Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Gas pumps removed at Westbard Citgo (Photos)

Things are looking bleak at the Westbard Citgo at 5471 Westbard Avenue in Bethesda. First the underground fuel tank was dug up, and the garage cleared out. Now the gas pumps have been removed. The gas price sign is blank. 

This gas station will be demolished to clear the way for a senior assisted-living development. However, its current status in Google is only "temporarily closed." Some pre-demolition work is being done on the long-vacant nursing home on nearby Ridgefield Road, a property that will eventually hold dozens of townhomes. The other Westbard Citgo at 5335 Westbard Avenue remains open for business, but does not offer full-service at the pumps like this one.

Armed carjacking in Grosvenor area of Bethesda

Montgomery County police officers responded to the scene of an armed carjacking in the Grosvenor area of Bethesda early Monday morning, October 25, 2021. The carjacking was reported in the 10400 block of Montrose Avenue at the Parkside Condominiums at 12:58 AM, according to crime data.

Hampden House construction gets underway in downtown Bethesda (Photos)

Rendering of the future Hampden House

B.F. Saul is starting work on another landmark high-rise development at 7316 Wisconsin Avenue. Originally to be called Metro Tower, the project has just been rebranded as Hampden House. As approved, Hampden House will contain 366 rental apartments, and 10,110 square feet of retail and restaurant space. First, the existing office building has to come down, and that process is beginning at the site.

As you can see, the front entrance is now boarded up. B.F. Saul says it has already completed the interior demolition. Now the structure itself is next. A sheltered pedestrian walkway was constructed along the Wisconsin frontage of the site yesterday, to avoid the total sidewalk closures pedestrians have experienced at the nearby Marriott and 7272 Wisconsin sites in recent years. Some utility work was also being performed last night near the site, but it's not clear that it was related to the Hampden House project.

Rendering at top courtesy Saul Centers, Inc.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Woodmont Avenue (finally!) getting resurfaced between Norfolk Ave. & Old Georgetown Rd. (Video+Photos)

The block of Woodmont Avenue between Norfolk Avenue and Old Georgetown Road behind the Marriott International headquarters construction site has been giving Maizon Bethesda-afflicted Arlington Road a run for its money as a third-world thoroughfare in recent years. Now that the heavy lifting is all done at the construction site, the battered, twisted and potholed block is finally getting a fresh surface of asphalt. 

Marriott's development partners say that when this new surface is complete, they will be painting a new crosswalk between the headquarters/hotel and the public parking garage across the street. Most Marriott employees will park in that public garage when the new HQ opens in 2022. In the meantime, you may want to avoid this route while this work is being done.

Koons Lincoln dealership coming to downtown Bethesda

Downtown Bethesda continues to hold its place in American car culture history as a mecca for auto dealerships. Coming soon will be Koons Lincoln, at 7315 Wisconsin Avenue. You may have noticed a lot of work going on at the front of the Bethesda Crossing building in recent months. Now if Lincoln will just bring back its flagship Town Car, it could be like old times again.

Monday, October 25, 2021

Long-delayed senior housing high-rise on Landy Lane moving forward again in Bethesda

A controversial and long-delayed senior housing project could be moving forward again on Landy Lane, in the commercial area along River Road in Bethesda. Miller Development Corporation has officially filed paperwork asking Montgomery County to abandon its public right-of-way on the portion of Landy that abuts the site of the future high-rise. 

Site of the future building

As a part of its development approval, the firm agreed to reconstruct a new segment of Landy to replace this portion, if the abandonment is approved. The abandonment would not take effect until the developer completes that part of the agreement by constructing a cul-de-sac next to the future building. Proximity to single-family homes in Kenwood, and the lack of safe pedestrian crossings in that area of River Road, are among the reasons the project has been controversial.

Landy Lane is anticipated to become a business district street connecting River Road and Little Falls Parkway in the 2016 Westbard sector plan, if the Washington Episcopal School were to ever sell its property for redevelopment. If you wish to comment on the proposed abandonment, you will have two opportunities. One is the November 4, 2021 meeting of the Montgomery County Planning Board. The second will be the official abandonment hearing held by Montgomery County as a virtual, online meeting on November 11, 2021 at 1:00 PM.

Images via Montgomery County Planning Department

Purse snatching at Bethesda Row Giant

A shopper at the Bethesda Row Giant store reported a purse-snatching Saturday afternoon. Montgomery County police responded to the scene at 4:36 PM, according to crime data. Another reminder to be alert to suspicious activity and people while shopping.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Car stolen in Chevy Chase

A car was reported stolen in Chevy Chase early yesterday morning. The vehicle was taken from a residential parking lot in the 4700 block of Chevy Chase Drive. It is believed the vehicle was stolen sometime between 10:00 PM and 4:20 AM, according to crime data.

Checkout stations installed at new Trader Joe's in Bethesda (Photos)

Another milestone has been reached in the interior fit-out of Trader Joe's at 7900 Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Bethesda. Checkout stations have been installed at the front of the grocery store, which is the anchor tenant at the new 8001 Woodmont development. None of the electronics for checkouts is in place yet, however. The existing Trader Joe's down the street remains open for business.

Self-checkout stations?

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Burglary, assault at downtown Bethesda apartment building

A forced-entry burglary was reported at a downtown Bethesda apartment building yesterday morning, October, 22, 2021. Montgomery County police responded to the scene, where an individual reported having been the victim of a 2nd-degree assault during the incident. The burglary and assault were reported at an apartment building in the 4900 block of Battery Lane at 8:05 AM, according to crime data.

Woodmont Avenue sidewalk reopens at Marriott HQ construction site in Bethesda (Video+Photos)

The sidewalk has reopened along Woodmont Avenue at the construction site of the relocating Bethesda headquarters of Marriott International. A trio of flagpoles has been erected outside the main entrance of the HQ. Tower signage is now being attached to the south side of the office building. Work on the plaza between the HQ and the Marriott Bethesda Downtown hotel continues.

South tower sign installation

Woodmont Avenue sidewalk reopens
between Woodmont Grill and Bethesda Place

Marriott HQ/hotel parking garage entrance

Flagpole installation