Chevy Chase Land Company Development

New Chevy Chase Center to be completed in 2006

(1) From the Gazette

Stores begin closing for center renovation

by Matthew Smith
Staff Writer
Feb. 25, 2004

Stores in the Chevy Chase Center started closing this month in preparation for a complete demolition and reconstruction at the 45-year-old shopping center.

Deemed by its developer as the first strip shopping center in Maryland, many of the 18 longtime businesses located there will not return when renovations are completed in April 2006.

"It was first built as a neighborhood shopping center," said Ed Asher, president of The Chevy Chase Land Company, which owns the center, located near the corner of Wisconsin and Western avenues.

The center later became a mixed-use center with the addition of retail and then Clyde's about eight years ago. Clyde's will be the only building in the center that will not be torn down. The restaurant and bar will close for 15 months beginning Monday because of the surrounding demolition and renovations to the restaurant.

Construction of two of the center's new buildings along Wisconsin Avenue began in November. Many of the stores along and near Wisconsin Avenue, including Clyde's, CVS Pharmacy and Twin Tresses Hair Salon, began packing up earlier this month and will be closing over the next two weeks, according to Asher. Only two businesses Clyde's and Giant Food have agreed to return once construction is complete.

Businesses along and near Western Avenue, including Giant Food, Blockbuster and Chevy Chase Bank will close this summer.

Once fully completed in April 2006, the new Chevy Chase Center will more than quadruple office and retail space on the property to 412,000 square feet. Of that, 200,000 square feet of space will be dedicated for office, about 100,000 square feet will be used for high-end retail and another 100,000 square feet will be used for neighborhood retail.

The two new luxury retail buildings along Wisconsin Avenue will reopen first in fall 2005, according to a release from The Chevy Chase Land Company. The rest of the center, including a larger Giant Food store, is expected to be completed by early 2006.

Asher said the company is currently in leasing negotiations for much of the new center. The new Giant Food store, which will occupy the same location, will double the current store's size to 40,000 square feet and add a pharmacy.

Asher said other stores likely to return to the center include a video rental store, a bank and a dry cleaner. Although rent in the new buildings will be higher, he said many of the current tenants unable to return are doing so because they cannot take a yearlong break in business while redevelopment occurs.

CVS Pharmacy will close Friday and will not return, according to store manager Andy Black. Employees at the store will be assigned to similar positions at other locations, he said.

Donald White, a supervisor at Blockbuster, said the store will close in August and is searching for a new location.

"It's going to be in Chevy Chase, but we don't know where," he said.

Discussion about plans to renovate the center began after Metro built the Friendship Heights Metro Station in 1985, Asher said. At that time, the company thought the center's eight-acre parking lot was not the best use of surface space.

The current redevelopment plans were drawn up in the early 1990s and finalized last summer.

Besides new retail and office space, the renovated center will include three levels of parking, a surface parking lot similar to the one currently at the site and three levels of underground parking beneath the new buildings.

"From the outside, when you look at it, it will not look a lot different than it does today," Asher said of the parking lot.

The center, however, will look quite different, he said.

Although the building housing Clyde's will not be demolished, it will be given a new facade and a section for outdoor seating.

"We're looking forward to when it's finished," said Tony Moynagh, general manager of Clyde's of Chevy Chase.

The restaurant's last night of live music before the closure will take place on Saturday with a performance by Harry Traynham. The restaurant will also be open for limited hours on Sunday.

Moynagh said Montgomery County's smoking ban has been terrible for business, but did not play a part in the restaurant's willingness to close for 15 months during the center's renovation. "This has been on paper eight to 10 years," he said of the renovation plans.

When the restaurant reopens, it will have a new outdoor seating area with 100150 seats and possibly a bar as well.

The Clyde's Restaurant Group has 11 locations in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, and Moynagh said restaurant employees are being relocated to other locations.

Jamie Miller, spokesperson for Giant Food, said the current Giant Food location would close in August or September and reopen in summer 2005.

He said the company is excited about the new building and increased floor space will lead to a wider selection of products. "Any time there's a new location, there's new features to the store," he said.

Katina Hill, a spokesperson for Chevy Chase Bank said the branch at Chevy Chase Center will close in July and will reopen at the same location 15 months later.

(2) From the Washington Post

Address in Chevy Chase Is Planned for Mills Corp.
By Dana Hedgpeth
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 26, 2004; Page E02

Mills Corp., a large retail developer, said yesterday it will move about 325 of its employees from its headquarters in Rosslyn to Chevy Chase as part of a $160 million redevelopment of a parking lot and strip mall near the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Western Boulevard NW.

Chevy Chase Land Co., the developer of the project, is planning to knock down an office building at the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Wisconsin Circle to make way for Mills's eight-story, 200,000-square-foot office.

The developer will also tear down the Chevy Chase Center, which sits next to Mills's proposed office building, and build four levels of underground parking. The Clyde's restaurant on Wisconsin Avenue will be redeveloped, and the parking lot next to Clyde's will be turned into 100,000 square feet of luxury shops, said developers, although no leases have been signed.

Mills is a real estate investment trust that is best known for building the giant outlet malls Potomac Mills and Arundel Mills. Its senior executives, some of whom live in the Chevy Chase and Bethesda area, said they wanted an address with cachet. They also said Mills was lured by the $1.7 million in job creation grants and tax incentives it got from Montgomery County and Maryland, in exchange for creating an additional 200 jobs in the coming years.

"Mills did an exhaustive search and Chevy Chase filled the bill of being in an urban environment with public transportation and easy access to major roads, and it's in a hip, upscale area," said Mark F. Minich, a senior director at brokerage firm Cushman & Wakefield who represented Mills in the deal.

The project is expected to be done in spring 2006.

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