Bethesda Lane: Another Success in Downtown Bethesda
Downtown "Bethesda Lane" Is A Hit!
Bethesda Lane is here! For years the “old” Giant on Arlington remained hostage to a well-intentioned appeals process. There were those who felt that the County’s decision to allow for the construction of a five-story building (where the Master Plan only called for four stories) was not only incorrect, but also flawed in its execution. In the end, Federal Realty won the battle and construction began on what was to become Bethesda Lane
Now that construction of the project is 99% completed (with just a few stores and restaurants still working on their interiors), the reaction of the public appears to be 100% favorable. With apartments above and retail on the ground floor, the key to this exciting new project is a pedestrian mall that links Bethesda Avenue and Elm Street. Last Friday evening, at about 9PM, this wide walkway was packed with singles, couples, families, children and pets. The recent opening of Dolcezza Gelato was obviously a huge hit, with a long line of people waiting to enjoy this frozen treat. As an exercise/yoga fanatic, I am thrilled to have both Lucy and Lululemon Athletica in the neighborhood and my wonderful sons found a great pair of shoes for me for Mother’s Day at The Little Shoebox. Both Tickled Pink and Urban Country expanded their interior space by moving from other Bethesda locations into Bethesda Lane.
Although it may seem as though Bethesda is not in need of any additional restaurants, Le Pain Quotidien (a waiter told me that this is their 44th location – the original is in Belgium) seems to have quite a following already. Still under construction, both Lebanese Taverna and Redwood Restaurant and Bar (no link yet!) also have other locations or sister restaurants. This makes it easy to predict that they will have immediate success.
So, hooray for Federal Realty! Not only is the building attractive, but it is a great addition to the neighborhood. A little more greenery and additional seating areas in the Lane would make it even more user-friendly, so I hope these are in the final staging plans.