Friday, May 25, 2018

MOM's Organic Market in Upper Rock to open June 1

The long-awaited opening of MOM's Organic Market at 10 Upper Rock Circle is almost here. It will open June 1, 2018, and the local chain will be holding an opening weekend celebration at the store from June 1 to June 3.

Officially designated as MOM's Gaithersburg store, the market is located in JBG Smith's Upper Rock development, which is within the city limits of Rockville. A historic office building was torn down to clear the way for this new retail center, which is convenient from both the adjacent Gables Upper Rock apartments and I-270 (just take the Shady Grove Road exit and head east, and it's the first thing you see on the right past the interchange [you'll see the CVS Pharmacy, which is in the same shopping center]).

Opening weekend will include tastings of local foods, kids' activities and giveaways. You'll also have the opportunity to meet representatives from environmental organizations like Waterkeepers Chesapeake and Trash Free Maryland, and staff from Montgomery Parks' Brookside Gardens.

The new MOM's will feature only the highest-quality organic produce, an all-organic vegetarian eatery called Naked Lunch, sustainable insect proteins, a Backyard Beekeeping section with everything you need for this important environmental activity, free car-charging stations, only sustainable seafood (including canned tuna), a wide selection of GOTS-certified organic and sustainable clothing, a liquid bulk section featuring goods like vinegar and honey, a recycling center that can handle household items like cell phones and household batteries, and a large Health and Wellness department, where you can find everything from bulk organic herbs to bulk soap, bath salts and body scrubs.

MOM's does not carry any products that use cartoon characters to target children, and this location will be no exception. 5% of the grand opening sales will be donated to Waterkeepers Chesapeake. MOM's is one of the more on-target tenant choices in Upper Rock, considering that the city envisioned the development as a community for the "creative class" of young professionals. It sounds like they have a wider variety of merchandise than Whole Foods, as well.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

New planning area divisions proposed for Rockville

City of Rockville planning staff presented a newly-proposed map dividing the city into 17 new planning areas to the Planning Commission last night at City Hall. The map is part of the Rockville 2040 Comprehensive Master Plan Update process.

The areas are proposed to be labeled as follows:

1. Town Center 
2. East Rockville 
3. Hungerford, Lynfield, and New Mark Commons 
4. West End and Woodley Gardens East-West 
5. Woodley Gardens and College Gardens 
6. Lincoln Park 
7. Montgomery College 
8. Twinbrook, Twinbrook Forest and Northeast Rockville 
9. Rockville Pike 
10. Montrose and North Farm 
11. Woodmont 
12. Tower Oaks 
13. Orchard Ridge, Potomac Woods, and Falls Ridge 
14. Rockshire and Fallsmead 
15. Fallsgrove and Research 
16. King Farm 
17. Southlawn and Redgate

Among the new changes are that Stonestreet Avenue has been split and moved into the East Rockville and Lincoln Park areas. The new map will also keep both Twinbrook planning areas together, as they were in the Twinbrook master plan update.

Commissioners raised some questions about the accuracy of the nomenclature for some areas. "Woodley Gardens East-West," appearing on the same list as "Woodley Gardens" is "a little confusing," Commissioner Don Hadley noted. The label was apparently based on a separate subdivision name for part of the area lumped in with the West End.

Another concern, addressed by Hadley and Commissioner Charles Littlefield, was the lack of consideration of borders between conflicting land uses, such as residential and industrial. How these could be represented on the map, or whether they should be, were topics of debate.

One such area, N. Adams Street, has a mix of office and residential uses. That could cause issues if redevelopment occurs along the street, which is a transition area between single-family homes and the Town Center. Chief of Long Range Planning David Levy said the street was discussed by staff and community representatives Tuesday night, including former Rockville Mayor Larry Giammo.

Hate the map, or feel your neighborhood wasn't heard in the process? Planning staff will be meeting with all neighborhoods to discuss the proposed planning area boundaries in the coming months.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Rockville construction update: The Escher/1900 Chapman Avenue apartments (Video+Photos)

Lots of news out of the 1900 Chapman Avenue development, on the former Syms site in Rockville. First, it finally has an official name, The Escher. Second, at long last, there is a website and leasing information. Finally, there are some impressive lighting features at The Escher, as you can see in these photos and in this video:

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Signage installed at Kabuto in Rockville

The permanent signage is now up at Kabuto, a Japanese steakhouse and sushi bar in the ground floor of Foulger-Pratt's Rockville Metro II building, located at 1 Choice Hotels Circle. Work is coming along slowly-but-surely inside, with a wraparound bar already installed.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Yamachan Ramen to open in Rockville...and Pearl Lady Harajuku Bubble Tea Shop!

Another ramen eatery is coming to Rockville, this time to the heart of Rockville's Town Center. Yamachan Ramen has leased a prime corner spot next to Supercuts at The Upton/Cambria Hotel and Suites development, at the intersection of E. Middle Lane and Maryland Avenue. The restaurant will use the ramen noodle products of the Yamachan Ramen brand.
Pearl Lady Bubble Tea Shop logo
stenciled on the restaurant's window
Even more interesting, is that stencils on the doors and windows of the restaurant are touting Tokyo's famous Pearl Lady Harajuku Bubble Tea Shop as part of the new establishment. What a great addition to the Town Center, and definitely something to set it apart from the many competing bubble tea options in town. Pearl Lady is regularly named one of the top 5 bubble tea shops in Japan, and as far as I can tell, this would be the first Pearl Lady shop outside of Japan. A must try!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Rockville Planning Commission to go into closed session May 23

The Rockville Planning Commission will adjourn into a closed session at its 7:00 PM meeting May 23, 2018 at City Hall, to "consult with counsel to obtain legal advice regarding a pending Site Plan application." At 7:30, commissioners will then reconvene in open session for the rest of the evening's agenda, which will include a discussion of planning area boundaries for the Updated Comprehensive Master Plan. The applicant with the "pending Site Plan" is not identified.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Staycation at the Beach at Pike & Rose; mattress retailer to fill old Starbucks space (Photos)

The beach just got 150 miles closer to home at Pike & Rose. Property owner Federal Realty is turning an empty lot at the north end of the development into a seaside take on The Bullpen near Nationals Park. Just north of Rose Park along Prose Street, west of the Porsche Bethesda dealership, The Beach will offer real sand, public seating areas, games, and programmed events throughout the summer.

On weekends, The Beach will become a Happy Hour destination, thanks to catering partner Ridgewells. Their Beach Bar will offer light snacks, beer and wine, and beach-inspired cocktails that will of course include the Orange Crush.

You don't even have to be at The Beach to see The Beach - Federal Realty has installed a 24-hour camera trained on The Beach atop Pinstripes. The Beach is scheduled to be open by Memorial Day Weekend.

Meanwhile, in new tenant news at Pike & Rose, organic mattress retailer Naturepedic will soon open at store at the development. The Ohio-based retailer currently has only 12 showrooms in North America. This one will be in the former Starbucks location near the corner of Old Georgetown Road and Rockville Pike, which became vacant when Starbucks relocated to Grand Park Avenue.

Photo: Robert Dyer
Renderings courtesy Pike & Rose