Saturday, October 31, 2015

Assault in Kenwood, theft at Westland MS + more - Bethesda crime update

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on October 28, according to crime data:

Drug arrest. Rockville Pike at Jones Bridge Road.

Assault. 6400 block Elmwood Road (Kenwood).

Stolen car. 7500 block Marbury Road.

Theft. Westland Middle School.

Vehicle burglary. 6000 block Southport Drive.

Vehicle burglary. 7500 block Glenriddle Drive.

Theft. 4300 block Garrett Park Road.

Drug arrest. I-270 Spur at Democracy Boulevard.

Vehicle burglary. 10400 block Motor City Drive.

Paisano's menu up in Bethesda (Photos)

Paisano's is getting closer to opening at 4914 Del Rey Avenue in downtown Bethesda. The menu boards have been installed, so you can get a preview of what items you might order when they open. Click on the menu photos to enlarge for greater detail.

Suspects arrested in Chevy Chase burglaries (Photos)

Eric A. Outlaw
Montgomery County Police have arrested two suspects in a string of Chevy Chase burglaries, many of which you may recall from my crime reports.

The first suspect (who wins the Crime Report Last Name of the Year Award), Eric A. Outlaw, 25, of the 1300 block of New York Avenue NE in the District, was identified by detectives who matched his fingerprint at several of the burglarized homes. They then caught up with him in-person, police say, when he allegedly attempted to burglarize two more homes on Shepherd Street with an accomplice. That alleged accomplice, Stephon E. Jones, 26, of the 1900 block of 16th Street SE, was arrested along with Outlaw.
Stephon E. Jones
Jones has been charged in relation to the attempted Shepherd Street burglaries. Outlaw was charged related to the following burglaries and attempted burglaries, as summarized by police:

  • October 13 – 7500 block of Tarrytown Road in Chevy Chase. Several items were taken from the residence.
  • October 14 – 3900 block of Aspen Street in Chevy Chase. Several items were taken from the residence.
  • October 20 – 3800 block of Blackthorn Street in Chevy Chase. Several items were taken from the residence.
  • October 20 – Attempted residential burglary in the 4100 block of Blackthorn Street in Chevy Chase. Outlaw broke a rear window to the residence but was unable to gain entry.
  • October 29 – Two attempted residential burglaries in the 3600 block of Shepherd Street in Chevy Chase.
Jones is free after posting $25,000 bond. Outlaw remains in custody on $50,000 bond.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Assault on Elm St., vehicle burglary in Kenwood + more - Bethesda crime update

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

Assault. 4900 block Elm Street at 2:53 PM.

Disorderly conduct. 7100 block Bethesda Lane at 11:27 AM.

Disorderly conduct. 5500 block Whitley Park Terrace at 11:31 AM.

Theft from vehicle. 7200 block Wisconsin Avenue.

Vehicle burglary. 5200 block Dorset Avenue (Kenwood).

Theft. Giant (Westwood Shopping Center).

Theft. 5200 block Sangamore Road.

Assault. 7100 block Ridgewood Avenue at 7:24 AM.

Theft. 6700 block Algonquin Avenue.

Vehicle burglary. 6200 block Rockhurst Road.

Theft. 10200 block Old Georgetown Road.

Theft. Westfield Montgomery Mall.

Sign installed at Kit and Ace at Bethesda Row (Photos)

The sign is up at Kit and Ace at 4838 Bethesda Avenue at Bethesda Row. Teel Construction is currently building out the interior of the store, which will sell leisurewear made with Technical Cashmere. The founder's father was the founder of neighboring boutique lululemon.

Kate Spade Bethesda Row sneak peek (Photos)

The wall has been removed in front of the future Kate Spade New York boutique on Bethesda Avenue. This is the first reveal of the interior of this eagerly-awaited addition to Bethesda Row, right next to Barnes and Noble. Their permanent sign is also installed over the storefront.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

2 cars stolen in Bethesda, vehicle burglary in Glen Echo + more - Crime update

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

Vehicle burglary. 4400 block Chestnut Street.

Burglary. 8800 block Hawkins Lane.

Vehicle burglary. 5600 block Madison Street.

Stolen car. 6100 block Temple Street.

Vehicle burglary. Old Georgetown Road at Ryland Drive.

Vehicle burglary. 6200 block Rockhurst Road.

Stolen car. 6200 block Carnegie Drive.

Vehicle burglary. 6100 block Cornell Avenue (Glen Echo).

Theft. 10900 block Brewer House Road.

Vehicle burglary. 11300 block Cushman Road.

Vehicle burglary. 9600 block Montauk Avenue.

Westfield Montgomery Mall has best year ever following renovations

Westfield has invested $100 million in upgrading and expanding its Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda over the last few years. And the investment has paid off handsomely, according to Jim Agliata, Vice President of Development at Westfield. Agliata told attendees at last night's Rock Spring Sector Plan meeting that the mall raked in $500 million in sales this year, and has had the highest customer traffic in the history of the mall's existence.

After adding a new Dining Terrace, more upscale retailers and restaurants, and a 16-screen luxury ArcLight Cinemas, the mall is making about $700 per square foot in sales, Agliata reported.
Westfield's Jim Agliata
He also confirmed what I've been reporting over the last couple of years, which is that the mall is putting a greater emphasis on extending tenants to the exterior and outdoor areas, whether it be exterior branding or patio dining.

Westfield isn't finished yet. Agliata said the center has 400,000 SF of approved addition space on the north side of the property. That was a major reason the mall moved the future Transit Center, now under construction, over to the I-270 Spur/Westlake Terrace corner of the property, he said.

Agliata said to expect that future structure to be oriented more to the outdoors than the existing indoor mall. He also said the mall is currently working to make the kiosks that populate its corridors more attractive. Current examples of that are the new Cleo's Oil Bar and Peet's Coffee and Tea.

The connectivity goals planners spoke about earlier in the evening for Rock Spring "needs to happen," Agliata said. Office parks near the mall are "a big driver for us."

Asked if he expected the mall to become transit-oriented, Agliata said Westfield would strongly support rail transit along I-270, and suggested the new site of the Transit Center would facilitate the mall as a logical station along such a route. But he said that would be a very expensive transportation project. Most mallgoers will continue to arrive by car, he said.

What is Westfield more optimistic about?

Agliata said his company has a 75-person division in San Francisco called Westfield Labs, which is not only working to improve the tech and WiFi experience at its malls, but is also preparing for autonomous vehicles.

He predicted the "mall of the future" would have a garage reserved for driverless cars, which would drop off patrons at the Valet Parking area, and then park themselves in that garage. "That'll happen someday. Ten years, maybe fifteen years," Agliata forecast.

One resident in the audience said, "malls are dying." "'A' malls are not dying," Agliata replied. "'B' malls and lesser malls are dying."

Rock Spring Centre developer wants to "begin construction as soon as possible" (Photos)

One of Bethesda's longest-stalled developments may start moving forward soon. Steve Robins of Lerch, Early & Brewer, representing developer DRI, says the company wants to "begin construction as soon as possible" on the 1,050,000 SF mixed-use center. He outlined the firm's plans at a public meeting on the Rock Spring master plan held at Walter Johnson High School last night.

Located on a now partially-wooded site bordered by Rock Spring Drive to the south, Rockledge Drive to the west, the I-270 spur to the north, and Old Georgetown Road to the east, the project is almost identical to the one that former development partner Peterson Cos. backed out of in the fall of 2012.

There will be 549,900 SF of office space, 210,000 SF of retail, 90,000 SF of below-ground entertainment space (minus the Silverspot Theatres, which were no longer viable after ArcLight Cinemas and iPic Theatres opened nearby), a 200-room hotel, and 161 apartments. This means that the project remains truly mixed-use, in comparison to the not-so-smart-growth trend of deleting office space in Montgomery County.

One resident in the crowd asked if Walter Johnson students would skip class to patronize the entertainment options at Rock Spring Centre. "We hope they will," Chuck Irish of the engineering firm VIKA joked to laughter. Robins used the light moment to segue into a serious discussion of the pedestrian safety aspects of the plan, particularly how they relate to WJ. The median on Rock Spring Drive will be extended the length of the street to Rockledge, and a pedestrian barrier will prevent any crossing other than at controlled intersections.
Michael Perucci of DRI (far left) and
attorney Steve Robins (right) present
Rock Spring Centre plans
Robins also said that an easement for a future Bus Rapid Transit line is already built-in to their plan.

The time frame for that plan has been the question on the minds of many of my readers.

Michael Perucci, Development Manager at DRI, said, "We're in talks with an investor" who will take the place of the now-departed partner Peterson. Perucci said he expects that unnamed investor will be on-board in about a month. The company will then go to the building design phase, he said.

Robins noted that the delay can't go on forever, because DRI has existing approvals that will expire if the development isn't built within their time frame.

"Where are those kids going to school," one resident asked of the 161 apartments. "We're already at 120%" of capacity, she said. Perucci told several concerned residents after the meeting that he has attended all of the Rock Spring meetings, and fully understands their concerns about school overcrowding, having attended Montgomery County schools in portable classrooms himself. He said that even though developers have to pay fees for school construction, they have no control over where the County ultimately spends those dollars.

I asked Perucci about the future of the 90,000 SF entertainment space, now that the theater won't happen. He said it is too early to predict what type of tenants might end up down there, or if the company will even build out the full 90,000 SF. He did say DRI expects "a mix of national retailers and mom-and-pops. A mixture of restaurants, apparel, [and] maybe a grocer."

The renderings of this project, created by the Boston firm Arrowstreet, look fantastic. Let's hope the final designs resemble this, or are even better.

It would be great if they got a tenant like Dave and Buster's or a bowling alley for the underground entertainment space. Neither type of business requires windows. (Although it couldn't likely be D&B, as they've already signed on at Ellsworth Place in Silver Spring.) Pinstripes is going to open up the road at Pike & Rose. I believe Jillian's is down to a couple of California locations at this point. Lucky Strike?

Add your suggestions for entertainment tenants in the comments below.

Later in the meeting, McLean Quinn, Vice President of Land Acquisition and Development at EYA, announced that 19 of the 168 luxury townhomes at the firm's Montgomery Row development have been sold. He said you can expect to see the first homes rising out of the ground at the site at Fernwood Road and Rock Spring Drive in the next 2-3 weeks.

The site had previously been slated for a 439,063 SF office building under an out-of-state owner, before being purchased by EYA.

Renderings courtesy DRI/Arrowstreet
All rights reserved

Photo by Robert Dyer

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Drug bust in Edgemoor, assault on Strathmore Ave. + more - Bethesda crime update

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

Drug arrest. Old Georgetown Road at Edgemoor Lane.

Drug arrest. 6900 block Clarendon Road at 2:14 AM (Edgemoor).

Theft. 7900 block Woodmont Avenue.

Liquor arrest. 7300 block Wisconsin Avenue at 12:50 AM.

Kidnapping. 5300 block Western Avenue at 1:05 PM.

Assault. 4500 block Strathmore Avenue at 5:44 PM (Garrett Park).

Theft. 6700 block Rockledge Drive.

Theft. 7100 block Democracy Boulevard.

North China Restaurant moves next door in Bethesda (Photos)

North China Restaurant made a big move - next door on Old Georgetown Road. Yes, the Chinese carry-out has simply moved 1 door over from 7814 Old Georgetown.

There is no change in menu, simply in venue.

Dude, where's my crosswalk? War on pedestrians continues in downtown Bethesda (Photos)

A crosswalk heavily used by residents of the Seasons apartments, patrons of businesses below it, and now from a newly-opened public parking garage, has vanished. Well, you can still see the faint remnants of it, but it's been scrubbed off of Bethesda Avenue, mid-block between Wisconsin and Woodmont Avenues.

You may recall other crosswalks vanishing in the last year or so, included existing ones on Bethesda Avenue south of Woodmont, on Woodmont connecting the Darcy side with the Flats at Bethesda Avenue side, and another one by Fairmont Plaza.
Cars exiting the public
garage (upper left) are
required to turn right,
increasing oncoming traffic
for pedestrians jaywalking
across Bethesda Avenue, now
that the crosswalk is gone
There doesn't appear to be a replacement for this one, which means we can expect plenty of jaywalking mid-block, as pedestrians take the naturally more convenient crossing method. It would seem smarter to add protection to this crosswalk, rather than eliminate it. If they're deadly serious about people not crossing here, they should put up a barrier in the center.
Jaywalking against traffic
like this is a deadly proposition
I can't think JBG is thrilled about losing an easy crossing to "Bethesda's next great restaurant" in its Bethesda Avenue-facing 7200 Wisconsin space, either. In any case, the public was not informed of the removal in advance, nor asked for feedback on this crosswalk, to my knowledge.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Liquor arrests at BCC/Whitman HS, theft in Kenwood + more - Bethesda crime update

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

Disorderly conduct. East Lane at Montgomery Lane.

Theft. Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School.

Liquor arrest. Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School.

Burglary. 4200 block Oakridge Lane at 10:51 AM.

Theft. 5300 block Oakland Road at 6:40 PM (Kenwood).

Assault. Oxford Street at Connecticut Avenue at 12:51 AM (Chevy Chase Village).

Theft. 5300 block Western Avenue.

Liquor arrest. Walt Whitman High School.

Theft. 4700 block Sangamore Road.

Theft from vehicle. 7100 block Radnor Road at 2:14 AM.

Drug arrest. Executive Boulevard at Old Georgetown Road at 6:49 PM (Pike District).

Drug arrest. 5400 block McGrath Boulevard at 10:11 PM (Pike District).

Drug arrest. 5400 block Marinelli Road at 8:48 PM (Pike District).

Giant drill appears in Bethesda's Woodmont Triangle (Photos)

A giant drilling rig was parked at the corner of Woodmont and Cordell Avenues in Bethesda's Woodmont Triangle neighborhood Monday. Several scary-looking toxic waste barrels are now in place there, as well. Is this a Halloween display? Should we expect to see J.R. Ewing's Cadillac Allante cruising the Triangle?

No, it appears to be environmental testing being performed on the future site of the 8008 Wisconsin luxury apartment project. The scary barrels actually proclaim they are "non-hazardous waste."
The environmental testing is being conducted by ECC of Chantilly. Douglas Development is the developer of 8008 Wisconsin, which was delayed this year by Montgomery County demands that Douglas turn over land to the County for Bus Rapid Transit facility right-of-way.

Montgomery County Council to consider seizing Bethesda homeowners' land today

The Montgomery County Council will consider a request from the County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) today to condemn thousands of square feet of private residential property in the Glen Echo Heights neighborhood of Bethesda. MCDOT is seeking to obtain a perpetual easement from a single-family home property on Wapakoneta Road, and two temporary construction easements from single-family home properties on Wapakoneta and Wehawken Road, respectively.

Timothy Firestine, Chief Administrative Officer of Montgomery County, is asking the Council to condemn the land outright using its power of eminent domain. In a memo on behalf of County Executive Ike Leggett, Firestine writes that MCDOT wants to install a 24" drainpipe, curbs, storm drains and gutters along Wapakoneta Road, from Namakagan Road to Walhonding Road. The County has negotiated with 5 homeowners on Wapakoneta and Wehawken since April 2015 to obtain right-of-way for the improvements, and temporary space for construction staging.

So far, MoCo has reached agreements with 2 of the 5 affected property owners. The project is running out of time to negotiate further, Firestine says, and he is now asking the County Council to "obtain immediate possession of portions of those properties for which the County has not yet been able to negotiate an amicable resolution with the Property Owners."

Homeowners of one of the Wapakoneta properties in question are currently reviewing a potential agreement with the County, but have not signed it yet. Owners of the second home on Wapakoneta have not agreed to sell. Firestine says they "do not want to lose their trees."

The permanent easement being sought along Wapakoneta is 1,505 SF; the two construction easements would be 2,502 SF (Wehawken) and 1,500 SF (Wapakoneta).

Today's agenda item is an introduction of the Advance Taking resolution. A worksession on the matter is currently scheduled for November 2.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Assault in Edgemoor, drug bust on Goldsboro Rd. + more - Bethesda crime update

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on October 23, according to crime data:

Assault. Woodmont Avenue at Rugby Avenue.

Assault. 6900 block Clarendon Road at 9:01 PM (Edgemoor).

Vehicle burglary. 4100 block Blackthorn Street.

Vehicle burglary. 4100 block Blackthorn Street.

Theft. 5500 block Wisconsin Avenue (Chevy Chase Village).

Drug arrest. 6400 block Goldsboro Road at 9:37 PM.

Vehicle burglary. 5100 block Brookeway Drive.

Vehicle burglary. 5200 block Augusta Street.

Vehicle burglary. 5000 block Rockmere Court.

Theft. 10200 block Old Georgetown Road.

Theft. 10400 block Old Georgetown Road.

Theft. 6700 block Democracy Boulevard.

Theft. Lord & Taylor (White Flint Mall).

Death. 4600 block Wilwyn Way at 7:30 AM (Randolph Hills).

Yogibo opens in Bethesda (Photos)

"Shockingly comfortable" bean bag chairs have officially arrived in Bethesda, as Yogibo opens in Westfield Montgomery Mall. They also offer accessories and toys designed for autistic children and occupational therapy patients, in addition to the casual furniture targeted to all ages and audiences.

Yogibo is located between Aeropostale and Journeys on Level 1.