Showing posts with label Gaithersburg. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gaithersburg. Show all posts

Friday, June 21, 2024

Aldi opening in July at Walnut Hill in Gaithersburg (Photos)

Construction has accelerated in the final phase at the Aldi grocery store opening soon at 737 S. Frederick Avenue at the Walnut Hill Shopping Center in Gaithersburg. The store, which is the center's new anchor tenant, is now expected to open on July 24, 2024, according to Google. Signage is up on the storefront, and checkout counters and shelving are in place inside. Operating hours have been posted on the door. This Aldi is likely to draw many customers from communities like King Farm and Upper Rock in Rockville, as well as from Derwood, as it will be more convenient than the 1501 Rockville Pike location.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

NIST begins joint research on Secure Digital ID for public benefits

The U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg has embarked on a collaborative project to adapt NIST's digital identity guidelines to the administration of public benefits programs. These include programs that help beneficiaries pay for food, housing, medical and other living expenses. The initiative gained momentum due to large-scale fraud related to COVID-19 pandemic benefits.

NIST is teaming up with the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University, and the nonprofit Center for Democracy & Technology, on the project. The partners are attempting to balance security concerns with potential impacts on privacy, "due process," and "potential biases in systems that disproportionately impact communities of color and marginalized groups."

"To improve benefits delivery to the U.S. public, it is vital that agencies balance access and security," Undersecretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Laurie E. Locascio said in a statement this morning. "Different populations have different needs, barriers and circumstances that must be considered, and this collaboration will bring together a diverse set of communities to do just that."

Friday, May 17, 2024

Walnut Hill Shopping Center remodeling going full steam, including Gaithersburg-themed mural

The massive makeover of the venerable Walnut Hill Shopping Center at 16529 S. Frederick Avenue in Gaithersburg is going full tilt. We can now see the distinctive storefront facade of the future Aldi grocery store emerging outside the former Weis Markets. All tenants are getting remodeled fronts and new signage. 

What stands out the most at the moment is a new piece of public art. Unlike some of the abstract murals that have popped up around Montgomery County in recent years, this one is 100% Gaithersburg-themed. The Baltimore & Ohio - now CSX - railroad tracks lead off into infinity, if not Chicago. On the right side is the Bowman Bros. Mill, known today as the Granary Row shopping center. There's the clock that stood diagonally across from Diamond Drugs.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Peter Chang opens in Gaithersburg

One of the D.C. area's top chefs chose an auspicious day to open the latest addition to his growing restaurant empire. Peter Chang's new Gaithersburg location at 637 N. Frederick Avenue celebrated its grand opening last night, following a rare solar eclipse. This is Chang's first tapas-style small plates concept. The restaurant also offers a Dim Sum menu. 

During the final countdown to Monday's opening, an artist worked to complete a colorful mural on the exterior of the building. The Gaithersburg venture joins Chang's other successful Montgomery County restaurants in downtown Bethesda, and at Rockville Town Square.

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Walnut Hill Shopping Center seeks Sheetz-related parking waivers from Gaithersburg

Walnut Hill Shopping Center
is seeking approval of changes to its parking lot, and waivers for smaller drive aisles in several spots around the lot, from the City of Gaithersburg. The retail property was recently annexed into the City, and is making many improvements and alterations to successfully bring add an Aldi grocery store and Sheetz convenience store to its tenant roster. Because the future Sheetz will take up a portion of the existing surface parking lot, a reconfiguration of the rest of the parking spaces on the lot is necessary. Walnut Hill is arguing that maintaining a sufficient number of spaces will require waivers to allow several drive aisles to be narrower than allowed under City code.

The drive aisles proposed in several locations around the parking lot would be 20 to 24 feet in width. City of Gaithersburg code requires drive aisles with two-way traffic to be 26' in width. The Gaithersburg Planning Commission will take up the waiver request at its meeting tonight, April 3, 2024, at 7:30 PM. City staff are recommending approval of the waiver request, and have advised that the other proposed changes - which involve adding green space to the parking lot (shown in green on the map below) - be addressed when the site plan for the Sheetz is submitted for approval at a later date.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Gaithersburg, upper Montgomery County residents may see a police drone tonight

Gaithersburg and upper Montgomery County residents may see a police drone flying and hovering over the area tonight. The Montgomery County Police Department announced this morning that it plans an Unmanned Aerial System drone draining session tonight, March 20, 2024 in that area of the county. "[T]here is no reason for alarm," the department said in a statement posted on social media regarding the planned drone maneuvers. MCPD utilizes a DJI Matrice 300 RTK, which operates at altitudes between 200 and 400 feet.

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Naz's Halal Food opening in Gaithersburg

Gaithersburg Square is swapping halal for halal in the same spot. Naz's Halal Food will be opening at the shopping center at 522 N. Frederick Avenue, according to a banner posted on the storefront. That's the same space just vacated by The Halal Guys. So, if you were sad about The Halal Guys inexplicably failing at this location, you can now dry your tears. Great halal food is returning soon to Gaithersburg Square.

Naz's Halal has been around for fewer years than The Halal Guys, but has menu items the Guys don't, like burgers, fish, and Philly cheesesteaks. Of course, you can also order the kind of platters familiar to Halal Guys customers, which make up the heart of the menu here. Montgomery County residents already have familiarity with the chain, as Naz's has locations in Germantown, Rockville, Burtonsville, White Oak and Takoma Park.

Friday, March 8, 2024

Montgomery County's first Wawa opens in Gaithersburg (Photos)

The first Wawa convenience store and mega gas station celebrated its Grand Opening yesterday, March 7, 2024 at 405 S. Frederick Avenue in Gaithersburg. Many of the price promotions for the opening remain in effect through Sunday, as you will see in some of the photos below. The gleaming interior holds, if not every snack you can imagine, every snack you need. 

Located directly across MD 355 from Gaithersburg High School, Wawa has posted a prohibition on having more than two minors inside the store at any time. Backpacks are also prohibited beyond the vestibule of the store. It will be interesting to compare gas prices at this Wawa with competitors Sheetz and Royal Farms up the road in the coming months.

IKEA sets opening date for first Montgomery County store

has set an opening date for its first Montgomery County store, a small-format Plan & Order Point store at 101 Boardwalk Place at Rio Lakefront in Gaithersburg. The store will open on Wednesday, March 13, 2024 at 11:00 AM. A grand opening celebration will be held from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM. There will be giveaways, free food (Swedish meatballs?), and free drinks. Attendees will also be able to compete for prizes in the Spin to Win game. See my sneak peek at the Plan & Order Point interior for an idea of what is in store at Montgomery County's first IKEA store.

"We are thrilled to bring the best of IKEA to our DMV neighbors," IKEA U.S. CEO & Chief Sustainability Officer Javier Quiñones said in a statement. "We’ve seen that customers are still eager for in-person experiences, and we hope that this new Plan and order point with Pick-up provides a new and convenient way to shop."

Monday, March 4, 2024

Gaithersburg to rule on updated signage for Walnut Hill Shopping Center

The venerable Walnut Hill Shopping Center sign is a landmark in itself for drivers traveling through Gaithersburg on MD 355. But like other design features at the center, it is now considered past its prime as the property's owners are amidst a major renovation to update it. There is one other problem - as Walnut Hill was annexed into the City of Gaithersburg to facilitate the addition of a Sheetz convenience store, it is now subject to that city's zoning codes. And those codes say that Walnut Hill's existing signage is not compliant.

Proposed locations of new
monument signs (in red) and
freestanding tenant signage (green)

The Gaithersburg Planning Commission will attempt to resolve all of these issues by reviewing, and potentially voting to approve a comprehensive sign package submitted by Walnut Hill at its March 6, 2024 meeting. Walnut Hill's proposed signage is still not in compliance with city code, but Planning staff are still recommending approval of the package. They note that the new signs will be in the same locations, will assist in safer wayfinding for drivers and pedestrians, and will not be visually obstructive. 

One condition placed on the release of final sign permits from the City is the removal of two Montgomery County stormwater easements at the property. Some of the current and new signs are located within those easements. The City says it is currently working with Montgomery County to have those easements terminated.

Corner monument sign - note the
Sheetz gas station canopy visible in 
the background