A Montgomery County judge last week ruled in favor of the landlord of the Fresh Grill restaurant, which was closed in 2012 after the landlord claimed excavation for a nearby apartment building caused structural damage.
Circuit Court Judge Ronald B. Rubin made a declaratory judgement in favor of the White Flint Express Realty Group in its complaint against Bainbridge, the developer of the 17-story, 200-unit “Bainbridge Bethesda” apartment still under construction at 4918 St Elmo Ave.
White Flint Express closed Fresh Grill (4905 Fairmont Ave.) and Dansez Dansez (4909 Fairmont Ave.) suddenly in March 2012 and put a fence around the building, claiming Bainbridge’s excavation near the back wall of its building caused cracks and structural damage that made the building unsafe.
After the sides argued in court on Nov. 21 and Nov. 25, Rubin ruled on Nov. 27 that Bainbridge breached its easement agreement with the landlord and “improperly and wrongfully asserted that it was not required to meet its obligations” to the agreement after White Flint Express terminated it on Feb. 27, 2012.
Part of a subsequent agreement involved administration of a crane swing, tie back and swing scaffolding on the construction site, which is next door to the one-story restaurant building.
Fresh Grill has been closed since March 2012, with no signs that it will reopen. When it closed, Dansez Dansez reported the building damage happened on Feb. 14, 2012. The dance studio has since moved to Norfolk Avenue.
It’s unclear what this means for Fresh Grill.
The above photos are from architect Steven J. Karr, who worked as a consultant on the easement agreement for the building’s landlord, Lenny Greenberg. On Friday, Greenberg said he had no comment.
A representative for Bainbridge or Fresh Grill could not be reached on Friday afternoon.
In his ruling, Rubin ruled in favor of the landlord’s motion for a partial summary judgement and said Bainbridge would be responsible for the landlord’s legal fees.
Photos via Steven J. Karr
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for most of the area starting on Sunday morning until Monday morning.
The NWS and most forecasters are calling for some snow — perhaps 1 to 2 inches — plus some sleet and ice. A changeover from snow and sleet to freezing rain is expected midday Sunday:
…WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM SUNDAY MORNING THROUGH MONDAY MORNING…
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WATCH…WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM SUNDAY MORNING THROUGH MONDAY MORNING.
* PRECIPITATION TYPE…SNOW AND SLEET WILL CHANGE OVER TO FREEZING RAIN SUNDAY AFTERNOON. FREEZING RAIN IS EXPECTED TO LAST UNTIL LATE SUNDAY NIGHT OR MONDAY MORNING BEFORE CHANGING TO RAIN.
* ACCUMULATIONS…1 TO 2 INCHES OF SNOW AND SLEET AND A QUARTER INCH OR MORE OF ICE ACCUMULATION IS POSSIBLE.
* TIMING…SNOW AND SLEET ARE EXPECTED TO BEGIN SUNDAY MORNING. A CHANGEOVER TO FREEZING RAIN IS EXPECTED MIDDAY SUNDAY AND WILL CONTINUE INTO THE NIGHT BEFORE CHANGING OVER TO RAIN LATE SUNDAY NIGHT OR MONDAY MORNING.
* TEMPERATURES…AROUND 30 DEGREES.
* WINDS…LIGHT NORTHERLY WINDS.
* IMPACTS…HAZARDOUS TRAVEL CONDITIONS ARE PROBABLE DUE TO SLICK ROADS AND ICY CONDITIONS SUNDAY AND POSSIBLY INTO MONDAY. INCREASED POWER OUTAGES ARE POSSIBLE.
Police on Friday released surveillance video of the two suspects in last month’s armed home invasion in the Wildwood neighborhood.
The video was taken from an office building in the area of the robbery, Montgomery County Police said. The robbery happened at about 1:52 p.m. at a home in the 10500 block of Farnham Drive, near the Wildwood Shopping Center and Old Georgetown Road.
Police say two suspects walked up to the female homeowner before forcing her into her Farnham Drive house and putting her and her husband at gunpoint. A small child was also in the house during the incident, in which the suspects stole property. No one was hurt. After leaving the home, police say the suspects stole the victim’s gold Cadillac Escalade, which they abandoned within the hour at the intersection of Berkshire Drive and Yorkshire Terrace.
Police are now describing the suspects as a black male in his 20s, 5-foot-10 tall, weighing 200 pounds with a black ski mask and dark, baggy clothing and another black male in his 20s, 6-foot-2 tall, weighing 190 pounds with a thin build, dreadlocks, dark clothing, wool hat, blue and white scarf. Police say the taller suspect was carrying the handgun.
Anyone with information about this case or the suspects involved is asked to call the Major Crimes Division at 240-773-5070 or call Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477). Tips received through Crime Solvers may be eligible for a reward of up to $10,000.
Video and photos via Montgomery County Police
Editor’s Note: This column is sponsored by Georgetown Square Wine and Beer (10400 Old Georgetown Road).
One of craft beer’s strongest trends in the past few years has been the explosion of barrel-aged beers. Ever since Goose Island introduced its incredible Bourbon County Stout in 1992, brewers have been making more and more barrel-aged brews. These brews often take longer to produce, and it seems that brewers enjoy making them as much as beer lovers enjoy drinking them.
Using wood barrels is nothing new in the beer industry. Belgian brewers often used wood barrels to influence their sour ales. Before prohibition, breweries used wood barrels to store their beers. Post-prohibition breweries switched to stainless steel containers so nothing would influence the beer.
The craft beer revolution changed all that. Brewers now use barrel aging as a way to add extra complexity and layers of flavor to beer. All types of barrels are used — raw oak barrels, used spirit barrels and retired red wine barrels to name a few. Brewers can use any style of beer to age in wood barrels, but typically use high alcohol styles like imperial stouts, barley wine, and double IPAs.
American brewers most commonly employ used spirit barrels and bourbon barrels. As a beer ages in a barrel, it will pick up flavors from the wood, as well as notes from the spirit that the barrel previously held. The resulting flavors are of toasted oak, vanilla, and roasted chocolate and coffee.
Since these barrel-aged beers require more time and care to produce, they often have a premium price, but their popularity with brewers and drinkers continues to grow. Here a few barrel aged beers we have in stock that I recommend you try.
Allagash is a world-class brewery and the Curieux is the first barrel-aged beer the folks there brewed. Curieux is made by aging Tripel Ale in Jim Beam bourbon barrels for eight weeks. The result is a tasty beer with coconut and vanilla notes and hints of delicious Jim Beam bourbon. 11% A.B.V
My favorite spirit is rum so this brew by Heavy Seas quickly became a favorite of mine. Released as a winter seasonal, Heavy Seas brewed an Imperial Red Ale with ginger and aged the brew in Jamaican rum barrels. This beer came out absolutely delicious. With only slight hints of rum and ginger, the beer is smooth and quite drinkable for a heavy style beer. 9% A.B.V
Only 20,000 bottles of this limited edition brew were produced and I was lucky enough to get a case of it. This special beer is aged for six months in casks that formerly held Highland Park 1991 vintage single malt whisky. Using a porter as a base, this beer is dense and deep in color. It’s slightly sweet and contains delicious and smoky vanilla flavors on the palate. The whisky-infused wood is definitely highlighted in this strong brew. 10.5% A.B.V
Community discussion guidelines: Our sponsored columns are written by members of the local business community. While we encourage a robust and open discussion, we ask that all reviews of the businesses — good or bad — be directed to another venue, like Yelp. The comments section is intended for a conversation about the topic of the article.
A new townhome community and a trio of newly built homes highlight our open houses this weekend in Bethesda.
5119 Willet Bridge Road
3 BD | 2 BA, 2 half BA townhome
Preston Innerst, EYA Marketing
Open: Saturday, Dec. 7 from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
1 Wyoming Court
5 BD | 3.5 BA single family detached
Eric Peek, Peek Properties
Open: Sunday, Dec. 8 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
8022 Summer Mill Court
5 BD | 5.5 BA single family detached
Sherry Davis, Washington Fine Properties
Open: Sunday, Dec. 8 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
4316 Rosedale Avenue
6 BD | 5.5 BA single family detached
Eric Murtagh, Evers & Company Real Estate
Open: Sunday, Dec. 7 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Undergrounding power lines in the Town of Chevy Chase would likely be a very expensive process, but just how expensive is unknown until the Town, in conjunction with Pepco and other utilities, conducts detailed engineering studies.
That was the general conclusion from a group of four electric utility experts who spoke on Thursday about the prospect of undergrounding in a Town of Chevy Chase public meeting.
The idea of undergrounding the Town’s power lines has been floated as a way to avoid the downed line power outages that have hit the one-square mile area in the past. But even with a roughly $8 million budget surplus, burying lines for 10 miles of road and a little more than 1,000 single family homes seemed less and less practical as the meeting went on.
The ballpark estimate for undergrounding power lines in an area like the Town is between $1 million and $5 million per mile, energy consultant Ken Hall said. That wide-ranging estimate doesn’t include the cost of labor, which would be relatively higher in the D.C. area, or the cost to connect to each house, Hall said.
A report from Town Councilmembers Al Lang and John Bickerman estimated the cost of undergrounding power lines would range from $313,300 per mile to $2,420,000 per mile. The report also said there would be a roughly $1,500 cost per household to changing the connection for each home, though Councilmember David Lublin claimed that was based on data that is 15 years old.
Hall said the only way to know what undergrounding would cost in the Town would be for the Town to pay for an engineering study. All sorts of factors — terrain, digging techniques, whether the lines would be buried below the street or below front lawns — come into play.
What is clear is that the Town wouldn’t get help paying for the undergrounding from Pepco and Town residents would still be subject to Pepco rate increases the company claims are necessary for systemwide above-ground repairs.
Pepco public affairs manager Charles Washington said the utility proposed the idea of a test undergrounding program to the Maryland Public Services Commission in a recent rate case. But after the PSC deemed Pepco should focus on improving and maintaining its existing infrastucture, Pepco is unlikely to pitch in for any undergrounding projects.
“At this time, we are back to the idea that if a community wants to underground, that community would need to find the funds,” Washington said.
The report from Bickerman and Lang said “the unassailable conclusion is that customers with underground service will be without power for far less time and far less frequently than those with overhead service.”
The experts said that conclusion wasn’t so unassailable, backing up other studies that say underground power systems have less frequent outages, but longer durations of outages because the underground cables are harder to reach and faults are more difficult to isolate.
“It’s not the silver bullet to solve all reliability problems,” said Fred Hoover, from the state’s Maryland Energy Administration.
“Undergrounding certainly will, in those storm-type situations, improve reliability and reduce the outages,” said Pepco reliability manager Gary Keeler. “Typically, underground systems see a higher maintenance cost, access and repair times. It typically takes a bit longer. If there’s water in the manhole, you have to pump it out. If there’s a cable failure, trying to isolate where it is takes longer than finding a downed wire or a blown fuse.”
Bickerman, no stranger to verbal confrontations with his fellow councilmembers, often interrupted the panel and made it clear he believes the Town should undertake undergrounding. Lublin made it clear he wasn’t on board. Twice during the meeting, the two attempted to ask questions over each other.
On the request of the Council, Washington said Pepco will attempt to find specific data as to the number, locations and severity of downed wire-caused power outages in the Town of Chevy Chase.
Owner Alan Pohoryles said he plans to open Roof, the two-story restaurant and bar in Woodmont Triangle, on Friday, Dec. 20.
The restaurant will take up the second and rooftop floors of the recently constructed building at 7940 Norfolk Ave., a much anticipated improvement to a section of town that is undergoing a wave of change.
While the rooftop space is obviously the main draw (Pohoryles says Bethesda is the only place in the DC region without a rooftop dining and bar venue) the Tommy Joe’s owner wants some of the focus on the menu.
He brought in Jed Fox, who trained at the L’Academie de Cuisine and The Inn at Little Washington, as the restaurant’s head chef to provide a menu full of fine dining staples. There will also be a specialty cocktail list, making Roof more like across-the-street competitor Brickside (4866 Cordell Ave.) than happy hour favorite Caddies on Cordell or even Pohoryles’ existing bar and restaurant on Montgomery Lane.
Smashburger, the Denver-based fast casual burger chain, will open on the ground floor of the Roof building next Wednesday. A Dunkin’ Donuts will open next to it.
Photos via Roof
Mizeur Picks Up Police Endorsement — Heather Mizeur, the Takoma Park state delegate who’s viewed as a longshot for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, picked up the endorsement of the Montgomery County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 35. Mizeur has proposed legalizing marijuana and will be the first Maryland gubernatorial candidate in 20 years to participate in the state’s public campaign financing system, effectively limiting her campaign dollars. Attorney General Doug Gansler, one of Mizeur’s opponents, was previously the State’s Attorney for Montgomery County. [Washington Post]
Leggett Signs Minimum Wage Law — In a press conference on Thursday in Rockville, County Executive Isiah Leggett made the recently passed minimum wage law official. The D.C. Council is expected to unanimously pass a similar minimum wage bill on Dec. 17. [The Gazette]
Literary Festival Essay and Short Story Contest — For the 15th annual Bethesda Literary Festival, set for April 11-13, the Bethesda Urban Partnership and Bethesda Magazine are looking for entries into the essay and short story contest. The winners in each category will receive $500 and get published in the magazine. The deadline for entries is Friday, Jan. 24. [Bethesda Literary Festival]
State Candidates To Talk Purple Line, Transit — More from the gubernatorial campaign: Lt. Gov. Anthony brown, Mizeur and Del. Jolene Ivey (Gansler’s running mate) will speak about the Purple Line and other transportation issues at a Purple Line Now forum on Tuesday, Dec. 10 from 6:45 p.m. to 8 p.m. The forum will be held at the Montgomery College Performing Arts Center (7995 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring). Tickets are free, but required. [Purple Line Now]
According to the most recent Bethesda area crime summary, someone broke into a Wisconsin Avenue cheesesteak joint and there was another burglary at a local pharmacy:
A commercial burglary occurred at Philadelphia Mikes, 7732 Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda sometime between 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, 11/23 and 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, 11/24. Forced entry; property taken.
A commercial burglary occurred at White Flint Pharmacy, 11125 Rockville Pike in North Bethesda on Monday, 11/11 between midnight and 6:40 a.m. Forced entry; property taken.
That’s the fifth commercial burglary of an area pharmacy since Nov. 6.
The rest of the 2nd District crime summary is after the jump.
The Planning Board on Thursday agreed to a Bethesda Purple Line Station Plan it feels uses all of the tools at its disposal to convince the owners of the Apex…
Montgomery County Police on Thursday released the above video of a Wednesday bank robbery at the PNC Bank in Wildwood Shopping Center. Police also released video (shown below) of the…
Make sure the right medicine gets to the right patient at the right time. That’s the job of the folks in Suburban Hospital’s Pharmacy Department, and it’s a job Bethesda-Chevy…
December will bring a diverse group of events to the area, a few we’ve featured here. If you’d like to see your event featured, fill out our event submission form. Also,…
Pepco says a requested $43 million rate increase, its third rate hike request in two years, is necessary to pay for infrastructure improvements that have led to fewer power outages and…
Interim Montgomery County Fire Chief Steve Lohr will get the nod as the county’s new permanent fire chief. County Executive Isiah Leggett announced the selection on Wednesday, more than seven…