Friday, April 30, 2021

Woodmont Avenue sidewalk reopens at 8001 Woodmont in Bethesda

The final sidewalk closure related to JBG Smith's 8001 Woodmont development has reopened to the public. Pedestrians can once again access the sidewalk on the Woodmont Avenue side of the property. The new sidewalk features the Bethesda-streetscape-standard red brick pavers. 

High winds cause power outages in Bethesda

High winds in the Washington, D.C. area that are expected to continue through 2:00 AM Saturday morning have already toppled some trees, including one on I-495 near Old Georgetown Road. Three power outages have been reported to Pepco in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase-Potomac area so far. 

An outage in Glen Echo Heights currently has less than 5 customers without power. A larger outage in Carderock is affecting about 115 customers. 42 customers are in the dark in the Alta Vista area along Old Georgetown Road.

Bethesda Row Giant gets refresh for "grand reopening"

has mailed out postcards announcing a "grand reopening" of the Bethesda Row store at 7142 Arlington Road. A team of workers descended on the parking lot out front last night, and worked through the night replacing signage and making other cosmetic changes at the store.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Bethesda construction update: 8001 Woodmont (Video+Photos)

Workers are putting the finishing touches on the new grass and hardscaping on the pedestrian promenade at JBG Smith's new 8001 Woodmont development at 7900 Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda. One worker was up on a ladder on the Wisconsin side, working on the area where the stone facade meets the trim above the ground floor. There's also been some work going on in the street along the Woodmont side of the building, requiring temporary lane closures.

Animal bites in Brookdale

Montgomery County police responded to a call regarding an animal bite Tuesday evening in the Brookdale neighborhood of Bethesda. The bite by an unspecified animal was reported in the 4700 block of Dover Road around 7:00 PM, according to crime data.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Follain closes at Bethesda Row

has closed at Bethesda Row. The skincare retailer appeared to have closed a week ago, but the company has only now confirmed the closure. Follain opened at 4810 Bethesda Avenue in July 2018, but was restricted to by-appointment-only shopping during much of the pandemic.

Moses African Cemetery protest 5:00 PM today in Bethesda

The Bethesda African Cemetery Coalition is holding another rally to protest the desecration of Moses African Cemetery this afternoon, April 28, 2021 at 5:00 PM near the cemetery site at 5238 River Road in Bethesda. A self-storage building is being constructed on land that directly adjoins the cemetery's recorded boundaries. 

Advocates expressed concern that remains buried beyond the property line of the cemetery might be disturbed by the excavation and construction, but those and other concerns were dismissed by the Montgomery County Planning Board. An archaeologist retained by the self storage developer has stated no remains or funerary objects were encountered during the work so far. BACC has responded that an independent expert is needed to provide fully objective analysis.

Le Vieux Logis building transformation progress (Photos)

A couple of months back I reported that the former Le Vieux Logis building at 7925 Old Georgetown Road had been gutted, and was undergoing a complete renovation. You can now see the windows that have been added to the front and side facades. 

The design work was performed by the local architecture firm of Steven J. Karr, AIA, Inc., which has many other credits in the Woodmont Triangle, including the Saah Building just down the street from here. While the French restaurant's quaint facade graphics made it something of a landmark over the decades, the hope was to create a more-appealing space for a future retail or restaurant tenant. Karr's design did was successful at the Saah Building, which attracted several new tenants following the alterations, including Guru Groceries and Chaat House Indian Market and the Friends with Style consignment shop.

White Flint McDonald's makeover update

The renovations at the McDonald's restaurant at 11564 Rockville Pike in White Flint are giving the building's exterior a new color scheme. Replacing the white walls and red brick are more muted earth tones, such as those seen at other remodeled McDonald's in the area, including the River Road location in Bethesda. 

It's unclear if these are the final coats of paint, however, as the side wall looks particularly blank and drab, as you can see below. The new colors were employed in an exterior/interior redesign of many McDonald's locations over the mid-to-late 2010s, in an urbane makeover inspired by Starbucks.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Armed carjacking in Potomac

Montgomery County police responded to a report of an armed carjacking in Potomac late Sunday afternoon. The carjacking was reported at a gas station on River Road in Potomac around 6:00 PM, according to crime data. A new report from WJLA-7 shows serious crime is not only surging in Montgomery County in 2021, but also in the year-over-year data comparing 2020 and 2019.

Signs of activity at iPic, Regal theaters even as MoCo ban on food, drink sales remains in place

There's no indication Montgomery County's ban on concessions sales at movie theaters will be lifted anytime soon, but a couple of theater chains are showing signs of preparing for reopening. Regal Cinemas already announced a tentative reopening date for its Montgomery County cineplexes next month, in an apparent gamble that the ban on the sale of food and drink will be lifted by then. Workers began sprucing up the exterior of the Regal Cinemas Majestic & IMAX theater in downtown Silver Spring on Monday. And iPic at Pike & Rose is now hiring servers for its in-movie food and drink service, a clear indication that the luxury theater chain believes the ban will be revoked in the coming weeks.

Tarps on the sidewalk outside the Regal Cinemas
Majestic & IMAX theater in Silver Spring, where
workers are touching up the exterior

However, a list of potential steps in loosening restrictions at County businesses released by the County Council does not specifically mention movie theaters or performance venues - nor the ban on food and drink - among the relaxed rules. Only at Phase 3, which will be reached when 50% of the county population is fully vaccinated, could theaters sell food and drink because the County will belatedly adopt the current state guidelines at that point. Under the current ban, which eliminates the most profitable revenue source for theaters, only AMC has reopened its theaters in the county.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Lao Sze Chuan coming to North Bethesda

NoBe Market has found a new tenant for the restaurant space vacated by Brio. Lao Sze Chuan, a Szechuan Chinese restaurant, will open in the towering high-rise on Rockville Pike. 

Tony Hu, the "Mayor of Chinatown" in Chicago, has operated Lao Sze Chuan restaurants there, and in Connecticut, Minnesota and Nevada. Many diners and critics have considered his restaurants to serve the best Chinese food in Chicago. NoBe Market is located at 11351 Woodglen Drive in the White Flint area.

Bethesda Row office building entrance renovated (Photos)

The makeover of the entrance to the office building at 7255 Woodmont Avenue at Bethesda Row appears to be complete. See the old look in the bottom photo to make an apples-to-apples comparison between the two designs.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Strong-arm robbery on Jones Bridge Road

Montgomery County police responded to a report of a strong-arm robbery on Jones Bridge Road last Wednesday night, April 21, 2021. Upon arriving on the scene, officers found a second-degree assault had also been committed against the victim. The incident occurred in the 3700 block of Jones Bridge around 7:30 AM.

New fence erected at The Elm in Bethesda

A new, wooden fence has been erected around part of the 7272 Wisconsin Avenue/Purple Line/Bethesda Metro south entrance construction site. Leasing continues at The Elm apartment tower.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

White Flint McDonald's renovation underway

The planned renovation of the McDonald's at 11564 Rockville Pike in White Flint is now underway. A sign says "lobby renovation," but there will be some exterior updates also, as I reported last month. Interestingly, the sign in the window is directing customers to a "Silver Springs" McDonald's, rather the longstanding McDonald's restaurant not that far north of here on Rockville Pike.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Arlington Road resurfaced near EuroMotorcars

Well, at least one part of Arlington Road has a smooth surface. A section of the roadway by EuroMotorcars and the new Audi Bethesda dealership was resurfaced earlier this week. 

I get why they are waiting to repave the stretch in front of the Maizon Bethesda construction site, but the damage allowed to be done and remain there for two years has been an abomination, and an embarrassment to to Montgomery County. Bethesda alignment repair experts, on the other hand, highly recommend you drive Arlington Road north of Edgemoor Lane as often as possible!

Photo by RFS

Sneak peek: Spanish Diner at Bethesda Row (Photos)

Wow - Spanish Diner looks nearly ready to open at 7271 Woodmont Avenue at Bethesda Row. Furniture is in place, but so is the Jaleo foosball table. A theater-style marquee on the interior wall welcomes you to celebrity chef (and Bethesda resident) José Andrés' newest venture from his ThinkFoodGroup. The yellow and black color scheme from the awnings carries over into the ceiling above the dining room. Another sign of opening day approaching: Spanish Diner is now hiring.