Friday, October 20, 2017

Bethesda construction update: The Rugby (Photos)

The latest phase of Donohoe's Woodmont Central project is this mixed-use residential tower, code-named The Rugby, at 4850 Rugby Avenue in Bethesda's Woodmont Triangle. Also currently known as Gallery Bethesda II, it will be the sister building to the already-delivered Gallery Bethesda luxury apartments, which it will share a plaza with. It is currently about 7 stories above street level.
Gallery Bethesda II's tower crane
alongside the original Gallery Bethesda
in background
Gallery Bethesda II will include 219 units and 12425 SF of retail and restaurant space. Delivery is expected in Fall 2018. In related Donohoe news, I just learned that the firm has also been hired by the Shelter Group to construct their Brightview Bethesda project, which is directly across Rugby from this project. It would seem like a rare opportunity to introduce some economies of scale to both projects, although they are obviously at very different stages of development.

VR "experience" comes to Westfield Montgomery Mall (Photos)

A new virtual reality "experience" awaits patrons at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. Virtual Reality Experience offers a library of VR games, including Le Le Adventure and a game tie-in with Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Gamers can find the makeshift kiosk in the Sears wing on Level 1.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Chevy Chase construction update: The Collection at Chevy Chase (Photos)

About a year after the Chevy Chase Land Company received approval for a reimagining of its Collection at Chevy Chase shopping center from Montgomery County, work is underway. Reeling from the closures of its highest-end stores as the rich flee high-tax Montgomery County for Loudoun and Howard Counties and the District, they are repositioning the center as a place to spend time in a more-inviting outdoor setting.
In addition to new public art and improved parks and plazas, the view into the Friendship Heights property from Wisconsin Avenue will be improved. The Collection is located at 5471 Wisconsin Avenue.

Sidewalk repairs in the Woodmont Triangle (Photos)

More sidewalk repairs have begun in the Woodmont Triangle neighborhood in Bethesda. Watch for sidewalk closures on several streets, including Cordell and Del Ray Avenues. The work is usually completed in a timely fashion. At least this is one downtown closure where actual work is being done, as opposed to just blocking a public space to store junk or park vehicles.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Pedestrian shelter removed alongside Cheval Bethesda condo tower

As construction winds down at the Cheval Bethesda ultra-luxury condo tower at the corner of Old Georgetown Road and Fairmont Avenue, the sheltered pedestrian walkway alongside the building on Old Georgetown was removed yesterday. It was one of the few found in Bethesda, and had been open to pedestrians throughout construction.

Pines of Rome cited by MoCo for new sign

According to Montgomery County Department of Permitting Services records, code enforcement inspectors visited the new Pines of Rome location at 4918 Cordell Avenue this week, and have issued a code violation notice for the lighted sign that was added to the building. No sign permit was issued by the County for that installation, an inspector determined.

Inspectors also took issue with the new front entrance to the restaurant, which is now flush with the sidewalk, rather than recessed as it was for previous tenant Matuba. This means that the new front door opens outward into the public right-of-way. The relocated restaurant has been open for only ten days.

Downtown Bethesda water main break wiped out Tuesday night business for many restaurants (Video+Photos)

A water main valve failed last night on St. Elmo Avenue, and water was cut off to many Woodmont Triangle restaurants for the rest of the evening. One restaurant owner on Norfolk Avenue said he estimated his losses in the $1000-1500 range, and that WSSC is refusing to compensate businesses that had to close for their damages. Popular restaurants that were forced to close last night included Olazzo, Bangkok Garden, Hanaro, and Rock Bottom.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

L.L. Bean to open November 10 at Pike & Rose

L.L. Bean will open at Pike & Rose on Friday, November 10, 2017 at 9:00 AM. The grand opening will be extended through the weekend, with giveaways, family activities for all ages, and a visit from the Bootmobile, which harks back to L.L. Bean's original product, the Bean Boot.

The celebration will start on November 10, when the first 200 customers through the doors will receive an L.L. Bean gift card worth up to $500. On Saturday and Sunday, take free fly-casting and archery lessons from the experts at L.L. Bean's Outdoor Discovery Schools, and enter to win a trip for four to Maine. Sunday will be "kids day," featuring wildlife programs, activities and games with local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops.

A PIKEPaws Pawty will be held in Rose Park (which is right outside the L.L. Bean store) at 10:00 AM Sunday, where the coverdog for the PIKEpaws 2018 calendar will be announced. The calendar will be available for purchase.

Photos with the Bootmobile will be available all three days.

L.L. Bean's 35th location outside of its home state of Maine will be 22700 SF in size, and employ about 75 people.

Late-term abortionist Carhart to bring abortions to Bethesda

Just weeks after late-term abortionist Dr. LeRoy Carhart appeared to be leaving Montgomery County, he is opening a new abortion office in Bethesda today. Carhart is one of only three operators in the nation who will abort babies in the final weeks before birth, and therefore many of his clients travel long distances.

While Carhart was quiet in obtaining a new facility in the Wildwood Medical Center, his arrival today will be anything but. Pro-life organizations are planning a press conference and rally outside the building at noon today, and a candlelight vigil at 6:30 PM tonight, again outside the building at 10401 Old Georgetown Road in Bethesda. These protests will be held on the public sidewalk in front of the building.

Carhart's new office in Suite 104 at 10401 Old Georgetown is not yet licensed to perform abortions, according to pro-life organization Operation Rescue. The organization says it has filed two emergency complaints with the State of Maryland, and accuses Carhart of trying to perform abortions without a license this week. He has no admitting privileges at any local hospital. At his recently-closed Germantown clinic, at least ten of his patients were rushed to nearby hospitals during procedures, and one woman died during a 33-week abortion.

Already, pressure is mounting on the owner of the Wildwood Medical Center to terminate the lease with Carhart. A website called "Pray for Bethesda" is also asking people to contact the property management company for the building, Alvin L. Aubinoe, Inc., and "tell them what you think!" Many of the other medical professionals in the building may find themselves, through no fault of their own, in the middle of the battle. Some patients are already threatening to cancel their appointments with doctors and dentists in the building as long as Carhart remains a tenant in the Wildwood Medical Center.

Town Jewelers relocating to new Bethesda location (Photos)

Town Jewelers isn't done yet in downtown Bethesda. The jewelry store's old location at 7017 Wisconsin Avenue is currently being renovated into a restaurant space. But they will reopen soon in a storefront right across the street, at 7028 Wisconsin Avenue. That was previously the home of Royal Dry Cleaners.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Things Remembered, Just Cozy pop-ups open at Westfield Montgomery Mall (Photos)

Things Remembered, a pop-up gift shop for the holidays, has opened at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. Find it next to Victoria's Secret on Level 1 of the mall.

A second pop-up store is Just Cozy, a leggings and accessories shop that says it expects to open 100 temporary stores across the country this fall. Just Cozy is next to VIP Outdoor and Auntie Anne's on Level 2.

Car fire in Bethesda apartment tower garage damages several vehicles

A Jeep caught fire on the lowest level of the Bainbridge Bethesda parking garage after 7:00 AM Sunday morning. Several vehicles were damaged, but the fire was contained by the garage sprinkler system, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue spokesperson Pete Piringer said. Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the remaining blaze after arriving on-scene.

According to a resident of the building, smoke rose up through the stairwells from the garage. That resident said fire alarms did not sound inside the actual building. This is one of several recent garage vehicle fires in this part of the county. The cause of yesterday's fire has not yet been stated, but Piringer said it was ruled accidental.

Photo: Pete Piringer/MCFRS

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Stalker in Friendship Heights, assault on Kingsley Ave. + more - Bethesda crime update

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on October 13, according to crime data:

Mental illness - emergency petition. Wisconsin Circle.

Stalking/intimidation. Apartment/condo on Friendship Boulevard.

Assault - 2nd degree. Kingsley Avenue.

Identity theft. Surrey Street.

Shoplifting. Apparel store at Pike & Rose.

Weapon possession. Car dealership on Old Georgetown Road (Pike District).

Liquor possession. Rockville Pike (Pike District).

Theft. Auto repair shop on Parklawn Drive.

Assault - 2nd degree. Auto repair shop on Parklawn Drive.

Theft from industrial park. Randolph Road.

Missing person. Whiterim Drive.