by Aaron Kraut — October 31, 2014 at 3:15 pm 4 Comments

The Potomac Crest neighborhood, via Google Maps

A county councilmember and state senator are taking up the cause of some Potomac residents who say Pepco has gone too far with a tree-cutting program in their neighborhood.

Councilmember Roger Berlinger and District 15 State Sen. Brian Feldman asked the state’s Public Service Commission to stop Pepco’s tree-cutting operations for two weeks in the Potomac Crest development.

Residents in the neighborhood, just off Tuckerman Lane and Seven Locks Road, have been fighting with Pepco for months after the power company first attempted to cut down trees on their properties.

Earlier this month, a Montgomery County Circuit Court judge denied a request from the residents to stop Pepco from cutting down the trees. Pepco has an easement on the land dating back to the 1950′s that allows it to cut down trees even on private property if it’s necessary to ensure electric service reliability.

“No one has fought harder for greater reliability in our community, and we fully accept that trees and power lines do not mix. Appropriate vegetation management is necessary to deliver power safely and reliably,” wrote Berliner and Feldman in a letter to PSC Chairman Kevin Hughes. “However, there are reasonable actions that can be taken, and then there are unreasonable, destructive approaches.”


by Aaron Kraut — October 31, 2014 at 2:15 pm 552 4 Comments

A bicyclist was struck along Old Georgetown Road and crashed into the rear windshield of the white car in this photo Police said the driver who hit the bicyclist fled the scene

An apparent hit and run along Old Georgetown Road sent a bicyclist into a rear windshield and then to the hospital.

MCFRS and police responded to the report of a cyclist struck on northbound Old Georgetown Road near Lucas Lane at about 1:30 p.m. on Friday.

Officers on the scene said a brown vehicle hit a bicyclist in the right lane, sending the man into the back windshield of the vehicle in front of him. The driver of the vehicle that hit the bicyclist fled the scene, police said.

The man was transported to a local hospital to be evaluated for a head injury, according to scanner traffic.

by Aaron Kraut — October 31, 2014 at 2:00 pm 412 0

Collision at Rockville Pike and Grosvenor Lane, Photo via @lisaluckysevens


Updated at 3:15 p.m. All lanes of Rockville Pike at Grosvenor Lane have been reopened after a car overturned in a Friday afternoon collision.

MCFRS spokesperson Pete Piringer said first responders extricated two victims trapped in the overturned vehicle. The accident happened around 1:45 p.m.

According to a witness, the accident happened when a truck ran a red light and hit a work van that had a piece of glass attached to it.

Photo via @lisaluckysevens

by Aaron Kraut — October 31, 2014 at 1:40 pm 515 6 Comments

Freddy's Lobsters & Clams, closed on Cordell Avenue

(Updated at 2:30 p.m.) Freddy’s Lobster & Clams has closed, at least temporarily.

A sign posted on the door Friday claims the Bethesda restaurant will reopen under new management. The seafood eatery and bar (4869 Cordell Ave.) was a favorite for many in Woodmont Triangle.

Bethesda Magazine reported Friday afternoon that Patrick Forest and Laura Houlihan, two veterans of the next-door Grapeseed restaurant, have bought the restaurant and plan to reopen it as a new concept after a renovation.

A tipster said the restaurant was closed with no notice to staff or management.

Jeff Heinenman, chef and owner of Grapeseed next door, said he sold his interest in Freddy’s some time ago. Heinenman opened Freddy’s in 2011.

It quickly etched out a solid reputation, especially for its lobster roll.

According to Bethesda Magazine, Forest and Houlihan are planning a new restaurant focused on “refined regional comfort food.”

by Aaron Kraut — October 31, 2014 at 1:10 pm 0

Phillip Gottwals, co-founder of Friends & FarmsA Columbia-based company that arranges and distributes food deliveries made up of locally-sourced goods has set up a new Bethesda pick-up location.

Friends & Farms, which has mostly concentrated its food basket delivery service in the Baltimore area, will now start hosting weekly pick-ups on Wednesdays at the Pauline Betz Addie Tennis Center (7801 Democracy Blvd.)

The company is pitching the service as a way to keep getting farm-fresh produce, meats and dairy products after area farmer’s markets shut down for the winter. (Bethesda Central Farm Market starts its winter season on Jan. 4 at Bethesda Elementary School.)

“We know that people return to the supermarket when the farmer’s market close down. It doesn’t have to be that way,” Friends & Farms co-founder Phillip Gottwals said. “With the expansion, residents of Montgomery County can avoid returning to the grocery store and continue to shop locally throughout the winter. This, combined with our ability to deliver at a value pricing level, sets us apart from all others in the business.”

Like other similar services, the company purchases and organizes grocery baskets made up of quick-frozen vegetables, shelf-stable items like pickles, jams and broths and the occasional fermented item, such as sauerkraut or kim chi.

The baskets are also made up of a rotation of cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes and peppers, plus a number of meat and seafood options that remain largely the same throughout the year.

Customers can pick and choose items in their basket individually, or subscribe to packages ranging from $41 to $104 per week.

The Bethesda pick-up location will be open from 11 a.m.-1:00 p.m. on Wednesdays.

Photo via Friends & Farms

by Aaron Kraut — October 31, 2014 at 11:25 am 210 1 Comment

Pike & Rose map, via Pike & Rose

New restaurants, retail and a movie theater are just the start of Federal Realty’s massive redevelopment project at the former Mid-Pike Plaza Shopping Center in North Bethesda/White Flint.

The Rockville-based developer known locally for Bethesda Row and Rockville Town Square will announce in an investor call on Friday that it’s fully funded and ready to launch the second phase of Pike & Rose construction.

Construction staging on Phase II of Federal Realty's Pike & Rose project“Phase II” will extend Grand Park Avenue — the new street connecting to Old Georgetown Road — to the northern boundary of the property. It will also include 185,000 additional square feet of ground floor retail divided by 30 stores, another 264 apartment units and 104 luxury condos on top of a 177-room Hilton hotel announced earlier this month.

The announcement comes as Del Frisco’s Grille — the first restaurant to open in Phase I of Pike & Rose — and iPic Theaters embark on their “opening season.” A long list of other restaurants and retailers are scheduled to open over the next few months and into next spring, when Strathmore’s AMP concert venue is expected to open.

Federal Realty says more than 75 percent of the units in its 174-unit PerSei apartment building have been leased following a summer opening. Pallas, a 319-unit luxury high-rise part of Phase I, will open mid-year 2015.

Mid-Pike Plaza, now cleared out to make room for Pike & RoseFederal Realty landed Bank of America Merrill Lynch to lease 40,000 square feet of its 80,000-square-foot Class A office building part of Phase I.

Phase II construction, approved last year by the Planning Board, will start in 2015 and is expected to be complete in 2017.

In total, construction of the 1.5 million square feet of commercial space, 1,605 residential units and network of plaza parks and new streets over the 24 acres that used to be Mid-Pike Plaza will cost an estimated $500 million.

It’s the first major project to come as a result of new land use guidelines prescribed by the 2010 White Flint Sector Plan, meant to create widespread redevelopment of Rockville Pike’s strip shopping centers and surface parking lots into mixed-use, transit-oriented communities.

Map via Pike & Rose

by Aaron Kraut — October 31, 2014 at 10:10 am 0

Check out our picks for open houses this weekend around Bethesda.

See our Real Estate section for a full listing of open houses and houses for sale:

5810 Madaket Road5810 Madaket Road
4 BD | 3.5 BA townhouse
Joseph Zorc, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Listed: $989,000
Open: Sunday, Nov. 2 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

8106 Merrick Road8106 Merrick Road
5 BD | 4.5 BA single family detached
Susan Maguire, Washington Fine Properties
Listed: $2,695,000
Open: Sunday, Nov. 2 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

6605 Radnor Road6605 Radnor Road
7 BD | 5 BA single family detached
Charles Beverly, Evers & Company Real Estate
Listed: $1,795,000
Open: Sunday, Nov. 2 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

11750 Old Georgetown Road11750 Old Georgetown Road
3 BD | 2 BA condominium
Philip Piantone, Long & Foster Real Estate
Listed: $575,000
Open: Sunday, Nov. 2 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

by Aaron Kraut — October 31, 2014 at 9:10 am 538 0

Add power recliners and an in-movie iPad food ordering system to the list of local movie theater amenities.

iPic, the Boca Raton-based movie theater chain, will open its eight-screen Pike & Rose location on Friday.

The recliners and in-movie food and drink service are the latest perks from a new batch of local theaters seeking to brand themselves as the standard in luxury moviegoing.

Just two weeks ago, Los Angeles-based ArcLight Cinemas opened its 16-screen theater at Westfield Montgomery mall, complete with widescreens and the latest in surround sound technology.

Perhaps sensing the coming competition, Landmark Theatres closed its Bethesda Row Cinema for a month last year for a complete overhaul of the facility’s interior, setting up cozier seating, a new gourmet food and cocktail menu and a reserved seating system in the process.

Reserved seating is also a staple of iPic’s brand. The Pike & Rose location (11580 Old Georgetown Rd.) is the company’s eleventh and its biggest.

It’s located at what’s now the end of Grand Park Avenue in the middle of Federal Realty’s redevelopment of the former Mid-Pike Plaza shopping center. A staircase and escalator takes customers up to the lobby, where there is also an entrance to City Perch, the full-service restaurant with a separate kitchen.

The eight auditoriums range from 84 to 104 seats and each is divided into premium seats up front and multiple tiers of premium plus seats — the orange recliners that move with the push of a button.

Each of the premium plus seats (they cost $22 each on the weekend and $17 during the week with a free membership) includes a small pillow and blanket a la first class seating on an airplane. The seats are positioned in groups of two and angled so iPic’s “ninja servers” won’t block the screen while delivering food and drink orders during a movie.

The popcorn comes free, at least in the premium plus seats. Those who buy the premium seats (which range from $11 to $13 a ticket) can bring food and drinks into the theater.


by Aaron Kraut — October 31, 2014 at 8:05 am 0

The former Mid-Pike Plaza, now under development as part of the second phase of the Pike & Rose project

Tips For A Safe Halloween – The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service has a long list of safety tips for Halloween trick-or-treating. [MCFRS]

Goldsboro Townhouse Project Presentation – The people behind a proposal for 19 townhouses on Goldsboro Road’s “Happy Valley” property will present on Monday at 7 p.m. at a meeting of the Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board’s land use and transportation committees. The meeting will take place at the Town of Glen Echo town hall (6106 Harvard Ave.). The meeting is open to the public. [Regional Services Center]

B-CC Field Hockey Wins Region Title – The Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School field hockey team beat Wootton, 3-2, on Wednesday in overtime to win the Class 4A South Region title. The Barons will move on to play Quince Orchard on Nov. 5 in the state semifinals in Burtonsville. [The Gazette]

Boloco Gets Into The Halloween Spirit – Boloco, the burrito chain at 4930 Elm St., is offering its Pumpkin Shake for $1, $2 or $3 all day on Friday. Customers who wear a costume into the store will get a small Pumpkin Shake for free.

Go Green, Get Your Name On The Side Of A Bus – Montgomery County is celebrating five years of its Green Business Certification Program by placing ads on the side of its Ride On buses featuring each of the almost 60 businesses that have taken part. Each company in the program will be individually promoted on the side of a bus for at least three months. Almost all of the public service announcements will be visible over the month of November. [Montgomery County]


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