Tag Archives: bethesda

Breaking News: Amazon Bookstore Coming to Bethesda

Looks like a few folks (including our friends at Bethesda Magazine) have heard that Amazon will be opening a bookstore in the Urban Country space.

Wonderful news although I wish they had take the Barnes and Nobles space!!!

 

 

First in a series: Reflections on “Capital of the Future.”

First in a series: Reflections on “Capital of the Future.”
I recently dug out an old copy of the Washingtonian from April 2015 that featured hopes, dreams and predictions for our regions future. It struck me that it might be quite interesting to pull out various nuggets from the magazine and see if the ideas seemed plausible, possible, on track or unrealistic two years on.
I know bits of this series will be about the world just outside Bethesda but we are in an increasingly connected area and I think that this series has real relevance for Bethesda.
I’d love your thoughts on each idea/ vision — do you share it, love it or hate it?
Let’s start with a piece from “Capital of the Future” on White Flint and Montgomery County for Millennials (and their kin) which begins:
“Why should the big city get all the young people? That’s an argument behind an argument to rebuild a stretch of Rockville Pike as a 24 hour play ground for car free millennials.”
The piece goes on to discuss the White Flint Sector plan and concludes with this comment from Lindsay Hoffman, former director of Friends of White Flint: ” If you asked me the one thing I’m afraid of, it’s that we’re going to build all this and no one will come.”
So friends, what do you think? Two years on from this article, is the White Flint development living up to the hype?
My take is that a lot is going right at the moment, the Pike and Rose development particularly with the new brew pubs, restaurants, condos and hotels is a big draw and is changing the area dramatically, and, I believe, positively.
The White Flint area is proving to be a big draw for newcomers and others simply looking for a change of scene.
I have had good discussions with investors who are looking to buy property in the surrounding community to take advantage of the growth and development.
The only real concern I have at this moment is whether White Flint can deliver on their post-car transportation vision. More support is needed for metro and we need to see more money put into bike lanes and rapid transport.
What do you think? Do you like the direction White Flint is going in or do you have concerns?
Please let me know!
As an aside, see link below for more info and remember I am always happy to discuss White Flint and the real estate implications (residential, commercial and investment) one on one.

Marriott Finalizes Details for Downtown Bethesda Move

This is an important moment. Marriott announces:

“…that it has signed agreements with the Bernstein Cos. and Boston Properties for the new corporate headquarters and flagship Marriott Hotel at 7500 Wisconsin Ave….The $600 million Bethesda campus will include a 22-story office building connected by a landscaped public plaza to the Marriott-branded hotel.”

This has massive implications for the downtown Bethesda area – more workers, residents and visitors. That brings real opportunities in the real estate, food and entertainment spaces but also challenges to schooling and transportation.

What do you think of this move? Drop me an email to raj@rajabout.com

Summer in Bethesda

Well friends, another day and another season! Today feels like early summer, a balmy 70 degrees or so is the projected high and it is already a glorious day. If you are like me when it comes to the weather, you probably have two conflicting feelings about this:

1. A feeling of happiness brought about by blue sky, warm “summer” rays, a lack of humidity and (so far) no mosquitoes.

2. A feeling of panic that the climate is completely out of wack and we are all, in the years to come, in trouble unless we can collectively take action really, really quickly!

My solution to this contradiction is the following: restore your spirits by walking and enjoying the amazing weather AND channel some of your restored energy into reminding our leaders (elected and otherwise) that they need to do much more about climate change (paging Gov. Hogan).

So, in the spirit of renewal, take a look at this picture from my morning walk (and please feel free to share your own at raj@rajabout.com):

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What’s Hot in 2017: YIMBY!

Confused? Well, full confession – I wasn’t particularly familiar with this concept but basically it means:
“Yes in my back yard!” and is a movement about sustainability of energy, housing, technology, infill construction and the like. It is seen as a contrast to “NIMBY” – which stands for “Not in My Backyard.”

Someone I was discussing the Purple line with recently noted that it has seen a fight between these two groups and that they saw 2017 as a year when the YIMBY movement would go mainstream.

So what would that mean for Bethesda? Well, we have no shortage of infill construction but I would hope that developers would be pushed to increase energy efficiency, sustainability etc. as part of the YIMBY effort.

What do you think? Do you agree with the YIMBY concept? Is the Purple line a NIMBY v YIMBY fight or is that too symplistic.

As ever — email thoughts to raj@rajabout.com and we will publish the most interesting!

Bethesda Restaurant Week

Bethesda Restaurant Week is winding down friends but you still a couple of days left. We enjoyed Mon Ami Gabi at the start of restaurant week and found the food to be terrific and a good value. Might try and pop over to Cesco before the week is up and see what their menu is like.

Let us know what your favorite spot was for restaurant week – drop me an email at raj@rajabout.com

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Happy New Year Bethesda

Dear readers,

I just wanted to take a moment to wish you and your loved ones a Happy New Year!

I have noticed that many pundits, writers etc. have marked the change from 2016-2017 by noting how terrible the last year was and how relieved they are to move into 2017.

My take is slightly different. It is true that there were elections both in the US and around the world that seemed to be filled with negativity but, hidden in plain sight, so many positive things happened last year. Many of these are global and big picture in nature – US carbon emissions dropped, a ninth planet was discovered and Colombia moved closer to peace.

But, in some ways, of equal significance were the millions of positive things that happened much closer to home.

Let me give you three with a local twist:

1. At a local and global level – Bethesda’s NIH started Zika vaccine trials and showed an ability to assist infected people.

2. Bethesda’s Katie Ledecky dominated the Rio Olympic games.

3. Bethesda Green and Bethesda Magazine awarded prizes to groups of individuals and businesses for their contribution to greening our community.

Please email me your thoughts on the best things that happened in 2016 – from the personal to the local to the global.

We will feature the best ones – my email, as ever, raj@rajabout.com

 

 

Nazi symbols in the Bathroom and the End of the Work/Personal Life Divide

Dear readers – the following piece is more sobering and serious than many of our usual posts but in light of recent stories from Bethesda area schools I thought it necessary. Please feel free to email me with thoughts at raj@rajabout.com. I should note, for the record, that these comments are in my individual capacity (as ever) and should not be attributed in any way to any organization I am affiliated with (be that in real estate, academia or otherwise). Thank you!

Nazi symbols in the Bathroom and the End of the Work/Personal Life Divide

In the days since the conclusion of the 2016 Presidential election, the country has been roiled by emotion. From unconfined joy to utter despair, supporters of each candidate have reacted in ways that reflect the polarized, winner take all nature of our current body politic. Much of that is to be expected and understood, the stakes were high in this last election and the competing visions seemed worlds apart.

What has caught many off guard, although warning signs were there during the campaign, has been the sharp spike in racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic incidents in the days since the polls closed. Stories of despicable behavior are being shared with every increasing frequency. From school children targeting Latino classmates with chants about deportation and slurs being aimed at Indian Americans pumping gas, to Nazi symbols daubed on places of worship and cruel targeting of LGBT youth, there is a sense that decency has lost at the ballot box.

Unfortunately, at time of writing, the President elect has added fuel to the fire by picking a leader of the US Alt-Right movement as his senior White House advisor, a fact that is as disappointing as it is unsurprising. Elections have consequences is an old adage but the more important one is that great leadership brings with it great responsibility, and we must all hope, though perhaps not rely on, that lesson being eventually grasped by the next President.

Without leadership we have a vacuum. And that is really what I wanted to discuss in this post. What this election and its aftermath has started to bring into sharp relief is that it will be hard to put the genie of decency back in the bottle. When Nazi symbols are being daubed on the walls of Westland Middle and Burning Tree Elementary in Bethesda, it is past time for the community to react. We all must speak out publicly and unreservedly to condemn these actions and those who perpetrated them. More than that, we need to demand that all stakeholders recognize the new realities we are facing and develop tangible plans to unite our community against the hatred and intolerance that has been unleashed.

While I hope and believe that these steps can be taken, let me be clear, it is not enough. You see, I have high hopes that our community will make it through this period and emerge stronger and, yes, more united. However, for other communities around the country, the future is a lot less certain. What levers do the Muslim and Latino communities of this country have to pull when faced with chants about deportation and walls? A lot fewer than those of us who are fortunate to live here in progressive Bethesda or other similar places.

In light of that, it is up to us, those more privileged (due to education, wealth and role in society) to do much, much more. I have been blessed to be part of the Bethesda community for the best part of a decade and have come to understand that we have, among us, talent and influence on a scale that few communities can match. Now, after this election, we have to use those strengths to directly challenge the rise of hate we are seeing across the country.

What am I asking of you? In short, to rethink the way your personal beliefs about society and professional life interact. Yes, you should sign petitions and donate to organizations that are on the right side of these issues, but recognize that is no way close to being sufficient. When a country sees its very fabric begin to unravel, its citizens have an obligation to act not only during their private time but during their professional time. For example, if you run a contracting firm with high level political contacts,  referencing your profound concerns with those you are connected to is infinitely more significant than signing an e-petition to the White House.

I strongly believe that a community such as ours, can lead the way in resisting the tide of intolerance. And we can do so by making clear that everyone, from the President on down, has a responsibility to stand firmly and publicly against the hatred that this campaign has unleashed.

 

 

The Morning After the Night Before Election 2016

Well, that was a surprise. I suspect a few of our community members will need a pick me up this morning/ day.

SO – here are our top 3 picks to recover from Election 2016:

1. Lunch at Passion Fish – good food and those omega’s are good for the heart

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2. Satsuma for Udon Noodles – Asian comfort food at its best

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3. Lilit Cafe – for all sorts of sweet goodness!

 

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Important Report on Binge Drinking

A hat tip to our friends at Patch for reporting on this important health and safety issue – a recent townhall meeting on binge drinking in Bethesda.

Our kid is still really young but as reports and discussions like this surface, it becomes clear that it is never too early  to start paying attention to issues like this.