|Orangetheory Fitness space at 7900 Wisconsin|
is lit up at bottom right of picture in this view
from Woodmont Avenue at St. Elmo Avenue
Orangetheory Fitness has leased the Woodmont Avenue-facing retail space in the future 7900 Wisconsin Avenue development in downtown Bethesda. The fitness chain's closest existing locations are in the Park Potomac development and at 4600 Wisconsin Avenue N.W. in Tenleytown.
There's only one downside to this - it was previously hoped this space would go to a restaurant or bar, in order to activate the Woodmont Avenue streetscape after business hours. With the largest two ground floor spaces now leased, there is no longer room for an upscale restaurant or nightspot at the property. Of course, it could have been worse - such as yet another bank.
Orangetheory's downtown Silver Spring location lists classes starting as late as 8:15 PM. That still won't be late enough to energize this dead block of Woodmont, a growing problem as downtown Bethesda's nightlife cratered after the disastrous Montgomery County Council Nighttime Economy Task Force initiative. At night, that side of Woodmont is currently dark and deserted from Norfolk Avenue all the way to Wisconsin Avenue near Jones Bridge Road, a pedestrian-unfriendly stretch once you pass the 24-hour Tastee Diner.
The remaining two vacant spaces are 1958 SF and 951 SF, only large enough for a fast-casual carry-out or boutique. Developer JBG Smith, according to a JBG employee, had already reached agreement with grocery store Trader Joe's to be the anchor retail tenant at the 18-story residential building in 2014. We'll have to hope the pedestrian traffic using the very nice cut-through plaza the building will have between Woodmont and Wisconsin (including a mirrored ceiling), and (hopefully) late-night grocery hours, can inject some humanity on both sides of the development after dark.