Bethesda Shopping Center Undergoes Wave Of Turnover
From Bethesda Now – By Aaron Kraut
[gallery ids="11238,11239,11240,11241"] RiRa Irish Pub will close next month. Bundles of Cookies will close at the end of August. Brothers Sew & Vac already moved to Woodmont Triangle and Bella Italia will move in with neighbor Waygoose Redux. A lot is changing at the Shoppes of Bethesda (4928 Hampden Lane), the two-tiered shopping center that shares Elm Street with Bethesda Row. Paul Morris, owner of the Brothers Sew & Vac, said the store's lease was up. With two luxury condominiums set to start construction on Hampden Lane in the near future, Morris said it made sense to move in order to avoid construction, lane closures and other potential disruptions. "We moved just because it was a move-up. It was a step in the right direction," Morris said. Brothers Sew was on Cordell Avenue in the 80's, so Morris said the move back to Woodmont Triangle (4826 St Elmo Ave.) was like moving back to the old neighborhood. But large rent increases have also played a part. Bundles of Cookies owner Sarah Kerchner told Bethesda Magazine it didn't make sense to agree to a non-negotiable rent increase with the pending construction. In May, when it was announced RiRa would leave the Shoppes of Bethesda for Georgetown, the bar's regional manager Andrew Christie said “it did not make business sense to renew the lease in Bethesda.” Bella Italia, the Italian gourmet and pottery shop at 4934 Hampden Lane has announced it will move in with neighbor Waygoose Redux at 4926 Hampden Lane. The shopping center's biggest remaining tenant is a Montgomery County Liquor Store. Shoppes of Bethesda owner David Draiman declined to say if he has a replacement lined up for RiRa, the 4931 Elm St. space that serves as one of the shopping center's biggest draws.