2014 | News

Business Owner Promoting Bethesda Art Center With New Website

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The man pushing for a sprawling arts center in the middle of Bethesda has launched a website, even as it has become apparent an adjacent property owner might not be in the proposal.

David Goldberg, co-owner of Union Hardware at the corner of Norfolk and Wisconsin Avenues, first made public the idea of a Bethesda Art Center on his property and adjacent properties in June.

Goldberg said he has been hearing about the need for a black box theater, studios and artist space for years from local community leaders. Sensing redevelopment of his property is likely, Goldberg is promoting his vision for an art center paid for by new residential units above the facility.

“I’ve been in retail my entire life,” Goldberg said during an online property owners forum hosted on Wednesday by county planners. “We’ve got to find a reason to exist. Without that reason, there’s no point. The same thing sort of held true with this project.”

Bethesda Art Center illustration, via Bethesda Art CenterThe reason Goldberg said he found, with help from the board of Bethesda’s Arts and Entertainment District, was to create a central civic space dedicated to the arts in Bethesda.

Since, Goldberg has attempted to get the support of all the property owners on the block. He also started the website to promote the concept and provide updates as county planners work on a rewrite of Bethesda’s sector plan.

For now at least, it appears one of the property owners on the block — the owner of EagleBank at 7815 Woodmont Ave. — isn’t in on the plan.

On Wednesday, Goldberg released new drawings for the art center that show an L-shaped residential building built above three stories of retail and theater and art studio space.

County planners, looking for opportunities to provide more green space in their Bethesda Downtown Plan, have latched on to Goldberg’s proposal and suggested adding a new public space on Norfolk Avenue as part of the project.

Images via Bethesda Art Center