Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Sex offense on Alta Vista Rd., auto break-ins in Sumner/Glen Mar Park + more - Bethesda crime update

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on June 27, according to crime data:

"Other sexual offense." 5300 block Alta Vista Road.

Vehicle burglary. 4700 block River Road.

Vehicle burglary. 5200 block Belvoir Road (Glen Mar Park).

Vehicle burglary. 6000 block Madawaska Road (Glen Mar Park).

Burglary. 5800 block Rockmere Drive (Sumner).

Liquor arrest. 8600 block Burning Tree Road.

Drug arrest. Old Georgetown Road at I-495 interchange.

Disorderly conduct. 6100 block Tuckerman Lane.

Assault. 4800 block Randolph Road (Randolph Hills).

Surface parking lots still in demand in Bethesda (Photos)

Downtown, urban car dealerships do have their logistical challenges. Witness the influx of Volkswagens and Volvos to the far end section of the parking lot at Westwood Shopping Center in Bethesda. They are from Ourisman Volkswagen and Volvo, a new dealership located in the ground floor of a luxury apartment building on Arlington Road.

That dealership is primarily centered around its small, street level showroom. While some cars were seen in the building garage there, these appeared a little over a mile away on Westbard Avenue a few days ago. They're taking up a few rows of the freshly-repainted parking lot, which has previously hosted the film crew of National Treasure 2, and served as a staging area for the Barack Obama campaign on Election Day. Although the main parking area is crowded during business hours, this end portion is rarely used beyond as a truck turnaround or as overflow parking for Westland ES or Bowlmor.

For all the criticism of surface parking lots, they apparently remain a necessity.

As Kindred Spirits coming to Westfield Montgomery Mall, Journeys moving (Photos)

A journey that began at a now-demolished airport will continue at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda, when As Kindred Spirits opens later this summer. Speaking of journeys, Journeys is moving to a new location within the mall, and their (re)opening appears imminent.

As Kindred Spirits owner Rukmini Walker began selling jewelry, gifts and home accessories with a kiosk in the now-demolished Stapleton International Airport in Denver. After moving to the DC area in 1994, she opened stores in Congressional Plaza and Reagan National Airport. This summer, As Kindred Spirits will open at Westfield Montgomery.

The shop will continue Walker's tradition of using her business to raise funds for environmental, humanitarian and women's causes here and abroad.

Get a preview of the merchandise offered by As Kindred Spirits on their website.

Meanwhile, shoe and apparel retailer Journeys has vacated its central location for a new spot within the mall. Employees were stocking the shelves at the new location Monday evening, and it appears the store might open very soon.
New Journeys store

The old Journeys
Expect something else to pop up
here soon
New sign
They look pretty close to

Monday, June 29, 2015

Auto break-ins on Ridge Rd., Boiling Brook Parkway + more - Bethesda crime update

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on June 26, according to crime data:

Theft. 7300 block Wisconsin Avenue.

Theft. Whole Foods (Friendship Heights).

Vehicle burglary. 8700 block Ridge Road.

Vehicle burglary. 5000 block Boiling Brook Parkway (Randolph Hills).

Drug offense. 4800 block Chcvy Chase Drive at 10:01 PM.

Bethesda construction update: Flats at 8300 apartments (Photos)

Parts of the Flats at 8300 luxury apartment project at 8300 Wisconsin Avenue are actually starting to resemble their finished forms. Large sections of glass installed, the rooftop deck beginning to take shape, and the bumpout for the lobby entrance are just some of the details that give a more solid impression of what the finished structure will look like.

New signage boasting renderings of the future building are touting the apartments, as well as the much-anticipated Harris Teeter grocery store. They're also highlighting a new aspect - the Starbucks inside the Harris Teeter.

Flats at 8300 is being constructed by The Donohoe Companies for developer StonebridgeCarras. Longtime Bethesda residents will remember this as the former site of a Ramada Inn hotel. The project also includes townhomes on the Wisconsin Avenue side, and will be managed by Bozzuto.

Another sign of progress? The Flats at 8300 website is now live.

The final hours of RadioShack at Westwood Shopping Center in Bethesda (Photos)

First Bruce Variety closed forever this past weekend. Now another venerable Bethesda retailer is about to give up the ghost on Westbard Avenue.

If you're hoping to score some bargains at the closing sale of RadioShack at the Westwood Shopping Center, you'd better hurry. The sign has been saying "Last 2 Days!" for...two days. In any case, these are photos from the final hours of a store I have many fond childhood memories of.

At least the prices are finally those you could credibly call "liquidation" or "Everything must go!" Everything must go, indeed, at 90-95% off. They still had quite a bit of inventory this weekend, too. RadioShack is a mere shadow of its former self, but this was one of the top stores in Bethesda during the golden age of Tandy.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

4935 Bar & Kitchen reduces menu prices in Bethesda

The menu prices dropped at 4935 Bar & Kitchen on Friday. Chef-owner Ashish Alfred said the restaurant's success as an event venue has enabled them to reduce their prices, without reducing the quality of the food or ingredients.

Alfred said the more affordable prices will not only make 4935 more competitive for dining dollars, but is also an attempt to be "more neighborhood friendly" for nearby residents.

4935 Bar & Kitchen
4935 Cordell Avenue
(301) 951-4935

Car stolen on Walsh St., sex offense at Suburban Hospital + more - Bethesda crime update

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on June 25, according to crime data:

Theft. 4800 block Moorland Lane.

Assault. 4500 block East-West Highway.

Stolen car. 4500 block Walsh Street at 9:35 PM.

"Other sexual offense." Suburban Hospital at 8:59 PM.

Assault. 5600 block Bent Branch Road at 7:33 AM (Tulip Hill).

Theft. 5500 block Friendship Boulevard.

Drug arrest. 5200 block Tuckerman Lane.

Theft. 10400 block Old Georgetown Road.

Theft. 11300 block Hollowstone Drive (Pike District).

Liquor arrest. 4800 block Boiling Brook Parkway at 7:57 PM (Randolph Hills).

Theft. 7100 block Democracy Boulevard.

Bruce Variety closes in Bethesda (Photos)

Bruce Variety has closed in Bethesda, truly the end of an era in downtown retail. The variety store has operated continuously since 1953, one of the oldest businesses still open in Bethesda. In 2013, the store moved from its legendary location in the Bradley Shopping Center to Woodmont Avenue, which had less foot traffic and required paid parking on weekdays.

That move appeared to be the death knell for the store, as there were few customers inside whenever I stopped by the new location. In contrast, the beloved original location's narrow aisles were often cramped with people. Without easy access (not to mention free parking) for Bethesda residents making their usual rounds at the Bradley Shopping Center - Strosniders Hardware, the barber shop, Bradley Care Drugs, Bradley Food & Beverage, to name a few - "Bruce" ended up being dropped from the afterschool or weekend routine by many families.

When I broke the story on May 18 that the store would be closing, the actual closing day was still undecided. Ultimately, the store's final day was Friday. 

Meanwhile, "replacement" Bradley Party & Variey remains open at the Bradley Shopping Center. As I reported last week, the ownership of the shopping center is now exploring its future options for redeveloping the property, according to their attorney, Jody Kline of Miller, Miller & Canby.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Gusto Italian Grill adds more Coming Soon signage in Bethesda (Photos)

The future Chiptole of Italian, Gusto Italian Grill, has added some more promotional signage to its windows. Gusto will open in the former Kraze Burgers space at the corner of Woodmont Avenue and Elm Street in downtown Bethesda. The restaurant specializes in Italian burritos.

Car stolen on River Rd., drug bust on Grosvenor Lane + more - Bethesda crime update

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on June 24, according to crime data:

Burglary. 7600 block Old Georgetown Road at 8:13 AM.

Stolen car. 4800 block River Road at 2:49 AM.

Vehicle burglary. 3500 block Cummings Lane (Martin's Additions).

Theft. 5400 block Wisconsin Avenue.

Drug arrest. 6000 block Grosvenor Lane.

Drug arrest. Tuckerman Lane at Lux Lane.

Theft. 7100 block Democracy Boulevard.

Carroll Community Bank expanding to MoCo with new Bethesda branch (Photos)

Downtown Bethesda is suffering from bank overkill, but the latest addition is actually an intriguing and newsworthy one. Carroll Community Bank is expanding outside of Carroll County for the first time, and their first external branch will be in Bethesda. They're taking over the former Sandy Spring Bank space at 7126 Wisconsin Avenue.

Carroll Community Bank has a long history, having formed as the Sykesville Perpetual Building Association in 1870. It currently has locations in Sykesville and Westminster.