Hogan breaks ground on development project in Bethesda

  • Published in Local

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan throws ceremonial dirt at the groundbreaking in Bethesda. PHOTO BY SUZANNE POLLAKMaryland Gov. Larry Hogan throws ceremonial dirt at the groundbreaking in Bethesda.  PHOTO BY SUZANNE POLLAK  BETHESDA — Nine months after construction began in Bethesda for a Purple Line Metro station and two towers for office and residential space, officials, including Gov. Larry Hogan (R) joined together Aug. 9 for a groundbreaking ceremony.

The huge hole at the 7200 block of Wisconsin Avenue near its intersection with Elm Street marks the future spot of a new entrance to the Red Line; a Purple Line station; and 937,000 square feet of office, retail and residential space.

The project also includes a tunnel for the nearby popular Capital Crescent Trail.

The development includes 360,000 square feet of office and retail space, two residential towers with 456 residential units and 750 parking spaces.

When asked why the groundbreaking was held after work was well under way, Olive Carr, CEO of Carr Properties, the real estate investment trust backing the project, said it took “a lot of coordinating to pull this together.” He said the timing for the groundbreaking coincided with last week’s signing of WTTG Fox 5, the office space’s first tenant.

“Amazing things are happening on this corner,” Carr said, calling the development “an incredible partnership” between the state, Montgomery County and private companies. “It does take a village."


Hogan makes his pitch to Montgomery County

  • Published in Local

BETHESDA — Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is not shy about his ambitions for 2018. 

He boasts about his high approval rating – 69 percent according to a Goucher Poll. He said he is confident that Amazon will place its new headquarters in the state, and he has declared he will do what no Republican gubernatorial candidate has done since 1990 – win Montgomery County.

“You know, a lot of people kind of laugh at that one, just liked they laugh at me saying I was going to be elected governor,” Hogan said about his declaration he will win Montgomery County in November’s election. “I think the people in Montgomery County – although I think it’s three to one, Democrat to Republican – I think they appreciate the job that we’ve done.”


Hogan joins in for Marriott groundbreaking in Bethesda

  • Published in Local

As a sign of the amicable relationship between elected officials and one of the state’s largest corporations, Gov. Larry Hogan and County Executive Ike Leggett joined in for a groundbreaking ceremony of Marriott International’s new headquarters in Downtown Bethesda last Thursday.

The ceremony served as a victory for state and local officials, who agreed to a combined $33 million in subsidies to the global hotel chain in order to keep them based in the County. On June 21, elected leaders and representatives from Marriott said the day was about honoring Marriott’s longtime commitment to Bethesda.


Bethesda festival draws artists from all over country

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IMG 1686Jazz Artist by Kimmy Cantrell PHOTO BY NICKOLAI SUKHAREVBETHESDA — Hundreds of artists from around the country gathered over the weekend at the annual Bethesda Fine Arts Festival.

Organized by the Bethesda Urban Partnership and the Bethesda Arts and Entertainment District, the festival featured painters, photographers, and sculptors from numerous states across the country, who presented selections from their work in the Woodmont Triangle area of downtown Bethesda. Many artists also took the opportunity to sell pieces they had on display.


Activists still contest fate of historic African-American burial site

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While Westbard residents won their fight to stop a new development along Westbard Avenue in Bethesda, the fight for many continues, as the future of a historic burial ground on the property remains in limbo.

For months, residents from Westbard and members of the Macedonia Baptist Church, located on River Road in Bethesda, have lobbied the Housing Opportunities Commission – now owners of the property – not to develop on the site of the historic African-American burial ground.

While officials from the HOC have promised to not develop on the site of the burial ground some members of the Macedonia Baptist Church and Westbard residents said they do not trust HOC’s promise not to do so.


Woodmont businesses optimistic

  • Published in Local

BETHESDA — With high-rise buildings slowly popping up in the Woodmont Triangle area of Downtown Bethesda, business owners said they are optimistic about the future of local commerce in the area.

“As a business owner, I take it as a positive,” said Anil Kumar, owner of Bethesda Curry Kitchen on Cordell Avenue which opened in 2014. “We’ve already seen a steady increase in business,” he added referring to the already existing high-rises in the area.


B-CC students organize gun violence forum

  • Published in Local

B CC ForumSen. Chris Van Hollen met with students Sophie Cobb, Gabriela Jeliazkov and Julien Cary at a forum at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School to discuss gun violence. PHOTO BY NEAL EARLEYWASHINGTON Members of Congress joined three Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School students Tuesday at a forum on gun violence, continuing the student-led debate over guns after a massacre at a high school in Parkland, Florida, and giving the students another opportunity to take their issues to those in power.

“I had my opinion and I had my beliefs and, obviously, I felt very discouraged by the recent presidential election, but definitely I’m seeing that we do have the power to make a difference because prior, I think, I just felt helpless,” said Sophie Cobb, a B-CC senior who helped organize the event with two fellow students, Julien Cary and Gabriela Jeliazkov


Rios seeks to inspire young women to greater potential

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rosa riosRosa Rios Courtesy PhotoEver since 2016, when Bethesda’s Rosie Rios stepped down from her role as the 43rd Treasurer of the United States, she has been a mission to help girls reach their full potential and prepare to step into future leadership roles. 

Speaking Sunday at the 2018 Women’s Legislative Briefing, held at The Universities at Shady Grove, Rios said that many young girls don’t grow up envisioning themselves as the ones with the powerful jobs because they have few female role models.

“Young girls need to see their future,” she said. “We need inspiration in order to have aspirations.”
That need for inspiration is why, as Treasurer, Rios pushed to feature a such a female hero on United States currency, it is why she is so excited that former slave and abolitionist Harriet Tubman will soon replace former President Andrew Jackson on $20 bill. The only countries to have never had a female figure on their paper currency are United States and Saudi Arabia, she said.


Strathmore CEO announces retirement

  • Published in Music

Eliot PfanstiehlEliot Pfanstiehl Courtesy PhotoWhen Eliot Pfanstiehl was first hired in 1981 to convert the Mansion at Strathmore in Bethesda into an arts center, he heard the same thing over and over again: “Why bother?”

After all, the Kennedy Center was the place to perform for artists and productions visiting the Washington, D.C. area, and with a population of roughly 500,000, and Montgomery County was considered nothing more than a bedroom community for people working in the District. As far as the arts were concerned, Pfanstiehl said, the area was “prehistoric.”

37 years later, however, the County’s population has surpassed 1 million, and the Strathmore, with its concert hall and education center, hosts 160 concerts each year, of which most, he said, draw audiences large enough to fill 80 to 85 percent of Strathmore’s 1,976 seats. Both the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the National Philharmonic call the Mansion their local home, and the eclectic concerts staged at Strathmore are as varied, culturally speaking, as the residents of Montgomery County are, he said.


Bethesda loses iconic bookstore

  • Published in Local

Barnes and Noble closing signBarnes and Noble prepares to close its Bethesda store Jan. 11. PHOTO BY SUZANNE POLLAK  BETHESDA — Maria Pagliarini and Brad Schwartz sat at the Barnes and Noble Bookstore’s café last week, sipping hot drinks and leafing through some magazines.

Their weekly excursions to the three-story bookstore on the corner of Woodmont and Bethesda avenues in Bethesda have ended. Barnes and Noble, which has been at the heart of downtown Bethesda for 21 years, shuttered its doors for good on Thursday, after having failed to agree to the terms of a new lease.

“The lease at our Bethesda location will expire at the end of 2017 and the store will close in January 2018. We had discussions with the property owner in hopes of agreeing to an extension of the lease, but unfortunately, we were unable to come to an agreement. It has been our pleasure to have served this community and we hope to continue to serve our valued customers” at the Rockville store, wrote Jim Lampassi, vice president of real estate development.

Pagliarini said that many people go to the bookstore while shopping and eating in downtown Bethesda.

“It’s sad. It’s a Bethesda landmark,” said Paglairini of Potomac. “This is the meeting place. We go to the movies and we come here.”

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