Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Great news for North Bethesda performance arts

Yesterday's Style section in the Washington Post included an article describing an innovative approach to public-private promotion of the performance arts. Strathmore Music and Arts Center, with its main center on Rockville Pike at Tuckerman Lane, will be partnering with Federal Realty Investment Trust's (FRIT) Pike & Rose development, now under construction at the old Mid-Pike Plaza location (Rockville Pike/Montrose Parkway/Old Georgetown Road). Currently, Strathmore has a large auditorium/concert hall and a small venue for 100 people in the historic mansion. Once constructed, Pike & Rose will offer a mid-sized Strathmore venue, offering concerts three days per week. This venue will be within walking distance of the new North Bethesda town center, close to The Sterling, Gallery, The Forum, The Wisconsin, The Fallswood, Miramont Villas, Midtown, White Flint Station, and Georgetown Village condominiums, to name a few. It will be in the same development as the new Pike & Rose low-rise and high-rise residential blocks, practically across the street from Chase Crossing and Miramont rental apartments. Nearby are the rental apartment towers on the LCOR site at Nebel Street and Old Georgetown Road.

This is not a complete list of the residential condominiums and rental buildings that are within or steps from the north end of the new town center. Can you see how vibrant this area is becoming, as the walkable streets and interconnections are created? Many of the residents of these building complexes use Metro, walk to shopping (or will, when the shopping is complete), and own fewer vehicles than comparable households that are further from the town center.

Back to the performing would be terrific if this cooperative effort could incorporate some community theater, such as classes for children and teen, or even an occasional venue for local amateur productions. I applaud FRIT and Strathmore for coming up with a new concept that will enhance the neighborhood experience, as well as the partners in this endeavor.