Bethesda Office Building’s Falling Windows Cause County Response

Pieces of a glass window pane fell from an office building in downtown Bethesda last Monday, sparking Montgomery County officials to order the owners to put in safety measures. This is the third instance of falling glass from this building since the county started tracking the issue in April 2017, and Bethesda resident Amanda Farber claims this is at least the sixth time that glass on the building has cracked, bulged or fallen in that time span.

Though a large portion of the window pane fell to street level, no one was struck or injured. (Photo courtesy of Amanda Farber).

“I suspect that there were even more that we don’t know about,” said Farber, who has also been tracking the issue since April 2017. “I’m glad to see them finally figuring out a long-term solution.”

Director of Permitting Services Diane Schwartz Jones told the Washington Post that she does not know what is causing the glass to fall, but that after the second incident in August 2017, Jones and the county ordered the owner, Carr Properties based in D.C., to have an independent review of the structure’s engineering.

After last week, the county went further to order the owners to build protective canopies over sidewalks around the building that are capable of withstanding falling debris until both the problem and the solution have been fully investigated.

“Clearly something needs to be done here,” Jones said to the Washington Post. “It’s the safety of the people who are walking or bicycling below – that’s what we’re really concerned about.”

No one has been hurt by glass falling from this building, but the sidewalks where the glass fell are regularly used by students attending Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School and Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School across the street.

The sidewalks surrounding the building are currently closed until the installation of protective canopies is completed. Carr Properties released a statement to neighboring property owners that explained the canopies, and that they expect “normal access to the building entries and public access to the sidewalks will resume,” this week.

Some scaffolding was put in for added pedestrian safety after the August 2017 incident, but that is primarily around the entrance of the restaurant Q by Peter Chang, which has stopped seating guests on their outdoor patio.

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Sam Merrill

About Sam Merrill

Intern at Montgomery Community Media, senior broadcast journalism major at the University of Maryland.


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