Friday, December 31, 2021

Bethesda Trader Joe's declared one of 10 best in America

Eating Well
magazine has published a list of the top ten Trader Joe's grocery stores in America, and Bethesda made the list. The store's employees told the magazine that one thing they think is special about the Bethesda location is that it's "the most multilingual" in the chain, with workers and customers speaking the largest variety of languages. No mention of the parking garage in the article, though... Trader Joe's is located at 6831 Wisconsin Avenue, in the Shops of Wisconsin.

Marriott construction vehicles fewer in number, but still blocking NB travel lane on Woodmont Avenue

The number of construction-related vehicles illegally parked in the sole northbound travel lane on Woodmont Avenue at the Marriott construction site has gradually dropped. Two were still parked there on January 29, and only one on January 30. 

Meanwhile, the tower signage at the Marriott International headquarters building on the site began changing colors, and signage for the hotel's restaurants lit up for the first time last night. The hotel is scheduled to open by spring.

Sidewalk reopens in front of Avocet Tower in Bethesda

The sidewalk in front of Avocet Tower at 7373 Wisconsin Avenue has reopened. an Avocet Tower logo has been installed above the lobby entrance. StonebridgeCarras' new development on the former site of the 2nd District Montgomery County police station includes an office tower, and an AC Hotel by Marriott.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Red Panda Art Studio moving to Friendship Heights

Red Panda Art Studio
is the latest tenant of the Westwood Center II mini-mall in Bethesda to find a new home. The studio, which provides hands-on exploration of art for children, will relocate to the Collection at Chevy Chase in Friendship Heights in 2022. Westwood Center II will be demolished to make way for an assisted living senior housing development.

Demolition starting for St. Elmo Apartments in Bethesda (Photos)

Preliminary work has begun on the demolition of several structures on St. Elmo Avenue in Bethesda. They include the former Vuk, Chef Tony's and PureFire Yoga spaces (Chef Tony's and PureFire both have new Bethesda locations). This multi-property site is being cleared for the St. Elmo Apartments project; some structures on the project's Fairmont Avenue side have already been demolished.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Indochino closes at Bethesda Row, relocating to Nordstrom at Montgomery Mall

has closed at 4856 Bethesda Avenue at Bethesda Row. The men's apparel store says it will open a new shop inside of Nordstrom at Westfield Montgomery Mall on January 5, 2022. Indochino's Bethesda Row shop opened in 2018. Importantly, if you have any clothes being altered at the Bethesda Row store, you will have to pick them up at the Washington, D.C. location if they are not retrieved here by December 31, 2021.

Marriott vehicles still blocking travel lane on Woodmont Avenue in Bethesda

Vehicles related to the Marriott International headquarters and hotel construction project were parked in the only northbound travel lane on Woodmont Avenue in front of the site for a second full day Tuesday. They included both work trucks and private cars, despite Marriott having its own garage on-site, and there being a public parking garage directly across the street. 

Vehicles using center turn lane
to get around parked vehicles in 
the actual northbound travel lane

Vehicles heading northbound were forced to move into the oncoming center turn lane, which switches direction halfway down, including large Metrobuses. The blockade began Monday with no public announcement, and no enforcement action has been taken by Montgomery County or police so far. Montgomery County's Department of Transportation recently reduced the number of travel lanes on this block of Woodmont to one in each direction, to facilitate the addition of a bikeway and center turning lane in front of Marriott.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

First look: Junction Bistro, Bar & Bakery in Friendship Heights (Photos)

Junction Bistro, Bar & Bakery
isn't scheduled to open before the beginning of 2022 at the earliest, but the interior is looking pretty close to ready. Furnishings, decor, lighting fixtures, and even Fetco coffee brewers are in place. Located at 5471 Wisconsin Avenue, Junction will be in the Collection at Chevy Chase shopping center.

Marriott construction vehicles block NB travel lane on Woodmont Avenue

Woodmont Avenue has recently been reduced to a two-lane street - with one vehicle lane in each direction - in front of the Marriott International headquarters and hotel site in downtown Bethesda. That made it somewhat shocking to find vehicles related to that construction project using the sole northbound travel lane as a parking lot yesterday morning. Even more shocking, was that the lane was blocked the rest of the day, even as the sun set Monday evening. All vehicles attempting to drive north on Woodmont were forced to drive into oncoming traffic, and any emergency vehicles like fire engines would have been unable to get by without even greater difficulty.

The fact that the vehicles were never directed to move nor ticketed has brought one of two issues to light. Either Montgomery County government has told its employees that such violations at the Marriott site are to be ignored. Or no police units traveled that block of Woodmont Avenue the entire day yesterday. The latter would be quite troubling at a time of rising crime in Bethesda. But the former is equally troubling.

Think about what would happen if you parked your car in the eastbound travel lane of Bethesda Avenue, and went into the Apple Store or Five Guys for an hour. How many minutes do you think your car would sit in the middle of the street before a police or traffic enforcement officer took action? How many violations would you be written up for, in parking(!) your vehicle in the only eastbound travel lane? How long would it take before your vehicle was towed away?

It should be also be noted that the Marriott property has its own off-street driveway, and its own parking garage. Yet work trucks and private vehicles were parked in the middle of the public roadway the entire day, and were allowed to stay despite breaking multiple traffic laws. Let's be clear - this is not a parking lane; there is no street parking lane on this block of Woodmont anymore. This was the actual, and only, northbound travel lane! Unreal.

Monday, December 27, 2021

Nando's PERi-PERi closes at Bethesda Row

Nando's PERi-PERi
has closed at Bethesda Row. Brown paper has been placed over the windows. The closure was not unexpected for readers of this website, as I broke the story that the spicy chicken restaurant would be exiting Bethesda Row this month back in April. At the time, the company said it would be moving to a new location in the downtown Bethesda area, but a new spot has yet to be announced as of this writing.

The Hunter's Hound to reopen Tuesday in Friendship Heights

The Hunter's Hound
, which had just opened earlier this month, was forced to close for the Christmas weekend due to a shortage of staff. The Irish pub and restaurant at the Collection at Chevy Chase explained the closure as the result of newly-hired staff having existing plans for the holiday, prior to starting work at the business recently. Hunter's Hound will reopen for business tomorrow, Tuesday, December 28, 2021 at 4:00 PM.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

7316 Wisconsin Avenue demolition update (Photos)

Interior demolition of the former office building at 7316 Wisconsin Avenue is advancing at a steady pace. You can now see even more into the empty floors of the building, as more sections of the outer walls have been removed. The building is coming down to make way for B.F. Saul's Hampden House project.