(Updated at 11:55 a.m.) More than a dozen trees that lined the median of Fairfax Drive in Ballston were chopped down this weekend to make room for a new landscaping project.
Seventeen trees, some of which were around a foot in diameter, were removed by the Ballston Business Improvement District last weekend and this weekend. According to Ballston BID CEO Tina Leone, landscapers will be removing the stumps before they put in new trees and other plants.
Leone said 27 bald cypress trees will be planted in the median, accompanied by shrubbery and both annual and perennial flowers. Most of the work is projected to take between four and eight weeks, Leone said, but the perennials won’t be planted until the fall.
“We have started the implementation of our really dramatic landscaping for Fairfax Drive,” Leone said. “We see it becoming our grand boulevard for Ballston.”
The 17 trees removed “were near the end of their lives,” Leone said. “We had both our arborist and Arlington County’s take a look at them before the decision was made to remove them.”
The landscaping is the beginning of a re-envisioning of the way Ballston looks, and next year the improvements will begin in earnest to the “hardscape,” Leone said. The planned changes will be revealed on June 23 at the Ballston BID’s annual meeting, when attendees will be given a “3-D video tour” of the future of Ballston. Leone said the project should take about five years to complete.
“Ballston is going to look very different in the next five years,” she said. “This is just the first step.”
ARLnow.com received numerous tips and inquiries about the tree removal.
“A real shame,” one tipster said about the tree removal, before hearing about the replanting plans. “[It will result in] less green in the cityscape, less shade, less CO2 consumed, less oxygen produced, more of an urban heat island effect.”
Disclosure: Ballston BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
Campos will now get to open up shop in the former Red Parrot space at 1110 N. Glebe Road, next to The Melting Pot with a year of free rent, an 11-year lease and a $245,000, interest-free loan from the building’s owner, Brookfield Properties.
Campos and Albisu were selected as the two finalists to compete in a final cookoff this Wednesday evening in the restaurant space that will now become Casita. They were selected from a pool of eight semi-finalists who competed in a judging panel during Taste of Arlington last month, and the two finalists’ selection generated some controversy because of confusion over the selection process.
The restaurant concept that won the most votes from Taste of Arlington attendees, Kristen Robinson’s Laurel, was not named a finalist. Despite Albisu dropping out this morning, Ballston BID CEO said Campos was declared the winner instead of Robinson being invited to the challenge.
“We decided that Casita and Christiana and her team thought they were going up against Victor, and to change that midway and say, ‘Oh we’re not going to award it to you’ and give a chance to someone else, we didn’t think it was the right thing to do,” Leone told ARLnow.com this afternoon. “They have a great plan, team and concept for that location. All the elements were there for a successful venture. We thought that was the best thing to do to award it to her.”
Albisu declined comment on dropping out of the Restaurant Challenge through his publicist. Restaurant Challenge judge and Top Chef alumnus Mike Isabella announced last week that he’d be opening a Mexican cantina, called Pepita, in Ballston, at 4000 Wilson Blvd, last week. Leone alluded to the fact that Isabella’s new venture, expected to open early next year, might have chased Albisu off.
“There were restaurant wars going on, it wasn’t quite the challenge we were putting on,” Leone said. “Things don’t always work out exactly the way you want, but we think this turned out pretty great. It’s a win for Ballston. We’re getting a Mexican restaurant and a Spanish restaurant.”
Campos described Casita on the Restaurant Challenge website as “inspired from the timeless taverns that over generations have been offering very unique, yet typical, classic comfort foods from Spain featuring top-quality and seasonal ingredients. These taverns are known for their hearty dishes and “menus del dia” (a three course meal at a reasonable cost), as well as “pintxos” (essentially snacks on a skewer).”
The Restaurant Challenge was a kind of sequel to last year’s Launchpad Challenge for startup technology companies. While Launchpad was seen as a success, Leone said there’s no certainty that another challenge is in the offing for Ballston. She also pointed out that Restaurant Challenge was the brainchild of Brookfield Properties looking to entice restaurants to its space, not an idea the BID hatched on its own.
There’s no word on when Casita plans to open. Campos will be officially announced as the winner at the BID’s annual meeting on June 23, when she will prepare an array of food as a preview for the restaurant.
Disclosure: Ballston BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser. Photo courtesy Ballston BID.
Beyer Again Leads Fundraising Race — Former Va. lieutenant governor Don Beyer is still at the top of the fundraising heap in the race to succeed Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.). Beyer, one of seven Democrats seeking the party’s nod on June 10, has raised $1.1 million so far, according to the latest Federal Election Commission finance report. Beyer’s campaign has $351,371 on hand for the remainder of the primary. The only other primary candidate to have more than $100,000 cash on hand is Mark Levine, who has loaned his campaign $400,000 and has $292,753 on hand. [Washington Post]
Hazing Film to Be Shown to Parents — The Arlington READY Coalition will be screening a film on college hazing for parents Monday night. The screening will take place from :007-8:30 at the Lyon Village Community Center (1920 N. Highland Street). It tells the story of a “preventable tragedy” caused by college hazing. [Arlington Public Schools]
Ballston Restaurant Challenge Dustup — The final round of competition in the Ballston Restaurant Challenge will be held this coming Wednesday, but one competitor who did not advance to the finals is upset that they won the public vote in the last round and yet was not chosen to advance. Another passed-over competitor is upset that established restaurateurs were allowed to compete in the contest. [Washington City Paper]
Disclosure: Ballston BID, organizer of the Restaurant Challenge, is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
Beekeeping in Arlington — A number of Arlington residents keep bees in their Arlington backyards. These amateur beekeepers often bottle their honey and sell it to neighbors or to patrons at the Arlington County Fair. [Falls Church News-Press]
Protest Underway in Ballston — Several dozen protesters are demonstrating outside Ballston Common Mall this morning. They’re protesting a tenant in the adjacent office building, Arlington-based developer AvalonBay, for alleged construction safety violations and low wages. [Twitter]
Yorktown Student Places at Int’l Science Fair — Yorktown High School junior Margaret Doyle captured fourth place in the Animal Sciences category at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, held earlier this month in Los Angeles. Doyle is also a former ARLnow.com summer intern. [InsideNova]
New Tysons Tower Will Be Region’s Tallest — The new 384-foot tall office building at 1812 North Moore Street in Rosslyn won’t be the tallest tower in the region for long. On Friday, Fairfax County approved a 470-foot tall skyscraper, which will serve as the headquarters for Capital One. It will be the tallest building in the D.C. area, aside from the Washington Monument. [Greater Greater Washington]
The annual event will be held from noon to 5:00 p.m. Packets of 10 food and beverage tickets for are still on sale for $35.
Responding to high demand in previous years, Taste of Arlington will have a larger beer and wine pavilion this year. Located on Wilson between N. Randolph and Quincy Streets, the pavilion is billed as having “seating and plenty of space to dance.”
Aside from eating and drinking, Taste of Arlington will feature a number of different activities and entertainment option.
Three bands well-known to many Arlington residents will be performing on the main stage: Jumpin’ Jupiter from noon to 1:00 p.m., Gonzo’s Nose from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m., and Burnt Sienna from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.
A “KidZone” will feature a rock climbing wall, face-painting, carnival games, Washington Wizards and Capitals inflatable games, a teen band, a puppet show, a magic show and a dance performance. KidZone food, drink and game tickets are $20.
A “Bark Park” will provide a space for festival goers and their dogs, complete with pet supply vendors and a Corona beer station. For $10, dog owners can enter their pooch in a “World Pup tournament,” which features a 70-foot race track and a doggy-sized soccer goal.
Before the festival kicks off, organizers will be holding a Girls on the Run 5K race, described as “Northern Virginia’s most family friendly 5K.” A number of roads in the area will be closed from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. to accommodate the race.
There will be other traffic impacts in Ballston as a result of the festival. Wilson Blvd between N. Glebe Road and Quincy Street will be closed from midnight to 8:00 p.m. to accommodate the booths, as will N. Stuart Street between Wilson and 9th Street N. Parking will also be restricted in the area.
The full list of breweries and restaurants that will be serving at Taste of Arlington, after the jump. (more…)
Effective immediately, restaurant managers will be liable for the noise of their patrons if it can be heard in a residence 100 feet or more away from midnight to 9:00 a.m in mixed-use areas, which the county outlines in maps of areas like Clarendon, Ballston, Pentagon City and Columbia Pike.
Anywhere in the county, from 2:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. anyone who can be heard “yelling, wailing, shouting or screaming” can receive a ticket for $100 or more.
“It’s our goal to always do the best we can to balance and be respectful of the quality of life to everyone that’s here,” County Board Chairman Jay Fisette said during the Board’s almost five-hour discussion of the ordinance at its Saturday meeting. “This is another set of tools, in my mind, that helps us to address the not widespread — but they do exist — impacts of noise.”
Residents of condominiums in Ballston and other of Arlington’s urban neighborhoods were calling for more restrictive rules, including setting quiet hours beginning at 11:00 p.m. nightly and from noon to 6:00 p.m. on Sundays. A committee of residents from the Alta Vista and Berkeley Condominiums in Ballston — both within steps of A-Town Bar & Grill – unsuccessfully proposed those stricter rules to the Board.
“[Responsible businesses] have nothing to fear from a strong noise control ordinance,” said Lee Austin, a member of the ad hoc condo committee. “Nor do we want to prevent young people from having a good time. But is it too much to ask they be respectful of residents in the neighborhood late at night and on Sunday afternoon? What we solicit protection from is the crowd noise that comes from irresponsible establishments that serve too much alcohol to too many people too long after they’ve had too much to drink.”
Clarendon and Courthouse residents sent a flurry of emails last week requesting similar restrictions, with former president of the Clarendon-Courthouse Civic Association Chris Keever telling the County Board that the ordinance appears “to have been drafted directly by bar owners who are not even trying to pretend they care about being good neighbors.”
Whitlow’s on Wilson owner Greg Cahill was the first of 17 speakers who addressed the Board about the ordinance on Saturday. He did not advocate for a specific enforcement time, but instead implored the Board to consider the business community as well as the residents when adopting the new regulations.
“We’re a little concerned it could be detrimental to our business,” he said. “Sometimes we don’t get busy until 11 or 12 at night. It could affect our business. It’s going to be hard for us to be responsible for actions people [take] when they’re waiting to get into our bar and restaurant.”
In addition to provisions dealing with mixed-use districts, the new ordinance makes it illegal for anybody or any group of people “to engage during the nighttime in yelling, wailing, shouting or screaming” in a residential neighborhood, if the noise can be heard within 20 feet inside an adjacent home or within 50 feet across a road or property boundary.
The ordinance adopted was revised from the version discussed last month that rankled Arlington’s private swim clubs. Those clubs are now exempted from the residential noise ordinance, provided that their meets that take place between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.
The county’s Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development’s Code Enforcement personnel will pair with the Arlington County Police Department in enforcing the new rules. The new ordinance was written after a 2009 Virginia Supreme Court decision changed the way localities could enforce noise violations. The ordinance now establishes “Objective, quantifiable and defined measurement standards,” according to Arlington County’s press release.
Fisette called the ordinance a “work in progress” and said county staff should bring back any recommended changes at the ordinance’s one-year review. Fisette also made several references to “one establishment in Ballston” that “continues to cause problems for residents,” and said the Board will address that restaurant — understood to be A-Town — when its use permit comes before the Board for review.
Sweet Leaf Cafe Coming to Ballston – Sweet Leaf Cafe will be opening a second Arlington location. In addition to the existing Courthouse location, the local salad and sandwich chain will be opening a new cafe at 650 N. Quincy Street in Ballston, on the ground floor of the Residence Inn hotel. [Washington Business Journal]
Businesses Optimistic About County Ombudsman – Local businesses and developers hope that the appointment of assistant county manager Shannon Flanagan-Watson as Arlington County’s “business ombudsman” is another sign that that the county is serious about cutting red tape and being friendlier to business interests. [InsideNoVa]
GGW Blasts Streetcar Referendum Idea – Greater Greater Washington writer Canaan Merchant says that the Columbia Pike streetcar referendum proposal floated last week by Congressional candidate Del. Patrick Hope and County Board candidate Alan Howze is “pointless and possibly destructive.” [Greater Greater Washington]
TSA Opens Pre-Check Office in DCA – The Transportation Security Administration has opened a Pre-Check enrollment center at Reagan National Airport. The Pre-Check program allows “known travelers” who sign up to go through expedited screening lines at the airport. [Washington Post]
County to Provide Super Stop Update – County officials this afternoon will be holding a media briefing to provide an update into the comprehensive review into the $1 million “Super Stop” bus stop. Construction of the other 23 planned Super Stops is on hold while the county reviews cost and functionality concerns associated with the first Super Stop.
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
The restaurant is expected to open at 800 N. Glebe Road, next to Mussel Bar, this July. It will have table seating for 100, a 28-seat bar and seating for 36 at its outdoor patio.
“The restaurant’s menu is grounded in gourmet grilled pizzas with toppings that have been responsibly sourced from an array of American producers,” said spokeswoman Robin Insley. “Its wine menu features a sommelier-created list of about 36 wines designed to be paired with each pizza.”
Each wine will cost less than $10 a glass, Insley said, and be available in tasting pours and flights. The New York location features gelato, gelato floats and gelato paninis, with the Italian-style ice cream wrapped in vanilla cake and served warm.
Located in New York City’s Union Square, Pizza Vinoteca first opened its doors this past March.
Hat tip to Tony Zuccaro
(Updated at 1:35 p.m.) Police and paramedics swarmed the Ballston Metro station after a stabbing Sunday night.
According to WMATA, a man in his late 20s was stabbed on the station platform around 8:50 p.m. He suffered life-threatening stab wounds to his bicep and abdomen and as of Monday morning was listed in critical/stable condition, according to Metro spokesman Dan Stessel.
The station manager helped apply pressure to the man’s wounds, potentially saving his life, Stessel told WJLA.
Two people were taken into custody in connection with the stabbing but so far only one has been charged. According to Stessel, 52-year-old Jeffrey Kenneth Hicks, of no fixed address, has been charged with aggravated malicious wounding.
The circumstances that led to the stabbing are still under investigation, but Stessel said “it appears that it began as a verbal altercation that escalated to physical violence.”
Trains single-tracked past the station Sunday night while police collected evidence. On Twitter, witnesses described seeing “blood all over the platform.”
@unsuckdcmetro Someone was just stabbed on inbound platform at Ballston. Blood all over the platform. MTPD on scene, local PD en route.
— Meredith Peruzzi (@etoile) May 5, 2014
Photo courtesy @firstdownbar
A Dunkin’ Donuts location appears on its way to Ballston in the former Quiznos storefront in the National Science Foundation building.
The storefront, at 4201 Wilson Blvd — but located at the corner of N. Stuart and 9th Streets — is covered in brown paper but a sign on the window states Dunkin’ Donuts applied for a building permit on April 3.
Steve Roggie, the building’s property manager for Gates Hudson, confirmed to ARLnow.com that Dunkin’ Donuts has already signed the lease for the space. He said he doesn’t have an estimate for when the 1,000-square-foot space will open, but he said the franchise owner is “a really good operator of Dunkin Donuts. They’re very excited to be here, and they want to get in there as soon as possible.”
The location would be the sixth Dunkin’ Donuts in Arlington, not counting its storefronts in the Pentagon and Reagan National Airport.
Hat tip to Bill Colton
GoCity, which also organizes the annual Shamrock Fest in D.C., says participating bars include Clarendon Grill, Velocity 5, Mad Rose Tavern, Greene Turtle, Hunan One, Arlington Rooftop Bar & Grill, Mister Days, Wilson Tavern, Hard Times and “more to be added.” The crawl will feature “exclusive drink and food specials at each stop” and “Cinco de Mayo festivities, entertainment, music & fun.”
The Arlington County Board this month approved additional funding that will allow the police department to have more officers on hand during pub crawls to make sure patrons don’t get out of hand. A St. Patrick’s Day-themed bar crawl in March resulted in numerous alcohol-related arrests and resident complaints.
During the Feb. 12 evening rush hour commute, while on an Orange Line train near the Ballston Metro station, the man “allegedly rubbed the inner thigh of a patron as she sat next to him,” according to police. The crime is being described as “assault and battery.”
“Anyone who is able to identify the individual pictured below is asked to call Metro Transit Police Detectives at (202) 962-2121 and reference case #2014-07734,” MTPD said in a press release.
(Updated at 1:10 p.m.)The concrete, brick-like crosswalks that cross Fairfax Drive in Ballston and other main roads around Arlington are susceptible to disrepair and are more costly to fix than an average sidewalk.
The crosswalks, called “pavers,” were installed by the county on VDOT roads like Fairfax Drive, Lee Highway and Columbia Pike. They were built roughly 20 years ago as part of a county project to try to construct a brick-like crosswalk without material as fragile as the clay that bricks are made from.
“When brick sidewalks in old cities were in vogue, the industry developed concrete pavers as a flexible and durable surface for sidewalks that could adapt to tree roots without cracking and looked attractive in many areas,” county Department of Environmental Services spokeswoman Jennifer Heilman told ARLnow.com. “However, the heavy volumes of large vehicles such as what is typical of Fairfax Drive and most major arterials where Arlington has such crosswalks installed have made them very difficult to maintain as they’ve aged and become more prone to failure.”
Heilman said the crosswalks, like the one on N. Stuart Street crossing Fairfax Drive, captured by an ARLnow.com tipster in a state of disrepair on Tuesday, costs $20 per square foot to repair, which is four times the cost of repairing a standard concrete sidewalk.
Because of this winter’s extreme weather, the many crosswalks have been repaired with asphalt, like the ones at Lee Highway and N. Military Road and Columbia Pike at S. Walter Reed Drive. In high-density areas like Ballston that see a comparatively high volume of car and foot traffic over the crosswalks, developers and property owners contribute to the repair of the crosswalks through a county pedestrian maintenance program.
The crosswalk above, however, was repaired quickly by the county because it’s near a major transit hub. Heilman said there are 70 crosswalks with concrete pavers in the county at 35 intersections, but there are no plans to install any more in the future. Residents can report crosswalk failures to DES online.
The event, hosted by the Ballston Business Improvement District, will close down Wilson Blvd and part of N. Stuart Street to accommodate about 50 restaurant booths, two live music stages, a beer and wine garden, three golf putting holes and a rock climbing wall.
Among the restaurants being featured are Willow, the yet-to-open Kapnos, World of Beer, Big Buns, Pete’s Apizza, Circa and Red Rocks, among others. The restaurants will compete in competitions for best appetizer, best entrée and best dessert. The beer and wine garden will also feature national and local breweries like Port City in Alexandria, Devil’s Backbone, Flying Dog and Starr Hill, plus wine and sparkling wine from Barefoot.
The event will go from noon to 5:00 p.m., rain or shine. Tasting tickets can be bought online 10 for $30 before May 1, and 10 for $35 after that. Tickets for unlimited beer, wine and champagne, plus seats to watch the tasting up close can be had for $100, and $110 after May 1, in the VIP champagne tent. Starting April 23, Harris Teeter locations in Arlington will also be selling ticket packets at a discount.
Before the event, at 10:00 a.m., there will also be a 5k organized by Girls on the Run, open to runners of all ages.
Disclosure: Ballston BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser. File photo
Yelp reviewers and out-of-town passersby alike see the same thing when they look at the sign for Market Place & Cafe in Ballston: a phallus.
But despite giggles from around the internet and outside the doors, the store at 901 N. Glebe Road has kept the logo plastered on its windows for at least 5 years. And there’s no indication that it will be changing any time soon.
The restaurant’s owner declined requests for comment, demanding that an ARLnow.com employee leave the store after identifying himself as a reporter — but before even getting a chance to ask about the sign.
It’s unclear why the store has stuck with the logo — which seems intended to be a mustachioed figure with an prodigiously tall chef’s hat — for all these blush-inducing years. Commentary about the sign on Yelp dates back to 2009.
“My coworkers refer to the place as CnB Deli,” Steve L. wrote in 2009. “If you look at the picture I’ve attached you’ll see why: the logo for this place is of a huge c— and balls.”
“Welcome to Dong Deli,” Steve T. wrote in 2011. “Despite the ridic [sic] logo, the food isn’t that bad.”
The most recent review on the Yelp page was written last year by Matt R., who gave the deli five stars. Matt wrote: “I have never eaten here but their logo is a PENIS WITH A MOUSTACHE. 5 stars.”
Brandon Kline, visiting the area from his home on Long Island, N.Y., said he didn’t notice the sign at first, until he was walking from the Ballston Metro to the Holiday Inn a block away from Market Place Cafe and saw that a crowd had gathered to take photos.
“It was soon apparent why the crowd was taking pictures,” Kline told ARLnow.com. Kline said it reminded him of the phallic sign for the Austin Motel in Austin, Texas, “but even that isn’t as bad” as Market Place’s.
“They definitely knew it was a [penis] sign when they made it,” Kline’s girlfriend, Abby Koppa, said. “There’s no way it was unintentional.”