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by Ethan Rothstein — September 5, 2014 at 3:30 pm 5,501 0

(Updated at 3:35 p.m.) The Arlington County Police Department apprehended three bike theft suspects in Ballston this afternoon (Friday).

The suspects were caught with a bicycle that had been reported stolen this morning, according to Lt. Dan Murphy, who heads the ACPD’s property theft division. Around 12:30 p.m., police pulled over a minivan with four suspects inside. One female suspect ran away from police and is still at large. The other three were handcuffed and taken into custody, although one managed to flee from the van before police caught and detained him.

“Recognizing the larceny of bikes is an ongoing problem,” Murphy told ARLnow.com at the scene. “We’ve developed plans to prevent bike theft, including plainclothes surveillance, GPS tracking and bicycle registration.”

In total, nine police vehicles responded to the call, at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Randolph Street in front of Pizza Autentica. Murphy said the large response, which included plainclothes officers, was warranted because of the number of suspects in the minivan, which was later towed from the scene. The van had chemicals and cleaning supplies in it, leading onlookers to question whether it was, as one put it “a rolling meth lab,” but Murphy said the individuals were only suspected of bike theft.

Murphy couldn’t release information about the suspects, either the ones in custody or the one at large. He did say, however, that this wasn’t the only bike theft bust this week. ACPD officers arrested an alleged bike thief who had three stolen bikes in his possession on Wednesday.

To help increase the likelihood that a stolen bike is returned, cyclists are encouraged to register their bike with the police, a free service for residents and non-residents who cycle in Arlington.

The stolen bike is expected to be returned to its owner, a 10-year-old girl who had received it as a Christmas gift, according to Murphy.

by Ethan Rothstein — August 27, 2014 at 1:00 pm 1,419 0

Tina Leone and Casita owner Christina Campos at the Ballston BID's annual meeting 06/23/14Christiana Campos, the new restaurateur who won the Ballston Business Improvement District’s Restaurant Challenge this year, plans to open her new restaurant this winter.

Originally branded as “Casita,” Campos’ project at 1110 N. Glebe Road, next to The Melting Pot, will now be called “SER,” an acronym for “Simple, Easy, Real,” and a play on words with the Spanish verb “to be.”

As part of the Restaurant Challenge prize package, SER received a year of free rent from the building’s owner, Brookfield Properties, and a $245,000 interest-free loan. Campos told ARLnow.com that the restaurant needs “a bit more,” than the loan, so she has launched a Kickstarter campaign for another $15,000.

“The money we raise here [will] be used for the design and renovation of the place,” the Kickstarter says, “for an open kitchen where you can watch the cooking magic happen before your very own eyes, patio furniture… tables, chairs, lighting, a new dishwasher… an indoor herb garden, frames for our walls (with photos of friends, family and neighbors), linens, plates, glassware.”

As of this morning (Wednesday), SER has raised $2,925 of its goal. The fundraising round will close on Oct. 20. Among the perks that donors can receive:

  • For pledging $2,500, a donor will receive a five-course tasting dinner party for eight people and an invitation to SER’s soft opening.
  • For $800, the donor and a guest will get to shadow SER’s chef for a day, plus a five-course tasting meal for two and an invitation to SER’s soft opening.
  • For $500, the donor and a guest will be given a blind tasting menu; they will be given dishes by SER’s chef while blindfold, and receive an invitation to SER’s soft opening

The restaurant will specialize in “authentic, comfort Spanish food that goes beyond tapas,” Campos said in her email, adding that it is planned to be a casual, neighborhood spot, but the food will be “a gastronomical journey and cultural adventure throughout every region of Spain.”

File photo

by ARLnow.com — August 20, 2014 at 3:30 pm 2,856 0

A homeless man was arrested last Friday after allegedly writing “racist” graffiti around Ballston, according to Arlington County Police.

From this week’s Arlington crime report:

DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY (series), 140815014, 4200 block of N. Fairfax Drive. Between 4:30 and 6:55 am on August 15, an intoxicated subject wrote profane language with a green marker on buildings, vehicles, bus shelters and signs. Phillip Cannon, 55, of no fixed address, was arrested and charged with five counts of destruction of property and drunk in public.

The rest of the crime report, after the jump.

(more…)

by Ethan Rothstein — August 13, 2014 at 3:30 pm 3,632 0

Rendering of the proposed 672 Flats apartment building (image courtesy The Penrose Group) The corner of N. Glebe and Carlin Springs Roads (photo via Google Maps)

The Ballston development boom doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon: a developer has submitted plans to Arlington County for a six-story, 175-unit apartment building on N. Glebe Road.

The Penrose Group has purchased parcels of land on which the Prestige Certified Motors and Macy’s surface parking lot sit, between N. Carlin Springs Road and 7th Street. It also has a contract to purchase the Exxon station at 660 N. Glebe Road, according to Penrose Group Founder and President Mark Gregg. The Washington Business Journal first reported the development.

The building, called 672 Flats, will have 4,400 square feet of retail on the ground floor facing Glebe Road, next to a 725-square-foot bicycle storage area, a lobby, “club room” and fitness center. Andrew Gregg, Mark’s son, told ARLnow.com the number of parking spaces is yet to be determined — the county hopes for 175 while Penrose is angling for fewer — but there will be an underground garage.

Mark Gregg said he expects the site plan process to conclude with County Board approval by spring 2015, and for construction to begin later that fall. Gregg expects the building to be complete in 2017. Along with the building, Andrew Gregg said Penrose plans to put on-street parking along N. Glebe Road for “off-peak hours only,” and build a right turn lane on 7th Street.

“We want to make that intersection safer,” Gregg said. He added there would be no parking in a proposed alley between the building and the townhouses along N. Carlin Springs Road and Tazewell Street, but there could be street parking along 7th Street. According to the WBJ, “The Bluemont Civic Association in February offered its conditional support for the project,” with the conditions including traffic and pedestrian safety improvements.

The Penrose Group is also building the Latitude Apartments in Virginia Square and Pike 3400, coming at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Glebe Road. Latitude should deliver in 2016, Andrew Gregg said, and Pike 3400 could begin leasing by the end of this year.

With the Rosenthal Mazda dealership on the other side of 7th Street N. from 672 Flats also in line for redevelopment, Gregg said the plot of land is one of the last remaining redevelopment opportunities in Ballston.

“I think that it’s conveniently located for the Ballston area. It’s a block and a half from Metro, and it’s across from the mall” which will be redeveloped, Mark Gregg told ARLnow.com today. “We think the whole Ballston area along Wilson and Fairfax and Glebe will be an area people want to live in.”

Image, left, courtesy The Penrose Group. Photo, right, via Google Maps.

by Morgan Fecto — August 11, 2014 at 11:00 am 1,216 0

Among farmers’ market attendees, corporate commuters, and bar-goers in Ballston last Thursday night (Aug. 7), something else stood out. Two new interactive art displays debuted on Ballston’s sidewalks in the forms of beach chairs and Craigslist poetry.

The brightly painted chairs on the corners of Fairfax Drive and N. Taylor Street, Glebe Road and Wilson Blvd, and in Welburn Square encouraged passersby to sit back and consider rising sea levels. Outside of A-Town Bar and Grill, the jumble of words pulled from Craigslist and projected onto a screen piqued the interests of pedestrians.

These two art installations were part of a series of “Public Displays of Innovation” sponsored by the Ballston Business Improvement District. “Beachfront Potential” and “Missed Connections” were the first of eight projects in the series intended to “bring the character and personality of Ballston to its streets,” according to Ballston BID CEO Tina Leone.

“We wanted to see how to incorporate technology and different forms of media for people to experience on the streets,” Leone said.

With Beachfront Potential, artist Patrick McDonough wanted to pose Ballston residents with the a new, hypothetical shoreline, and suggested that climate change could bring the beach to Ballston. Those who sat down at each of the beach chairs’ three locations were educated and engaged by mobile activities accessed by scanning unique barcodes with smartphones.

“With this project, it’s really the juxtaposition of leisure and this mixing of serious and non-serious imagery and content that’s really an effective way to deal with these things,” McDonough said.

Scanning the barcode at the Fairfax Drive location outside Zoe’s Kitchen and The Nature Conservancy brought up an informative video on climate change. McDonough created the 7-minute video using footage he took along Maryland’s eastern shore and from interviews with Nature Conservancy scientists. A “Skippin’ Stones” melting ice caps game and a list of suggested “beach reads” showed up from the Glebe Road and Wellburn Square locations’ barcodes, respectively.

“If you sit in your house and think about global warming, then you might become so morose that you never leave your house,” McDonough said.

McDonough teaches art at Corcoran College of Art + Design and American University. He said he got the idea for Beachfront Potential when he was looking at a map of rising sea levels.

“It was a happy correlation that this [predicted shoreline] went straight through the Ballston corridor,” McDonough said.

Artist Peter Lee projected a slideshow of black and white imagery and word fragments pulled from Craigslist’s Missed Connections section onto a small screen outside of A-Town.

“I worked in the area and it’s IT heavy and government heavy,” Lee said. “One of the most human things you can have is romance, and living in the D.C. area that’s normally synonymous with power and stuff [made it] interesting to find a human element here.”

Lee used a prepared slideshow Thursday because of a bad wi-fi connection outside the bar, but he said he can funnel bits of text from Craigslist as they’re posted with the algorithm he and co-creator Blake Turner wrote.

“We definitely tailored the data and the aesthetic toward Ballston,” Lee said. “We wrote the algorithm so it can chop up the data more, [because] previously we were just pulling subject lines from Craigslist. Now we’re pulling the content, and it’s like stream of consciousness poetry.”

Some of the pre-prepared bits of text said, “was wearing sunglasses” and “interested noww hit me/regularly/up.”

Lee and Turner are both George Mason University graduates and members of the Floating Lab Collective art group in D.C. Although their installation only showed Thursday, Friday (Aug. 8) and Saturday (Aug. 9), McDonough’s installation will remain on Ballston’s streets through September, Leone said.

Leone said the BID plans to debut its other six projects in the next three months. “Quantum Tours Americana” and  “Site: WA + FC (Ballston)” will show in September, “Cloud,” “Urban Oasis,” and “Forest of Knowledge” in October, and “Axon Xylophone Bridge” in November, Leone said. 

“We really try to look for things that are unique or haven’t been seen before,” Leone said. “It’s been a long time in the works, but they’re really amazing, extremely high quality projects that people can experience together.”

by Ethan Rothstein — August 4, 2014 at 3:30 pm 4,116 0

Protein Bar in Ballston closes  Protein Bar closes in Ballston

The Ballston location of the health food chain Protein Bar has closed and apparently plans to relocate.

The shop, which specialized in smoothies, raw juices and healthy food choices, cut its hours in February to lunchtime only. Its location on the ground floor of 800 N. Glebe Road, next to Mussel Bar, opened in January 2013 but did not get the traffic Protein Bar CEO and founder Matt Matros had in mind. It was the eighth location for the Chicago chain, and third in the D.C. area.

“While we were excited to serve the customers of Ballston,” Matros told ARLnow.com in an email, “we weren’t pleased with our specific location and have decided to relocate the store. Because the other lease is not quite final, I can’t comment yet on the location.”

As Protein Bar closes, the first Arlington location of gourmet pizza shop Pizza Vinoteca plans to open next door by the end of the month, a spokeswoman said in an email.

by Ethan Rothstein — July 29, 2014 at 12:45 pm 2,516 0

The Ballston property manager that replaced planters to prevent people from sitting says benches will soon be installed in their place.

Stephen Gilbert, the vice president of marketing for Gates Hudson, the property manager of the building adjacent to the Ballston Metro station, said the company plans to install 15 benches near the station and next to the new planters by mid-August.

Additional “street furniture” is also planned for the busy bus stop.

“This is a cross promotion with the Ballston [Business Improvement District] and we are investing nearly $28,000 to improve the seating area,” Gilbert wrote in an email to ARLnow.com. “The bus shelters currently in place and managed by WMATA and Arlington County are not adequate in our opinion.”

Gates Hudson replaced the planters earlier this month because, as an employee told ARLnow.com, “they’re meant to be planters and that’s it… A lot of people were loitering there, damaging the plants and leaving trash.” Gilbert said that the new planters’ capstones “were only a small part” of Gates Hudson’s master plan for improving the space on N. Stuart Street.

“I ensure you that once you see what we have under construction you will see that we are creating a very convenient and comfortable space for commuters and pedestrians,” Gilbert wrote.

by ARLnow.com — July 28, 2014 at 9:45 am 2,020 0

Geese crossing the road near the Pentagon

Silver Line Now Open for Business — Metro’s Silver Line opened Saturday, with local officials, reporters and curious residents crowding the new stations in Reston and Tysons to get a ride on the first Silver Line trains. So far this morning, on the first big commuting day of its debut, the Silver Line seems to be functioning normally, without incident. Over time, the Metrorail line is expected to bring further economic development to Tysons and Reston. [Reston Now, Washington Post, InsideNova]

Nation’s Oldest Female Vet Visits Arlington — The nation’s oldest female veteran, 108-year-old Army Staff Sgt. Lucy Coffey, visited the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery over the weekend. [Stars and Stripes]

Pizza Vinoteca Opening Delayed — Pizza Vinoteca, a New York City-based gourmet pizza restaurant, will not be opening in Ballston this month, as originally planned. The pizzeria is now expected to open at 800 N. Glebe Road by the end of August, according to a PR rep.

by Ethan Rothstein — July 25, 2014 at 3:00 pm 6,096 0

Ballston planter before it was replaced (photo courtesy Jana Lynott)  Ballston planter after it was replaced (photo courtesy Jana Lynott)

Several planters on the sidewalk of N. Stuart Street in Ballston, just outside the Ballston Metro station were recently rebuilt to stop people from taking a seat.

The planters were replaced by property manager Gates Hudson this month, and while the trees are still there, the flat surface around the soil has been converted into a sharply angled corner designed specifically to prevent people waiting for the buses from sitting down.

“They’re meant to be planters and that’s it,” a Gates Hudson employee told ARLnow.com. “There are many benches outside, and the goal was to have people sit there and not on the planters. A lot of people were loitering there, damaging the plants and leaving trash.”

In a letter to the Arlington County Board, Metrobus rider Jana Lynott said the property owners around the Metro station had “vitriol” for transit riders who are perceived as loiterers.

“As a regular Metrobus 1A rider, I was offended by the insinuation that we riders were viewed as dirty loiterers that bring down commercial property values,” Lynott wrote. “I’m not convinced that my fellow transit riders are a scourge upon society that need to be dealt with through exclusive design… Why in Arlington, VA, a community that invests millions of dollars a year into recruiting new riders to our world-class transit system, would we possibly embrace such a backward notion of transit accessibility? Please. Do not let this exclusive design become standard practice in our community.”

Photos courtesy Jana Lynott

by ARLnow.com — July 25, 2014 at 2:15 pm 1,322 0

Moviegoers attend the late night Harry Potter screening in Ballston Common MallThe movie theater at Ballston Common Mall is offering free nachos to customers who take “cheesy” selfies and post them to Twitter or Instagram.

The theater’s parent company, Regal Cinemas, is running the promotion through Monday, Aug. 11. Customers can submit the self-taken photo by using the hashtag #RegalCheesieEntry on Twitter or Instagram, or can do so via the a web form.

The nachos are offered while supplies last, Regal says. If there are no nachos left at the theater, Regal will offer a $2 off coupon. Submitted photos will also be entered into a sweepstakes to win a “Hollywood VIP weekend.”

File photo

by ARLnow.com — July 25, 2014 at 10:20 am 2,302 0

Metro’s Silver Line is set to officially open on Saturday, with Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, and other notable officials on hand to watch the first train depart the Wiehle-Reston East station.

The launch of the Silver Line has economic ramifications for Arlington, though there’s some debate over whether those ramifications will be mostly good or mostly bad.

On the pessimistic side, rail transit in Reston and Tysons could enhance the desirability of those areas and present Arlington with stiff competition, especially in the commercial office market.

On the optimistic side, the fact that the Silver Line will run through Arlington on the way to D.C. could actually make the county’s Orange/Silver corridor even more desirable as an economic hub. The video above makes the case that Ballston in particular is well-positioned to benefit from the Silver Line.

Publicly and privately, officials with Arlington Economic Development say they expect Tysons to take many years to develop as a truly desirable urban area, with walkable and active streets and ample housing. Even then, they believe Arlington’s multi-decade head start on transit-oriented development, and its proximity to D.C., will give the county the competitive edge over Tysons.

On balance, do you think the Silver Line will help or hurt Arlington County?
 

by ARLnow.com — July 21, 2014 at 6:30 pm 6,586 0

Aftermath of an alleged assault at IHOP on 7/20/14 (submitted photo) Aftermath of an alleged assault at IHOP on 7/20/14 (submitted photo)

A man was jabbed with a fork and a woman was punched in the face during a scuffle at the International House of Pancakes (935 N. Stafford Street) in Ballston late Sunday night.

Police say a verbal argument escalated into a physical confrontation at the restaurant around 11:45 p.m. The suspect, identified as 45-year-old Arlington resident Ernesto Juarez-Cabrera, allegedly jabbed another man in the hand with a fork, then punched a female family member in the face, according to police.

Neither victim required a trip to the hospital, although the fork broke the skin on the man’s hand, Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said. The fight was broken up by an IHOP manager, who escorted the suspect outside. While outside, Juarez-Cabrera repeatedly punched a restaurant window, breaking it, according to Sternbeck.

The broken glass cut Juarez-Cabrera’s hand and he was transported to a local hospital for treatment.

Juarez-Cabrera, who police say was intoxicated at the time of the incident, has been charged with malicious wounding, attempted malicious wounding, felony destruction of property, and domestic assault and battery.

by Ethan Rothstein — July 16, 2014 at 3:30 pm 3,033 0

The new Dunkin’ Donuts in Ballston, at the corner of N. Stuart and 9th Streets, is now open for business.

The small donut shop replaced the former Quizno’s in the corner of the National Science Foundation building at 4201 Wilson Blvd. Dunkin’ Donuts signed its lease for the 1,000-square-foot space in April.

The location — Arlington’s sixth, not including locations in the Pentagon and Reagan National Airport — opened yesterday. It doesn’t have any seating inside, but has a small handful of outside tables.

by ARLnow.com — July 10, 2014 at 11:00 am 2,186 0

Storm clouds over Arlington (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

Construction to Begin on Ballston Garage – Local developer The Shooshan Company says it is beginning construction on a 550-space parking garage at 4040 Wilson Blvd, site of a planned 20-story office building in Ballston. The building is the final component of Shooshan’s Liberty Center development. [Washington Business Journal]

Clarendon Day Date Set — The annual Clarendon Day street fair will be held on Saturday, Sept. 27, the Clarendon Alliance has announced. This year the event will add a bluegrass music stage next to the Clarendon Chili Cookoff. The layout is also being changed “to make it easier for people to find the cold beverages of their choice.” [Clarendon Alliance]

VDOT Warns of E-Z Pass Scam — VDOT says some Virginia E-Z Pass users have reported receiving emails demanding payment for a past due debt. The emails are a scam, the department says. It’s unclear how the scammer obtained the email addresses of E-Z Pass holders. [Reston Now]

New Arlington Book Released — “We Are Arlington,” a book featuring 180 pages of photos and history about Arlington and Arlington residents, is now on sale. The author is Bill Hamrock, co-owner of Pasha Cafe and Billy’s Cheesesteaks in Cherrydale. [Preservation Arlington]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

by Ethan Rothstein — July 1, 2014 at 11:45 am 2,629 0

Taylor Gourmet in Ballston Taylor Gourmet now open

Local deli and catering chain Taylor Gourmet is officially open in Ballston at 4000 Wilson Blvd today.

After a soft opening last Friday and Saturday, in which the sandwich and salad shop offered a free meal to those who stopped in, Taylor Gourmet’s owner Casey Patten announced this morning that his ninth location would be opening to the public at 11:00 this morning.

“The response from the soft opening was great,” Patten said in an email. “Really good feedback from customers that stopped by… This was the spark the team needed to work through the weekend to get the store ready for opening ASAP. We’re excited and want folks to come by before and after the World Cup game.”

The deli, at the corner of Wilson and N. Quincy Street, will be open from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily.

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