a "walkable" downtown Bethesda? Are you acknowledging that "walkability" is just a fake talking point to get more development density, and not actually about providing things like theaters, convenience stores, auto repairs and post offices within walking distance?

Anna said...

Maybe it's got nothing to do with "personalities" as suggested.

How about the fact that "cineplex" is no longer a sustainable business.
Regal, after years of declining revenues, sold out to Cineworld.
AMC is struggling. Declining revenues, declining stock prices.

Regal Entertainment RGE

Robert Dyer said...

4:14: I certainly saw no signs of struggle, revenue-wise, at Regal Bethesda. Whichever chain were smart enough to open here would have the whole downtown market to themselves. The closest competitor is AMC Mazza Gallerie, which is not only woefully outdated, but strangely can't get all of the major films, and has their volume knob perpetually on 11, even for comedy films!

The movie business is kind of like the department store business - it's struggling, but some Sears stores are doing well, such as here in Bethesda.

I think the only reason Regal isn't clamoring to get back in, is that a developer is going to have accommodate their large space. At face value, it looks like less revenue for the developer, and it takes a savvy developer to realize the value of the foot traffic a cineplex can provide (as many as 20,000 more people each weekend, according to a study by Towson, MD, which is Podunk Junction compared to 20814). And it has to be a large enough project (such as 7272 Wisconsin) to have the other restaurants and retail in addition to the theater. If you don't have other retail and dining spaces, then your property is unlikely to gain the revenue boost of having the cineplex.

Again, that is the challenge Regal is probably facing right now in getting back into downtown Bethesda.

Anonymous said...

"some Sears stores are doing well, such as here in Bethesda."

You're an utter idiot if you actually believe that.

Robert Dyer said...

4:57: And the reason it has survived every round of Sears closures is....?

Anna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I haven't been to a movie theater in years -- I like my DVD player and my couch. Bethesda has the "art house" cinema in downtown Bethesda, then large multiplexes at Montgomery Mall and Pike District. Isn't that enough movie screen supply for a population of 60,000?

If movie theaters were so popular, then the high real estate prices would not be a deterrent (they could still make money) and companies would be scrambling to open up new theaters. I see no such evidence.

Anonymous said...

Although not large, the Landmark Theatre could easily begin showing mainstream so called blockbuster movies. As an architect who has designed many theatres, I can tell you that turban cinemas take up huge amounts of floor area and volume, and require extensive exiting if on upper or lower floors, often at the expense of quality street front retail. Large structural spans required for auditoriums require expensive transfer beams if any other structure is placed above, like housing or offices. Escalators and elevators can add substantial cost to a project, unlike less expensive suburban one story high cinemas. Large ciniplexes also require vast amounts of expensive parking as a large theater is difficult to find enough clients within a reasonable walk shed. Transit can certainly help, but a family of four would have to add at least ten bucks to their outing to cover their Metro fares, not to mention expensive tickets and snacks at urban cinemas.

From a cost per square foot, urban theatres do not often carry their own weigh with very poor return on investment and are usually considered loss leaders and only included an anchor to lure other retailers and restaurants, not unlike a large department stores in a mall.

With the advent of afforadable, 4K HDR, very large format flat screens, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Apple TV, Roku, and Hulu, as well as many inexpensive streaming channels like HBO Go, many predict that commercial movie theaters are a dying breed. The incredible quality of home viewing has grown so rapidly, than many folks just wait a bit after movie are released, and enjoy them in their homes or apartments. Many predict that in the near future, most movies will be released for home viewing at the same time as in a movie theatre.

No doubt a sad change in a social society, but perhaps an inevitable future for urban cinemas, at least in very dense places like Bethesda. I love the experience of going out for dinner and a movie, but for less money I can enjoy a higher quality experience and much lower cost at home, and with a 4K HDR Blu Ray player I can actually own the freakin movie for less than the cost of two tickets, and a large popcorn at ArcLight or iPic.

Robert Dyer said...

6:21: Well, it just depends whether the County is really serious about walkability, or it's just a buzz phrase to mask their real intentions. It also has an impact on the nearby restaurants, who have lost thousands of potential customers, who are all watching movies and dining in another locality instead of downtown Bethesda.

Landmark is a certain demographic with the arthouse films it shows, so it can't possibly replace the Regal.

Anonymous said...

"nearby restaurants, who have lost thousands of potential customers, who are all watching movies and dining in another locality instead of downtown Bethesda."

Or maybe downtown Bethesda residents decided to watch the movie streaming on their new 4K HDR, very large format flat screens, and save the the $13-25 they would have spent per person, and now have that money to spend that on local restaurants instead. (You should have read @ 6:54 AM before you typed your response.)

I go to movie theaters to watch "blockbusters" less than once every two years, and I haven't done "dinner and a movie" since most local Pizzeria Unos closed.

Anonymous said...

Why is the dude from Unwalkable Westbard telling Bethesdians what kind of businesses they need to have to be "walkable"?

Robert Dyer said...

8:50: Your habits are hardly indicative of the larger population. Who the hell are all these annoying, sick people crowded around me every time I go to the movies, then?

8:57: If you weren't a carpetbagger, you would know Westbard is eminently walkable, and has been for decades. There are already sidewalks along every street being redeveloped. The area has been neglected for decades by our corrupt County elected officials, and it has no public amenities other than the library, but "walkability" has never been an issue in my lifetime.

Anonymous said...

Dyer @ 9:50 PM: "Who the hell are all these annoying, sick people crowded around me every time I go to the movies, then?"

Love the ringing endorsement of going to the movies. LOL

"If you weren't a carpetbagger"

Sorry, Dyer, I've lived in southern Montgomery County all my life. However I don't have the need to get all defensive about it, as you do, as I have better things to put on my resume than "lived in my parents' house my entire life".

"Westbard is eminently walkable, and has been for decades. There are already sidewalks along every street..."

Your use of the word "walkable" is wildly inconsistent. On the one hand, you argue that downtown Bethesda will not be "walkable" unless the Regal is replaced. On the other hand, you claim that Westbard is "walkable" simply because it has sidewalks.

Robert Dyer said...

1:50: You said people are staying home. As someone who goes to movies, the crowded theaters say otherwise.

If you actually lived in "southern Montgomery County," you might know that all the streets in question in "Westbard" all have sidewalks.

Your resume is blank. You're a zero. A nobody. All we know about you is that you snipe at people who are actually in the arena getting things done from behind a computer screen. All indications are that you are the one still living at "parents' house," old sport.

For downtown to be "walkable," it has to have all the standard downtown amenities within walking distance. That includes a movie theater. Westbard is not a "downtown" urban area (at least, not yet).

Anna said...

If you truly had confidence in your statements, you wouldn't need to call someone a "a zero. A nobody."

"All we know about you is that you snipe at people who are actually in the arena getting things done from behind a computer screen. All indications are that you are the one still living at "parents' house," old sport."

Now, how does any of that matter to the validity of their statements?
Just tossing this out there, but doesn't that also describe you to a tee?

Robert Dyer said...

4:52: No, it doesn't, but it sounds like a cheap insult from the person who claims integrity matters most. Most can agree that a guy who doesn't use his real name, and has no accomplishments, taking potshots at someone like me who is actually in the arena getting things done, while the critic is in a dark room hiding behind a computer screen (and using a Bart Simpson avatar on Twitter) is indeed a zero and a nobody.

Anonymous said...

Westbard has a good network of sidewalks right now. You can walk to the retail center from the neighborhoods, to River Road, etc. all on wonderful sidewalks.

Anonymous said...

1:50 AM says, "I don't have the need to get all defensive about it, as you do"

And Dyer gets all defensive once again.

At 3:04 AM: "Your resume is blank. You're a zero. A nobody. All we know about you is that you snipe at people who are actually in the arena getting things done from behind a computer screen. All indications are that you are the one still living at "parents' house," old sport."

At 6:36 AM : "A guy who doesn't use his real name, and has no accomplishments, taking potshots at someone like me who is actually in the arena getting things done, while the critic is in a dark room hiding behind a computer screen (and using a Bart Simpson avatar on Twitter) is indeed a zero and a nobody."

You never see anything like this from our elected leaders, or from the staff of Bethesda's news site of record. They always engage positively with their constituents and readers.

Anonymous said...

Looks like graves were moved to make way for the Osborne shopping center.

https://patch.com/maryland/uppermarlboro/19th-century-graves-moved-to-build-shopping-center

Oops

Robert Dyer said...

9:04: Fake news. The Osborne shopping center is not on Leeland Road. In fact, I don't believe that shopping center was ever built. The only thing I recall seeing at that intersection is the Safeway distribution center.

However, it is a very interesting article, thanks for bringing it to my attention.

Anonymous said...

Dyer writes: "Who the hell are all these annoying, sick people crowded around me every time I go to the movies, then?"

They were potential voters for you. Now they know better.