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Turntable Looking Toward Mid-May Opening

by Aaron Kraut | April 17, 2014 at 1:55 pm | 113 views | 1 Comment

Turntable, under construction on Cordell Avenue (file photo)Korean chicken restaurant Turntable is hoping to open in Woodmont Triangle by May 20, according to owner Sung Kim.

The restaurant on Thursday got its Montgomery County alcohol license. Kim told the county’s Board of License Commissioners the restaurant will serve beer, wine and cocktails both inside the restaurant, at an indoor bar and on a front patio space.

The restaurant is taking the former space (4862 Cordell Ave.) of the flagship California Tortilla location, which moved across the street in 2012.

Turntable’s menu and style will be similar to the Turntable location in Manhattan’s Koreatown, just without the beer tower. The restaurant will offer pitchers of beer and close at midnight, seven days a week.

Kim said he’s in the process of finishing hiring and the build-out of the restaurant.

Court Records: BlackFinn Owes $129,000 In Rent

by Aaron Kraut | April 16, 2014 at 1:45 pm | 485 views | No Comments

Shuttered BlackFinn American Saloon in Bethesda

The shuttered BlackFinn American Saloon owes nearly $130,000 in rent, according to a lawsuit filed last week by the restaurant’s landlord.

White Flint Express LLC, a holding company part of property owner Greenhill Capital, filed suit against BlackFinn last Friday in Montgomery County Circuit Court.

The landlord alleges that BlackFinn owes $129,492.01 in rent through April.

The popular bar and restaurant on a prominent corner of Woodmont Triangle did not open for business on Tuesday, April 1. The next day, it announced through its website that it was permanently closed.

Multiple attempts to reach Paul Derrico, one of the restaurant owners listed in a similar lawsuit over late rent in 2012, have been unsuccessful. Derrico opened the restaurant at 4901 Fairmont Ave. in 2007.

The restaurant remains locked down, with signs advising locksmiths not to attempt change the locks without permission from Greenhill Capital.

Budget, Stone Ridge Improvements On The Agenda For Next Week

by Aaron Kraut | April 16, 2014 at 12:45 pm | 88 views | No Comments

Suburban Hospital expansion rendering, via Suburban HospitalA pair of citizen committees will discuss budget priorities, new projects at the Stone Ridge School and maybe even the latest on Suburban Hospital’s modernization project.

On Monday, April 21, the Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board will meet at 7 p.m. and hear from Councilmember Roger Berliner (D-Bethesda-Chevy Chase) on prominent issues in front of the Council and the FY 15 operating budget.

On Tuesday, April 22, the Walter Reed BRAC Integration Committee will meet to get updates on local intersection improvement projects, and a presentation from the Stone Ridge School about construction on a new athletic field.

Also tentatively scheduled is an update on Suburban Hospital’s “2020 Campus Enhancement Plan.” The hospital plans a 235,000-square-foot addition that will mean some consolidation and a new four-story building, plus a 1,125-space garage that will require the abandonment of Lincoln Street.

Both meetings will start at 7 p.m. at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center (4805 Edgemoor Lane).

Photo via Suburban Hospital

Bethesda’s Building Boom, A Year Later

by Aaron Kraut | April 16, 2014 at 11:30 am | 791 views | 1 Comment

Last year around this time, we took a look at the many construction projects going on around downtown Bethesda.

A year later, a few of those projects are done or near completion. Some have made significant progress, but still have a ways to go. Others broke ground and still more are scheduled to start.

Here’s a quick reference guide of some of the major construction projects in Bethesda, as of April 2014.

The Gallery of Bethesda, Rugby Avenue

Gallery of Bethesda construction in March 2013 July 2013, construction of The Gallery Bethesda apartments in Woodmont Triangle The completed Gallery of Bethesda in early 2014

The first of two buildings in Donohoe’s Gallery of Bethesda project was completed earlier this year. The 17-story, 235-unit apartment bills itself as the tallest building in Bethesda and has begun move-ins. A 16-story, 221-unit companion building is planned for next door, though ground hasn’t been broken on that project.

Bainbridge Bethesda, Fairmont and St Elmo Avenues

March 2013 construction at the Bainbridge Bethesda project, a 17-story apartment in Woodmont Triangle Bainbridge Bethesda April 2014 April 2014 Bainbridge Bethesda

This 17-story, 200-unit apartment building isn’t completely finished. Demolition of older buildings and excavation work began in August 2011, but controversy soon followed.

The building is expect to be completed later this year, possibly this summer.

Lot 31, Bethesda and Woodmont Avenues

 April 2014 Lot 31 construction

This multi-faceted project meant closing Woodmont Avenue south of Bethesda Avenue in September 2012. When the underground garage — a 940-space facility to be operated by Montgomery County — is done, the road will reopen. That’s expected later this year.

On top of that will go a 64-unit luxury condominium building (The Darcy) and a 186-unit apartment building (The Flats) from developer StonebridgeCarras.

The developer has begun announcing some of its main ground-floor tenants, a group to be led by a new Silver Diner restaurant concept and upscale seafood outfit PassionFish.

8300 Wisconsin Avenue

October 2012, 8300 Wisconsin Ave August 2013, 8300 Wisconsin Avenue, via StonebridgeCarras December 2013 at 8300 Wisconsin Avenue, via StonebridgeCarras

The future home of a Harris Teeter grocery store and 360 residential units started excavation last year. Projected completion is spring or summer of 2015.

4500 East-West Highway 

The first new office building built in downtown Bethesda in more than a decade is expected to finish up later in 2014.

7001 Arlington Road

March 2013 at the 7100 Arlington Road project April 2014 at the 7100 Arlington Road project April 2014 at the 7100 Arlington Road project

This five-story, 145-unit apartment building on the former site of the U.S. Post Office on Arlington Road backs up to the Capital Crescent Trail. That will surely be a draw for residents.

The post office building was demolished in March 2013.

April construction at the 7770 Norfolk Avenue project7770 Norfolk Avenue

Across Fairmont Avenue from Bainbridge Bethesda is developer JBG’s 17-story, 250-unit apartment building, formerly known as 4900 Fairmont. JBG broke ground in October 2013.

4825 Montgomery Lane

The five-floor, four-unit building between Arlington Road and Woodmont Avenue is on the site of a former single family home and will soon have company.

The Lauren, 4901 Hampden Lane

That company will come in the form of The Lauren, an ultra-luxury condo building slated for just around the corner from Montgomery Lane. The developer there got demolition approval in February.

Proposed sculpture at Element 28, at Commerce Lane and Old Georgetown RoadElement 28, Old Georgetown Road and Commerce Lane

The 15-story, 120-unit apartment from developer Kettler will go on the existing site of the United Bank near the Bethesda Metro station. The bank moved to another building on Wisconsin Avenue and the demolition permit for that building has been issued.

Woodmont View, Battery Lane and Woodmont Triangle

Developer Duball will break ground on its nine-story, 46-unit luxury condo project at the corner of Battery Lane and Woodmont Triangle later this year. It could be interesting. The building will have just 60 feet of frontage on Battery Lane and must be sandwiched between Woodmont Avenue and an existing mid-rise apartment building.

Completion is slated for 2016.

7100 Wisconsin

Rendering for 7100 Wisconsin Ave., via Montgomery County Planning Department Eastham's Servicenter (file photo)

The longtime site of the gas station that housed Eastham’s Auto Servicenter will soon be home to a 120-foot-tall, 139-unit apartment building from Washington Property Company.

Eastham’s will complete its move-out this month, which means groundbreaking at the site won’t be too far behind.

Coworking Space Coming To Bethesda’s Former Air Rights Building

by Aaron Kraut | April 16, 2014 at 10:15 am | 248 views | No Comments

Via UberOffices

A nearly 20,000-square-foot coworking space with more than 50 offices for local startups is coming to the newly minted Bethesda Crossing building on Wisconsin Avenue.

UberOffices, the coworking office company with facilities in Tysons, Arlington and Dupont Circle will officially open up shop at 7315 Wisconsin Ave. on May 19.

Founder and CEO Raymond Rahbar said he expects many of the companies will come from the life sciences, biotechnology and technology sectors.

Bethesda Crossing, 7315 Wisconsin Ave.“That will be a little different than Tysons and Arlington,” Rahbar said. “We think this is a great market for us. Right now, all the media spotlight is on D.C. for good reason, but Arlington, Bethesda and Tysons are still great market and filled with great companies.”

UberOffices opened its Dupont Circle office share in March. Rahbar said the Bethesda space will build on the experience the company had building out that property.

The first 20 companies that sign up will get the rest of 2014 half-off. Coworking spaces allow startups to have an office without the cost of going it alone. There are traditionally offices that will fit one or two people, starting at rents of $1,000 a month.

The space also offers a common kitchen area and a number of conference rooms, plus single desks that can be rented out for around $300 a month.

MRP Realty, which bought the Air Rights building last year and gave it the Bethesda Crossing moniker, is putting the building through a $30 million renovation project.

UberOffices will have a launch party for the Bethesda location in late May.

Photo via UberOffices

And The Golden Shovel Goes To…

by Aaron Kraut | April 15, 2014 at 12:30 pm | 99 views | No Comments

Snow shoveling on Woodmont Avenue in January There was no shortage of snow in our area this winter. Judging by the long list of Golden Shovel award winners, there was no shortage of people willing to help neighbors shovel out of that snow either.

Next week, Councilmember Nancy Floreen will again present the Sidewalks Are Safe For Everyone/Golden Shovel award to a bunch of county residents who helped with shoveling and neighborhood safety during snow events.

Floreen, who started the awards program in 2003, will issue 82 Golden Shovel awards to 111 individuals, many in Bethesda and Chevy Chase.

The awards are back for the first time since 2010. But this time, Floreen decided to award all nominees because of the “seemingly never-ending” snow storms.

“Our seniors, school children, people with disabilities and those who walk to work or use mass transit depend on snow-free sidewalks. This goes beyond convenience — it is a matter of public safety,” Floreen said. “To duly recognize these unsung heroes for all the gratitude people expressed, I decided I have to honor everyone who was nominated. They all deserve a Golden Shovel.”

Included is Bethesda resident Fadjil Asikin who “almost single-handedly cleared the busy sidewalks near his house that connect his neighborhood with the Grosvenor Metro and Wildwood Shopping Center.”

There’s Lise and Bill Bernhard who helped a neighbor by clearing snow off steps and cars. The Capizzi family in Chevy Chase (Joe, Anna, Sophia and Peter) joined others to shovel sidewalks on a pedestrian-heavy stretch of Wisconsin Avenue. So did the Hinkley family and Melanie Folstad, also of Chevy Chase.

Bethesda’s Richard Hoye got nominations from several neighbors impressed by his personal plowing of sidewalks along Old Georgetown Road.

New Bethesda residents Mylene and Eric Jouane made friends in their neighborhood quickly by checking in on elderly neighbors and shoveling their sidewalks and paths.

Ben LeBlanc, a 13-year-old in Bethesda, shoveled his neighbor’s walkway and cleared her car of snow. Chevy Chase resident Rick McUmber took the shoveling of the Wisconsin Avenue sidewalk between Hunt Avenue and Bradley Boulevard into his own hands by being the first one out during storms.

Nearby in Chevy Chase, Sue Ousterhout and her daughter Gina Balodemas took on the sidewalk along Bradley Boulevard. Bethesda’s Joseph Porcelli created a website — snowcrew.org — to match up volunteers to residents who are unable to shovel.

Sara Robinson brought out her snow blower in Bethesda to clear the driveway of her medically vulnerable neighbor. Pete Salinger shoveled snow on his neighborhood’s sidewalks.

Floreen will present the awards during the Council’s regular session on Tuesday, April 22, starting at 9 a.m. in Rockville.

Cabin John Bridge To Close For 2 Days Of Repairs

by Aaron Kraut | April 14, 2014 at 12:45 pm | 135 views | No Comments

Cabin John Bridge, via Wikimedia Commons photo via Moreau1

MacArthur Boulevard on the one-lane Cabin John Bridge will be closed for much of the day on Saturday, April 26 and Sunday, April 27 as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers replaces iron fencing damaged by vehicles.

Tom Jacobus, who manages the Washington Aqueduct for the Corps of Engineers, said the bridge is inspected each year and maintenance is done on the drains and conduits that bring water down from Great Falls.

This time, inspectors noticed several sections of wrought iron fencing on the eastern side of the bridge that was damaged, apparently after vehicles rammed into the fence over the winter.

Crews will close the bridge between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. on April 26 and again from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 27 to put in new sections of fence, Jacobus said. He said the work may be finished in time to open the bridge in the afternoon on April 27.

Wikimedia Commons photo via Moreau1

Montgomery County Needs Bethesda Election Judges

by Aaron Kraut | April 11, 2014 at 2:30 pm | 99 views | No Comments

Voters wait to vote at Bethesda Library (file photo)The Montgomery County Board of Elections is in need of election judges in Bethesda, Chevy Chase, North Bethesda, Potomac and Cabin John.

The Board put out another call for election judges on Friday, specifically pointing to election districts 6, 7 and 10 as areas of need — especially when it comes to registered Republicans or those unaffiliated with a political party.

The county Board of Elections supplies some money to election judges who volunteer to man the polls for the June 24 primary and primary early voting.

All election judges must be registered voters, can’t be a candidate or connected to a campaign and must take an online quiz and required training course.

For more information or to inquire about becoming an election judge, visit the Board of Elections website.

Demolition Begins On Future Hub Of County Government In White Flint

by Aaron Kraut | April 11, 2014 at 10:10 am | 451 views | No Comments

Demolition began Thursday on the future site of Fire Station #23, a police substation and offices for a future White Flint Urban Partnership

For now, Maple Avenue is a dead end road home to a row of auto repair shops.

Over the next decade, it will become the Montgomery County government’s hub in White Flint, meant to serve a rapidly redeveloping area.

On Thursday, crews began demolishing buildings on Maple Avenue at the site of what is to become a new, five-bay fire station with a police substation and offices for a yet-to-be developed Urban Partnership.

This summer, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation is expected to start a project that will connect Maple Avenue to Chapman Avenue, providing another north-south connector from Randolph Road to Old Georgetown Road. Maple Avenue will take on the Chapman Avenue name.

The roughly $28 million Fire Station #23 project is set for construction in fiscal years 2018-2020, according to the recommended capital budget for the next six years.

&pizza Nearing Downtown Opening?

by Aaron Kraut | April 11, 2014 at 9:10 am | 409 views | 1 Comment

&pizza, coming soon to Old Georgetown Road&pizza, the D.C.-based fast casual pizza concept, has been mum about when it plans to open at 7614 Old Georgetown Rd.

Based on the progress of the build-out, it seems the restaurant is getting close.

On Thursday, crews lifted a sign onto the storefront, the former space of a dry cleaner. The store is next to the popular Chipotle location near the Bethesda Metro station.

The pizzas are long rectangles instead of circles and the menu lets customers build their own with a choice of doughs, sauces, cheeses and meats. There are also suggested pizzas, salads and desserts, including a nutella pizza covered with pecans, strawberries and other items for $5.91.

The chain started with locations on H Street and U Street. Judging by its marketing material, it hopes to bring that vibe to new locations in Bethesda and Germantown.

The website features a photo of “Josh,” with a skateboard in hand as he jumps onto the historic Cider Barrel in Germantown. The Bethesda photo is of “Margot,” as she walks along the Capital Crescent Trail.

Honest Tea To Reward Recyclers With Goods For Empty Bottles

by Aaron Kraut | April 10, 2014 at 2:25 pm | 406 views | No Comments

Look for one of these giant recycling bins Friday at the Westbard Giant, via Honest Tea

Bethesda-based Honest Tea will be at the Giant Food store in Westbard on Friday to exchange free gifts for your empty recyclable containers.

As part of its Great Recycle Tour, the company will set up a 12-foot-tall blue recycling bin Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 5400 Westbard Ave. Depending on how many empty glass, plastic or aluminum bottles you exchange, Honest Tea will award items such as iPad minis, Go Pro cameras, signed sports memorabilia, bikes, skateboards and reusable bags.

An iPad Mini will require 600 bottles contributed to the big blue recycling bin. One bottle will get you a CD, bracelet, stickers or a button. Two bottles will get you a snack, “Plant a Tree,” or bottle of Honest Tea. Recycle 20 bottles, and you’ll get a t-shirt.

The company launched the event in April 2012 in Times Square, part of its effort to boost recycling rates. Honest Tea says that since the launch, The Great Recycle Tour has visited 13 states and recycled more than 170,000 empty beverage containers.

The tour will come to the Giant location near Bethesda Row (7142 Arlington Rd.) next week, on Friday, April 18.

What exactly will recycled bottles get you?:

iPad Min i= 600 bottles redeemed
Go Pro Camera = 500 bottles redeemed
Goal Zero Solar Cell Phone Recharging Kit = 450 bottles redeemed
Redskins, Nationals, Ravens & Orioles Signed Items = 400 bottles redeemed
Sole Bike = 325 bottles redeemed
Skate Board = 250 bottles redeemed
Patagonia Backpack = 150 bottles redeemed
$25 Gift Card = 50 bottles redeemed
Recycooler = 45 bottles redeemed
T-Shirt = 20 bottles redeemed
TerraCycle Items = 10 bottles redeemed
Reusable Bags or Sunglasses = 5 bottles redeemed
Home Planter/Bird Feeder = 4 bottles redeemed
Puravida Bracelet or Honest Kids Lip Balm = 3 bottles redeemed
Plant a Tree, Snacks, or Bottle of Honest Tea = 2 bottles redeemed
Family Friendly CD, or Honest Tea bracelet, stickers or button = 1 bottle redeemed

Photo via Honest Tea

Dansez!Dansez! Hopes To Find Permanent Home On Rugby Avenue

by Aaron Kraut | April 10, 2014 at 9:10 am | 88 views | 2 Comments

Dansez! Dansez! is moving again, this time to Rugby AvenueIt’s been a bit of a frenzied two years for Dansez!Dansez! owner Sabine Philippe.

The dance studio was forced out of its Fairmont Avenue location in February 2012 because of structural damage to its building caused by next door construction. Philippe scrambled to find a nearby space at 8020 Norfolk Ave., but did so knowing the smaller space probably wasn’t a permanent solution.

On May 1, Philippe will move the studio to 4907 Rugby Avenue, where she hopes a 2,300-square-feet studio with free parking will mean some stability.

The studio will join Tough Temple CrossFit in the shuttered Allied Rental warehouse.

“It’s a really beautiful space that has free parking,” Philippe said. “That’s a key thing for Bethesda.”

The studio has been around for 10 years, offering a variety of dance genres in seminars, workshops and classes.

Turntable Taking Advantage Of Outdoor Space

by Aaron Kraut | April 8, 2014 at 1:35 pm | 260 views | No Comments

Turntable, under construction on Cordell Avenue

Turntable, the Korean fried chicken concept coming to Cordell Avenue, apparently won’t be limited to the indoors.

Not much is known about the much anticipated restaurant still finishing up work at 4862 Cordell Ave., the former space of the flagship California Tortilla.

But workers have put together this steel structure on the outdoor patio portion of the site.

The restaurant has its alcohol license hearing next week.

Tough Temple CrossFit Coming To Rugby Avenue

by Aaron Kraut | April 8, 2014 at 11:45 am | 594 views | No Comments

Tough Temple grand opening, via Tough Temple CrossFit

John Weeks and his partners saw a lot more potential than most in an old warehouse in Woodmont Triangle.

The former Allied Rental space at 4907 Rugby Ave. will give Weeks a unique amount of space to start his Tough Temple CrossFit studio. Spread over the gym’s 4,800 square feet will be a 50-foot long rig for heavy lifting, squats and bench presses, five olympic-sized lifting platforms for a barbell club, gymnastics rings and a dedicated space for power lifters.

The short-duration, high-intensity workouts will be offered on three difficulty and skill levels and in sets of two, three or unlimited classes per week.

“We knew we wanted to be in Bethesda. There’s not a lot of competition here, but there’s also an extremely educated and savvy fitness community in Bethesda,” Weeks said. “People tend to be a little bit more discerning and I think that people here are more inclined to go somewhere that’s a little bit more expensive because it involves a lot more personal service.”

Tough Temple will have a grand opening and meet and greet on Saturday April 19 and is offering two months free to those who join before opening day. Classes range from $155-$255 per month and there is a $35 weekly rate, as well as drop-in pricing.

Tough Temple CrossFit, opening April 19 on Rugby AvenueWeeks grew up in Silver Spring and got into mixed martial arts, which about four years ago led him to CrossFit and personal training. With science now leaning toward weight-heavy, high-intensity workouts, the fitness program has grown in popularity.

Weeks joined up with two longtime clients to seek out a space for their own gym.

“We’re positioned to really be the biggest CrossFit gym in the D.C. Metro area,” Weeks said. “It’s going to give us a lot of options in terms of programming. A lot of other places are limited by their physical location.”

Weeks’ main competition will likely come from CrossFit Bethesda, which is located just two blocks away on Norfolk Avenue.

The Tough Temple mantra is a nod to Weeks’ martial arts background.

“Really, I think that people like to have that combination of the raw physicality of something like CrossFit, but also tempering that with a mindfulness that makes it very unique,” Weeks said. “I’ve always been a huge proponent of understanding why you’re doing what you’re doing and educating your client base and teaching them to be very aware of what they’re doing. It really allows people to maximize the results that they get.”

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