by BethesdaNow.com — December 17, 2012 at 3:20 pm 2,690 1 Comment

Developer Federal Realty last week showed off new renderings of the second phase of its massive Pike & Rose mixed-use development project in White Flint.

The company submitted its revised site plan to the Montgomery County Planning Department for 1.5 million square feet of retail, residential, office and hotel space on Mid-Pike Plaza between Rockville Pike and Montrose Parkway. Phase 1 of the project, 950,000 square feet of mixed-use retail that includes a luxury iPic movie theater, broke ground last summer along Old Georgetown Road and is expected to be completed in the summer or fall of 2014.

At a community meeting last week, neighbors seemed enthusiastic about the plans, one of the major projects brought on by the 2010 White Flint Master Plan.

Phase 1 also includes an 18-story, 300-unit apartment building. Phase 2a and 2b will fill in the northern half of the Mid-Pike Plaza.

Federal Realty hopes to have the Phase 2 plans before the Planning Board for a public hearing in winter or spring of next year and wants to start construction in winter or spring of 2014. Delivery of Phase 2a is slated for 2016. The completion of Phase 2b is to be determined.

Images via Federal Realty


by BethesdaNow.com — December 17, 2012 at 2:35 pm 2,085 1 Comment

Martin Hage’s barbecue has developed a strong enough following among his family and friends that he and partner Susan Lennon think it can translate to a restaurant of their own.

Smoke BBQ (4858 Cordell Ave.) has been in the works all year and is still at least a few weeks away from opening, but Lennon says the pair thinks it is a natural fit for Cordell Avenue.

“Bethesda is booming with all the growth and development and there’s really no barbecue around here,” Lennon said. “[Hage] got used to making food for a lot of people at one time and we stort of started talking about a restaurant. We saw it as a great opportunity.”

Lennon, who worked in the restaurant industry in Baltimore, will be the eatery’s general manager. Hage grew up and lives in Bethesda. He’ll bring his slow-smoked ribs, pulled pork and pulled beef that Lennon said earned him “a sort of religious following,” at Super Bowl parties and holidays to the restaurant.

Smoke BBQ will also offer homemade fruit pies, brownies, cheesecakes and other deserts.

“That’s a really important aspect of it, trying to maintain that tradition,” Lennon said.

Lennon described Hage’s cooking as a fusion of of barbecue styles. He’ll offer a traditional BBQ sauce, vinegar sauces and a hot BBQ sauce.

When finished, it will be a rare barbecue-focused spot in Bethesda. The O’Brien’s Pit Barbecue stand (8804 Old Georgetown Rd.) near Suburban Hospital and bigger restaurants such as Hard Times (4920 Del Ray Ave.) have also become barbecue favorites.

by BethesdaNow.com — December 17, 2012 at 12:30 pm 564 0

Montgomery County Police on Monday ramped up their presence at county elementary schools, though they emphasized no threats had been made to schools in the county.

The department said its presence at the schools (officers were detailed to schools for students’ arrival this morning and will be again for dismissal this afternoon) was primarily to “provide a presence and reassurance to the community,” according to a press release.

On Friday, gunman Adam Lanza killed 20 first-graders and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

School staff at Wood Acres Elementary School (5800 Cromwell Dr.) this morning reported a “suspicious message” left on the school’s answering machine. The officer on detail at the school responded.

Police say they will discuss plans for the rest of the week with Montgomery County Public Schools officials.

Photo via MCPS

by BethesdaNow.com — December 17, 2012 at 11:45 am 567 0

As 2012 winds down, we here at BethesdaNow.com want to share some of the stories you might have missed.

Whether you’re new to the site or have been following since we launched in August, don’t hesitate to tell us what you think can be improved, what you like or anything else on your mind about the communities of Bethesda, Chevy Chase and North Bethesda.

In 2013, we will bring you more of the news that affects where you live, work, shop, dine and spend your time. Thank you for your support so far.

And as a reminder, please sign up for our daily afternoon email (sign-up is under the advertisements on the right side of the page), follow us on Twitter, Like us on Facebook and email desk@bethesdanow.com with any suggestions or news tips.

Now, some select stories from the year that was:

In August, a longtime restaurant owner forced out of his space on Norfolk Avenue by redevelopment talked about the challenges facing what was once thought to be Bethesda’s industry of choice.

As the economy improves and a new wave of intensive development hits Bethesda and North Bethesda, the ways in which businesses, government and established residents dealt with changes ahead was a constant topic. The school system must grapple with rising enrollment numbers. The county must find ways to ensure the proper balance of new residents, transportation infrastructure, parks and civic space. Developers and residents who have had rocky relationships in the past must find ways to work together.

In some cases, not everybody is going to agree. In November, a tiff over a guest house between neighbors in Battery Park led to a new law from the County Council. Upon hearing the county’s plans for expanding the popular Capital Bikeshare program into Bethesda next year, some residents expressed concern over biker safety and whether cyclists could co-exist on crowded downtown streets.

Some beloved businesses left town, while others survived scares and fresh ones with new ideas popped up. A wealth of restaurant options proved just how fierce the competition in Bethesda can be.

Despite the area’s affluence, homelessness, and how to fix it, remained a significant issue. The September death of a Bethesda woman who left behind three dead dogs and another that had to be euthanized raised serious questions about her participation in hobby breeding. County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) talked about the traffic issues on the minds of many and challenges that await.

There was the weird (a bachelor party kidnapping prank that turned out to be too real) and the celebratory (the 10th anniversary of one of Bethesda’s favorite hangout spots). Then, there was the king of celebrations, who lives and works right here in Bethesda.

There was a lot to talk about just in the last four months of the year, and we look forward to bringing you all to come in 2013.

by BethesdaNow.com — December 17, 2012 at 10:00 am 903 0

A pedestrian and car collision that closed Wisconsin Avenue for a few minutes on Sunday night was not serious and the pedestrian involved is expected to recover, according to Montgomery County Police.

Police spokeswoman Angela Cruz said the incident occurred around 6:15 p.m. on Sunday at the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and Woodmont Avenue.

The pedestrian was transported to a local hospital but police did not send out traffic crew units, meaning it does not appear the accident was serious.

County officials say pedestrian collisions are more common this time of year because of the shorter days and dark conditions that accompany morning and afternoon rush hours.

This morning, County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) is celebrating the five-year anniversary of his Pedestrian Safety Initiative, which the county claims has led to a decrease in pedestrian collisions and fatalities.

by BethesdaNow.com — December 17, 2012 at 9:10 am 535 0

O’Malley Could Have Active 2013 — After seeing three major bills he backed approved by referendum in last month’s election, Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) could use that political capital to try for a state gas tax increase. Montgomery County officials last week went to Annapolis to plead for a gas tax hike to help fund the Purple Line. [The Gazette]

Wisconsin Avenue Steakhouse Closes? — Divino, the Argentine steakhouse that opened at 7345 Wisconsin Ave. 10 years ago, appears to be closed. The owner of a restaurant next door saw a dishwasher removed. [Bethesda Magazine]

Metro Escalator, Elevator Fixers Trained At Special Lab — Training to repair the oft-broken escalators at the Bethesda Metro station and yet-to-be reopened elevator happens at the group’s special lab. [Washington Post]

Flickr photo by crthomas888


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