Monday, March 19, 2018

bluemercury opens at Pike & Rose, Nando's Peri-Peri touts impending arrival (Photos)

Beauty boutique bluemercury has opened its newest location, at 11885 Grand Park Avenue, at the Pike & Rose development. The store is located in the ground floor of the new Canopy by Hilton hotel and 930 Rose condos.

Meanwhile, in a neighboring space, hot chicken purveyor Nando's Peri-Peri has posted "coming soon" signage.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Mismanaged Montgomery County finances end up in the red again with $200,000,000 budget shortfall

Regular readers of this website know that Montgomery County government is stuck in a structural budget deficit as far out as the projections go. So those folks won't be surprised at all to find out that their incompetent and spendthrift County Council managed to yet again spend more than they took in - way more. The budget shortfall heading into the FY-2019 budget process is a whopping $200,000,000.

County Executive Ike Leggett released his proposed budget yesterday, and it includes not a dime of tax relief for residents now paying the highest taxes in County history. No property tax cut, no energy tax cut - not even a rain tax cut! Property taxes will increase automatically; unless the County Council changes Leggett's proposed tax rate, you will be guaranteed to have a higher property tax bill.

Happy Tax Paying from Montgomery County!


Thursday, March 15, 2018

Rockville Chamber of Commerce CEO resigns

Rockville Chamber of Commerce CEO Michelle Day has announced her resignation, effective June 30, 2018. Day said she and her husband have made the decision to relocate to Atlanta, to be closer to family. She will remain on board to help find a successor, and to assist in the transition.

Under Day's leadership, the Chamber surpassed 300 members and took on greater visibility at meetings and events around town.

“Being President & CEO of the Rockville Chamber has been the greatest opportunity for me professionally, and I am leaving with very mixed emotions," Day said in a statement. "It has been an honor and privilege working with our membership, the community, elected officials and fantastic Board of Directors.”

Annemarie Agnew, board chair, praised Day's tenure as CEO. “Michelle has taken the chamber to the next level the past few years. Her energy and enthusiasm for Rockville have propelled the organization to unprecedented growth. We understand and support her decision, and are delighted that we have time to continue the good work with her!”

Are you CEO material, or do you know someone who is? Head to the webpage for the replacement search.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Suspect in custody after Derwood burglary-armed robbery rampage

Montgomery County police have arrested a man in connection with a spree of burglaries and armed robberies in the Derwood and Gaithersburg area. Anthony Paul Mackie, 27, of "an unconfirmed address," has been charged with committing three commercial armed robberies and ten commercial burglaries in the Derwood, Gaithersburg, and Montgomery Village areas between December 2, 2017, and March 3, 2018.

Officers nabbed Mackie around 5:40 AM on March 3, as he allegedly was attempting to burglarize Redmill Beer and Wine - his alleged effort to victimize the store for a third time in two months. He is currently being held without bond. Here is Mackie's alleged rap sheet from the rampage, according to detectives who have put the pieces together:

  • December 2 and December 25, 2017, burglaries of the Verizon store located at 7250 Muncaster Road in Derwood.
  • January 23, Mackie robbed the Redmill Beer and Wine store located at 7248 Muncaster Mill Road. Mackie threatened an employee with a knife and obtained an undisclosed amount of currency.
  • On February 6, Mackie attempted to rob the B & B Beer & Wine store located at 8403 Snouffer School Road. Mackie threatened an employee with a knife and fled from the store without obtaining any currency.
  • On February 7, Mackie robbed the 7-Eleven store located at 17701 Muncaster Road. Mackie threatened an employee with knife and obtained an undisclosed amount of currency and fled from the store.
  • February 24, burglary of the Biscotti Restaurant located at 7212 Muncaster Mill Road in Derwood.
  • February 27, burglary of the Redmill Beer and Wine store located at 7248 Muncaster Mill Road in Derwood.
  • February 27, burglary of the Ferguson plumbing supply store located at 19320 Woodfield Road in Gaithersburg.
  • February 27, burglary of the Kim Airpark Auto Repair located at 7605 Airpark Road in Gaithersburg.
  • February 27, burglary of the Tony’s Corvette Shop located at 7500 Rickenbacker Drive in Gaithersburg.
  • February 27, burglary of the Goshen Nails located at 20215 Goshen Road in Montgomery Village.
  • February 27, burglary of the the McDonald’s restaurant located at 9100 Rothbury Road in Montgomery Village.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

MCPS submits site plan for new Maryvale ES to city

Montgomery County Public Schools has submitted a site plan for the new Maryvale Elementary School to the City of Rockville, for mandatory referral by the Planning Commission and Mayor and Council. Mandatory referral is standard for government projects, and means officials can suggest changes or improvements, but MCPS is free to ignore them or overturn an unfavorable decision.

The proposed plan would construct a new elementary school in the center of the current Maryvale site at 1000 1st Street. It will incorporate the Carl Sandburg Learning Center. Together, the new facility will offer the elementary school program, as well as autism and French immersion programs. A parking lot with 176 vehicle spaces and 27 school bus spaces will be provided.

Part of the plan is to locate the school away from First Street, and utilize the created space for a shared-use student drop-off for both Maryvale and two bus loops. A service drive will be built along the north and west sides of the new building, and will require some retaining walls.

The current school building, constructed in 1969, has been identified as potentially-historic by the Maryland Historical Trust. This means the planned demolition of the structure will have to be reviewed by the city's Historic District Commission.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Kiin Imm Thai Restaurant opens in Rockville

Kiin Imm Thai Restaurant has opened at 785-D Rockville Pike, in the Ritchie Center. The early reviews are positive, with the newest Asian option in town currently enjoying a solid 5-star rating on Yelp. Very impressive.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Canopy by Hilton to open March 15; Baked Bear, Starbucks, Uniqlo stake out territory at Pike & Rose (Photos)

Canopy by Hilton hotel overlooks
L.L. Bean and Rose Park at
Pike & Rose
Baked Bear and Uniqlo are coming to Pike & Rose, and Starbucks is moving to a different spot in the development. All 3 want patrons of the Federal Realty property to know their arrival in these new spaces is just around the corner. New hotel Canopy by Hilton (above) will arrive even sooner: their grand opening is now set for next Thursday, March 15, 2018.

Baked Bear, a gourmet custom ice cream sandwich shop, will be located in the L.L. Bean building overlooking Rose Park. Uniqlo, the highly-popular Japanese apparel retailer, will open this fall at 11853 Grand Park Avenue. And Starbucks' future final location has changed yet again - it will now be by H&M at 11860 Grand Park Avenue. The ubiquitous coffee shop will make its move this summer.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

New Indian restaurant to open in Rockville

A second new restaurant tenant to report at Pike & Rose this week. Commonwealth Indian will open in the vacant La Madeleine space at 11610 Old Georgetown Road. Not only will Commonwealth have favorites like curry chicken and butter chicken, but the full bar and drink menu will offer Indian beers, Indian wines and Indian cocktails. A champagne brunch will be served on weekends.

Like the previously-announced Kusshi, Commonwealth appears to be a local, independent restaurant as opposed to a chain. No opening date for Commonwealth was announced.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Kusshi to open this fall at Pike & Rose

A new Japanese restaurant from the owners of Hanaro Sushi in Bethesda will open at Pike & Rose this fall. Kusshi will take over the space at 11826 Trade Street vacated last June by Carluccio's.

For diners who enjoy ordering omakase, Kusshi promises a new adventure each time, from the day's freshest ingredients. The restaurant takes its name from the Kusshi oyster, which is Japanese for "ultimate."

Kusshi will be helmed by head chef Jackie Naka Zima, who will oversee a menu of options that will include the aforementioned Kusshi oyster, sea urchin and other Japanese delicacies. The restaurant will also boast the largest sake selection in the entire D.C. area.

Co-founder Tony Chow said the team chose Pike & Rose as the location for their concept because the Federal Realty development has the same high standards of quality and service they will have in their restaurant. Taking note of the upscale shops, restaurants and luxury residential buildings of Pike & Rose, Chow said, "we wanted to be part of the neighborhood."

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Rockville construction update: Firehouse Subs (Photos)

Firehouse Subs is kind of doing it backwards at their future Upper Rock location. The permanent signs are up on the building, but the interior fit-out still has a ways to go. Perhaps the signs are there as an attention-getting promotional tool in advance of the opening.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Xi'an Gourmet installs signage in Rockville (Photos)

Northwestern Chinese flavors are one step closer at 316 North Washington Street in Rockville. The permanent signs for Xi'an Gourmet have been installed. This was previously Fusion Supper Club, for those keeping score at home.

Friday, March 2, 2018

New venue announced for Mayor & Council meeting in Twinbrook

The City of Rockville announced yesterday that it has changed the venue for the Mayor & Council's community meeting in Twinbrook this coming Tuesday, March 6, 2018 at 7:00 PM. It will now be held at the Twinbrook Recreation Center, located at 12920 Twinbrook Parkway.

Hogan warns residents of extreme winds today, 28 outages already reported across MoCo

“I urge all Marylanders to 
take this severe weather
 very seriously and 
prepare now” 

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has issued a statement warning residents to be prepared for extreme wind gusts up to 70 MPH today. “I urge all Marylanders to take this severe weather very seriously and prepare now,” Hogan said in an urgent message from Reisterstown. “These wind speeds have the potential of causing power outages and creating hazardous conditions for travel and being outdoors starting Friday morning. Be sure to check on your family, friends, and neighbors so that we all are prepared for this rare and potentially very dangerous weather event.”

Hogan advised residents to avoid traveling this morning, never to run a generator indoors, and to not leave pets outdoors today. High winds are expected to fell many trees and cause major power outages across the state. There have already been 28 reports of power outages across Montgomery County as of early this morning.

Tree falls on transformer and power lines in Rockville

Tree crashed into 100-year-old resident's
bedroom on E. Bexhill Drive
High winds got a quick start felling trees across Montgomery County overnight. Among the first to fall landed on a house in the 4200 block of Red Maple Court near Cedar Tree Drive in Burtonsville. No one was injured in that incident, according to Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services spokesperson Pete Piringer.

One of the other early collapses was a tree at Baltimore Road and Gladstone Drive in Rockville. That one took out a Pepco transformer and power lines, causing a temporary road closure.

The very first tree to fall in the County was in Kensington, which landed on a house at 9912 E. Bexhill Drive. Tragically, there was not only significant damage to the home, but a 100-year-old resident was rushed to the hospital as a Priority 2 trauma patient. The victim was trapped in her crushed bedroom before being extricated by firefighters.

Photo by Pete Piringer

Thursday, March 1, 2018

MoCo drops ball again, loses out on Fannie Mae, Wilcoxon jobs

Montgomery County took it on the chin again Wednesday, as our elected officials continue to fumble the ball on economic development. High-tech manufacturer Wilcoxon announced it is moving its Germantown facility - and its 100 jobs - to Frederick. In a statement, Wilcoxon President Dr. Christopher McLean cited Frederick and Frederick County's "manufacturing-friendly taxes and [the] simplified permitting process that exists in both jurisdictions" as major factors in the move.

McLean also noted the quick access to three major highways, key to a manufacturer, and that "8435 Progress Drive provides a lower cost of ownership than our previous [Montgomery County] facility, and we can remain close to Washington, D.C. and three major airports." "Whenever you can attract 100 tech jobs, especially filling 45,000 square feet of space, it’s a great opportunity for the city," Frederick's Director of Economic Development Richard Griffin said, according to the Frederick News Post.

This was yet another clear example of our draconian taxes, red tape regulations and poor business climate costing us jobs and tax revenue.

But it got worse: Fannie Mae announced it has leased a whopping 850000 SF at Boston Properties' Reston Gateway, and will be the anchor tenant there. Tons of jobs will move into the site in 2022, Boston Properties said in a press release, bringing more revenue and business foot traffic for Virginia.

How did this happen? We have a County Council clueless about how the world of international business works in 2018. They are ideologically-opposed to making the common sense changes in taxes and regulations, and building the necessary transportation infrastructure, needed to make Montgomery County competitive in the region again.

Look no further than the Council's brainless decision to loudly broadcast they intend to cancel funding for the Montrose Parkway East. The Council, at least in public, claims they want Amazon to choose the Pike District for its HQ 2.

What better way to impress a logistics company like Amazon, than to announce you are canceling the main infrastructure project near their potential headquarters, right?

It's amateur hour at 100 Maryland Avenue again, folks!