Friday, March 5, 2021

Indecent exposure at Rockville restaurant

City of Rockville police were called to a restaurant at Rockville Town Square on Tuesday afternoon in response to a report of indecent exposure. The incident occurred at a restaurant in the 100 block of Gibbs Street around 4:47 PM, according to crime data. 

Thursday, March 4, 2021

More Rockville office space to become residential

The moribund Montgomery County economy, and the failure of County officials to attract even a single major corporate headquarters to the county in over 25 years, continues to severely impact the real estate market. With little demand for office space, the county has watched revenue plummet as higher taxes must replace the lost commercial revenue, and those taxes impel the wealthy to flee to lower-tax jurisdictions. Now more planned office space in Fallsgrove is expected to become residential, when the Rockville planning commission approves an amendment allowing that on March 10, 2021.

This is far from the first time land in Rockville that was meant to provide jobs and eliminate commutes for a number of residents has been lost to residential housing. The latest flip will allow 210981 square feet of potential office space to instead be used for up to 350 units of multifamily housing. This will not only eliminate planned office space, but also exceed the caps on building height and total multifamily units allowed in the Fallsgrove master plan.

The proposed residential building would be 76' tall. Parking would be above-ground underneath the residential floors, and on surface lots around the building. A 19000 SF pocket park, a small playground, and a shared-use path along Research Boulevard would be constructed as part of the new development.

Developer Lerner Enterprises' "statement of justification" for the request states that "unsuccessful efforts to market the Property for office use for more than a decade due to the lack of market interest, coupled with the challenges the Applicant has had in leasing their two office buildings in Fallsgrove proper, are the driving forces behind the subject Project Plan Amendment.” It also notes that existing office buildings at 14955 and 14995 Shady Grove Road currently have a high number of vacant units.

Rockville planning staff has made including 2000 SF or less of retail space a condition of approval for the amendment. Lerner says there is no market for retail at that location, and that including it will compromise the successful design of the planned residential building. The company also notes that the retail market in Rockville is weak, citing Rockville Town Square as an example. 

Staff is recommending approval of the project plan amendment, with 13 conditions. If passed, the approval will be transmitted to the Mayor and Council for their approval.

Lerner's statement calls the possibility of Montgomery County's office market rebounding "a remote event." The developer hired Avison Young to study MoCo's office market in general. "The Avison Young reports confirmed that the office market overall in Montgomery County is not strong," Lerner wrote.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Rockville-based Gemma Gelato now available at Dawson's Market

Gemma Gelato
is a local Rockville company producing artisan, Italian-style gelato and vegan sorbetto from scratch daily. Their products have previously been available at local farmers markets, but just got even more convenient to buy. Gemma Gelato is now available at Dawson's Market at 225 N. Washington Street at Rockville Town Square. They will also soon be sold through another Rockville grocer, MOM's Organic Market, and you can ship their products directly to your door by ordering online. 

Photo courtesy Gemma Gelato

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Assault reported at Rockville nursing home

Montgomery County police responded to a report of a second-degree assault at a nursing home in Rockville Sunday afternoon, February 28, 2021. The assault was reported at a nursing home in the 200 block of Hurley Avenue around 3:23 PM, according to crime data.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Rockville Metro pedestrian bridge repairs to begin today

WMATA is scheduled to finally begin repairs on the skybridge connecting Rockville Town Center to the Rockville Metro station today. The bridge has been closed since last summer, when glass panels on it suddenly shattered. Repair work on all the deficiencies of the bridge is scheduled to take seven months. 

Users of the convenient bridge have two options during the closure. A shuttle bus will run in between Monroe Street and the Metro station every 5-to-10 minutes during Metrorail operating hours. And a pedestrian detour route has been set up, running along Monroe Place. See the map above to plan the detour that works for you (click map to enlarge).

Friday, February 26, 2021

Clear Skies Meadery coming to Rockville

Clear Skies Meadery
is coming to Rockville. They will be located at 15201 Display Court, in the Southlawn industrial area. Their new facility will include on-site production of mead, office space, and a tasting area. Clear Skies Meadery has an existing location at 325 Main Street in Gaithersburg.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

New Rockville Dunkin' offering Tap System Tuesdays through March 9

Rockville's newest Dunkin', which opened recently at 14801 Southlawn Drive, is offering a special Tap System Tuesdays promotion every Tuesday through March 9, 2021. For $2, guests can order a Small Cold Brew or Nitro Cold Brew served from the restaurant’s Premium Pours tap system.

You may notice from the photos that the design of this Dunkin building is unique compared to other locations. The differences are more than cosmetic. This location is 25% more energy efficient than the standard Dunkin' store design. It has digital ordering kiosks inside the store, and the fastest-ever Dunkin' drive-thru experience using the Dunkin' app.