Bethesda Row management company Federal Realty will likely not renew the lease for the Dunkin’ Donuts location on Bethesda Avenue, according to the Luis Group, a company that operates the location and seven other Dunkin Donuts franchises in the area.
Though the group hopes to keep the successful shop in its current location, Luis Group chief operating officer Boris Lander told Patch the Bethesda Avenue coffee shop will likely close when the lease expires at the end of May.
Dunkin' Donuts is signed on to a corporate lease for the space with Federal Realty, and the Luis Group subleases from Dunkin Donuts, Lander said.
“There’s still a possibility [Federal Realty] might come back and say OK, three year extension or five year extension, but it’s very doubtful,” Lander said. “They’ve told Dunkin' Donuts they’re not going to renew.”
A call to Federal Realty for more details was not immediately returned. No official details about why the lease is not being renewed were available.
The Luis group is in the process of finalizing two new locations in downtown Bethesda. One is in the basement of the Clark building near the Bethesda Metro station. The other, which will be a combined Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin Robbins, is set for the first floor of a building under construction at Norfolk and Cordell avenues, Lander said. The owner of Tommy Joe’s is planning a restaurant with a roof deck for the second floor.
The Bethesda Avenue Dunkin Donuts has long been a successful operation, seeing business from employees of nearby companies and shoppers and diners on busy Bethesda Row.
“It’s a really popular store. It’s always packed. People love us…we do think it’s a little bit unfair, but it’s out of our hands. It’s not our lease.”
Lander said the pending move would likely mean a loss of some of its loyal customer base even with the opening of the two new locations.
“We have a lot of customers from the Honda dealership that come in two or three times a day, and they’re a huge portion of our sales,” Lander said. “We’re not going to recapture 100 percent of the business we’re losing in those two locations.”
Lander said it would likely take time for patrons to become familiar with the new locations and grow back the customer base.
The Metro location is moving into the leasing phase and will likely be open by July or August, Lander said. Following the opening of the new building on Cordell and Norfolk, the Dunkin Donuts and Baskin Robbins there could be open as soon as June.
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