The long, strange trip for the project dubbed the Bromptons at Cherrydale may soon be coming to an end. The building at 3800 Lee Highway has been nearly seven years in the making, but condos there could go on sale before the start of summer.
Originally, all of the 22 condo units were under contract in 2004. But progress stalled in 2006, when the county issued a stop-work order due to the building being structurally unsound. The developer, Ed Peete Company was given the opportunity to remedy the issues or demolish the structure. After some waffling, Ed Peete chose demolition, but the deadline for that came and went in July 2008.
While this was being hashed out, the building sat vacant for years. A flurry of lawsuits followed, including those against contractors and engineers hired by Ed Peete. Ultimately the developer decided to keep the structure and reinforce it as part of a settlement reached in 2009.
Now, passing by the site provides a view of work crews buzzing in and out of the building and signs advertising the first floor retail space. Gone are the flapping sheets of plastic and insulation on the façade, the torn-up sidewalk has been replaced, and balconies have been affixed to the front of the units.
Project Manager Neil Winsten with R15, formerly the Ed Peete Company, says many improvements have been made to comply with the county’s requests of fixing issues such as stressed beams and walls. He says steel beams and support slabs have been added for reinforcement. With the new additions, Winsten believes this should be “one of the strongest buildings around.”
Winsten says he hopes the building will be finished by the end of May. The 22 condos are set to go on sale immediately after completion. Winsten says they will start looking for tenants to fill the first floor retail space around the same time.
As far as working with the county for all these years, Winsten says it has “gone pretty smoothly once we put the new plan into effect.”
Neighbors have been grumbling for years about the Bromptons project being an eyesore and dragging down property values. In response to their frustration, Winsten says, “We’re just about done so thanks for bearing with us. We haven’t wanted it to take this long either.”
Thank you to everybody who submitted photos to and voted in our Crystal City 5K ‘Flickr Flash’ Photo Contest. With more than 900 votes recorded, here are your winners:
1. “Invincible!” by Serotta_tigrrrl (200 votes) wins a $200 Morton’s Crystal City gift card and a race t-shirt
2. “Dashing!” by Webaroo (167 votes) wins a $50 Jaleo gift card and race t-shirt
3. “Watermark” by Webaroo (116 votes) wins a $25 Bozzelli’s Italian Deli gift card and race t-shirt
To see all photos submitted, go to the contest’s Flickr page.
There’s a (relatively) new food truck in town.
‘Doug the Food Dude‘ has been cruising the streets of Rosslyn since the beginning of the month. The truck serves a varying menu of all-natural (MSG and preservative-free) dishes. Today’s specials included parmesan-crusted salmon, Italian sausage albanese, steak fajita egg roll and a variety of wraps.
Doug — who’s the one wearing the chef coat and shorts — says his journey to food truck entrepreneur started when his daughter developed food allergies to MSG and preservatives about five years ago. Because those two ingredients are found in so many restaurants and prepared meals, Doug had to harness his own passion for cooking to become an amateur chef, of sorts, for his daughter.
Eventually Doug left the government publishing business and decided to use his all-natural recipes as a basis to launch the truck. He serves breakfast and lunch on N. Lynn Street in Rosslyn on Mondays and Fridays. He travels to Tysons Corner on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
The plan, however, does not change the serpentine borders of the 31st District, which will stretch from North Arlington to Loudoun County along the Potomac River. Likewise, the 30th District will remain unchanged from the first plan, which took away a bit of South Arlington territory from the district’s borders.
If approved by Gov. McDonnell as expected, the plan will place McLean millionaire Caren Merrick within the borders of the 31st District. Merrick has already announced her intention of running for the state Senate as a Republican.
Merrick would face the winner of a Democratic primary battle between Barbara Favola and Lt. Col. Jaime Areizaga-Soto. Democratic technology consultant Ben Tribbett is mulling a run as well, but has been waiting for the district’s borders to be finalized before making a decision.
Harry’s Tap Room at Pentagon City Mall (1100 S. Hayes Street) is being transformed into “Harry’s Smokehouse-Burgers & BBQ.” The newly-branded restaurant will get a menu makeover that will include in-house hickory-smoked spare ribs, pork butt, pork sausage, whole chickens, salmon and beef brisket, as well as “the area’s very best buttermilk fried chicken.”
Diners will get to choose from six different types of meat for their burger: Whitewood Farm corn fed beef, Grayson Farms grass fed beef, Whitewood Farms beef short rib burger, all natural bison burger, all natural turkey burger, and a vegetarian buckwheat chipotle burger.
“We are raising the bar in iconic American food,” Harry’s co-owner Michael Sternberg said in a statement. “We challenged Executive Chef Alex Reyes to create a menu based on a simple premise: really, really good burgers, barbeque, fried chicken and addicting sides. He has, and now we are opening a place dedicated to it.”
The change-over will happen on Tuesday, May 3. So far, no changes are planned for Harry’s Tap Room in Clarendon (2800 Clarendon Blvd).
The accident happened just south of 23rd Street, near the Hilton Hotel. Initial reports suggest the woman was in the crosswalk when she was struck.
The woman was transported to a local hospital. Her injuries were said to be minor and non-life-threatening.
No word on whether the driver will face any charges.
The army’s Presidential Salute Battery will be conducting another training exercise at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday morning.
Two of the battery’s training exercises, held earlier this month, were heard loud and clear in parts of South Arlington and the District. Residents can likely expect to hear more loud booming sounds from the battery’s cannons from 6:30 to 8:00 a.m.
After hearing complaints from startled residents, the military has been more proactive getting the word out about Monday’s training exercise. Here’s the announcement from the Joint Base Myer – Henderson Hall public affairs office:
The Presidential Salute Battery will be conducting firing drills in Arlington National Cemetery May 2 from 6:30 to 8:00 a.m. The training is being conducted before the cemetery opens to not interfere with ongoing memorial services. This training ensures the unit maintains the highest level of ceremonial proficiency necessary to render proper honors to our nation’s fallen servicemembers and veterans.
Yes, it seems that the much-ballyhooed royal wedding is local news. After all, that and a weather item regarding today’s slight risk of showers makes up the entirety of the “above the fold” portion of the Washington Post’s local news page.
So we might as well give a nod to pop culture and ask: did you watch the wedding? Bonus question for the comments: were you late to work as a result?
Woman Falls into Hatch at Pentagon Station – Last week a 52-year-old woman fell through a hatch near an escalator at the Pentagon Metro station, injuring her knee and face. Two Metro workers have been fired for their role in leaving the hatch wide open. [WTOP]
GOP Praying for Candidates — The Arlington County Republican Committee is literally praying for candidates to challenge Democrats in the fall. So far, they only have one for more than a dozen local races. [Sun Gazette]
Arlington Wins Walkability Award — Arlington has received a “Gold-level designation for walkability” from the national Walk Friendly Communities program. “We welcome this recognition of Arlington’s efforts to create streets and paths that are safe, pleasant and interesting places to walk,” County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman said in a statement. [Arlington County]
Medical Office Opens Near Crystal City — Commonwealth Medical Center, a new primary care provider, celebrates its grand opening today at 3535 S. Ball Street, between Crystal City and Potomac Yard.
Flickr pool photo by Karon
There’s finally an opening date in sight for Buzz Bakery in Ballston.
“Coming soon” signs have been up at the storefront on the 4000 block of Wilson Boulevard for almost a year now. Next-door sister eatery Rustico opened in October while Buzz remained closed. Now, at long last, comes word that Buzz will start serving cupcakes and cappuccinos early next month.
Neighborhood Restaurant Group spokeswoman Jennifer Eberline says the company expects to announce an official May opening date “very, very soon.”
The will be NRG’s second Buzz Bakery. The first, on Slaters Lane in Alexandria, serves breakfast, baked goods, paninis, coffee, tea, wine and beer.
County Board Member Mary Hynes seemed a bit surprised at last night’s Bluemont Civic Association meeting when she started fielding questions about a development plan for the North Arlington neighborhood.
“It’s not on the county’s radar,” she told anxious residents and businesses owners who had gathered in the library of the Arlington Traditional School.
It turns out that the plan everybody wanted to talk about was not a county plan at all, but a private plan commissioned by the leaders of the civic association. The 32-page document, which includes renderings of an imagined “Bluemont Village Center” along Wilson Boulevard, was created after civic association leaders decided just over a year ago that it would be prudent to begin thinking of the neighborhood’s long-range (10-20 year) future as part of its upcoming neighborhood conservation plan.
The reasoning, as explained by the civic association’s president, was that the Bluemont Safeway (5101 Wilson Blvd) — which seems to be serving fewer and fewer customers lately — may decide to sell its large property. If that were to happen now, the neighborhood wouldn’t have much of a say in the kind of business they sell it to. A plan could help guide the use of the land so that it — and properties around it — could be gradually transformed into an attractive, pedestrian-friendly commercial district.
In a note to neighbors today, managers say that they’re “working diligently to reduce the excessive odors that were intermittently emitted from the Plant over the past few weeks.”
However, the work that must be done to solve the problem over the next month — cleaning ducts, performing maintenance activities, modifying equipment for rapid troubleshooting — will “likely cause a temporary increase in odor.”
“The Water Pollution Control Plant strives to provide the best level of customer service and we apologize for any inconvenience,” plant representatives wrote. “In the future we will attempt to perform the duct cleaning activities during the winter months to minimize the impact on the local residents.”
Managers also say they will be “refreshing staff on odor control procedures.”
Update at 11:35 a.m. — All power has been restored.
Update at 11:20 a.m. — Power has been partially restored. Just over 500 Dominion customers remain in the dark.
A power outage is affecting portions of Arlington County.
Just over 1,400 Dominion customers are affected by the outage, according to the company’s web site. At least one traffic light was reported to have gone dark on N. George Mason Drive as a result of the outage.
No word on when power will be restored.
Update at 11:05 a.m. — All traffic is being diverted onto King Street and being re-routed back onto I-395 past the accident scene. Expect major backups.
As of 10:30 a.m., northbound I-395 was shut down at King Street due to an accident involving an overturned vehicle.
Arlington firefighters on the scene report three injuries, including two with head injuries. All of the injured people were responsive, firefighters said.
Why the sudden hiring push?
A Chipotle spokesperson told us that they’re “in an industry where turnover is high.” But recent news reports suggest something else may be going on.
“The feds are cracking down on undocumented workers at Chipotle restaurants in Virginia and the District,” TBD reported last month. “After the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement reportedly warned Chipotle it would be targeted… the Chipotles in Columbia Heights and Woodley Park fired 40 employees who could not prove they were legally authorized to work.”
No such mass firings have been publicly reported in Virginia, but one local says there are a lot of unfamiliar faces among the crew at the Ballston Chipotle (4300 Wilson Blvd).
“I’ve been going there for 5+ years and literally most of the same people worked there till a few weeks ago,” Chipotle regular Jamie Cave told ARLnow.com. “When I went in the other night, it was a whole new crew and barely any Hispanic workers (mostly white or Indian). Others have been mentioning that they don’t recognize most of the workers there now.”
A visit to the Ballston Chipotle last night confirmed that, at the very least, the location is understaffed. The line for a burrito around 7:30 p.m. extended nearly out the door.
Chris Arnold, the Chipotle spokesperson, confirmed the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement investigation into the restaurant’s hiring practices in the Washington area, but denied that there has been a mass exodus of employees.