Construction crews on Saturday night moved the historic former Community Paint and Hardware store from its longtime Wisconsin Avenue location to its new resting place on Middleton Lane.
The building was cut in half this month to prepare for the move. From around 11 p.m. Saturday to early in the morning Sunday, crews loaded each half onto a large flatbed semi-truck and drove the two pieces to the parking lot a half mile away.
A sizable police presence escorted the building, which dates to the 1890s, to make sure pedestrians and traffic didn’t interfere with the moving process. Montgomery County designated the two-level store historic in the 1980s.
Utility workers disconnected wires and traffic lights to allow the building to be moved through Bethesda’s streets. Pictures posted to social media show the structure lumbering down Wisconsin Avenue as onlookers stood by and gawked. Local blogger Robert Dyer covered the move extensively.
The developer, Carr Properties, paid to have the structure moved to make way for its new redevelopment project at the Apex Building site.
The developer plans to demolish the Apex building and build a three-tower complex with 480 residential units and the Bethesda Purple Line station underneath it. The hardware store formerly stood at 7250 Wisconsin Ave., nestled into a corner next to the Apex Building.
The county plans to turn the former hardware store into office space after it’s reassembled on Middleton Lane and lease it to an attorney or other small business.
On Monday morning, two construction workers could be seen working below the structure, half of which still rested on a flatbed trailer with wheels.
Three Chevy Chase residents filed a court challenge to try to prevent the building’s move, claiming the new location would alter the structure’s historical significance. A Montgomery County circuit court judge dismissed the case this month.
However, one plaintiff, Deborah Vollmer, said the residents plan to appeal to the Court of Special Appeals.
“If we prevail, we will be requesting a court order that the building be moved back to its original location on Wisconsin Avenue, where it served as the Wilson Store, and more recently Community Paint and Hardware,” Vollmer said in a statement. “For that special historical building to be moved to a small, out of the way parking lot in a mixed residential neighborhood off the main highway where it has sat for generations, is a travesty.”