Monday, September 30, 2019

Signs of Barnes & Noble arriving at Congressional Plaza, Modern Market closed

Tenants are coming and going at Congressional Plaza. Barnes & Noble has posted "Coming Soon" signage in front of its future space at the shopping center on Rockville Pike. The bookstore will open in 2020.

Meanwhile, Modern Market has closed at Congressional. It seems to have been a victim of Montgomery County's anti-business policies and moribund economy, as its Bethesda location also closed, and Modern Markets outside the County remain open.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Rockville's St. Raphael School named 2019 Blue Ribbon School; MCPS shut out

Montgomery County Public Schools were shut out again in the U.S. Department of Education's 2019 Blue Ribbon Schools list. Not a single MCPS school was named a Blue Ribbon School this year, and it's not the first time this decade this has happened. MCPS performance has steadily declined across the board since 2010. Its failure to close the achievement gap certainly did not help earn an award that partly considers schools' success in doing so among its criteria. Overall academic excellence is the other major consideration for recognition as a Blue Ribbon School.

The failure to show in this annual federal measure of academic excellence is just the latest embarrassment for MCPS. Surging drop-out rates, questions about student safety, failure to fully-vet staff, repeated sexual abuse scandals, a persistent achievement gap, poor test scores, and a chronic class attendance problem have already tarnished what was once considered the premiere school district in the Mid-Atlantic. MCPS has also begun to earn a national reputation as lightweight in academic rigor; a new, easy grading system has really taken the shine off top marks, and when students continued to fail final exams, MCPS simply got rid of the exams. Neither move will impress college admission officials as word spreads.

Unlike Montgomery County, public schools from Calvert, Howard, Prince George's and Worcester counties were recognized on this year's Blue Ribbon Schools list. Only one Montgomery County school made the list this year, and it was a Catholic school - St. Raphael School in Rockville. Students there celebrated with Chick-fil-A, according to the Catholic Standard. 

Montgomery County officials have continued to throw greater amounts of money at MCPS, with no positive result, clearly indicating that the problem is not funding alone. With Montgomery County floundering on every front from education and economic development to crime and traffic congestion, it's clear we need new leaders who actually know what they are doing, and will put the best interests of children ahead of their own political calculations. We must overcome a political cartel that suffers from a severe case of Lake Wobegon Syndrome, and accept that this County is in real trouble, folks.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Another job center lost in Rockville, as developer cancels office building in favor of residential

Montgomery County continues
to become the bedroom community
for job centers elsewhere in region

The developer of 1800 Research Boulevard in Rockville, a property approved for an office development, is requesting a master plan amendment to flip it to residential. FG Office Group, LLC, a Lerner shell company, is seeking to build a 350-unit residential building with courtyards and two "amenity spaces." One will be a pool, and the other a green space with patio and picnic areas.

Previously, the site had been designated for a 210,981 SF office building. The site would seem ideal for a biotech or medical research company, given its proximity to the I-270 biotech corridor, Shady Grove Hospital and The Universities at Shady Grove. But Lerner says it has concluded there is no market demand for office presently. Lerner adds that it has been unable to find tenants for their existing Fallsgrove office building on Shady Grove Road.

The moribund Montgomery County economy continues to stymie the office market. Some developers have been forced to move their own headquarters into their new office buildings because they are unable to sign an anchor tenant. Montgomery County hasn't attracted a major corporate headquarters in over twenty years. The end result is that a planned job center at Fallsgrove, similar to changes at King Farm and elsewhere in the County, will now be permanently lost. So even if the County changes leadership and policies to be more business-friendly down the road, those new jobs can't be placed here to reduce the number of Rockville residents driving to job centers in Northern Virginia and the District.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Rockville Mayor & Council debate tackles hot-button issues, remains civil

Rockville Mayor and City Council candidates participated in the first televised debate of the campaign last night at the Rockville Senior Center. The Council candidates were split into two groups, and each group was asked a different set of questions. They included Monique Ashton, Cynthia Cotte Griffiths, Beryl Feinberg, Richard Gottfried, James Hedrick, Kuan Lee, Charles Littlefield, Donald Masters, Brigitta Mullican, David Myles, Matthew Perkins, and Suzan Pitman. Two candidates for Mayor, incumbent Bridget Donnell Newton and current Councilmember Virginia Onley, participated in a separate debate following the two Council groups.

The tone of the debate was civil, and did not feature the personal attacks that have marred the last several City elections. It was moderated by Diane Hibino of the League of Women Voters.

All candidates likely wanted to weigh in on the troubles surrounding Rockville Town Center, but only the first group was asked about it. To their credit, each candidate had one or more specific strategies they would implement to tackle the Town Center crisis if elected. 

Charles Littlefield, who has served on the Rockville Planning Commission since 2013 and helped shape the Rockville Pike Plan and the City's Master Plan update, proposed moderately-priced commercial units be added as a policy, just as moderately-priced living units have been for residential development. Richard Gottfried, a licensed CPA for 29 years in Rockville who nearly won a seat in the 2015 election, called for "an honest conversation" to be had about Town Center. He noted that VisArts only pays $1 per square foot for space that might be leased to others for far more, and that the complicated finances around the parking at Rockville Town Square don't allow for easy solutions. Gottfried also criticized subsidies from City taxpayers that have gone to Dawson's Market in the last year.

Kuan Lee - an attorney with the Social Security Administration and Rockville Board of Appeals appointee - and Donald Masters - a business owner and member of Rockville's Climate Change Committee - zeroed in on the high rents at the Square, which is owned by Federal Realty. "The biggest short term issue is dealing with Federal Realty," Masters said. 

Brigitta Mullican, a former federal employee who has lived and served on numerous City boards and volunteer organizations in Rockville for over fifty years, said voters she has spoken to campaigning door to door across the city have strongly agreed with her proposal to offer free parking at Rockville Town Square after 5:00 PM and on weekends. Suzan Pitman, a three-term President of the East Rockville Civic Association who played a major role in the recent master plan for that area, said the next Mayor and Council should give "serious attention" to the findings of the Urban Land Institute report on the troubles of Town Center.

When the issue of Gov. Larry Hogan's I-270 Express Lanes plan was raised, only Mullican expressed strong support, saying it is "absolutely false" that property would be taken for it. Littlefield suggested Hogan spend more time trying to attract corporations to locate near Rockville, so that residents wouldn't have to deal with long commutes. Montgomery County hasn't attracted a major corporate headquarters in over twenty years. 

Gottfried said he would push to restrict Maryland's power of eminent domain in such instances, and would favor two reversible lanes instead of Hogan's plan. Pitman preferred to spend on anything else but roads - favoring transit, bike lanes and crosswalks instead. Masters said he would focus on two choke points: the American Legion Bridge, and the narrow segment of I-270 as it nears Frederick County.

The future of RedGate Golf Course will be a major issue the next Mayor and Council will confront. Monique Ashton, a senior vice-president at Ogilvy who has served as President of the College Gardens Elementary PTA and on the City's APFS workgroup, and pediatrician and Navy veteran David Myles both said listening to nearby residents should be the top priority. Ashton, an MCCPTA cluster coordinator for Rockville schools - who, in that capacity, played multiple roles in establishing Bayard Rustin ES' naming, boundaries, principal selection and the school's first PTA - proposed building housing for veterans on the site, as well as retaining significant green space.

Ashton and James Hedrick, a 5-year resident who has worked at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Federal Housing Finance Agency - in addition to serving on the Board of Rockville Housing Enterprises - both supported building an amphitheatre on the site. Hedrick said more parks and athletic fields are needed on the east side of the city, and that RedGate would be an ideal location for some of them. 

Matthew Perkins, a Montgomery County native who has lived in Rockville since 1999, said he would like to see green space at RedGate split between developed parks and undeveloped parkland. Cynthia Cotte Griffiths, executive director of an immigration legal services firm and past editor of Rockville Central and Rockville View, said that as a member of a Boy Scout family she would like to preserve as much green space on the property as possible. 

Incumbent Councilmember Mark Pierzchala said the varied terrain of RedGate alone will require exempting 30-40 acres from development. He argued that development on the site could provide funds for new attractions in the Town Center area. Fellow incumbent Beryl Feinberg called for housing for veterans and those with disabilities first, and what she called "the missing middle," a recently-trendy term for housing aimed at those who make too much to qualify for MPDUs - but not enough to afford market rate housing.

The second group got to weigh in on another hot potato they'll juggle if elected: the future of the Rockshire Village Shopping Center. Developers have so far failed to come up with a plan that can win popular support, comply with City zoning, and navigate existing parking commitments to an adjacent church and community pool.

No candidate openly said he or she would not protect the church and swimming pool concerns. Ashton, Cotte Griffiths, and Myles stressed involving the community, which has already organized and presented a coherent message at past community meetings. Ashton called for the project to take into account the community requests regarding church parking and the pool. Cotte Griffiths noted that any developer will need a zoning change to get residential, and that this reality gives residents significant leverage in future discussions on the shopping center. Hedrick and Pierzchala envisioned any redevelopment to be mixed-use in nature.

With a discussion on sanctuary cities, the second group was on the hot seat for a third time. Illegal immigration is a lightning rod in local and national politics, and no candidate opposed the City's policy that police officers should not ask anyone for their citizenship status. But Feinberg objected to the sanctuary label, arguing that neither Rockville nor Montgomery County meet the official definition of sanctuary communities in her view. 

Feinberg expressed concern about the first vote by mail election in the City when that topic was addressed. While candidates mainly said they hoped it would boost voter participation, Feinberg warned that the 8:00 PM cut-off for accepting ballots by mail would lead to votes not being counted. She recommended the policy be changed to accepting any ballot postmarked by Election Day.

When the mayoral candidates took the stage, it seemed like there would be more time for in-depth discussion with only two in the race, but the format remained the same - which was probably welcomed by most in the audience, given the decision to schedule a debate for the dinner hour.

Town Center was again at the top of the issue list. Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton described her actions immediately following Dawson's Market's earthshaking announcement it was closing last October, and how that closure was then prevented - including an unprecedented public meeting that included all stakeholders, and the commissioning of the ULI study. Newton pushed back against a rumor floated earlier in the evening that Dawson's was again threatening to close, after having received taxpayer subsidies over the last year. "Please don't spread that around - it's not true," she said. 

Virginia Onley said the top priority in saving Town Center must be increasing housing density there, to provide sufficient foot traffic to support the businesses. Parking must also be addressed, she said.

On the Hogan I-270 plan, Onley honed in on mass transit as the solution and alternative. Newton argued that toll roads have failed in states like Indiana, but said she was pleased that Hogan has at least committed to keeping the project within the current right-of-way, echoing Mullican's earlier point on land seizure concerns.

Another big community concern that has been overshadowed by more controversial ones this year is the future of the Georgetown Hill Day Care and swimming pool site. Most in the neighborhood want the pool to be restored after the property was devastated by fire in January.

Both mayoral candidates promised to do what they could to make that happen. "Residents really want that pool to come back," Onley said. Reopening the pool would be an "unbelievable win" for the neighborhood, Newton concurred, but added that she would like to see more pools built citywide.

Asked about their leadership styles, both considered a sense of humor important when personal conflicts threaten to boil over. Onley told a humorous story about how she dealt with a colleague who would leave important meetings to smoke when she was at IBM. But she added that she can also be firm when needed. "I speak softly, but I carry a big stick," Onley said.

Newton likewise found it helpful to deploy humor during a tense meeting, but also considered "communication, trust and respect" as equally important to reaching consensus in a diverse group. 

Overall, no candidate bombed out last night, and there were no notable gaffes - impressive, considering that many of these candidates had never participated in a political debate before. Admirably, there were no personal attacks. I thought it was interesting that, while there are two formal slates of candidates (and others running independently), not a single member of a slate mentioned them until Onley in her closing statement plug for Team Rockville (Rockville Forward is the second formal slate in the election).

Occasionally, a candid comment also broke through the policy discussions. "Sometimes I upset an awful lot of people," Pierzchala said of his often-controversial takes on growth and development density. When asked to give an example of a difficult situation with colleagues that she successfully resolved, Newton replied, "If you've watched enough meetings..." Both remarks garnered some knowing chuckles from those in the audience who follow Rockville politics closely.

The next televised debate is scheduled for Wednesday, October 2, 2019 from 1:00-2:30 PM at the Thomas Farm Community Center, located at 700 Fallsgrove Drive.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Poke Papa opens at Montgomery Mall

Poke Papa is now open in the Dining Terrace at Westfield Montgomery Mall. The latest arrival in the raw fish poke bowl trend, Poke Papa offers touchscreen ordering to customize your meal. They started in the area with a location on H Street in the District, and it took 13 months to open this location from the original announcement, so people have been waiting a long time for this.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Jersey Mike's Fallsgrove open in Rockville

Jersey Mike's has opened at the Fallsgrove Village Center in Rockville. There's no shortage of sandwich options here now, with Panera Bread and Starbucks in the same shopping center. Certainly the sandwich size will be heartiest at Jersey Mike's. All bets are off if the Hot Now light is on at Krispy Kreme, though...

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Climate activists may shut down commuter routes into D.C. Monday morning with #ShutDownDC protests

Climate activists are threatening to block major roadways commuters use to reach downtown Washington, D.C. Monday morning, September 23, 2019, as part of an ongoing series of protests to coincide with the United Nations Climate Action Summit. Participating organizations are not revealing which roads or intersections they plan to blockade during an action they are calling #ShutDownDC.

Montgomery County, the County Council, and the County Department of Transportation are apparently asleep at the switch, and have not released any statements on the expected protests or possible delays. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has released a statement warning commuters to plan several alternative routes to your destination, or to take public transportation. "The groups have planned first-amendment protected events on Monday to potentially include the intentional disruption of traffic on high-volume roadways around the District," the statement says.

With no way to know what these folks have planned, it would be wise to plan ahead and check traffic reports before leaving for work Monday morning - and give yourself extra time to get there, if your route is affected.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Montgomery County Council vape shop bill poised to set economic destruction record

Would be third County economic sector
totally wiped out this decade after
food trucks, nightlife

The Montgomery County Council is poised to set a world record this fall - and it's not one to be proud of. Known for a record of economic failure, high taxes, jammed roads, failing schools and banning stuff, the Council is turning to that last font once again with a new vape shop bill and zoning text amendment package. To call it heavy-handed would be an understatement - it would literally require almost every single vape shop in Montgomery County "to close within 24 months." In doing so, the Council would destroy an entire sector of the County's economy - vaping and smoke shops - for the third time in a single decade, following their destruction of the food truck and nightlife sectors over the last eight years.

As usual, the Council is not on firm legal or logical ground. No resident should feel comfortable with the County in the hands of elected officials who would destroy a whole sector of the economy without even having a knowledge of the topic and industry they are "cracking down" on. If one did have a grasp of the basic facts, he would not be introducing a bill based entirely on hyperbole and panic generated by misleading media reports.

Vaping hysteria is suddenly and mysteriously sweeping the nation. If you believe many media reports, Juul users are keeling over by the dozens. Actually, that's fake news. The majority of "vaping deaths" appear to have resulted from people trying to use unauthorized THC vaping cartridges. THC is the primary active ingredient in marijuana.

Not a single person in Montgomery County or Maryland has died from immediate use of legal, nicotine vaping products. The Council laughably cites three students being hospitalized after "vaping on school grounds." Many, many more students have been hospitalized after using various other drugs on school grounds than that. It is currently illegal for minors to purchase e-cigarettes and vaping products. Why wouldn't the Council crack down on illegal sales, if the real concern was use by minors?

Predictably, no local media outlet is pressing the Council on its latest Draconian solution in search of a problem. Taxpayers will foot the bill for the lawsuits that are sure to follow passage of a bill designed to put specific enterprises out of business.

Once again, the County Council's hypocrisy and doublespeak has been exposed. They said we needed more millennials to move here. They've claimed for years that we needed to allow unlimited development of luxury apartments to attract those millennials. But the development they approve isn't within the price range of most millennials.

They claimed they would make us "hip," and launched the disastrous "Nighttime Economy Initiative" that ended up cratering the nightlife sector countywide, with eighteen nightspots closing in downtown Bethesda alone.

Finally, the Council deep-sixed what was a booming food truck industry by banning the trucks from public streets. Food trucks are a major draw for young professionals in urban areas - you know, the very people the Council said we needed to attract. What does the Council then do? Implode the food truck industry, with 96% of trucks either going out of business or fleeing back into the District, where many of them can be found at lunchtime just over the border in Friendship Heights, D.C.

It's as if the County Council wants to make sure Montgomery County's national reputation as a terrible place for young people and businesses is solidified for all time. Vaping is very popular among young adults. For better or worse, it is "hip," to use the Council's outdated dad-jeans lingo. So no housing, no nightlife, no lunchtime food trucks and no vaping for you, millennials. Enjoy your life in Northern Virginia - heck, that's where your jobs are anyway. Might as well live there, too! Wait, you already do?

And that's the real capstone of the Kill Vaping Bill. Despite record-high taxes, County revenue is down, and we are in a structural budget deficit. The Council has driven our economy into the ground over the last two decades, and has failed to attract a single major corporate headquarters in over twenty years. Ultra-rich residents have fled in droves, slashing tax revenues that were being provided by some of our wealthiest denizens, and shuttering storefronts up and down "Montgomery County's Rodeo Drive" in Chevy Chase. And the County's debt, if it were a government department, would be the third-largest department in the County government.

After passing a corruption-bloated, reckless and irresponsible budget in May - and raising taxes in the process - one of the major bond rating agencies sent out an urgent alert warning investors. That means our AAA bond rating is in danger of being downgraded. And just as a recession may be around the corner.

This is the time that the Council would destroy yet another entire sector of our economy, and forgo all of that revenue from a popular consumer product? This is the time that they would, yet again, deter young adults from choosing to live in Montgomery County?

What are these folks smoking?

Gumbo Ya Ya opening at Rockville Town Square

Gumbo Ya Ya is expanding its "Puerto-Nawlins" cuisine from Germantown to Rockville. The Cajun/Puerto Rican restaurant will open a new location at 101 Gibbs Street at Rockville Town Square, formerly home to Ev & Maddy's and Lab Cafe. What started as a food truck at Joint Base Andrews is now becoming a small chain with bricks-and-mortar location number two.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Katsu Go removes sign after owners' dispute

Katsu Go opened at 12238 Rockville Pike with big plans in May - and met with immediate success, capped by recognition in Washingtonian magazine as one of the best new budget restaurants in the region. That success led to the sudden breakup of the ownership group that launched the business just months ago, according to one owner, who said he and a partner were brought in to help launch the restaurant. Both men are now out, he said, and looking for a new Rockville location.

The Katsu Go sign has been removed from the front of the restaurant. But there were still customers dining inside, and steam rising from orders being prepared by staff, when I stopped by. Perhaps it has become like one of those cool bars that doesn't have a sign.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Lighted sign installed at Land's End in Rockville

The sign is up at Land's End at Congressional Plaza on Rockville Pike. Last night it was already lit. The 8500 SF clothing store is expected to open in late fall.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Patisserie Manuel to open at Montgomery Mall

Patisserie Manuel is expanding to Bethesda. L’Academie de Cuisine graduate Claudia Olea started the bakery in the Aspen Hill area, and this year moved to 8810 Brookeville Road. Named for her father, Patisserie Manuel will soon open a new location in the Dining Terrace at Westfield Montgomery Mall, by McDonald's.
Patisserie Manuel offers the standard French-style pastries you would expect to find at an upscale bakery. What sets it apart is the special Chilean pastries you will also find on the menu. And why settle for a Tres Leches Cake when you can order the Four Leches Cake at Patisserie Manuel?

Monday, September 16, 2019

Panera Bread reopens at Fallsgrove Village Center in Rockville

Panera Bread has reopened at the Fallsgrove Village Center in Rockville. Contrary to rumors, the restaurant did not close permanently, but temporarily closed for renovations.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Another Extreme Halloween in Rockville

Halloween will be extreme again in Rockville this year. Extreme Halloween is back at 1616 Rockville Pike with costumes, props and decorations. They are located next to Mattress Firm, at the corner of Rockville Pike and Halpine Road, across from Congressional Plaza.

Police to close Maryland Avenue during dueling immigration rallies today

Dueling rallies between opponents and advocates of Montgomery County's new policy restricting ICE agents' access to County facilities, and to prisoners with federal immigration detainers being released by the County, at 11:00 AM in Rockville today have led Montgomery County police to close parts of two streets.

Maryland Avenue will be closed between Fleet Street and E. Jefferson Street between 8:00 AM this morning and 2:00 PM this afternoon; the rallies are taking place in front of the County Council office building at 100 Maryland Avenue between 11:00 AM and noon.

Vinson Street will be entirely closed during those same hours.

The rally against the County's sanctuary policy will be headlined by television commentator and author Michelle Malkin and conservative commentator and talk radio personality Larry O'Connor. A coalition of progressive, immigration, and faith-based organizations has scheduled a counterprotest at the same location. Expect police to try to keep the two groups separate, but if you are not participating in one side or the other, you'll probably just want to steer clear of this area mid-day today.

Montgomery County Interfaith Community Liaison Rev. Mansfield Kaseman released a statement saying he has advised police that he and his team are available to assist in "maintaining peace" at today's rally, and has discussed the event with County Executive Marc Elrich.

Hiro Sushi closed in Rockville

Hiro Sushi has closed at 5268 Nicholson Lane in the White Flint Plaza shopping center. No reason is posted for the closure. However, I can find no listing online showing the space available for lease yet.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Michelle Malkin, sanctuary opponents to rally Friday in Rockville; counterprotest planned in Montgomery County immigration stand-off

Opponents and advocates of Montgomery County's policy of not detaining prisoners with ICE detainers being released from the Montgomery County jail until federal agents can take them into custody will face off outside the Montgomery County Council building at 100 Maryland Avenue in Rockville tomorrow, Friday, September 13, 2019 from 11:00 AM to noon. A rally headlined by political commentator and author Michelle Malkin and WMAL conservative radio host Larry O'Connor will take place on the steps of the Council building.

Rally organizers say they will call on Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich to withdraw his executive order,"Promoting Community Trust," that put further restrictions on ICE cooperation this year. Elrich has said he will review aspects of the policy, and determine whether to make changes.

Activists and organizations who support the County policy, which has come under national political fire from the Trump administration after eight immigrants in the country illegally were accused of separate sexual assaults of women and children in the County over the last few weeks, are pledging to turn out in force to counter the rally. "Let's drown out the hate with NOISE," Showing Up for Racial Justice - Montgomery County said in a Facebook announcement of their counter-rally, "MoCo Stands with Immigrants," that will take place at the same time and location.

Malkin is touring the country to promote a new book, Open Borders, Inc.: Who's Funding America's Destruction?, the release of which has coincided with the Montgomery County controversy. Others slated to appear at the original rally include Shari Rendall of FAIR, Brad Botwin of Help Save Maryland, author Ying Ma and Montgomery County Republican Party chair Alexander Bush.

The counterprotest will include members of SURJ, host Takoma Park Mobilization, Jews United for Justice, CASA de Maryland, UFCW Local 1994, Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition, Action in Montgomery, JCRC of Greater Washington, Poor People's Campaign, United We Dream, Sanctuary DMV, and other local unions and organizations.

Photo via @michellemalkin Twitter account

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Rockville construction update: Barnes & Noble at Congressional Plaza (Photos)

More news from Congressional Plaza in Rockville today. Construction on the future Barnes & Noble bookstore, opening in 2020, has begun in earnest across several empty storefronts. A covered pedestrian shelter has been erected to protect Plaza patrons during the work, and it also shows that this will be a more-complicated build-out than the typical tenant switchover.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Orangetheory Fitness, CorePower Yoga opening at Congressional Plaza in Rockville

After losing several tenants, Congressional Plaza in Rockville has been adding new ones in spades. Orangetheory Fitness and CorePower Yoga are the latest two officially announced by property owner Federal Realty. Both fitness facilities will be part of a new section of Congressional Plaza they are branding as FITRow.

One space remains to be filled in the FITRow section, which will be next to the future Barnes & Noble bookstore in the north wing of the property. Federal Realty says it found success with its original test of the FITRow concept at its Assembly Row property in Boston. I can say there has been a huge response to the recent announcement of Orangetheory's future location at 7900 Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Bethesda, which bodes well for a warm reception in Rockville.

“FITRow is a lifestyle, a community where people have access to several boutique studios that can evolve with their fitness wants and needs,” Federal Realty Director of Asset Management Kari Glinksi said in a statement this morning. Orangetheory and CorePower will both open in 2020.

Rockville strip mall to be redeveloped as Rock Grove (Photos)

The Shady Grove Professional Building's retail strip mall at the corner of MD 355 and Shady Grove Road is going to be redeveloped as Rock Grove, a more-modern strip retail center. A rendering shown by JBG Smith promises a more modern and attractive appearance, while keeping the same retail use.
Dunkin' Donuts (which is not in the strip mall structure, but rather in the building itself) and Minerva Indian Cuisine are still operating, but other storefronts have been cleared out. It's uncertain which vacated tenants might return in the new center, as JBG Smith is advertising spaces as available in the future Rock Grove Center. It would be nice if they added a fast food restaurant with drive-thru to the parking lot, such as Steak and Shake, Jack-in-the-Box, or Hardee's - any chain currently not found in Montgomery County.


Monday, September 9, 2019

Friendship BBQ opens at Rockville Town Square

Friendship BBQ has opened at 33-E Maryland Avenue at Rockville Town Square. It's not Carolina or Texas barbecue, but Chinese barbecue. The cuisine, and even the wood used to grill the skewers, are native to the Xinjiang region of China, according to property owner Federal Realty.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Rockville construction update: Jersey Mike's Fallsgrove (Photos)

Jersey Mike's looks pretty close to the finish line for opening at the Fallsgrove Village Center. Even the chip bags are in place. What's better - Jersey Mike's at Wintergreen Plaza or Firehouse Subs at Upper Rock? Let me know in the comments below.