Friday, September 30, 2022

Construction begins on Aventino restaurant in Bethesda (Photos)

The interior fit-out of Chef Mike Friedman's Aventino restaurant and AP Pizza Shop has begun at 4747 Bethesda Avenue. It's been nearly 18 months since I first broke the story about the new Roman Italian eatery, but as you can see here, work has finally begun inside the space in the ground floor of JBG Smith's Class A office building. Aventino will serve "peasant food" dishes inspired by simple Italian and Jewish recipes of Rome, and is anticipated to open in early 2023.

The B-12 Store opening Saturday at Montgomery Mall in Bethesda

The B-12 Store
will open at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda tomorrow, Saturday, October 1, 2022. Special grand opening promotions will run for the next week at the store, which sells and administers injectable and intravenous vitamins. The store is overseen by a physician who can write prescriptions for the vitamins, and all injections and IVs are adminstered by certified nurses. 

All supplements are manufactured by Legere Pharmaceuticals and Vox Nutrition in an FDA registered outsourcing facility. Look for the B-12 Store on Level 1, next to Haagen-Dazs.

Hurricane Ian outer rain bands to reach Bethesda this afternoon

The first outer rain bands of Hurricane Ian will reach the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area around the middle of this afternoon, as D.C., Maryland and Virginia get their first splash of what will be a very wet weekend. Around the same time, Ian will make its third landfall on the coast of South Carolina. Accuweather forecasts a storm surge of 3 to 6 feet in South Carolina, with the greatest impacts north of Charleston, and in the vicinity of Georgetown and Myrtle Beach. The South Carolina and Georgia coasts could experience a total rainfall of 8 to 12 inches, and up to 18 inches in some spots. Rainfall will likely total 4-8" in North Carolina, Eastern Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

Here in Maryland, the localized flood risk will first loom tonight, and today will feature the highest wind gusts of 37 MPH. Winds will drop to gusts of 21 MPH on Saturday and Sunday, Total rainfall in Maryland and Montgomery County is expected to be about 2 inches over the weekend. However, if Ian were to move out over the ocean again or stall over our area, that total could more than double. So be prepared for all potential outcomes.

As of 5:00 AM this morning, the National Hurricane Center reports Hurricane Ian's current location is 145 miles SSE of Charleston, South Carolina. It is moving NNE at 9 MPH. Ian's current maximum sustained winds are measured at 85 MPH.

Graphic courtesy National Weather Service

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Sculpture installed on plaza at Marriott International HQ in Bethesda (Photos)

Marriott International
has installed a sculpture on the plaza outside its new headquarters at 7750 Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Bethesda. As I reported last month, the art piece is dedicated to the hospitality giant's former CEO, Arne Sorenson, who passed away last year. The twisty, dual-arch sculpture is gold and blue in color, and features accent lighting at the base for night viewing.

Hurricane Ian remnants to impact Bethesda sooner than expected

The worst of Hurricane Ian may have already passed in Florida, but the now-Tropical Storm is expected to make a speedy trip up the East Coast, including a jaunt out to sea and another landfall somewhere in the South. Yesterday, Ian's timetable for arrival in the Washington, D.C., Maryland and North Virginia area began to look like it was slipping from early next week to this weekend. Now, Accuweather is forecasting the first rains of Ian to arrive in the Mid-Atlantic as early as tomorrow. 

Tropical rain showers are now expected all weekend, and showers may continue from Monday into Wednesday. This does not look good for events like Taste of Bethesda this Saturday. Rain associated with Ian will arrive well ahead of the actual storm center, which is expected to pass through Maryland sometime Sunday night or early Monday morning.

Ian has further business south of here first, however. After crawling across mainland Florida, the storm will go back over the Atlantic, and make another landfall tomorrow evening. Accuweather currently predicts Ian's landfall will be somewhere near the border of Georgia and South Carolina Friday night; the National Hurricane Center's prediction is for a landfall in South Carolina. 

The full impact of Ian's second landfall, and the strength of the storm's remnants when it arrives here in the D.C. area, will be determined by how long it drifts over the waters of the Atlantic prior to Friday night's landfall. The National Hurricane Center says the storm could again near hurricane strength as it approaches land.

Ian already has shown plenty of destructive power after making landfall as a Category 4 hurricane. Over 2 million utility customers in Florida are currently without electricity. Accuweather reports that every customer in Hardee County, Florida is in the dark. Part of the Sanibel Causeway collapsed, the only bridge between Sanibel Island and mainland Florida. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said earlier this morning that helicopter rescues are being performed on barrier islands by the Coast Guard and Florida National Guard. He said 100 portable cell towers are being set up to restore some level of phone service, and that power line infrastructure in the hardest hit areas would in some cases have to be entirely rebuilt. Pine Island Bridge, like the Sanibel Causeway, is damaged and impassable, he added.

Fox Weather reports that there are believed to be hundreds of fatalities in Lee County, Florida, according to the sheriff there. Accuweather reports one confirmed death in Florida from Hurricane Ian, a 72-year-old man in Deltona. He slipped down a hill behind his home into a flooding drainage ditch while trying to drain his pool as the storm approached his area at 1:00 AM this morning. Fox Weather also reports Ian has caused a 200-year flood event in Orlando. More than a foot of rain has fallen on the city.

DeSantis said his state has all of the supplies it needs for storm victims. "It's much better to donate financially, rather than sending items. We've got a lot of items," he said at a news conference this morning. Those seeking to help storm victims displaced in Florida can have the greatest impact by donating funds at, or text DISASTER to 20222, he said. Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis said the fund has already raised $1.6 million in the last 24 hours.

Tropical Storm Ian's current location is 40 miles east of Orlando, the National Hurricane Center reports. Its current maximum sustained winds are at 65 MPH, and it is moving NE at 8 MPH.

Graphic courtesy

Woodmont Avenue bikeway construction update (Photos)

Work is already underway on the extension of the Bethesda Avenue bikeway onto Woodmont Avenue at Bethesda Row. The construction area has now been cordoned off along Woodmont. Concrete forms have been created for the islands that will protect the bike lanes from automobile traffic. The Streatery outdoor dining area on the roadway has been closed and cleared away.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Koons Lincoln of Bethesda adds Ferrari, Porsche to showroom (Photos)

Lincoln Mark IX coupe? Nope.

Alas, that is not a Lincoln sports car concept visible through the front windows of the future Koons Lincoln of Bethesda dealership at 7315 Wisconsin Avenue. It's a Ferrari. Look closer, and there is also a blue Porsche further back. This is interesting, as the showroom was designed to be a showcase for Lincoln SUVs. These apparently pre-owned supercars are likely to turn more heads. But let's not give up hope for a worthy sequel to the classic Lincoln Mark VIII yet!

McCormick Paints to open store at White Flint Plaza

McCormick Paints
will open a new store at 5268 Nicholson Lane at White Flint Plaza. McCormick has an existing location on Lewis Avenue in Rockville. The new store is expected to open in early 2023. It will face competition from a nearby and also-new Sherwin-Williams store.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Purple Line lane closures ahead at Chevy Chase Lake

Purple Line construction staging
area in downtown Bethesda

Expect temporary lane closures in both directions on Connecticut Avenue in the Chevy Chase Lake area during the first two weeks of October. The Maryland Transit Adminstration says that one lane will be closed between 9:00 AM and 3:00 PM, and up to two lanes during nighttime work from 7:00 PM to 5:00 AM, beginning September 30, 2022. Crews will be installing overhang brackets and forms on the Purple Line bridge over Connecticut Avenue there. 

Tower crane erected at 4909 Auburn Avenue apartments construction site in Bethesda (Photos)

The third time was the charm for the construction team at the site of the future 4909 Auburn Avenue apartments in Bethesda's Woodmont Triangle this past weekend. After a couple of weather delays in weeks past, the tower crane was assembled, joining several others on the downtown Bethesda skyline. 

4909 Auburn Avenue, an 11-story apartment building, will house 167 residential units, ground-level retail/restaurant space, 3 levels of underground parking, and a pass-through that creates a new pedestrian connection between Imagination Stage and Battery Lane Urban Park. Potomac Development Group is the developer, BCT Design Group is the architect, and Donohoe is the construction contractor.

Monday, September 26, 2022

Car stolen in Brookmont area of Bethesda

Montgomery County police are investigating the theft of a vehicle in the Brookmont area of Bethesda on Saturday afternoon, September 24, 2022. The vehicle was parked on the street in the 6500 block of Brookes Hill Court when it was reported stolen at 4:24 PM Saturday.

Woodmont Avenue Streatery shuts down in Bethesda (Photos)

The Woodmont Avenue Streatery has been shut down, and the seating for outdoor diners cleared away. But this block between Bethesda Avenue and Elm Street has not been reopened to traffic yet. Instead, heavy equipment has been moved into place. A few of the picnic tables have been placed on the sidewalk near Anthropologie at Bethesda Row.

Montgomery County's Department of Transportation is going to construct an extension of the new bikeway from Bethesda Avenue onto this block. For that reason, the Streatery had to close. 

Dropping temperatures have reduced the number of people using the two Streateries in recent weeks, and their impact on businesses remains controversial. Some users of the Streateries are angry about the Woodmont location being cleared out. The owner of Flanagan's Harp & Fiddle cited the Norfolk Avenue Streatery (which remains open for now) as a contributing factor to the demise of his business - the straw that broke the camel's back, in essence. Flanagan's had operated for 35 years in downtown Bethesda, only to be done in by the Streatery.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Foxtrot applies for liquor license at Bethesda Row

, a new market and cafe opening this year at 7262 Woodmont Avenue at Bethesda Row, has applied for a liquor license from Montgomery County. Their application is scheduled to be reviewed by the County Liquor Control Board on October 6, 2022 at 10:00 AM. Foxtrot will take the place of Mussel Bar, which closed in April. It will function as a corner market for nearby residents, but its business model has a strong emphasis on delivery orders.

Traffic signals installed on Sangamore Rd. at Walhonding Rd. in Bethesda

Sangamore Road looking toward
intersection with Walhonding Road

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation has installed traffic signals at the currently-unsignalized intersection of Sangamore Road and Walhonding Road in Bethesda. This project has been on MCDOT's list of Vision Zero initiatives, and was budgeted for the fiscal year FY-2022. There are now two poles with signal arms in place; one of the arms is currently swung over behind the Glen Echo Volunteer Fire Department, and is out of view in this photo. You can see the other one is in position already, with the signals themselves covered.

This intersection is only a short block from the Sangamore-Massachusetts Avenue intersection that has signals. However, the intersection is currently intimidating for pedestrians to cross, and children walking from Sumner and Glen Echo Heights to Glen-Mar Park are likely to use this route. Views of oncoming cross-street traffic are obstructed in all four directions at this crossing, as you can see in the above photo. Crosswalks still have to be painted.

If you've driven on Sangamore for any length of time, you've probably had to hit your brakes for someone blowing through the stop signs on Walhonding here more than once. You're also likely to now approach this intersection with hyper caution as a result. It's unclear if there will be any issue with traffic backing up on that short block of Sangamore between the two signals.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Westbard Square construction update (Photos)

Exterior walls are being formed on side of the new Giant building that faces the existing Giant store at the Westbard Square development, located at 5400 Westbard Avenue in Bethesda. Most of the rest of the structure is still just a frame. This Phase 1 buiding will contain the grocery store on the top level, office space on Level 2, retail storefronts on the ground level, and a 3-level parking garage. 

Delivery of the building is currently anticipated for late 2023. The current Giant will then close and move into this new building. All businesses at the Westwood Shopping Center remain open during the construction.