Tuesday, October 31, 2017

True Body Fit not likely to meet target opening date today

True Body Fit, the new gym opening in the historic Bethesda Post Office building at 7400 Wisconsin Avenue was supposed to open before the end of October. Considering they do not yet have a front door, it appears the opening has been at least slightly postponed. Plywood was covering the entryway as of last evening.

Kung Fu Tea to open at Pike & Rose

Kung Fu Tea continues to expand across Montgomery County at an increasing pace. Their latest destination is Pike & Rose. Their store will be located in the low-rise retail structure at the corner of Old Georgetown Road and Rockville Pike.

Monday, October 30, 2017

JINYA Ramen Bar to open at Pike & Rose (Photos)

JINYA Ramen Bar is coming to Pike & Rose. The California-based ramen chain has two existing area locations in the Mosaic District and Logan Circle. Its third will be in the ground floor of the L.L. Bean building at 910 Prose Street at Pike & Rose. The restaurant will open next year, and has posted Coming Soon signage at its future space. L.L. Bean, opening November 10, has also installed its permanent exterior signage.

Bradley Drugs closes in Bethesda, Safeway wants their customers (Photos)

Bradley Care Drugs has closed in Bethesda. The small shop had survived for many decades in the Bradley Shopping Center. I first heard about the impending closure on October 1, but the store would not comment on the rumor at the time. It doesn't matter at this point, because the store has been cleared out, and their client list sold to CVS Pharmacy.
Safeway beckons to Bradley Care
clients with a banner facing the empty
drugstore on its Bradley Boulevard facade
Not so fast, says Safeway. The grocery store across Bradley Boulevard from the now-shuttered drugstore has its own pharmacy. Safeway also has more convenient parking than CVS during peak hours. And since CVS was one of the businesses affected by the disastrous "nighttime economy" initiative of Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Riemer, eliminating overnight hours for its pharmacy counter as a result, it no longer has a 24-hour advantage over Safeway's pharmacy department (both stores are open 24 hours, just not their pharmacy departments).
Safeway mailer sent to
Bethesda homes late last week
Safeway is aggressively going after Bradley Care's clients, posting a banner facing the vacant store on its building, and sending mailers to Bethesda homes and apartments.
Former Bradley Care Drugs

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Bethesda construction update: Cheval Bethesda ultra-luxury condos (Photos)

Duball, LLC's Cheval Bethesda ultra-luxury condo tower is currently about 4 months away from delivery, according to the firm's president, Marc Dubick. The first residents will likely move into the building, which is located at 4960 Fairmont Avenue, in February. Interior elevators are now operational, and the exterior construction elevator has been removed. A leasing agent has been brought on board to seek a tenant for the tower's 7000 SF of ground floor retail space.
The 17-story tower contains 72 condo units. Prices are in the ultra-luxury tier: from the $900,000s to over $2.5 million. Cheval Bethesda is the tallest condo building in Bethesda.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Kia Stinger getting a home for the holidays at Westfield Montgomery Mall

You may remember my report earlier this week about the new Kia Stinger display at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. Now there's evidence the promotion is getting a more-elaborate home for the holiday season. A permit request has been filed with Montgomery County for a "pop-up STINGER store." Only Tesla Motors currently has a dedicated automobile showroom at the mall, another indication of Kia's ambitions for their new luxury sport sedan.

MoCo councilmembers illegally using taxpayer-funded Chevy Chase meeting as campaign event

The latest abuse of power and taxpayer funds in Montgomery County government will be this coming Wednesday night in Chevy Chase. County Councilmembers Hans Riemer and Roger Berliner, who are running for County Council and County Executive respectively, will attempt to use a taxpayer-funded "infrastructure meeting" as a campaign event. Both receive top billing in announcements for the Montgomery County Planning Department-sponsored meeting, which will be held November 1, at 7:30 PM at the Jane Lawton Community Center at 4301 Willow Lane.

As elected officials, neither Riemer nor Berliner have any official role in the Planning Department. While I would encourage all councilmembers to attend public events (they are usually missing-in-action at such meetings 99% of the time), it is totally inappropriate for a councilmember and candidate to be a "headliner" at a non-Council public meeting. If the Council or an individual member wishes to host a town meeting when a specific plan is forwarded by the Planning Board to the Council for action, that would be a legitimate; this meeting is not.

The event press release even includes puffed-up biographies of the two councilmembers, a clear abuse of taxpayer money and taxpayer-funded mass email platforms. It touts Riemer as the Council's "Lead for Digital Government," whatever the hell that means. But it fails to mention that, four years after Riemer took office, it was found that the County government was running on Windows 2000, one of the most vulnerable platforms in the world. Also on Riemer's watch, a County government database of County residents' personal information was posted online, exposed to hackers and identity thieves. And a scathing Maryland audit of MCPS found massive cybersecurity flaws that allow outsiders to obtain student information and full access to the school system's computer network at will.

Equally astonishing, is that Riemer, who voted for the closure and demolition of the Georgetown Branch Trail, and failed to include any mandated actions regarding any bike facility or tunnel in the Purple Line minor master plan amendment when he had the power to do so, casts himself as a bystander in the event press release. "With the recent closure of the Georgetown Branch Trail, this is an important time for a community discussion about the future of biking infrastructure in the affected areas...But we need to get it right."

In fact, Riemer failed to "get it right," despite having the opportunity and power to do so. A councilman who has overseen and approved the disastrous bicycle and pedestrian situation for seven years is now here to "save the day" on November 1? Please.

I encourage the County Inspector General to open an investigation into the use of this taxpayer-funded meeting as a campaign event by Riemer and Berliner. This is yet another illegal use of funds, and abuse of the system, by the Montgomery County political cartel.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Stonehall Bethesda condos officially delivered at ribbon-cutting (Photos)

Duball, LLC's Stonehall Bethesda ultra-luxury condominium project was officially welcomed to Bethesda yesterday by the Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce and local officials at a ribbon-cutting celebration. Marc Dubick, President and co-founder of Duball, thanked the many project partners present for their contributions, and joined GBCOC incoming Board of Directors Chair Jane Fairweather in cutting the ribbon in the lobby.

Guests then toured the building, including the rooftop deck, fitness center, party room and model units, while enjoying refreshments. Duball has a second ultra-luxury project nearing completion in Bethesda, the Cheval Bethesda condo tower. The company also developed the Lionsgate condominiums on Woodmont Avenue.

Marc Dubick and Jane Fairweather

Dubick and a representative of
Senator Chris Van Hollen, with a
citation from the senator

Fairweather presents a plaque
from the Greater Bethesda Chamber
welcoming the Stonehall to Bethesda

The ribbon is cut

Official welcome certificate from the
Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce
Sixth floor model unit
living room

Dining room


High-end Bosch appliances

Master bedroom

Bathroom with a view

A den/home office

Home office desk

Duball VP of Development John Segreti
leads a tour of an outdoor deck still
under construction

This deck will feature a
cabana-style seating area
(in background)

Also on this deck will be gardens
for individual residents

That area is still under construction

Party room

Kitchen/bar area in
party room

It's not a party room without
a big-screen TV

Rooftop deck

Guests declared this unique seating
area as the highlight of the
rooftop deck

Rooftop view of
Woodmont Avenue

City lights view on this side
of the building

Segreti said this window above the
lobby entrance sparked
a disagreement between the building
architect and interior designer, but
ultimately the window stayed

Fitness center

Corner unit on the 2nd floor

Street view

The unit also has a balcony
overlooking Battery Lane


Mirrored elevator doors