Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Bethesda construction update: The Edge apartments (Photos)

With exterior construction well advanced at The Edge apartments at 4885 Edgemoor Lane in Bethesda, work is ramping up on the interior of the residential units. Kitchen appliances can already be seen in place in some of the units. Construction is also underway on the pocket park the developer is providing for public use at 4903 Edgemoor Lane. The Edge is on-track for its mid-to-late 2021 delivery date.

ArcLight Cinemas closing permanently at Montgomery Mall

ArcLight Cinemas
at Westfield Montgomery Mall, closed since the pandemic-related shutdown of movie theaters was ordered last year, will not reopen. The permanent closure was announced in a statement by the cineplex's parent company, Decurion Corporation. This is devastating news for the future of Montgomery Mall, where the third-floor luxury cineplex was the keystone of a nearly-$100 million expansion of the retail center by Westfield over the last decade.

Montgomery Mall is in new hands after a corporate merger, and the new parent company does not share Westfield's dedication to the survival of its malls. In fact, the new company plans to sell the mall and others it owns across the country next year. 

The future of the ArcLight space at the mall is unclear. Deadline reports that Decurion has "handed the keys to the landord" at all of its cineplex locations. A new theater operator could be brought in, the theater could be demolished and renovated for more retail and restaurant space, or the cineplex could sit abandoned until the mall is demolished for redevelopment in the future.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Why is that Acme truck going to Safeway? (Photos)

An Acme truck squeezes into the
909 Thayer Avenue Safeway store in
Silver Spring

The invasion of the Acme trucks into Montgomery County began last fall. But what are they doing here? There are no Acme grocery stores in Montgomery County! And why is an Acme truck going into my neighborhood Safeway's loading dock?

An Acme 18-wheeler heading south on
Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Bethesda

Three things have brought the great Acme fleets to places like Bethesda and Silver Spring, even though neither has an Acme store. First, Acme's parent company bought Safeway about seven years ago. Then, last year, that company merged Mid-Atlantic Safeway operations into the Acme unit headquartered in Pennsylvania. Finally, the Safeway distribution center on Leeland Road in Upper Marlboro was shuttered, and its operations relocated to - not surprisingly - Pennsylvania.

Silver Spring

So your Safeway groceries are now being trucked in from Acme's distribution center in Pennsylvania. That is a larger, mechanized distribution center near Lancaster. Thus, you are seeing Acme trucks hauling those groceries in many cases.

New Bethesda Weichert Realtors office update (Photos)

Here's a look at the progress inside the new Weichert Realtors office in the Landow Building in downtown Bethesda. It looks like it's ready to go, once the screens are removed from the windows. Located at 7920 Woodmont Avenue, it is right across from a former Weichert office, which is Bethesda Chocolates today.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Griffin Cycle open at new Bethesda location

Griffin Cycle
has moved over to its new location a few doors down at 4933 Bethesda Avenue. The new space is larger than the original location. Griffin, a family-owned business, is celebrating 50 years in operation.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

"Tik Tokers welcome" at Reddz Trading in Bethesda

Many retailers do not allow photography in their stores, a greater challenge to regulate in the age of smartphones. This is apparently not the case at Reddz Trading at 7901 Woodmont Avenue in Bethesda. The consignment shop has put up a sign stating "Tik Toker's (sic) welcome."

Capital Crescent Trail sign also counting walkers

The new digital sign on the Capital Crescent Trail at Bethesda Avenue was officially unveiled yesterday, although I gave you an advance sneak preview earlier Friday morning. Now that the trash bags have been removed from the obelisk, the reverse side features a separate digital count of "walkers" using the trail that day. Both sides also display the number of cyclists or walkers who have used the trail this year, although the numbers currently shown are suspect, as the sign only began counting yesterday.

Armed robbery at Bethesda convenience store

Montgomery County police responded to a report of an armed robbery at a convenience store in Bethesda early Friday morning. The robbery was reported at a store in the 5100 block of River Road around 3:18 AM Friday, according to crime data. A firearm was the weapon used in the robbery, data indicates. There is a 7-Eleven on that block of River Road.

Friday, April 09, 2021

Woman's Club of Chevy Chase Community Art Show and Sale goes virtual for 2021

The annual Woman's Club of Chevy Chase Community Art Show and Sale starts tonight, April 9, 2021 at 7:00 PM. But this year, the sale will be virtual, and run through Sunday, May 16, 2021. This 45th annual show will feature over 300 works of art for sale by 100 artists. To virtually "attend" the show, go to the WCCC website starting at 7:00 tonight.

New median at Wisconsin and Chase Avenues in Bethesda

Drivers on Wisconsin Avenue encountered lane closures near Chase Avenue during the evening rush hour Thursday night. A road crew was busy constructing a new median island at the intersection, which is right by a Chase Bank and the new 8001 Woodmont development. 

Capital Crescent Trail sign will count cyclists as they ride past

Montgomery Parks has just installed a new digital sign that will count and display the number of cyclists using the Capital Crescent Trail that day. It is located at the trail plaza on Bethesda Avenue by Ourisman Honda. On Thursday, it was partially covered with trash bags.

One other piece of important CCT news this morning: Montgomery County will cut down six trees along the trail next to the Washington Episcopal School. The deforestation will begin on Monday, April 19, 2021, and is expected to take two to three days to complete. Watch for temporary trail closures during that time.

Thursday, April 08, 2021

Winter tents removed from Bethesda Streetery

The tents that had been erected for wintertime dining on the closed blocks of the Bethesda Streetery were removed Wednesday. Diners are back to using tables and chairs on the pavement to eat their carryout meals. Temperatures are expected to drop a bit in the coming days, however.

Signage installed at Pho Viet USA in Bethesda + menu (Photos)

Permanent signage was installed on the facade of Pho Viet USA, the new Vietnamese restaurant at 4917 Cordell Avenue in downtown Bethesda, yesterday. I also have a picture of the menu below:

3 cars stolen in Bethesda

Three cars were reported stolen north of downtown Bethesda yesterday. Two were taken from driveways in the 9200 block of E. Parkhill Drive, and a third from the driveway of a home in the 5400 block of Alta Vista Road, according to crime data.

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

SPX 2021 Expo still in limbo

A poster from SPX 2013

SPX 2021, the Small Press Expo scheduled to take place in September at its usual North Bethesda venue, remains in limbo due to the ongoing pandemic. Expo organizers say they are in discussions with Montgomery County government as to the viability of holding such a gathering in the county in September this year. They are also have early discussions with the Marriott Bethesda North hotel about what the cost would be if the expo needs to be canceled. 

If it is canceled, SPX 2021 will again be a virtual event online as it was in 2020. Organizers say a decision will have to be made by the end of the month. SPX is a non-profit organization that promotes the visibility and success of the independent comic book industry. 

Pho Viet USA coming to Bethesda

Pho Viet USA
is expanding to downtown Bethesda. The local Vietnamese restaurant chain will open its latest location soon at 4917 Cordell Avenue in the Woodmont Triangle neighborhood. That building was until recently home to Faryab Afghan Cuisine. Pho Viet USA has three restaurants in the District, and one in Baltimore. 

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

When Fritos were made in downtown Bethesda (Photos)

The Bethesda Avenue corridor along Bethesda Row has some of the most expensive real estate in the region. It's hard to imagine it was once an industrial area with a freight railroad running through the middle of it. One of the most famous tenants of that industrial era was a local Frito franchisee called the Capitol Frito Company, located at 4860 Bethesda Avenue. The Apple Store stands on that spot today.

Capitol Frito Company was only the second franchisee outside of Texas allowed to manufacture and distribute Fritos and other chip products of the Dallas-based Frito Company. Can you guess who was the first franchisee? A little enterprise called H.W. Lay & Company, which later merged into the giant Frito-Lay company we know today.

Capitol Frito would have been making Fritos, Cheetos and Ruffles chips, all brands we still have today. But one of the newspaper ads shown here from December 1953 shows a new snack launching called Jupiter Potato Chips.

You could even write to Capitol Frito Company to get a free recipe booklet. It included delightful meals like the one you can still make today from the 1949 newspaper ad shown here, Baked Eggs with Fritos. Don't forget that Fritos are "delicious with creamed dishes." And remain "the perfect beverage companion."