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Marriott Development Team Sets Up Construction Email Alerts for Local Businesses, Residents

Blackwell building demolition in downtown Bethesda should be completed Friday

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Demolition of the Blackwell building at the corner of Wisconsin and Norfolk avenues

Glynis Kazanjian

The development team for Marriott International’s new 785,000-square-foot Wisconsin Avenue headquarters and hotel will begin sending regular construction updates through email alerts to better inform businesses and residents of potential impacts to the community, according to a Montgomery County official.

“Starting last week, Boston Properties and The Bernstein Companies are now sending regular updates about construction impacts through email alerts,” Bethesda Regional Service Director Ken Hartman said Wednesday in an email. “Anyone can sign up at http://www.mhqbethesda.com/get-updates/ [to receive them].”

A number of businesses along Woodmont and Norfolk avenues near the site of the future headquarters and a hotel at 7750 Wisconsin Ave. have complained that disruption from the construction and utility work on the streets have caused their businesses to suffer significant revenue losses. Construction began in August and the headquarters is slated to open in 2022.

“It’s been terrible,” Alex Abarca, manager of Union Hardware at 7800 Wisconsin Ave., said Thursday. “They don’t care, that’s how we feel. There’s no place to walk and all the construction people have taken all the parking in the Woodmont [public parking] garage.”

Hartman said Wednesday the disruptive utility work, which has been ongoing for weeks and has involved lane closures and digging trenches in the streets, would soon be finished.

And the demolition of the Blackwell building across the street from Union Hardware and next to Tastee Diner is expected to be completed by the end of Friday, a demolition crew member who works for the subcontractor ACECO said Thursday.

 

However, the removal of debris in the area will continue for a few weeks and delivery of construction materials may impact access to adjacent businesses within the next week or so, according to the developers’ Sept. 10 “Notice of Construction Activity.”

“Every attempt will be made to communicate and coordinate with those businesses beforehand,” the Marriott email alert notice said. “Some parking meters will continue to be bagged, but only during scheduled work hours.”

Hartman also said the following work will occur in the next few weeks, which could impact parking in the area:

  • Backfilling the area in front of the Woodmont Grill once Pepco inspects the work done there;
  • The removal of steel plates from the vault in the sidewalk at Norfolk once manhole covers come in; and
  • Sidewalk repairs where there is temporary asphalt patching, resulting possibly in the temporary closure of a sidewalk;
  • Work by Pepco contractors that may require shifts in traffic in the area.

Hartman said a representative from Boston Properties has contacted “all the stores in the immediate area” of the construction zone.

The owner of Union Hardware, however, said Thursday no one from the development team or the county has recently reached out to him about the construction.

“I complained five weeks ago when they closed off the part of the street in front of my store to place a street closed sign,” owner David Goldberg said. “It was blocking my loading dock.”

Goldberg said he was told by the contractors there was nothing they could do about it.

“There’s nothing I can do, in reality,” Goldberg said. “It’s Marriott. The county’s going to let them do what they do.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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