Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Nada to open November 19 at Pike & Rose

Nada, a Mexican tacos and cocktails restaurant, will open this coming Monday, Novermber 19, 2018 at Pike & Rose. The 6300 SF eatery, located in the ground floor of The Henri apartments, will be the Ohio-based chain's first East Coast location.

With seating for 140, and 50 more on the outdoor patio, Nada will serve lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. Nada’s hours will be 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday. Brunch will be served Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Photo courtesy Nada

Mayor & Council moving ahead with Rockville Town Center suggestions

Rockville's Mayor and Council approved a set of recommendations to address the growing crisis in the city's Town Center at a City Hall worksession last night. Topics most urgently to be addressed, based on the discussion, are parking, creating a new City position that would be an active point person for Town Center issues, and the impending development moratorium that will be triggered by overcrowding at Richard Montgomery High School in 2020.

Parking was by far the highest priority item for the Mayor & Council. Solutions boiled down to the desire to have up to 3 hours of free parking at Rockville Town Square, a potential parking district that were create more uniform parking policies around the entire Town Center neighborhood, and issuing warnings for a first parking violation instead of the current $40 fine that has angered many a visitor.

Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton and a majority of the Council agreed that a new City position that would create a contact person for all Town Center stakeholders is necessary. Newton and Councilmembers Beryl Feinberg and Virginia Onley supported having the position be under the city government rather than Rockville Economic Development Inc. However, Newton said that strategies for improving economic development should be developed under the auspices of REDI, rather than by City officials who lack their expertise and specialization in that field.

The new point person on City staff would not hold a desk job, but a shoe leather position that would center on engagement with stakeholders and all interests. A "diplomatic" position, "not a gotcha position," City Manager Rob DiSpirito assured the Mayor & Council. The new staff member would walk Town Center streets daily, meet business owners while making the rounds, note code enforcement and infrastructure problems, and report back to the appropriate departments and officials, DiSpirito suggested.

Councilmember Mark Pierzchala said the crisis in Town Center has been a long time coming, and that a major factor is the lack of sufficient residential development in the neighborhood. He urged loosening of caps on classroom overcrowding and traffic congestion, to allow more density and growth in the Town Center. Pierzchala specifically sounded the alarm that Rockville is facing a development moratorium in as few as two years, due to overcrowding at Richard Montgomery. He suggested "targeted" APFO and APFS waivers for the areas around the Twinbrook and Rockville Metro stations.

Pierzchala undercut his argument for allowing more school overcrowding by citing the inaction of Montgomery County Public Schools in addressing the RM situation. It was only a few years ago that Pierzchala and others on the Council, in tandem with developers, argued that accepting the looser MCPS overcrowding standards would bring long-overdue school construction funds and projects to the City.

Now, despite a Council majority passing that unpopular adequate public facilities change, MCPS is doing nothing more than it was when the City had the tougher standards. That does not make for a very convincing case to further weaken school overcrowding limits.

Eliminating the 2-hour parking validation requirement at Rockville Town Square was expected to cost $290,000 a year, Feinberg noted. But DiSpirito advised against using that number in decision-making. He said property owner Federal Realty is currently conducting its own parking study, and that it should produce a more accurate and timely cost estimate for such a parking change.

Pierzchala warned that the total costs of all of the recommendations were likely to "blow up the budget" in the coming years, and undercut other priorities. He urged a greater role for the private sector in solving Town Center's problems.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Rockville Town Square tree lighting this Friday night

The annual Christmas tree lighting at Rockville Town Square is scheduled for this Friday evening, November 16, 2018, from 6:00-9:00 PM. Join Santa Claus for live music and entertainment, ice skating, merchant specials, and a special performance by students from Dawn Crafton Dance Connection.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Olive & Loom to open first bricks-and-mortar location in Rockville

This Larissa throw is the bestselling
product for Olive & Loom this month
Olive & Loom, a retailer of home, lifestyle and gift items from around the world, will open at Pike & Rose in the spring of 2019. The store will be located at 11815 Grand Park Avenue, between Stella Barra pizzeria and Francesca's.

The company is owned by the owner of Sabun Home at Bethesda Row. Olive & Loom has sold its products online, in retail stores, and at Sabun Home since 2016. The 765 SF Pike & Rose location will be its first standalone bricks-and-mortar location.

Photo via Olive & Loom Instagram

Friday, November 9, 2018

Los Primos Tex-Mex & Grill soft opening underway

Los Primos Tex-Mex is having a soft opening all this week. The new restaurant is located at 12303 Twinbrook Parkway, next to Peak ReLeaf. Although the cuisine leans Mexican, pupusas are on the menu. Other dishes include Caldo Ranchero short ribs, Sopa de Mondongo, and Pollo Relleno con Espinaca. They've also got the big games on TV. A nice addition to a block that has been dead for a while.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Public hearing set for North Stonestreet Avenue master plan amendment

The Rockville Planning Commission will hear public testimony regarding an amendment to the North Stonestreet Avenue master plan on Wednesday, November 14, 2018 at 7:00 PM at City Hall. If passed, the amendment will affect properties along North Stonestreet Avenue between Spring Avenue to the north, and Howard Avenue to the south. That area is currently occupied by Montgomery
County Public Schools and Crusader Baptist Church, in the historic former Lincoln High School.

You can read the hearing draft of the amendment online here.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Sneak peek at the new Rockville AT&T Store (Photos)

The AT&T Store looks close to finished at the Montrose Crossing shopping center on Rockville Pike at the Montrose Parkway. They are also currently hiring part-time employees. The storefront has a very slick and modern appearance.