Monday, February 19, 2018
JBG Smith wants part of Reed Street again in Bethesda
The total area of the strip would be 3303 SF, according to the Montgomery County Planning Department. JBG Smith already has an agreement with the County that allows it to place tables and chairs in that strip of Reed Street. Under the new petition, the strip would be owned by JBG Smith, if approved by the Planning Board at their March 1 meeting. Planning staff is recommending approval of the request.
Those who recall Montgomery County recently paying a fortune to buy a triangular chunk of land adjacent to the Reed Street right-of-way may be wondering how JBG Smith can get valuable land in the same area via simple abandonment by the County. The key difference is that this is public right-of-way, such as any other the County abandons rather frequently; the larger piece acquired by Parks was private property. Whether abandoning it helps JBG Smith make a better public space for the benefit of Bethesda, or is a mistake, is up to the public to comment and the Board to decide.
Many are wondering what is going in that building alongside this right-of-way. Dean & DeLuca was announced as the retail tenant, and was to have opened last year. However, Dean & DeLuca's contractors never began to build the interior for their store. A commercial real estate source told me that was because the deal was off, and there would never be a Dean & DeLuca store there.
When I inquired with JBG Smith, the company said the store would open two years later than planned, in 2019, because Dean & DeLuca wanted to make design changes. In the last month, two other sources have told me Eataly would replace Dean & DeLuca as the anchor tenant. Eataly spokesperson Sara Massarotto told me their current expansion plans only include two North American openings: Las Vegas this year, and Toronto in 2019. Stay tuned.