The County Board on Saturday voted to release Pan American Bakery and Cafe from its seven-year lease at Arlington Mill. Rent on the 1,875 square foot retail location, on the ground floor of the community center, was to start at $56,250.00 per year and rise to $67,165.44 at the end of the seven year term.
The eatery was supposed to serve healthy fare, along with coffee, gelato and salteñas.
The owners of the restaurant, which has existing locations at 4113 Columbia Pike and at 650 S. Pickett Street in Alexandria, asked the county to terminate the lease “because of personal and family health problems.” One owner’s mother, who lives in Bolivia, was said to be seriously ill, and the other owner has been battling two serious illnesses, according to the staff report.
County staff “continues to pursue a replacement tenant,” but the county is not projecting any lease revenue in its Fiscal Year 2015 budget.
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.”
The bakery was announced as the food service tenant for the center this past summer. As we reported at this time, the 1,875 square foot location on the center’s ground floor was to serve healthier foods, specialty coffee, gelato and salteñas.
Rent on the seven-year lease was to start at $56,250.00 per year and rise to $67,165.44 at the end of the seven year term. For reasons as of yet unknown — its owners could not be reached for comment — Pan American is now trying to back out of the lease.
“We have recently received a request from Pan American Bakery asking to terminate their lease,” Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Jennifer Heilman told ARLnow.com. “Ultimately, this decision whether or not to terminate the lease will be made by the County Board as they approved the lease. There is no date set for this review by the County Board. We are currently exploring alternative options in the interim.”
No word yet on what might replace Pan American at Arlington Mill. The bakery has existing locations at 4113 Columbia Pike in Arlington and 650 S. Pickett Street in Alexandria.
In announcing the bakery as Arlington Mill’s restaurant tenant in July, county officials said its owners were chosen because of their “business experience, local presence, financial strength, willingness to accept the county’s monetary terms, and readiness to proceed.”
The community center will holding an open house on Friday, Dec. 6 and Saturday, Dec. 7.
Disclosure: Arlington County is advertising the Arlington Mill Community Center open house on ARLnow.com
Board Approves Paid Parking at Arlington Mill Center — The Arlington County Board has approved a plan to have drivers pay for parking longer than 4 hours at the new Arlington Mill Community Center. The plan, approved by a vote of 3-2 in a special Board session, is intended to discourage commuters from using the center’s parking garage. Chris Zimmerman and Board Chair Walter Tejada voted against the plan, arguing that parking should be free at all times. [Sun Gazette]
Arlington Seeks Better Bike Map — Arlington County is asking for public input into its effort to design a better bike map of the county. Bike Arlington has created a short survey for local cyclists. The survey will remain open until Sept. 17. [Greater Greater Washington]
Old Bike Shop Profiled — The Old Bike Shop, which opened in January at 2647 N. Pershing Drive in Lyon Park, was recently profiled as part of an Arlington Independent Media student video project. “I sell what I think is good,” said owner Larry Behery, of his bike “recyclery.” [YouTube]
The $36 million Arlington Mill Community Center is only weeks away from opening.
County Board Chairman Walter Tejada and county staff members gave members of the media a preview tour Monday afternoon, showcasing the county’s newest community investment.
Arlington Mill’s construction “will definitely be under budget,” according to George May, Department of Environmental Services bureau chief for facilities design and construction, and the five-story, 67,000-square-foot building will start hosting programs Sept. 3, and hold a grand opening Sept. 21. The project’s expenditures are at about $35 million, May said.
Located at 909 S. Dinwiddie Street, the community center sits at a corner of Columbia Pike where there once stood a Safeway. Purchased by the county in 1996, the land remain unused for years while the economy crashed and the county had to reconfigure its plans for a community center in the area.
“It took a huge effort,” Tejada said. “When the economy tanked, it looked like it might not move forward and the community was very disappointed.”
Tejada had on a perpetual smile during the tour, seeing years of negotiations and false starts come to fruition. He was especially excited at the foosball table, which was covered by a piece of cardboard and he gleefully removed to spin the handles.
The facility will be free and open to the public from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. weekdays, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Saturdays and 1:00 to 9:00 p.m. Sundays.
The only uses that will require fees are the fitness center and the parking garage after four hours. It was Tejada’s hope that the garage be completely free, but, in a controversial decision, he and county staff compromised on four hours of free parking, to prevent the garage from becoming a “haven for commuters,” according to the Sun Gazette.
The gymnasium has two full basketball courts and lines painted for volleyball and pickleball, which Facility Manager Rob Carter said was the most-requested activity in community meetings.
Arlington Mill also has a satellite office of the Arlington County Employment Center, classrooms, multipurpose rooms available to reserve, a room for the Project Family service and a rooftop garden. The center will have WiFi and, on the first floor, Pan American Bakery and Café. However, the bakery won’t be open for a few months after the center itself opens.
Next door, the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing is still in construction on its apartment building, on land leased from the county. The window to apply for the waiting list for the building opens today and closes Saturday, Aug. 31. The fourth floor of the center is currently unoccupied, and is part of 9,900 square feet of the facility that is designated for future use.
When asked what he would tell critics who say Arlington Mill has been a vanity project, Tejada responded, “I would invite them to come here and meet the diverse people who will use this center, and then we can chat them up.”
Construction on the Arlington Mill Community Center along Columbia Pike is expected to wrap up early next month, with recreational classes planned to start in early September and a planned ribbon-cutting on Sept. 28.
While it hasn’t opened yet, Arlington County has just given residents a taste of what they’ll get when the center opens its doors. The county posted a host of photos to Flickr Tuesday morning, previewing the new $36 million facility. It includes a basketball court, conference rooms, an outdoor plaza, a green roof, gathering places and more.
In addition to the recreational facilities, Pan American Bakery will be moving into the space in the fall with a full-service café on the ground floor.
Photos via Flickr
Arlington Mill Community Center Modifications Approved — The County Board approved modifications to the Arlington Mill Community Center project that are being called safety and utility upgrades. The county will use already approved project reserve funds for improvements such as parking garage security doors, an in-building wireless system antenna to aid first responder communication and a revised design for the intersection at 9th Street S. and Arlington Mill Drive. As reported last week, a Pan American Bakery and Café will open in the structure. Construction is on track to finish by early August, with a ribbon cutting ceremony on September 28. [Arlington County]
Arlington Receives Funding to Fight Childhood Obesity — The Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth has granted more than $36,000 to the county to fight childhood obesity and promote healthy living. This is the second year of a two-year grant. The money will help continue to fund community gardens, healthy school vending machine options and active recess. [Arlington County]
APS Hiring Hundreds of Staff Members – More than 260 full time and part time employees have been hired ahead of the Arlington Public Schools 2013-2014 year. That’s about two-thirds of the more than 350 open slots APS aims to fill. Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy expects to be fully staffed by the beginning of the school year. [Sun Gazette]
Alexandria Approves BRT Station Design — Alexandria approved the design for its Route 1 Bus Rapid Transitway stations. The seven stations include real-time bus arrival displays and will cost about $200,000 apiece. Construction of the bus dedicated lanes in the middle of Route 1 began in July 2012 and is expected to finish late this year, with the line becoming operational early next year. The BRT will eventually cover a five mile stretch to connect the Braddock Road Metro station with the Pentagon City metro station. The Arlington portion of the line is expected to open in summer or fall of 2014. [Del Ray Patch]
Father of Deceased Skateboarder Found Dead — Friends and family of 18-year-old John Malvar — a Washington-Lee High School student who died following a skateboarding accident — were supposed to gather at a memorial service for the teen on Saturday, but his father never showed up. Several friends visited the man’s apartment and had a maintenance man unlock the door, where they found George Malvar dead on his bed of natural causes. After learning of George Malvar’s death, the friends and family decided to continue on with the memorial service for his son. [Washington Post]
Snake Causes Power Outage — More than 10,000 Arlington and Alexandria residents experienced a power outage on Saturday night and Dominion says it was caused by a snake. The reptile apparently slithered into some electrical equipment and knocked out electricity at a substation on Four Mile Run. Power was restored by Sunday morning. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Christopher Skillman
Pan American Bakery and Café will be the in-house restaurant at the new Arlington Mill Community Center after it opens later this summer.
The location in the four-story community center, at 909 S. Dinwidde Street, will be Pan American’s fourth, but it will be decidedly different than the storefront a few blocks down Columbia Pike — which will remain open — and the shops in Alexandria and Fairfax.
The restaurant in Arlington Mill will specialize in healthier foods and offer options like specialty coffee, gelato and its specialty, salteñas, according to its lease agreement with the county. The County Board is expected to approve the lease at its meeting Saturday. The restaurant will be on the ground floor and occupy 1,875 square feet.
The owners, Maritza Genny DeFoor and Ramiro Morgana, were chosen, according to county staff, because of their “business experience, local presence, financial strength, willingness to accept the county’s monetary terms, and readiness to proceed.”
The community center is on target for completed construction in early August, Department of Environmental Services spokeswoman Myllisa Kennedy said. The first programs are expected to be held in early September and the DES has planned a ribbon-cutting for the new building Sept. 28.
Arlington Mill Goes Over Budget — The Arlington Mill Community Center on Columbia Pike has gone $600,000 over its $31.6 million budget. The County Board is expected to approve additional funding for the project at its meeting this coming Saturday. [Sun Gazette]
New Coworking Space in Clarendon — A new coworking space has opened at 3140 N. Washington Street in Clarendon, on the second floor of the Wells Fargo bank building. Link Locale will house startup companies, entrepreneurs, freelancers and teleworkers. It’s the second coworking space to open along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor this year. [Patch]
Redskins Player to Sign Autographs in Clarendon — Washington Redskins defensive end Stephen Bowen will sign autographs and take photos with fans tonight at the AT&T Store in Clarendon (3000 Wilson Blvd). The appearance will take place from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.
The new, under-construction Arlington Mill Community Center recently celebrated its “topping out” — the moment when the last beam is placed at the top of a building.
The complex, which is expected to open in the summer of 2013, will include a community center, senior center, gymnasium, parking garage and an affordable housing development. Arlington County’s “Arlington TV” crew produced a video about the topping out ceremony, above.
Work on the new Arlington Mill Community Center in South Arlington is progressing.
Crews are currently in the process of installing sewer and water lines, along with other infrastructure along Columbia Pike, South Dinwiddie Street and Arlington Mill Drive. Excavation has begun on the area that will be the garage; work on the garage foundation and walls will start soon. A new traffic light also will be installed at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Dinwiddie Street.
Although 9th Street has been reopened for residents of Park Glen Condominiums and to access the nearby trail, Arlington Mill Drive will be closed for the remainder of the project.
The five-story community center is still on track to open next year, along with the 122-unit affordable housing complex being built on the site. Together, the buildings will form one of four mixed use “Neighborhood Centers” developed within the Columbia Pike Special Revitalization District.
The intersection, which sits between two existing sets of traffic lights at Four Mile Run Drive and at S. Dinwiddie Street, is adjacent to the under-construction Arlington Mill Community Center and a future 122-unit affordable housing complex.
On its web site, Arlington County says the new traffic signals — which haven’t been switched on yet — are necessary because of construction. Don’t expect the lights to stay on for long, though. Arlington Mill Drive is expected to be closed during the latter stages of the community center’s construction.
“Once the traffic signal is activated, the 9th Street connection on the north side of the [Arlington Mill construction] site will be closed to upgrade water and stormwater infrastructure and install curb and gutter,” the county said. “Access to Columbia Pike will be maintained for Park Glen residents via S. Arlington Mill Drive. At this time, additional stormwater drainage facilities will also be installed just west of the site along S. Dinwiddie Street.”
“When 9th Street is reopened in two to three months, S. Arlington Mill Drive will be closed to all traffic – except for construction vehicles – for the duration of the project,” the county added. “All Park Glen traffic will be directed to Columbia Pike through the new 9th Street connector and S. Dinwiddie Street.”
(Updated at 3:40 p.m.) A groundbreaking was held this morning for the new Arlington Mill Community Center.
County Board members Walter Tejada and Chris Zimmerman, County Manager Barbara Donnellan and Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization Executive Director Takis Karantonis were among the officials in attendance, along with construction company representatives and county employees.
Construction on the new, five-story community center is expected to start shortly and wrap up in the summer of 2013. The center will include a full-size gym and fitness center, a senior center, teen center and game room, visual arts studio, a job resource center, a community learning center, several multi-purpose rooms for community events, retail space and a public plaza at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Dinwiddie Street. The cost of the bond-financed project is estimated at up to $25 million.
“In these challenging economic times, it is more important than ever that we invest and plan for the future of our community and provide opportunities and services for those who need it most,” Donnellan said. “The new center will benefit all who live here by serving as an anchor for the community. It will not only provide essential services for our residents, but it will also draw future development and amenities to the area.”
Separately, a 122-unit affordable housing complex is being built adjacent to the community center. Work on that project is expected to stretch through the end of 2013.
Photos courtesy Arlington County
Pentagon City Water Balloon Prank Shatters Windshield — Someone apparently thought it would be funny to throw water balloons at cars leaving the Pentagon City mall parking garage on 15th Street. Perhaps it was funny, up until the point where one of the water balloons hit the windshield of a family’s minivan and shattered it as they were driving. [WUSA9]
Groundbreaking Set for Arlington Mill Center — The ceremonial groundbreaking for the new Arlington Mill Community Center (909 S. Dinwiddie Street) has been set for 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 24. [Sun Gazette]
Burglaries from Secure EFC Parking Garage — Two Cadillac Escalade SUVs had their tires and wheels stolen from the ‘secure’ parking garage under the luxury Crescent Falls Church apartment building (2121 Westmoreland Street) in East Falls Church yesterday morning, according to residents. Police are investigating.
Artisphere’s Shakespeare Co. Gets New Name — Washington Shakespeare Company, which now counts Rosslyn’s Artisphere as its home base, has a new name. The scrappy theater company is now known as WSC Avant Bard. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Jason OX4
Striking ART Drivers Fired — The Examiner’s Liz Essley reports that the Arlington Transit bus drivers who went on strike yesterday have been fired by Forsythe Transportation, the contractor that operates ART buses. The paper also reports that the labor dispute came to a head when Forsythe fired the head of the bus drivers union last week. ART buses are operating on a reduced frequency schedule today, with all routes in service except the 61B route. [Washington Examiner, Arlington Transit]
Airport Uniforms Found in Ballston — Three pairs of airport employee uniforms and a Washington Reagan Airport safety vest have been found in the bushes outside Carpool restaurant in Ballston (4000 Fairfax Drive). The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and Arlington police are investigating how the uniforms wound up there. [WJLA]
Arlington Mill Construction Contract Awarded — Construction on the new Arlington Mill Community Center is scheduled to begin in August, after the County Board awarded a $27.6 million construction contract for the project over the weekend. “Redeveloping the old Arlington Mill Community Center site into a mixed-used facility with a new community center, gymnasium, retail space and a parking garage is part of the County’s efforts to foster a vibrant, walkable urban village along Columbia Pike,” the county said in a press release. [Arlington County]
Goodbye, Hollywood Video — A shuttered Hollywood Video store and a small office building along Wilson Boulevard are set for demolition this month. The buildings are being razed to make way for a 191-unit apartment complex, which will include a parking garage and ground-level retail space. [Washington Business Journal]