Sponsored by the Ballston Business Improvement District, the shop will be in the Ballston BID Launchpad space, next to the mall entrance at 4238 Wilson Blvd, in the old Chevy’s Restaurant space.
The shop is being set up for the second annual Arlington Small Business Day, to be held between the major Christmas shopping days, Black Friday (Nov. 29) and Cyber Monday (Dec. 2).
The pop-up shop will be Arlington residents’ chance to meet the owners of some of their favorite local home businesses, or learn about some new ones. Among the businesses listed on ASBD’s website are Happy Doh Lucky, Bee Hive Design and Sweets for my Sweet.
There are participating small businesses all over Arlington, in Clarendon, Ballston Rosslyn/Courthouse, Columbia Pike, Crystal City, Shirlington, Cherrydale, Westover, Pentagon City, Lee Harrison and Lee Heights.
Disclosure: Ballston BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser
The restaurant will be the second Arlington location of Tandoor, owned by noted Indian chef Jack Katyal. Compared to original location at 237 N. Glebe Road, the food court location will be more “fast food” style, Katyal said, and the dishes will all be $10 and under.
“We will probably have the best food available in any food court at this moment,” Katyal said.
Katyal once owned eight different Tandoor restaurants, but health complications forced him to sell all but his location on Glebe Road in Ashton Heights. Now, feeling better, he said if the Ballston Mall Tandoor location is a success, he anticipates once again expanding to more locations.
Katyal has appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s old talk show and cooked for Chelsea Clinton, claiming to be the one to introduce Americans to Tandoori cooking. A Tandoor is a clay oven that can produce more than 250 different kinds of traditional Indian recipes, Katyal said.
Tandoor passed inspection today and Katyal expects the health inspectors to approve the restaurant early next week, setting up for an opening in the first week of October.
A milestone has been reached on the planned revamp of Ballston Common Mall, and the makeover can now move forward. Forest City, the mall’s owner/developer/manager, has purchased the Macy’s Furniture Store.
The purchase has been in the works for months and just recently was finalized. Forest City spokesman Gary McManus said Macy’s never resisted the offer to purchase, but both sides had to devise and agree upon terms for the deal.
“Macy’s is a very big company and this had to go through all of their channels,” McManus said. “They saw the opportunity to consolidate the store, to make the operation more streamlined and get everything in one location.”
The existing Macy’s anchor store will remain, and the furniture portion will relocate into the lower level of the main store. The redevelopment plan, which was announced in February, involves tearing down the furniture store structure to rebuild it as new retail space with residences above.
McManus explained that the furniture store structure would need to be rebuilt and reinforced because currently it is not strong enough to support the addition of residences above. Should Forest City not receive approval to add the residences, the furniture store might not need to be completely demolished, but instead renovated for other retail options.
The whole mall complex will be rebranded as “Ballston Center.” In addition to all of the interior renovations, the idea is to have more stores with street entrances.
“What we’re trying to do is open it up onto the street. We’re seeing more malls with restaurants and stores and such that have entrances to the outside,” McManus said. “It’s a big trend in malls.”
Forest City is now moving forward with presenting the plans to the county. The County Board must approve the multi-phase development before construction can begin. So far, there is no timeline for approval and the beginning of construction.
Ballston Common Mall is moving closer to beginning its major renovation project.
Mall owner Forest City Enterprises is “close to finalizing a deal with Macy’s” to allow the process to move forward and the company to begin applying for permits from the county, according to Forest City spokesman Gary McManus. Securing a deal with Macy’s, one of the mall’s “anchor tenants,” was one of the last impediments to the long-awaited redevelopment.
Forest City is planning to recast the mall as Ballston Center, building more than 300 apartments on top of a renovated shopping center and adding office space. As part of the redevelopment, Forest City is negotiating with Macy’s to take over some of the department store’s space. The negotiations were initially expected to take a few weeks after the announcement of the proposed renovations, in February.
“The deal with Macy’s has taken longer than anticipated,” McManus said in an email.
He said the negotiations are close to being finalized and should be done “within the next few weeks.” Inside the mall, the changes could include a new mix of stores and restaurants.
“The tenant mix of not only the food court but the rest of the mall will be open to revision, expansion and enhancement,” said McManus.
Police have arrested a man accused of several recent peeping incidents, and they’re asking other potential victims to come forward.
On Sunday afternoon, 48-year-old Michael Tomlin allegedly hid in a stall of a women’s restroom in a movie theater and was caught looking over the stall at a juvenile victim. Tomlin reportedly fled when the girl’s father confronted him. The father immediately contacted authorities with a description of the suspect, and the Arlington County Police Department’s Special Victims Unit found Tomlin yesterday in the 4300 block of N. Carlin Springs Road.
Tomlin has been arrested and charged with Trespassing and Peeping Tom. He is being held at the Arlington County Detention Facility on a $5,000 secured bond.
Tomlin has a history of criminal behavior and has served jail time for peeping tom incidents. He was released from jail in May, and has been tied to three peeping incidents since then, including one at Ballston Common Mall last month and the Clarendon Barnes and Noble in May. Police believe he may be responsible for other peeping incidents and they’re asking other victims to come forward.
Anyone who recognizes Tomlin from his recent booking photo (above left) or previous booking photo (above right) and may have information about him or additional crimes he may be involved with is asked to call Detective Jamey Trainer at 703-228-4185 or email [email protected] Information can also be reported anonymously by contacting the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866-411-TIPS.
Union Jack’s in Ballston got the go ahead to reopen tonight, following a forced closure by the county health department on Monday due to a lack of hot water. However, the establishment will close its doors for good next week.
According to a Union Jack’s employee, the pub’s last day in business will be on Monday, July 1. It has been in the Ballston Common Mall for about four and a half years.
The employee said a series of events led to the owners deciding to close the pub, including several pieces of equipment breaking down. The overall issue, however, is that the restaurant “just hasn’t been doing as well” as the chain’s other locations. All of the other locations will remain open, we’re told.
Although no formal farewell party has been announced, staff is considering the last few days in business an unofficial farewell. The Union Jack’s employee who confirmed the closure added that there will be decent specials over the next few days because the restaurant will be “getting rid of a lot of stuff.”
Police are on the lookout for a man seen peeking under a women’s bathroom stall at Ballston Common Mall.
The incident happened just before 6:00 p.m. on Monday. The crime and the suspect description is strikingly similar to that of another peeping tom incident at the Clarendon Barnes and Noble bookstore on May 24.
From this week’s Arlington County crime report:
PEEPING TOM, 06/10/13, 4200 block of N. Wilson Boulevard. At 5:50 pm on June 10, a male subject was caught looking at a female under the bathroom stall in the women’s restroom. The suspect fled the scene and is described as a white male in his early forties, approximately 5’7” tall with a medium build. He had shaggy brown hair and was wearing a brown t-shirt and khaki pants.
The rest of the crime report, after the jump.
If the store looks familiar to passersby, it’s because the Bazaar is one of Ballston’s inaugural stores when the mall was opened in 1986. While the store boasts artifacts from around the world with interesting back stories, it is possible that none of them have a story as interesting as the store’s owner, Vinod Goel.
Since emigrating to the United States in 1961 from India, Goel has worn many hats in his five decades: founding president of the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, media mogul, international marketing professor, and an unofficial advisor to the India desk of the Peace Corps.
“We call him the professor around here,” says George Wong, owner of American Formal Wear, located three doors down. “He’s a mentor for the people around the mall and in the local area. He helps people find higher education and opportunities, especially for foreigners.”
“If I were to say one word about him, the word would be ‘visionary,’” said his daughter Nita Goel Popli. “He really helped to establish this community when he came here.”
Goel was a master’s student and a respected photojournalist from the Indian state of Rajasthan when he was intrigued by a travelling exhibit that came to his college entitled “Life in America.” With the advice of a noted visiting economist, Goel came over to the United States in 1961. He was 27 years old.
While an MBA student at the University of Maryland a year later, Goel was one of a number of international students invited to the White House. With just thirty seconds to make his mark on President Kennedy, Goel used his time to encourage him to put India on his agenda.
If so, Chick-fil-A has just the event for you.
Chick-fil-A’s Ballston mall and Crystal City locations, along with the chain’s 49 other D.C. area restaurants, are hosting a “Date Knight” for mothers and sons from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Monday, May 6.
“During this special medieval-themed evening, moms and their sons are encouraged to spend some time together while they enjoy dinner, great conversation and several special activities,” the company said in a press release. “Every Mother-Son pair will also receive a place mat with fun questions and topics to get the conversation started, and a take-home booklet that provides ideas for future dates and questions that both moms and their sons can ask each other.”
The “special activities” are free, but diners still have to pay for the food.
“One of Chick-fil-A’s goals is to promote community connections and enrich the lives of everyone we come in contact with,” Erik Amick, a Chick-fil-A franchise operator, said in a statement. “We understand the importance of mother-son relationships and want to encourage area moms to come to Chick-fil-A, enjoy their son’s company over a meal and have fun!”
Interested customers can make “Date Knight” reservations online. Currently, the Ballston Chick-fil-A has 53 reservations available, while Crystal City has 49 reservations remaining.
(Updated at 12:40 p.m.) Tropical Smoothie Cafe in Virginia Square (3811 Fairfax Drive) only has been open for about seven months, but owner Marcus Barnett is already expanding. He will soon open a new location in the Ballston Common Mall.
“We wanted to branch off and we were tipped off about the upcoming mall renovations,” said Barnett. “An opportunity presented itself and we wanted to be a part of that.”
The mall location will be in the food court and won’t yet feature the full menu offered at the Virginia Square location. The focus will be on smoothies, salads, breakfast and energy bars, but wraps and sandwiches will not yet be offered. Barnett said the plan is to eventually expand to a full menu, probably after the mall renovations are completed.
Although the two locations will be close in proximity, Barnett anticipates a totally different clientele.
“All those businesses in the area [Ballston], they don’t really come down to us. Even though it’s so close, just five minutes away, they don’t really come over here,” he said. “There’s a lot of new people and businesses in that area and we want to give them a healthier option.”
Tropical Smoothie Cafe should open sometime in May in the space previously occupied by Crêpe Paris.
Pentagon City Mall Renovations — Coming on the heels of the news that Ballston Common Mall will be getting a revamp, the owners of Fashion Centre at Pentagon City announced plans to renovate that mall as well. Although no formal plan has been revealed, changes could include adding office space or apartments. Renovations for the 24-year-old mall would be paid for out of a pot of about $1 billion that Simon Property Group Inc. has set aside for updating its properties. [Washington Business Journal]
Fire Hydrant Color Meaning — Arlington doesn’t have one standard color for fire hydrants; instead, the county adopted a coloring system in the 1990s indicating the flow of water at each particular hydrant. Blue hydrants have water flow above 1,500 gallons per minute (gpm), green is between 1,000 and 1,500 gpm, orange is 500 to 1,000 gpm and red is below 500 gpm. The color scheme allows firefighters to quickly determine if one hydrant will be enough to fight a fire, or if a water relay system is necessary. [Washington Post]
More Signs Requested for Westover Market — Organizers of the Westover Market believe a drop in attendance occurred for the new winter market because of the county’s sign restrictions. There has been a drop of up to 90 percent, according to organizers, and they believe the attendance would be greater if they were allowed to post more signs advertising the market. The County Board asked County Manager Barbara Donnellan to investigate the issue. [Sun Gazette]
Library Hosts Croatian Ambassador — The Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) will host a celebration of Croatia tonight featuring music, food, cultural displays and a visit from Croatian Ambassador Joško Paro. The event begins at 7:00 p.m. [Arlington Public Library]
Hybrid Tax Petition — Virginia Senator Adam Ebbin and Delegate Scott Surovell launched a petition to get Gov. Bob McDonnell to eliminate the so-called hybrid tax in the newly passed transportation bill. Under the bill, drivers of hybrid vehicles would have to pay a $100 fee each year. McDonnell said he’d review that portion of the bill. [NBC 4]
Mall owner Forest City Enterprises has been in the planning stages for major renovations to the 26-year-old, 580,000 square foot facility since at least 2010. Today (Wednesday) the Washington Business Journal reported that that the company revealed preliminary plans and renderings for the renovations at an industry conference in National Harbor.
“The rebranded Ballston Center at 4238 Wilson Blvd. would include more than 300 apartment units, three levels of office space and a significantly reconfigured retail space,” WBJ reported.
Tina Leone, CEO of the recently-formed Ballston Business Improvement District, said her organization is looking forward to the positive changes the redevelopment could bring to the area.
“It is very exciting and we are so pleased to be working with Forest City to further improve our wonderful neighborhood,” Leone said. “The design calls for an exterior renovation that will complement the recent developments that have occurred here, such as Shooshan Company’s Founders Square and JBG’s gorgeous 800 N. Glebe building. This change, along with the BID’s plans to beautify Wilson Boulevard, will make for a much improved, more inviting streetscape to our main street of Ballston.”
Forest City has not yet submitted its plans to Arlington County for approval.
Disclosure: Ballston BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser
More Car Window Shooting Arrests — Fairfax County Police arrested two suspects accused of shooting out car windows with BB guns. Both suspects — 19-year-old Alexander Chase and 18-year-old Herbert Reyes-Cartagena — are from Arlington. Chase was arrested last month by the Arlington County Police Department and charged with similar crimes. The suspects are accused of more than 30 window shooting incidents in Fairfax County, and Chase is accused of involvement in 250 cases throughout Northern Virginia. [Washington Post]
Summer Camp Registration Begins — Registration began this morning for the summer camps offered through Arlington’s Department of Parks and Recreation. Registration can be done via mail, online or by faxing an application to 703-228-4765. Registration by phone or walk-in will begin on February 27.
Lee Highway Art Celebration — The Cherrydale and Maywood neighborhoods held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday to celebrate new art on a median at the intersection of Lee Highway and N. Monroe Street (photo above). Local mural artist Jarrett Ferrier submitted the winning proposal for the Lee Highway Art Project. His design consists of panels depicting scenes from around the neighborhoods, such as the Cherrydale Fire Department, Cherrydale Branch Library and a railroad line that used to run along Lee Highway.
Agape Bears Closes in Ballston Mall — Agape Bears, a shop in Ballston Common Mall featuring handmade teddy bears, closed over the weekend after more than 15 years in business. Owners Elizabeth and Bill Taylor are well known not just for the store, but also for donating bears to police and fire stations, as well to victims of disasters. The Taylors plan to still sell the specialty bears online. [WTOP]
The incident happened just before 4:00 p.m. The security guards, who were employed by the mall itself, both suffered facial lacerations in the fight but no serious injuries, according to police radio traffic.
Though bruised and bloodied, there are no reports of the men being transported to the hospital or being arrested. No police report was filed, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Police responded to the mall’s loading dock for the fight but it’s unclear where exactly in the mall the fight occurred.
The BID, formed last year after the Arlington County Board approved its creation in December 2010, is busy shaping Ballston’s identity around the area’s strength in the science and technology sector. It’s emphasizing entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity as part of its new branding campaign.
“Ballston is home to an impressive roster of influential, innovative organizations including DARPA [Defense Advanced Research Project Agency], NSF [National Science Foundation], Accenture and Virginia Tech,” the BID said in a press release. “Ballston is the place where innovation and entrepreneurship converge. Where the best ideas are discovered and thrive with the support they need to flourish.”
To help launch the branding campaign, the BID will be holding an innovation competition. The “Ballston LaunchPad Challenge,” as it’s called, will allow entrepreneurs to compete for a chance to pitch ideas to Ted Leonsis, the billionaire owner of the Washington Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. (The Capitals practice at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston.)
After soliciting applications this month, a panel will select 10 finalists who will the work with mentors to “develop their ideas into saleable business plans.” The winner of the competition will be announced in November and will be eligible to potentially receive seed money, donated workspace and “continuing mentorship.”
On his blog, Leonsis said the competition will help Ballston become known as “a haven for startups.”
“This is a smart way to incentivize businesses to open and grow in Arlington,” he wrote.
The competition will be formally announced Thursday evening at the former Chevy’s Restaurant space (4238 Wilson Blvd) at Ballston Common Mall, which for the next 10 months will host some events connected with the contest. In addition, the BID will provide free public Wifi and seating in the restaurant’s former outdoor dining area.
Other initiatives planned by the BID include business networking events like breakfasts, lunches and happy hours; “public labeling” at the Ballston Metro station, restaurants and in the Ballston Common Mall food court; a “digital/virtual statue to showcase the innovators already working in Ballston”; public art and light installations; and the creation of mini-parks and 4-5 additional Wifi hotspots around the neighborhood.
Disclosure: Ballston BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser