Thursday, March 31, 2016
Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Dunkin' Donuts, meanwhile, has installed Coming Soon signage at its Galvan space. The interior build-out is still underway there, as you can tell from the photos below. Smashburger is primed to open at Galvan next Wednesday, as I reported last week.
Monday, March 28, 2016
There is no website, Facebook, or Twitter for the restaurant, which simply adds to the mystique, but it appears the opening is close.
Friday, March 25, 2016
Thursday, March 24, 2016
A new internal street, for which commissioners approved the name "Thompson Crescent" last night at the suggestion of Commissioner John Tyner, will provide access to both the multifamily building, and the townhomes. On the townhome side of the property, the street will function more as an alleyway, with the fronts of the townhouses facing the outward edges of the property.
The arrangement concerned several commissioners, particularly the homes that would front onto the railroad tracks to the east, and toward busy Twinbrook Parkway to the south. Noise concerns raised during the original 2-building application resurfaced last night. Commissioner Jack Leiderman noted that the new footprint of the townhomes was closer to the railroad tracks than the building they replace was to be. Regelin said construction materials and insulation would ensure noise levels inside the homes do not exceed the required limits.
In fact, some on the applicant's team pronounced the railroad proximity as a selling point for train buffs. There is a second factor near heavy rail facilities such as this, though. If you've ever been even a block or more away from freight trains, you know that there is also a tremendous amount of vibration through the ground and of structures as they pass. I wonder if the materials and construction of the homes are also designed to reduce vibration, as well.
|Site plan - click to enlarge|
for greater detail
But all seven commissioners commended the applicant after approving the project. Commissioner David Hill confessed he originally was skeptical of reducing density so close to Metro, but said the presentation had convinced him that this type of project could set Rockville apart from its high-rise-focused neighbors to the south. Leiderman said the project shows that there is a market in Rockville for both lower-density mixed-use projects, and for home ownership, as opposed to rentals. Even nearby residents were won over. The only member of the public to testify, a representative of the Cambridge Walk II townhomes, said his community was strongly in favor of the project.
The site was formerly home to Syms.
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
We are excited to bring Smashburger’s better burger to Rockville. Satisfying and real, basic and good, affordable and fresh – Smashburger is a place with a burger soul,” said Smashburger Co-Founder & Chief Concept Officer, Tom Ryan yesterday. “With a broad menu of handcrafted burgers, chicken, salads, signature sides and handspun shakes, Smashburger has something for everyone and we are proud to be opening another location in the area.”
Smashburger restaurants have special regional items in each part of the country, and here once again, they will offer the local-only Capital Burger with grilled onions, aged Swiss cheese, baby arugula, applewood-smoked bacon, tomatoes and mayo on a brioche bun.
Beyond their 400 degree grill smashed Angus beef burgers, Smashburger also offers grilled or crispy chicken sandwiches, fresh salads, signature side items such as Haystack onions and Veggie Frites, and hand-spun Haagen-Dazs® shakes.
Having tried their other area locations, I can attest that the high quality, never-frozen Angus beef definitely makes their burgers stand out.
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
There's no indication of the exact start and end points of the wall, other than the stipulation that it begins "at the interchange." Proximate neighborhoods include West End Park, Woodley Gardens and Regents Square.
Newton has asked City staff to consider the possibility of transferring revenue from a cell tower atop a City water tank to the sewer fund, rather than its current flow into the General Fund. Councilmember Mark Pierzchala said that would not provide sufficient revenue to allow a reduction in fees. Newton said that $50,000 annually adds up to a significant amount over time.
Like the WSSC, Pierzchala said, Rockville is being forced to spend large amounts to update aging water and sewer infrastructure. "It's what we have to pay to have clean, safe water," he said.
A ring that is planned for installation atop the tank will allow for more cell towers to be installed. Acting City Manager Craig Simoneau said that would provide opportunities for additional revenue.
Pierzchala warned that moving the cell tower revenue out of the General Fund would mean taking money from something else in the budget. Newton replied that the difference is there are more sources of revenue for the general fund, while water fees only draw money from ratepayers.
Photo courtesy City of Rockville
Monday, March 21, 2016
A two-level, 303-space underground parking garage and 6000 SF of ground floor retail round out the project. Delivery is expected in the fall of 2017. Kettler is the developer.
Friday, March 18, 2016
At that November 19 review, the HDC commissioners present expressed no objection to the plan of JNP Chestnut Lodge, LLC for townhomes at the 500 W. Montgomery Avenue site. The development team's presentation was well-received, in stark contrast to the response of the Planning Commission and the public. However, the two HDC commissioners who are usually the most-outspoken on preservation matters, Jessica Reynolds and Craig Maloney, were both absent that evening. Maloney's term on the HDC has since ended.
But a re-review of the plan with Reynolds and new commissioner Stefanie Tincher on the dais could conceivably end with a different conclusion than the November session.
That possibility is on the minds of those opposing the plan, which includes Giammo. The former mayor told the HDC last night that the conversation planning commissioners had last week is the one he had hoped the HDC would have had last year. Giammo also was critical of staff's instructions to the HDC, which he noted were very narrow in scope.
In fact, Giammo said, Maryland law trumps the guidelines suggested by staff, and require the HDC to fully consider the impacts of such redevelopment on a historic site. That includes whether or not the project might have a negative, degrading impact on the historic character and integrity of the overall site.
The HDC must reach an "unequivocal determination" on all of the issues that have been raised, Giammo said. He also emphasized that the claims of the developer's historical consultant that there are no blueprints or design records that would permit reconstruction of Chestnut Lodge - which burnt down in a suspicious 2009 fire - are "entirely false." Giammo said Peerless Rockville and other historic preservation advocates such as historian Eileen McGuckian stand ready to assist in such an effort.
A legal agreement reached between the City and the developer at that time in 2006 required the rehabilitation of the Chestnut Lodge building as a condition for the construction of 7 condo units within the rehabbed structure.
Photo courtesy City of Rockville
Thursday, March 17, 2016
DCDC's facility will include four dance studios, Marley and hardwood sprung floors, and a beauty station. The locally-owned business has an existing location in Gaithersburg, and this will be their second facility. Classes range from ballet and tap to jazz and hip hop. The interior build-out is now underway.
Dawn Crafton is a graduate of Wheaton High School.
Meanwhile, Irish pub Finnegan's Wake was dark and locked up tight 24 hours before St. Patrick's Day happy hour. A building permit was visible through the front door's window, but the yet-to-open pub was not listed in a St. Patrick's Day email announcement from Rockville Town Square. Stay tuned.
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
The failure of all three levels of government to hold WMATA accountable, and years of incompetent leadership within that transit agency, have culminated in a full shutdown of the Metro subway system today. That closure began at 12:00 AM this morning. While the public has been told the shutdown will last 24 hours (technically not true, as Metro doesn't operate overnight), there are indications it could last even longer if serious safety issues are found during the inspection of the system's power cables.
Here's the latest as of this hour:
Federal workers have the option of unscheduled leave or teleworking today. It will be interesting to see if the loss of Metro will mean carmageddon, or great driving conditions like we experienced during the Pope's visit.
Driving and Metrobus are the best options this morning. Metrobus and Ride On Bus are both operating on regular schedule this morning.
MARC commuter rail is a legitimate option, with stations in Rockville, Gaithersburg and Kensington. The train can take you into Union Station in the District, where you can connect to other transit options.
Been meaning to try biking to work? This could be the day. Search #WMATABikePool on social media to find fellow riders to make the trip safer. An extra hour of daylight should help tonight.
Capital Bikeshare is offering 24-hour memberships today.
Uber will cap surge pricing in the Washington area at 3.9 times base fares today only. Lyft is offering new users $20 off their first ride during the shutdown.
This is another lesson today - we have to finish our master plan highway system. And we simply must do our homework, vote smarter, and start electing the right people who can get the job done. The results so far speak for themselves.
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Treschuk said one server will support and store video files from all of the cameras in use. He examined body camera footage storage policies from police departments across the country, as well as locally. Montgomery County, which already has begun using body cameras, has a 120-day storage policy. After study and consideration, Treschuk said he is recommending a 90-day storage time for the archiving of video taken by Rockville Police body cameras.
Councilmember Julie Palakovich Carr asked if citizens and the Mayor and Council will be kept apprised of the final policy, such as when body cameras will be on or off. Treschuk said he would ensure everyone is kept informed as the policy and cameras are implemented.
Photo courtesy City of Rockville
Public hearing dates were set by the Mayor and Council for April 11 and May 16. Yesterday's transmittal triggers a 90-day review period for the plan. Should the Mayor and Council ignore the plan for 90 days without adopting it, it would either take effect as is, or the City could grant itself one extension if it can demonstrate a good-faith effort to complete it.
Monday, March 14, 2016
Floyd's 99 Barbershop has rock paraphernalia covering its walls, but probably won't have plastic wrap covering its barber stools much longer. Traditionalists will be glad to know they still have a classic barber pole out front.