Here’s your retail & restaurant scoop for the week of Oct. 11, 2018.
Life Time Athletic eyeing the mall
Big news on the fitness front: We’re hearing that Life Time Athletic is making plans for a posh new location at Westfield Montgomery mall. The club would offer similar amenities to Life Time’s two-year-old location in Gaithersburg, including a restaurant, a spa and possibly a swimming pool. Mall-based clubs are a new initiative for Life Time, which opened a massive one just this week in Oklahoma City. At Westfield Montgomery, construction would take about two years and would likely start after the Sears store is demolished next winter. The new gym would be part of a major upcoming expansion for Westfield Montgomery; click here for more in our June 21st issue. (Editor’s note: For an update on this story, click here for our Oct. 25th edition.)
Construction begins at Cabin John
Cabin John Village will begin a new round of construction on Monday (Oct. 15th), kicking off a nine-month project that will transform the center’s outdated facade and front parking lot. It’s the next phase of a long-term master plan from D.C. developer Edens, which has been studying the community’s needs since it bought Cabin John two years ago. “We heard you, we watched, we observed, we listened,” says spokesman Meghann Klein. The ’70s-style maroon roofline is going away, to be replaced by a clean, contemporary design with a wood under-canopy and updated lighting. New landscaping, benches and tables will be added throughout the property, especially in the area outside Goldberg’s Bagels. The front parking lot will be re-paved and reconfigured, with brighter lights, wider spaces and curbside parking for quick trips. Also on the way: decorative string lights and better signage. “The property is going to feel more homey, more like a neighborhood,” Klein says. All businesses will remain open during construction, which should be done by next spring.
More closings in downtown Rockville
Rockville Town Square took another hit this week with the closing of Pandora Seafood House & Bar, which replaced the failed American Tap Room just a year ago. The glitzy restaurant, which is exiting amidst legal battles over its rent and lease agreement, joins Mellow Mushroom and Dawson’s Market in a fall exodus that may not be over yet. The nearby Apollo restaurant also is planning to leave, Samovar has been closed for several weeks due to water damage, and some other Town Square tenants say they may not stay much longer. At a jam-packed community meeting this week, two types of complaints were voiced repeatedly: Rents are too high for tenants to make a profit, and visitors resent paying for parking when it’s free at almost every other shopping center in Rockville.
Parking is back at Wildwood
Parking at Wildwood got a whole lot easier this week as the Bethesda shopping center wrapped up construction in its front lot. When the second phase of the buildout is completed next spring, the center will have gained 42 new parking spaces plus a new outdoor common area with tables, chairs and lounges. Also: In case you’ve been hearing some buzz that parking meters are on the way, owner Federal Realty tells us those rumors are not true. Parking at Wildwood will continue to be free.
Coco Blanca on the way out
On a sadder note for the Shops at Wildwood, the charming Coco Blanca boutique is closing its doors after a three-year run. This was the third and last location for Coco Blanca, which started at National Harbor and also had a store in Old Town Alexandria. The chain had an avid following for its tone-on-tone mix of clothing, accessories and home goods, but owners say they’re ready to move on. Doors will remain open until Thanksgiving weekend, unless the inventory sells out sooner.