As new development sprouts on Wisconsin Avenue, a new chapter will bloom for a longtime local business.
Union Hardware has been a staple of the Bethesda business community for more than 100 years, providing high-end home products on Wisconsin Avenue, and soon the business will move to a new location and merge with another local business.
On Wednesday morning, the Bethesda Downtown Design Advisory Panel discussed a concept plan outlining proposed development to replace the two-story Union Hardware building at 7800 Wisconsin Avenue, a project that would construct a 225-foot-tall mixed-use building. The panel, comprised of architectural and development leaders in Montgomery County, provides recommendations to the county planning department and is guided by the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan.
The proposed 22-story building would have a maximum height of 225 feet and project plans include four levels of underground parking. On the lower levels, the building would encompass retail space and upper levels would be home to condos, according to project plans.
Union Hardware, which sells upscale bathroom fixtures and furniture, owns the property and intends to sell it to developers to accommodate the project, the store’s owner, David Goldberg, said Wednesday.
An advocate for development on the block since Marriott International Inc. announced in early 2017 that it would its new headquarters across the street, Goldberg said it’s best for the community to incorporate innovative, modern designs in the area.
“It doesn’t make sense to have a two-story building like mine in the heart of Bethesda, when we should be forward-thinking and creating a better-designed community,” Goldberg said. “Everything we’re doing now just makes sense.”
With a slate of changes on the horizon, Goldberg said it’s critical for his customers to understand his business model and the products and services provided at Union Hardware won’t change.
Early next year, the company will merge with KONST SieMatic, in an effort to provide highly sought after amenities and services in one location. KONST is located two blocks south of the current Union Hardware location and features European kitchen design and amenities.
The companies plan to continue providing each’s products, as well as design and installation services.
“It’s a natural extension for us to provide homeowners with everything they need for the two most important rooms of the house,” KONST owner Jonas Carnemark said.
Goldberg plans to hold a moving sale in January prior to moving the Union Hardware showroom in the spring to KONST’s location at 7550 Wisconsin Ave. He said the business isn’t struggling financially, and the decision to merge with KONST and move locations was spurred by the need for new development on Wisconsin Avenue. He also said he believes in finding innovative ways to “stay ahead of the industry,” and incorporating design and installation services into the companies’ business model will fit that mantra.
“We’ve always been innovative and ahead of the times, and to be sustainable we have to continue to do that,” Goldberg said. “We’re very excited about what’s coming.”