Monday, May 31, 2021

Car stolen from Bethesda apartment building

Montgomery County police responded to a report of a stolen car in downtown Bethesda on Saturday morning. The vehicle was reported stolen from a residential parking garage in the 4900 block of St. Elmo Avenue around 11:56 AM, according to crime data. There is only one residential building on that block, the Bainbridge Bethesda apartment tower.

Zao Stamina Ramen opens in Bethesda

Zao Stamina Ramen
is now open at 7345 Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda. It is open every day of the week except Tuesdays. Head chef Myo Htun began his career 25 years ago in Tokyo, and the restaurant is a family-run business with his wife and son. 

Sunday, May 30, 2021

A view of the Skybridge at The Wilson/The Elm in Bethesda (Photos)

Here's a view of the Skybridge that connects The Wilson and The Elm at 7272 Wisconsin Avenue at the 28th floor, as seen from the Bethesda Metro Center. The Skybridge is a common area that features a bar, a lounge, a fully-equipped catering kitchen, private dining rooms, and sweeping views of the D.C. region.

Marriott HQ and hotel construction update (Photos)

The hoist has been removed at the construction site of the relocating Marriott International headquarters and hotel at 7750 Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Bethesda. Believe it or not, the green roof atop each building is fully completed - and already "thriving," according to the project's development partners. Now high on the agenda is the hardscaping around the buildings. That includes the plaza shared by the two high-rises, and a planned crosswalk between the development and the Woodmont Corner parking garage across Woodmont Avenue.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Daily Grill permanently closed at Hyatt Regency Bethesda

The Daily Grill
closed last year due to the pandemic, but now the closure is permanent. Dan Schere of Bethesda Magazine first reported the permanent closure, and that the hotel is considering several potential uses for the Daily Grill space. Daily Grill signage remains on the restaurant facade, but has been removed from the tenant signage out in front of the hotel. The recently-remodeled hotel still has Morton's and Starbucks.

Levain Bakery construction begins at Bethesda Row

Construction has begun at the future Levain Bakery at 4844 Bethesda Avenue at Bethesda Row. For months, nothing has been going on inside. But now there is suddenly different "coming soon" signage, and Tyvek above the storefront where permanent signage or branded canopies are usually installed. Levain Bakery is scheduled to open this summer.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Montgomery County Council approves FY-2022 budget with property tax increase

Property taxes will increase for almost all Montgomery County residents in the fiscal year starting July 1, 2021, under the $6 billion FY-2022 budget approved by the County Council yesterday. The tax hike comes at a time when many residents and businesses have been struggling during the pandemic's economic downturn. 

Also hitting residents' wallets in the budget: parking fee increases in Bethesda and Wheaton, and the expansion of parking enforcement hours in Silver Spring and Wheaton, which will begin in January 2022. All nine councilmembers voted unanimously to approve the budget and tax increase.

5500 Wisconsin Avenue redevelopment community meeting scheduled

A community meeting has been scheduled for the unveiling of a proposal to redevelop retail structures at 5500 Wisconsin Avenue in the Friendship Heights area of Chevy Chase. The sketch plan will propose a mixed-use project with 380 residential units and 15,000 SF of retail and restaurant space on the ground floor. 

While the site is zoned for a maximum height of 90', the project could gain additional height by providing more affordable units than required, or via other bonus methods. The project will provide an opportunity to revitalize one corner of a struggling corridor that not long ago was touted as "Montgomery County's Rodeo Drive." Now a moribund stretch of empty storefronts, it will be up to individual developers to bring back the luster, a challenge as the rich continue to flee to lower-tax jurisdictions in the region. The Montgomery County Council's public comments on the decline of Friendship Heights embarrassingly indicated they do not understand what has gone wrong, what their role was in the stagnation, and have no clue how to fix it. 

The virtual online community meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, June 9, 2021 at 6:30 PM at You can also join the meeting by telephone at (786) 535-3211 and entering the access code 347-660-469.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Accident at River Road and Ogden Road in Bethesda, lanes blocked

An accident around 7:00 PM tonight at the intersection of River Road and Ogden Road in Bethesda is impeding traffic in both directions. Police and fire personnel are on the scene, and officers are directing traffic. I would avoid the area right now, and use an alternative route.

McDonald's BTS Meal arrives in Bethesda (Video+Photos)

The McDonald's BTS Meal officially arrived nationwide yesterday. In partnership with the K-pop boy band, the meal includes a 10-piece Chicken McNuggets, medium fries, a medium Coca-Cola, and two sauce packets: Cajun and Sweet Chili. 

While most media outlets have lauded the sauces as both being new to the United States, McDonald's actually offered Sweet Chili sauce some years back. The Cajun sauce is brand new, however. Watch my in-depth review on YouTube.

BTS fans have reacted enthusiastically to the promotion on social media, but there has been significant dissatisfaction among them that McDonald's did not provide BTS-branded packaging for the meal nor any BTS-themed prize, cards or toys in the United States. Some overseas countries have received special packaging for their BTS meals, which led some fans to ask why an American restaurant chain did not provide this BTS packaging for its American customers.

Demolition begins on site of future 7000 Wisconsin Avenue development in Bethesda

A demolition crew began the process of razing the retail structures between 6936 and 7000 Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Bethesda yesterday. Two lanes of southbound MD 355 were closed to accommodate the work. When the site is cleared, a 122' residential building will be constructed to be addressed as 7000 Wisconsin Avenue.