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by Ethan Rothstein — April 1, 2014 at 5:30 pm 1,280 0

DCA Terminal A renovation rendering DCA Terminal A renovation rendering

(Updated at 6:00 p.m.) The list of new restaurants and retailers coming to Reagan National Airport continues to grow.

Taylor Gourmet&pizza, a politically themed restaurant named Grille District and a new Starbucks location are expected to open in Terminal B and C by the end of the year, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority announced this week. That’s in additional to the under-construction Ben’s Chili Bowl, Legal Seafoods, American Tap Room, Vineyard Vines, Pinkberry and Lacoste, which are expected to open within the next few months.

Along with the retail additions, Terminal A, which has been in the process of renovating, will complete its redesign by the spring of 2015, according to MWAA. The terminal will have a full-service spa, expanded security checkpoints, publicly accessible iPads and charging stations as well as yet-to-be-announced new retail and restaurant options.

The combined efforts go along with MWAA’s goal to either convert or reconstruct 95 percent of all restaurant and retail options at DCA and Dulles Airports.

Photos courtesy MWAA

by Ethan Rothstein — April 1, 2014 at 4:15 pm 2,093 0

The McDonald’s restaurant at 1823 N. Moore Street has closed to make way for a new residential skyscraper.

The fast food restaurant posted a sign on its entrance on N. Lynn Street declaring Sunday as its last day. The standalone location, one of the shortest buildings in central Rosslyn, will soon be torn down as part of JBG Companies’ ongoing construction in the area, which has also claimed the skybridges over the Metro station.

The initial timeline of the McDonald’s closure indicated the restaurant wouldn’t be demolished until May. Unfortunately for local office and apartment dwellers, the timing of the closure coincided with McDonald’s two-week free coffee promotion.

The apartment building will have 25,000 square feet of ground floor retail, and McDonald’s sign stated it would be closed “indefinitely,” leaving open the possibility that Rosslyn won’t be without a McDonald’s permanently.

by ARLnow.com — April 1, 2014 at 3:15 pm 1,744 0

Ask Adam header

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Adam Gallegos of Arlington-based real estate firm Arbour Realty, voted one of Arlington Magazine’s Best Realtors of 2013 & 2014. Please submit your questions via email.

Q. We have been working with a Realtor for almost two years and we have been unable to find a house in North Arlington that is suitable for us. At this point we are wondering if it is time to find a new agent, but at the same time, we wonder if a new agent would do any better for us because there is such low inventory in North Arlington and the market is so competitive.

We are having second thoughts about our agent because he is not proactive. We receive a daily automated email from him with the MRIS listings, however, after reviewing the daily list, we must tell the agent which houses we would like to see. He has never once said to us “this house is coming on the market” or “this house came on the market today, let’s go and see it.” We feel like we are doing all the work and the agent is just “opening doors.” Yes, we know once the time comes to put in a contract the agent will be working hard for us, but at this point it is frustrating.

We have not signed any kind of agreement with our agent, but after almost two years we feel a little guilty about finding someone new, especially since he is expecting to sell our condo. What is the best way to handle a situation like this? Could we have him sell our condo and work with another agent to find our home, or should we just separate ways?

A. There are plenty of people critical of my profession and I totally get it. Many of those critics have had an experience like the one you are describing. You are hoping this agent adds value once you find the right home, but he has not demonstrated the ability to do so thus far. If he is just going through the motions now, I would expect the same when it comes to advising you on the value of the home, negotiating your offer and marketing your condo. You deserve a lot more than this!

There isn’t any excuse for not being able to find a home after two years. I know that housing inventory is lower than buyers would like, but after two years it is not low anymore. It is just normal. In February alone, 183 other people were able to find homes in Arlington.

There needs to be continuous dialogue between you and your agent so that he is advising you on what needs to be done to help you meet your goals. Maybe your expectations are a little unrealistic, but that is not your fault. It’s his job to be a market expert and to help you understand what it will cost to get what you want in today’s market. Rarely should a week go by without at least one proactive suggestion from your agent. If he is unable to do this, then he is either not trying hard enough, too busy for you or not well enough ingrained in the North Arlington market.

The buyer agents on my team and I try to establish realistic expectations at the initial consultation. Sometimes, we even review active listings in this first meeting. It does not make sense for someone to think they are going to find something that doesn’t exist.  Especially in a market where prices are increasing.   (more…)

by ARLnow.com — April 1, 2014 at 2:10 pm 2,495 0

(Updated at 2:25 p.m.) Arlington County Police are on the scene of an attempted bank robbery at the M&T Bank at the corner of Lee Highway and N. Glebe Road.

The crime happened around 2:00 p.m. Initial reports suggest a man entered the bank and demanded cash from the manager, but fled empty-handed. The suspect was unarmed and no one was hurt.

Police set up a perimeter and were looking for the man, who reportedly fled eastbound on Lee Highway on foot. He’s described as a middle-aged white male, weighing about 200 lbs, wearing all black.

A suspect is currently in custody, according to scanner traffic.

by Ethan Rothstein — April 1, 2014 at 2:00 pm 0

Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) hosted an information briefing this morning on how low-income residents can file their taxes for free.

At the new Arlington Mill Community Center, Moran spoke briefly to a crowd of representatives from local nonprofits like Offender Aid and Restoration, AHC and from staffers at Arlington’s Department of Human Services, extolling the benefits of FreeFile, the free tax filing available to those who make $58,000 a year or less.

“The FreeFile program is a terrific example of how government and private businesses work together to help families take control of their finances,” Moran told the crowd of about 30. “Seventy percent of taxpayers in this country are eligible to file taxes for free.”

After Moran spoke, representatives from the IRS and the Intuit Tax Freedom Project walked those in attendance — at least two of whom wanted to electronically file their taxes on the spot — through the process. The talk was focused on not only saving low-income families money when filing, but making sure they understand potential refund money they’re entitled to.

“The Earned Income Tax Credit is the No. 1 poverty-fighting instrument in the world,” IRS Senior Tax Specialist Loren Johnson said.

Moran told ARLnow.com after his talk that despite the substantial average wealth of his constituents, he is still focused on making sure the financially struggling residents of the 8th Congressional District are as informed as possible two weeks before the April 15 filing deadline.

“We have thousands of people eligible for free filing who work hard, and they ought to be able to keep as much of their income as the law allows,” Moran said. “The representatives of the organizations here can now interpret what they learned to their constituents.”

by ARLnow.com — April 1, 2014 at 1:00 pm 736 0

Bobby Grohs CPAIt may be April Fools Day, but taxes are no joke — and the April 15 IRS filing deadline is almost here.

If you haven’t already, it’s time to get down to business and start filling out those forms. Luckily, if you have any last-minute tax questions, local tax guru Bobby Grohs is back today to offer some free advice.

Grohs, a Certified Public Accountant and University of Maryland grad, started Arlington-based Tax Matters LLC in 1998. He specializes in “comprehensive tax and consulting services for clients ranging from individual taxpayers, small businesses and nonprofits located throughout the greater Washington metropolitan area.”

Grohs will be answering you questions in the comment section until 3:00 p.m. If you’d like to reach him after the discussion is over, head to the Tax Matters website, email info@mytaxmatters.com or call 703-593-7391.

Please note that Mr. Grohs may not be able to answer every question asked.

Also, please note that in addition to our normal comment policy, we ask that questions and comments be of a civil tone. We welcome tough questions and critical comments, but anything of a mean-spirited nature will be removed.

The views and opinions expressed in the comments are those of their respective authors and not necessarily those of ARLnow.com.

by Ethan Rothstein — April 1, 2014 at 11:45 am 991 0

Republican Congressional candidate Dennis BartowA second Republican has entered the race to replace Rep. Jim Moran in Virginia’s 8th Congressional District.

Dennis Bartow, 39, announced yesterday that he will be vying for the retiring Moran’s seat, facing Micah Edmond in a Republican convention, set for April 26 at Bishop O’Connell High School. Bartow, a U.S. Army veteran and founder of two companies, lives in Alexandria with his wife and son.

Bartow announced his candidacy in a press release, in which he says he served in the military in Iraq, Kuwait and Kosovo. He also founded Bartow Imports, which distributes wine to 10 states, and a federal government contractor. He is running on a platform of economic development and “smaller, smarter government.”

“The neighborhoods and communities that make up Virginia’s 8th District stand at a crossroads today in how we are governed,” Bartow said in the release. “I’m running for Congress because Americans are tired of the gridlock and pessimism. I believe we can work together to create policies that will spur job growth and prosperity again – so that every American has the opportunity to share in our great nation’s promise. I will reinvigorate the district and our nation with the business experience and entrepreneurship that helped me launch two successful businesses and create jobs.”

The filing deadline for the election was March 27. The field for the primary includes 11 Democrats — Adam Ebbin, Alfonso Lopez, Patrick Hope, Bill Euille, Charniele Herring, Bruce Shuttleworth, Lavern Chatman, Don Beyer, Mark Levine, Satish Korpe and Derek Hyra. Nancy Najarian, who had announced she was running in March, only secured 549 signatures of the required 1,000 to qualify for election, according to the 8th Congressional District Democrats’ website.

The Democratic Primary will be held June 10. The 8th District has been a Democratic stronghold for decades, with local and national Democratic candidates consistently winning more than 60 percent of votes.

Courtesy photo

by Ethan Rothstein — April 1, 2014 at 9:30 am 7,182 0

Early Monday morning, Rodney P. Hunt’s home was broken into.

This normally would not be considered a noteworthy event outside of Hunt’s family and friends — burglaries happen every day in Arlington and every minute around the country.

Hunt’s house, however, was third-priciest home in the D.C. area as of May 2012. Located on Chain Bridge Road near the border with McLean, the 23,000 square foot home has an indoor basketball court, two-lane bowling alley, 15-car garage and sits on a cliff over the Potomac River. It was featured in 2010 on MTV Teen Cribs with Hunt’s son, Bradley.

Hunt is the former president and CEO of RS Information Systems, which he said he sold for $1.2 billion. He woke up to the sound of shattered glass at 4:45 a.m. — several windows in his entryway were broken — and went downstairs to find a man in his foyer and a woman he recognized sitting in the passenger seat of a black Nissan Altima in his gated driveway.

“It was pretty scary,” Hunt said as he, a police officer, a detective and an ARLnow.com reporter walked through his Mediterranean-style mansion. “I ran after the guy thinking I was a police officer. I wish I had called Arlington police when it happened.”

Hunt would call the police just after noon on Monday. The woman in the car, he said, was an assistant he saw the day before. Her name is Stacy, but she went by “Princess,” and she had asked him for a paycheck two days early — a request he refused to grant. He wasn’t sure what, if anything, was stolen, but said it looked like the burglars got away with some crystal ware.

Wearing a red “Ride or Die” T-shirt, he took ARLnow.com on an impromtu tour of his expansive home — to the basketball court he built for his son, Bradley (who also raps as Kid Named Breezy); the bowling alley he built and named after his father who once bowled a perfect game; the special garage-within-a-garage where he keeps the Nissan Maxima his wife bought him before she was killed by a drunk driver in 1993.

He says the house has fireplaces that were once owned by John F. Kennedy and Winston Churchill.

After it was featured on MTV, the house has gained notoriety for less positive reasons. It was scheduled to be sold at auction in September 2012 when the Washington Post reported Hunt owed Bank of America almost $10 million, but it was taken off the auction block after Hunt convinced the bank he could pay. It was back on the foreclosure market in early 2013, according to Washington Exec, but Hunt is still listed as the property’s owner, according to Arlington County’s property database.

Despite the coverage the home has received, Hunt said it’s the first time it has been broken into since he bought the property in 2003. Asked whether he was more surprised that the house was broken into, or whether it’s the first time it had been broken into, Hunt said it was an easy question.

“That it was broken into at all,” he said, launching into a description of the estate’s extensive security features.

The property has two gates, an elaborate security and alarm system — which Hunt said he forgot to turn on after returning late from watching basketball at a sports bar Sunday night — and has a steep hill entrance to the property.

“That’s just crazy,” he said of the boldness of the break-in.

by ARLnow.com — April 1, 2014 at 8:45 am 1,160 0

View of the Jefferson Memorial from Arlington (Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber)

False Alarm at Arlington National Cemetery — The Arlington County Fire Department responded to Arlington National Cemetery yesterday afternoon for a fire alarm. Once on scene, firefighters determined that the alarm was set off by the tomb guards steam pressing their uniforms. [Twitter]

Arlington Real Estate Market Profiled — CNBC’s “Power Lunch” program profiled the real estate market in Arlington last week. The program took a look at three properties in the county, from a $364,900 condo in Ballston to a $1,275,000 luxury townhouse in Rosslyn. [CNBC]

Arlington Dems Have Plenty of Beads — Arlington Democrats are trying to figure out what to do with more than 200 pounds of Mardi Gras beads. The party purchased the beads for the annual Clarendon Mardi Gras parade, which was rescheduled and then canceled due to snow this year. [InsideNoVa]

Doorways Fundraiser Planned — Rocklands Barbeque (3471 Washington Blvd) will open its patio for the season on Thursday, April 17, with its annual “Shed Your Coat” fundraiser. The event, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., will benefit Doorways for Women and Families. [Doorways]

Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber

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