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Vacant Fresh Grill Building Could Have New Tenant, New Look

By Aaron Kraut

Wednesday - 3/12/2014, 10:30am  ET

Vacant Fresh Grill building could have new tenant, new look after construction controversy Vacant Fresh Grill building could have new tenant, new look after construction controversy

There are signs of life for the long-vacant former building of Fresh Grill and the DansezDansez dance studio in Woodmont Triangle.

After a nearly two-year legal dispute over construction damage between the building’s landlord and the developer of the next-door Bainbridge Bethesda apartment project, a for lease sign is up in Fresh Grill’s former window.

Landlord Lenny Greenberg said his Bethesda-based Greenhill Realty Company is looking at a couple of options for renovating or completely rebuilding the property, which Greenhill claimed was severely damaged by negligent excavation and construction work next door.

Fresh Grill closed in February 2012 and is in the middle of its own lawsuit against Bainbridge (the developer of the almost finished 17-story, 200-unit apartment building) construction company Turner and White Flint Express Realty Group, the Greenhill LLC that holds both 4905 and 4909 Fairmont Ave.

In the meantime, Greenberg said his company is looking at the possibility of a new 7,000-square-foot building with ground-to-ceiling windows in the hopes of attracting a new tenant.

A rendering is posted in the window of the former Fresh Grill.

“We are looking hard at what is the right thing to do with this property,” Greenberg said. “We’re waiting now for some other outcomes but we’re going to make up our minds shortly.”

Greenberg said Greenhill Realty is due to meet with Bainbridge and Turner next month to discuss settlement terms. A judge last year ruled in favor of the landlord in a key part of its case.

Fresh Grill was forced to close in February 2012 and has now permanently closed in the location, according to its lawsuit that was filed in December. The restaurant is suing whichever party a judge finds responsible for the permanent closure of the business — developer, construction company and landlord included.

There are still some Fresh Grill fixtures in the restaurant.

Greenberg said the new building won’t reach all the way to St Elmo Avenue, where Greenhill Realty recently shut down the Red Tomato Cafe because of similar construction issues, including reports of falling wet concrete. There is a separate lawsuit against the developer and construction company pending there.