Saturday, February 16, 2019

Montgomery County loses again in major U.S. Google expansion

The Montgomery County Council has led us to another humiliating defeat. Google announced this week it is launching a major expansion of its U.S. workforce in over a dozen states. But Montgomery County and Maryland will not be among those receiving the benefits of Google's $13 billion investment.

But - surprise! - Northern Virginia wins big again. Google announced they will double their workforce in Northern Virginia, and there are help wanted ads online to prove it. Hundreds of them. All proceeds go to the coffers of Fairfax County, while Montgomery County couldn't even make it through the current fiscal year without emergency budget cuts, and faces a structural budget deficit as far out as the forecasts go.

While Virginia leaders were negotiating another thrilling victory for their constituents, Montgomery County elected officials were distracted by national politics, and shilling for their developer sugar daddies with a plan to quadruple MCPS overcrowding by allowing multifamily housing in currently single-family home residential neighborhoods.

How is that new County Council working out for you, folks? Residents are still trying to learn more about the low-energy strangers who were elected on Election Day last year, with no media coverage of the general election Council races. Let's hope we get at least a few details soon.

Here's what we do know: More tax increases and speed limit decreases ahead! More school overcrowding and road congestion! But no new high-wage jobs or major corporate headquarters, and the desperately-needed revenue they provide. So sad.

Another disastrous turn of events for the corrupt Montgomery County cartel!

Another water cutoff for some in Woodmont Triangle next week

The WSSC will be working on water mains in the Woodmont Triangle near Veterans Park again next week. Some customers will lose water service between 9:00 PM Tuesday, February 19, 2019 and 5:00 AM on Wednesday, February 20.

You should have received a notice from WSSC or your building management by now if your water service will be affected. Some downtown Bethesda residents had their water cut off during the Super Bowl, so this is an ongoing project.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Poki DC to hold soft opening today in Bethesda

Poki DC, a new fast-casual poke restaurant at the Georgetown Square shopping center in Bethesda, will host its soft opening today. They will be open from 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM, and are located next to Not Your Average Joe's where Hamburger Hamlet used to be, at the corner of Old Georgetown Road and Democracy Boulevard.

Montgomery County firm announces mass layoffs as MoCo economy continues to collapse

Centerra Group, LLC, a government safety and security contractor located at 11555 Rockville Pike, has informed the state of Maryland it will conduct mass layoffs of its employees March 31, 2019. The firm filed a WARN notice with the state regarding the layoffs yesterday.

Eighty-seven employees are slated to lose their jobs, according to the notice filing. This is another blow to the anemic job activity in the White Flint area, which was capped off by the humiliating loss in the Amazon HQ2 sweepstakes. Montgomery County's economy grows more moribund with each passing hour, yet our County Council hasn't taken a single action to address the economic development crisis in the first two months of its term. Heckuva job, Brownie!

Bethesda construction update: The Wilson (Photos)

The Wilson, a Class A office tower that is part of Carr Properties' 7272 Wisconsin Avenue project, is now well above street level on the Wisconsin side. Fox 5 will move its TV station operations to the building when it opens. But the Montgomery County Council delivered a cannonball to the gut of downtown Bethesda businesses by not requiring a replacement cineplex for the Regal Cinemas Bethesda 10 theater that was demolished to make room for this project. This has led to many prominent business closures nearby, as a study showed a mainstream cineplex showing current blockbuster movies attracts an average of 20,000 additional people to an area per weekend.

New electric vehicle charging station in Safeway garage (Photos)

You don't have to wait for the Green New Deal to find new electric vehicle charging stations in downtown Bethesda. Here's a new one that was just installed in the garage underneath the Safeway store at 5000 Bradley Boulevard.

Charge your EV for up to two hours free while shopping at Safeway. The charging station is operated by Volta Charging, which currently has 33 stations across the D.C. region.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Coming Soon signage at Wildwood Shopping Center in Bethesda

A lot of "Coming Soon" signage has now gone up in the windows at Wildwood Shopping Center. Screens touting Bethesda Bagels, Salon Nader & Spa and Flower Child can be seen in these photos. Also good to see some new handicapped parking spaces right up against the new addition for Flower Child. Such spaces get further and further away from business those with disabilities are trying to reach at some of the newer developments in Montgomery County.

Pepco working in Woodmont Triangle (Photos)

A Pepco crew was out working last night on Cordell and Woodmont Avenues, near what the Montgomery County Council has described as the "apartment building for homeless people" at the northeast corner of that intersection. Lane and sidewalk closures were part of the work.

Wonders at Edgemoor burglarized

Montgomery County police have released surveillance camera images of a suspect they say burglarized Wonders at Edgemoor, a child care and education center located at 4805 Edgemoor Lane in Bethesda. Detectives say the suspect entered the facility around 7:00 PM on November 26 last year. They say he made several entries after that, stole unspecified property, and fled.

Anyone with information about the suspect or this burglary is asked to contact the Montgomery County Department of Police – 2nd District Investigative Section at 240-773-6710. Those who wish to remain anonymous may call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll-free at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477). Crime Solvers will pay a cash reward of up to $10,000 for information provided to them that leads to an arrest for this crime.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Edgemont II construction imminent

Rendering of the Edgemont II, seen
with green roof at center
Construction of the new Edgemont II is nearing at 4885 Edgemoor Lane in Bethesda. Developer Equity Residential has requested sheeting and shoring permits for the project from Montgomery County. Those are related to excavation, which will begin once the site has been cleared.

7000 Wisconsin Avenue redevelopment process begins

A developer is beginning the process of redeveloping the commercial property at 7000 Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Bethesda. The proposal includes up to 200 residential units, and a relatively generous 15000 SF of non-residential space, compared to many other mixed-use projects downtown these days that are minimizing retail and restaurant tenants.

Representatives for the developer have scheduled a public meeting on the project's sketch plan for Tuesday, February 26, 2019 at 7:00 PM at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center at 4805 Edgemoor Lane. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Bethesda construction update: 4747 Bethesda Avenue (Video + Photos)

Here's the latest progress at JBG Smith's Class A office building project at 4747 Bethesda Avenue in downtown Bethesda. Watch the video below to see a crane in action at the site.

Giant ends Senior Tuesdays discount

Senior Tuesdays usually find an increase in shoppers at the Westbard Giant store in Bethesda. That was because of the 5% discount for seniors. About two weeks ago, however, some seniors discovered the popular promotion is ending. The Senior Tuesday poster has been taken down from the wall inside the store.

While the 5% discount was honored that Tuesday, the shoppers were informed that they could sign up at the customer service desk for a new promotion where coupons would be mailed to them at home. I asked the corporate office at Giant, and they confirmed that the Senior Tuesday promotion is being axed.

Giant said they are introducing a new plan for seniors, a personalized monthly mailer with targeted coupons and nutrition advice. As store employees told shoppers two weeks ago, you can sign up for the mailings at the customer service desk using your Bonus Card and mailing address.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Demolition begins for Avocet Tower (Video + Photos)

Demolition has begun at the site of the future Avocet Tower at 7373 Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Bethesda. It includes the former 2nd District Montgomery County police station. Developer StonebridgeCarras plans a 250' Class A office tower for the site. They are one of several developers making bold bets on new trophy office space, despite Montgomery County's moribund economy. None of the new Class A buildings have so far attracted Fortune 500 or major corporate headquarters that weren't already here.