Sunday, February 25, 2018

Redwood repairs moving slowly at Bethesda Row (Photos)

Redwood Restaurant & Bar at 7121 Bethesda Lane remains closed, after an exploding pipe caused apparently-extensive water damage throughout the restaurant. Two months have passed, and the restaurant has ceased posting updates on social media. They had advertised a Valentine's Day event, but failed to finish and reopen in time, and did not retract the ads for the romantic evening. No word if any couples broke up that night as a result...
The work appears more extensive than the damage visible from the exterior suggested. As you can see, the dining room walls appear completely demolished, as if a whole new business were being constructed from scratch.

Church asks HOC to allow cadaver dogs onto Bethesda black cemetery site

Officials from Macedonia Baptist Church have asked the Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission to allow an archaeologist who utilizes cadaver dogs onto their Westwood Tower property to delineate the location of graves hidden on the site. “Cadaver sniffing dogs have been shown to be effective in locating Civil War era and even older human remains. The process is noninvasive and reliable,” the Rev. Dr. Segun Adebayo, Pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church, wrote to HOC Chair Jackie Simon. “We hope that HOC will be as receptive to our bringing trained CSD dogs onto their property as they have been in allowing Westwood Tower resident’s dogs to ‘do their business’ on our ancestors’ final resting places.”

The historic Moses African Cemetery holds approximately 500 bodies, including many of the first freed slaves after Maryland Emancipation. Construction workers excavating for the Westwood Tower building in the late 1960s desecrated the cemetery, before reportedly relocating some remains into a mass grave downward from the rear slope behind the development. The rest of the graves were covered with fill dirt and a paved parking lot. Notes kept by the County Parks Department indicate landowner Dr. Lazlo Tauber was fully aware of the cemetery and desecration.

HOC, which had planned for several years to acquire the property from owner Regency Centers and build a parking garage on top of the cemetery, has steadfastly refused to allow any archaeological investigation of the graveyard. Prior to acquiring the land from Regency in January, HOC used the excuse that it did not own the land, and therefore could not give permission for the church to conduct a study on it.

But now that HOC owns the land outright, they have yet to allow any investigation to take place. Montgomery County has taken a similar approach, dismissing two highly-regarded anthropologists specializing in black cemeteries last year. County officials tricked the church into entering a farcical mediation process with HOC and Regency last summer. When the County's mediator blew up the process under false pretenses, it was revealed that the County had simply been trying to put a stop to the regular protests and rallies that brought public attention to the scandal in prior months.

HOC has engaged in other skullduggery, falsely claiming that the church had leaked information during the mediation, and citing a lawsuit Macedonia Baptist Church is not a party to as an excuse to avoid communication with the church. “HOC has been using a pending lawsuit—that Macedonia is not a party to—as a blanket excuse for not responding to any of our reasonable requests for permission to begin a cemetery delineation,” Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, MBC's Social Justice Chair said yesterday. “Walking the grounds with these dogs would not involve heavy equipment or even the slightest disruption of the site,” she continued, “but it would go a long way toward beginning a healing process for Macedonia’s congregation and the wider descendant community.”

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Late notice posted by MoCo on shuttered Vino Volo in Bethesda

The Montgomery County health department is really getting around Bethesda these days, with more official shutdown notices posted in the last couple of weeks than I've seen in the last couple of years combined. This one is strange though, because Vino Volo has been closed for almost three months, and this notice was just posted in the last couple of weeks. The restaurant simply failed and went out of business; it was not closed for a health violation.

Julii applies for liquor license at Pike & Rose (Photos)

Julii, the newest dining concept from the founders of the CAVA empire, will open this year on the edge of Rose Park at Pike & Rose. They have requested their liquor license hearing next month, even though there's a long way to go construction-wise before the doors open here.

Golden City has closed in Bethesda (Photos)

Golden City, a Chinese restaurant at 7026 Wisconsin Avenue, has closed. The Montgomery County health department, which appears to be newly-invigorated in recent weeks, has posted an official shutdown notice on the front of the business. Windows have been papered over, and a demolition permit has been requested for the interior.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Bethesda construction update: Canopy by Hilton/bluemercury at Pike & Rose (Photos)

The new Canopy by Hilton is just about ready to open at Pike & Rose. A new bluemercury location is also under construction in the ground floor of the hotel.




bluemercury's corner spot on
the ground floor at Rose and
Grand Park Avenues

Demolition update: Vince & Dominic's/Home Depot Square in Bethesda (Photos)

The demolition of a large part of the strip mall behind Home Depot in Bethesda continues, including the former home of Vince & Dominic's Pizzeria. Supposedly, the razing of this section is going to create more room for parking for Home Depot customers. Businesses in the other section of the strip mall, including Five Guys, will remain open for business.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Bethesda Court Hotel clearing out (Photos)

Stained mattresses and flatscreen TVs are being hauled out of the now-shuttered Bethesda Court Hotel, located at 7740 Wisconsin Avenue. The building is being torn down to make way for the new Marriott headquarters and hotel.
Stay classy, Bethesda!

Water main break again on St. Elmo Avenue (Video+Photos)

Another drastic temperature swing has water bubbling up onto St. Elmo Avenue again in downtown Bethesda. Signs of a water main break were apparent last night on the block between Arlington Road and Norfolk Avenue.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Bethesda construction update: Red Door Salon & Spa at Pike & Rose (Photos)

The signage for The Red Door Salon &Spa has been installed and lit at 934 Rose Avenue at Pike & Rose. It is located on two levels at the bottom of the new Canopy by Hilton hotel and 930 Rose condo building. The spa and the hotel are both expected to open soon.

Auburn Professional Building in Bethesda to be redeveloped (Photos)

A notice appeared in front of the Auburn Professional Building at 4915 Auburn Avenue yesterday announcing the owner's intention to redevelop the site with a mixed-use residential building. The preliminary and sketch plans are proposing up to 175,000 SF of "residential and non-residential" development. A public meeting on the project will be held on March 1, 2018 at 7:00 PM at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center at 4805 Edgemoor Lane in West Room A.

Foulger-Pratt unveils site plan for Ourisman Ford property in Bethesda (Photos)

Developer Foulger-Pratt last night unveiled the site plan for a residential building that would replace the vacant Ourisman Ford dealership at 10401 Motor City Drive in Bethesda, adjacent to Westfield Montgomery Mall. The dealership lot is still used by Ourisman to park excess inventory from its other dealerships. Foulger-Pratt's sketch plan for the project has been approved by the Montgomery County Planning Board.

Attorney Phil Hummel of Linowes & Blocher represented the applicant at the meeting, which was held at the Davis Library. The proposed building would be single-use residential, with up to 350 units, and a height of 75'. An earlier plan approved by the County in 2009, which included ground floor retail and underground parking, was scrapped.
Vehicle circulation plan; garage
and loading dock access will be
from Motor City Drive
The development would have a mix of studio, 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom units. Some nearby residents in attendance at the meeting were concerned that there would not be enough parking. Hummel said the County is now encouraging developers to limit parking to encourage transit use. He cited a future Bus Rapid Transit station planned for the adjacent mall's Transit Center.
Current and future bike and pedestrian
routes on and around the property
"All those White Flint Mall shoppers are coming here now," said one resident. "Home Depot jams their parking lot." Parking is expected to improve at Home Depot once a partial demolition of the strip mall there creates room for additional spaces.
Green and open space plan,
and landscaping
Hummel said that if the site plan Foulger-Pratt is about to submit is approved as expected, construction could begin in Summer 2019, and would take approximately two years to complete.