Monday, February 19, 2018

JBG Smith wants part of Reed Street again in Bethesda

Developer JBG Smith is again seeking to acquire right-of-way from the former Reed Street, near the intersection of Bethesda and Woodmont Avenues. However, unlike previous petitions (one successful, but not acted-upon by the deadline), JBG Smith is this time asking only for a portion of Reed Street that runs directly adjacent to their 4747 Bethesda Avenue project. This is an 18'-wide strip that the developer has always intended to serve as a public space, alongside the two-level retail structure that has been completed at the 4747 site.

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.


Anonymous said...

Inside Baseball.

Anonymous said...

And exactly the type of insight that readers come to this blog for.

Anonymous said...

Sounds bad if we're going to have this empty building sitting there for years.
The public space has been fenced off for awhile.

Anonymous said...

You really should credit Amanda Farber, she posted this on a Facebook page you belong to an hour before your post. Shame.

Anonymous said...

The ever-shrinking park ... I'm sure the county will roll.

Robert Dyer said...

10:32: I had the agenda for the meeting the night before I posted this, dumbass. The best part of your comment is that you have to be a member of that group in order to know what was posted there. Have you lashed out at me before with false statements on there, or are you just a lurker? Time to review that membership list, as we get closer to revealing the identity of our anonymous troll. Do you use your Bart Simpson profile photo on Facebook, too?

I understand your embarrassment and frustration that your MoCo-cartel-approved favorite website slept through this story today. But that's why I'm a MoCo hyperlocal media pioneer, and you're in your underpants in a dark room, taking pot shots hiding behind a computer screen, and shilling for the MoCo political cartel.

What keeps you motivated working for the least-talented, most-corrupt political leaders in America? The pizza money?

Anonymous said...

It was obvious to me that and retailer could not open until 4747 Bethesda was much farther along. They will be swinging heavy construction materials and erecting a 15 story building above the two story portion. Highly unlikey that a retailer would take the risk and live with limited access of opening under an active construction site. The loading dock the east side is still a heavily under construction, so deliveries to the market would be a huge problem, even if they could open in the base. I believe that the office building is scheduled to open in Q3 of 2019, at least according to the sidewalk closure signs, so I predict they could be open before the 2019 holidays, an important date for new retailers to hit.

The idea of an Eatily is very appealing to me, and perhaps a more affordable option that the previously announced Dean and DeLuca. I see that Eatily did not sign on a a tenant in the base of a new mixed use building in DC, so maybe they are indeed considering Bethesda. Seems like a good fit being adjacent to the upcoming Capital Crescent Plaza Urban Park, the Bethesda Purple Line Station, the new south entrance to the Metro and of rose the new 30 story residential twin tower and 22 story office tower that Carr is building on the former Regal Cinema site. this seemed like a great anchor for Bethesda Row as it expands toward Wisconsin.