Friday, July 31, 2020

Rockville planning commission to review Wegmans, Twinbrook Quarter Phase 1 site plan

The Rockville Planning Commission will review the Phase 1 site plan for B.F. Saul's Twinbrook Quarter mixed-use development at 1500-1616 Rockville Pike, which includes a Wegmans grocery store, at its August 5, 2020 virtual meeting. If approved, Phase 1 will include up to 460 apartment units, 270,000 square feet of office space, a 92,000 square foot Wegmans, 12,000 square feet of restaurant use, and 17,000 square feet of retail use.

One new element in the plan is a potential daycare facility within the structure, with a capacity for up to 135 children. Phase 1 will also include construction of Festival Street and another extension of Chapman Avenue, including its intersection with Festival Street.

Planning staff is recommending approval of the site plan. The project is adjacent to the Twinbrook Metro station at Halpine Road.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Main Street Apartments virtual ribbon-cutting scheduled for today at 5 PM

The official opening of the Main Street Apartments at 50 Monroe Place in Rockville will be marked with a virtual ribbon-cutting online today, July 30, 2020, at 5:00 PM. Guests of honor who will appear on the webcast will include Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen (D), U.S. Representative Jamie Raskin (D - Maryland District 8), Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich (D) and Main Street Connects founders Jillian and Scott Copeland.

You can register to join the virtual ribbon-cutting online now. Main Street Apartments is a unique development, in that 25% of the apartments have been set aside for adults with disabilities, and 75% of the overall units are reserved for low-income residents at below-market rates. A community center on the building's ground floor is designed to be a welcoming gathering space for residents and non-residents alike.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Armed robbery in Rockville; two cars stolen in 24 hours

An armed robbery was reported to Rockville police Sunday night, July 26, 2020. The robbery took place in a wooded area in the 400 block of Casey Lane in Fallsgrove around 11:30 PM. A gun was the weapon used in the robbery, according to crime data.

In other Rockville crime news, two cars were reported stolen in one 24-hour period on July 27. The first was taken from a commercial parking lot in the 1400 block of Research Boulevard. A second vehicle was stolen from a residential parking lot in the 10800 block of Antigua Terrace.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Bagel City contents to be auctioned off in August

Bagel City has permanently closed at the Pike Center on Rockville Pike. Now the contents of the shuttered bakery and deli will be auctioned off online next month. Items available for bid will include a 2-barrel Triumph mixer, a convection oven, bakery display cases and a cappuccino machine. Bidding will take place online on August 6, 2020.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Subway closes at Federal Plaza

No more $5 Footlongs at Federal Plaza. Subway has closed, their signage is gone, and their space has been totally cleared out. Usually we can blame the moribund Montgomery County economy or - more recently - the coronavirus, but the struggling sub chain has been closing an average of three locations a day according to Restaurant Business Online.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Rockville speed camera lit on fire

A Montgomery County speed camera that issues tickets to drivers was vandalized and lit on fire on July 17, 2020, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue spokesperson Pete Piringer said today. Anti-law-enforcement words were spray painted on the camera, the lenses were covered, and then the camera unit was lit ablaze.

The camera was located in the 400 block of Hurley Avenue, near Wootton Mill Park, in Rockville. Piringer asked that anyone with information related to this incident contact the MCFRS Arson Hotline at 240-777-2263.

Photo via Pete Piringer/MCFRS

Thursday, July 23, 2020

7-Eleven opens at Montgomery Mall

7-Eleven has opened at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. The store is located at the entrance to the Dining Terrace on Level 2.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Richard Montgomery football coach, others speak out on MCPS cancelling fall, winter sports

Montgomery County Public Schools announced Tuesday that all sports for fall and winter have been cancelled, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The announcement was one line in a larger announcement that no on-site instruction will take place in MCPS for the fall semester. Many coaches and athletes' reactions ranged from resigned disappointment to devastation and anger.

One common theme among those opposed to cancelling sports was to question why fall and winter sports could not be either postponed or rescheduled for a different part of the school year, rather than have a lost season. Randy Thompson, head coach for the Richard Montgomery High School varsity football team, summed up these matters - and the short-shrift the sports decision was given in the MCPS statement - in one tweet.

"The announcement from MCPS to cancel fall and winter sports instead of to postpone and reevaluate, seems unjust to our student athletes, certainly given the fashion in which it passed over in a single sentence," Thompson tweeted. "Why not [reevaluate] 1 month from now, two months from now?," tweeted Quince Orchard High School head football coach John Kelley.

An online petition has been started to play fall and winter sports in the spring. At the same time, some MCPS parents expressed relief at the announcement, believing that having students gathering for practices and games would have put the larger community at risk for Covid-19 transmission.

Thompson, Albert Einstein High School football defensive coordinator Joe Bruneel, and other MCPS coaches vowed to do what they could to salvage some benefit for their student athletes this coming school year. Bruneel proposed football coaches across the system organize for a spring football season. Thompson said he would try to get his players on film to showcase their talents for colleges.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Outdoor seating at Silver Diner in Rockville

The outdoor seating at Silver Diner at 12276 Rockville Pike at Federal Plaza is among the most upscale in Montgomery County. Compared to scattered tables - sometimes with umbrellas - plunked down in parking spaces at other shopping centers, Silver Diner's is more like a garden party. A full-size tent covers the outdoor seating, and it even includes plants for decoration.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Barnes & Noble sets opening date for Congressional Plaza store in Rockville

Books arriving on shelves
at relocating store

Last week the Nook e-readers arrived at the new Barnes & Noble at Congressional Plaza on Rockville Pike. This weekend, books began being put on the shelves. The Starbucks BN Cafe is ready, and now I have the opening date for the store: Wednesday, August 5, 2020. Barnes & Noble is relocating here from Montrose Crossing down the Pike.

Friday, July 17, 2020

BN Cafe completed, Nook readers arrive at Barnes & Noble at Congressional Plaza

The Starbucks BN Cafe at the future Barnes & Noble bookstore at Congressional Plaza is complete, minus potential wall artwork. It's sure to stir cafe-envy in Bethesda residents stuck with the small and cafe-less Amazon Books as replacement for the shuttered Barnes & Noble at Bethesda Row.

First to hit the shelves at this relocating Rockville location? Nook e-readers. I'll take a hard copy book over one of those any day of the week, though.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Crumbl Cookies opening in Rockville

A cookie shop? This brings back memories of an age when Mrs. Field's was a ubiquitous mall tenant like Auntie Anne's and Cinnabon. Let's pretend to return to a golden age of warm cookies when Crumbl Cookies opens later this year at Federal Plaza.
This will be the first northeast location of Crumbl Cookies, which also sells ice cream. They've chosen a good location on busy Rockville Pike, and which is also walking distance from Pike & Rose, another Federal Realty property.

They've started construction inside. But the signs are already up outside. I'm a little bit triggered by the name of the Utah-based company, though - fresh, soft cookies shouldn't crumble!

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

ICE arrests alleged sex offender Montgomery County released

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) says it has located and arrested an alleged child sex offender whom Montgomery County released from custody. Rene Atilio Ramos-Hernandez, 56, has been accused of repeated sexual abuse of a child. ICE had lodged a detainer with Montgomery County, asking that Ramos-Hernandez be held upon his release from jail so that ICE agents could take him into custody for deportation. County officials did not hold him, and he was released into the community, where he remained at-large for several weeks.

ICE agents located Ramos-Hernandez at his workplace in the District, and took him into custody, the agency said in a statement Tuesday. “Our fugitive operations team safely carried out this arrest in the community, but this required additional time and resources when he could have safely been transferred to ICE custody within the secure confines of the Montgomery County Detention Center,” acting Baltimore Field Office Director Francisco Madrigal said.

In their statement, ICE notes that Ramos-Hernandez also has convictions for driving while intoxicated and driving on a suspended license in Fairfax County, and for driving while intoxicated in Montgomery County, Maryland. The agency says he will remain in ICE custody until an immigration judge issues a final order of deportation for him.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

TGI Fridays creates outdoor seating in Rockville

The TGI Fridays at 12147 Rockville Pike in the Pike Center didn't have the benefit of their own dedicated patio for outdoor dining. But they have improvised to create room by using space in the parking lot outside the restaurant. Tables with umbrellas have been set up inside of fenced-off areas.