70°Scattered Clouds

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.

by ARLnow.com — June 30, 2014 at 9:00 am 1,540 0

Corgi eyes a graduation cake (Flickr pool photo by Eric)

Rip Sullivan Running for Delegate — Richard “Rip” Sullivan is the first candidate to announce his candidacy to replace the retiring Del. Bob Brink. Sullivan, a Democrat and a Fairfax County resident, said he’s running “to fight the Tea Party Republicans trying to roll back social and economic progress in Virginia.” [Rip Sullivan for Delegate]

Metro Fare Increase Takes Effect — Metrorail fares have been raised an average of 10 cents as of Sunday. Other changes include hikes to Metrobus fares, MetroAccess fares and Metro parking rates. [WMATA]

Arlington-Based Agency Works to Foil Hackers — Reporters were recently given a tour of the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, a Department of Homeland Security-run hub for the U.S. government’s coordinated response to cyber attacks. The highly secure and classified office is located in a “non-descript” office building in Ballston, above a chain restaurant. [Bloomberg, InformationWeek]

‘Airbnb for Boats’ in D.C. — A service called Boatbound has launched in the D.C. area. It allows boat owners to rent out their boats to non-boat owners. The going rate for most boats on Boatbound is $200-500 per day. [Washington City Paper]

Flickr pool photo by Eric

by Ethan Rothstein — June 27, 2014 at 3:30 pm 2,460 0

Taylor Gourmet, the D.C.-area deli and catering chain, will open in Ballston “either next week or the one after,” according to owner Casey Patten.

This afternoon the restaurant — located at 4000 Wilson Blvd, on the corner of N. Quincy Street — held a soft opening, allowing some to come in and try a sandwich or salad for free. Tomorrow (Saturday) from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Taylor is offering the same deal, provided those who want to try the food first email Hilary Chattler at hc@taylorgourmet.com.

Patten said he’s hoping the soft openings give his staff and restaurant — the chain’s ninth location, and second in Virginia — time to practice, since “perfect practice makes perfect.”

“We want to spend some time to get things right,” he said. After tomorrow’s soft opening, the plan is to re-evaluate, do a little more interior work, and open within the next two weeks.

The sandwich shop’s specialty is a menu full of “cooked-from-scratch” items, Patten said, including roasting its own turkey, pork and roast beef in house and having freshly baked bread delivered twice a day.

“You won’t find a freezer in any of our restaurants,” he said. “The end goal is just to make the best sandwich we possibly can.”

Taylor Gourmet’s menu includes sandwiches with ingredients like “garlicky spinach,” white bean hummus, roasted cauliflower, as well as a kale side salad and a chickpea salad. The deli will deliver to the surrounding area, caters for groups from “10 to 5,000,” Chattler said, and plans to have WiFi when it opens, or soon after.

“We’ve wanted to come to Ballston for a long time,” Patten said. “We’d been trying to find space here for about two years. It’s kind of the perfect place for us. It’s young, super hip, there’s plenty of stuff to do and has daytime businesses as well as residents.”

by Ethan Rothstein — June 24, 2014 at 11:45 am 13,675 0

(Updated at 12:25 p.m.) The future plans for the Ballston Common Mall include demolishing the Macy’s Furniture Store and parts of the current mall to build a 29-story residential tower and an open-air town center along Wilson Blvd, officials announced Monday night.

The 393-unit apartment building, at the corner of Wilson and N. Randolph Street, is projected to be completed by 2017, Ballston Business Improvement District CEO Tina Leone revealed at the BID’s annual meeting last night. Leone said the redevelopment — including a revamp of the retail mix at the mall — will be crucial for the branding of Ballston, which is often closely associated with the increasingly run-down mall.

“The mall hasn’t quite been able to serve our public,” Leone said, noting the mall’s future is the main question she gets asked about the future of Ballston development. “The mall is going to ‘de-mall’ itself. The roof is coming off.”

The mall is owned and operated by Forest City, which purchased the Macy’s Furniture Store last September. Forest City spokesman Gary McManus told ARLnow.com at the time that the mall had planned retail space with more street access in Macy’s place, and those plans now include the residential tower.

The building is expected to have four floors of underground parking and two floors of retail space below the studio, one- and two-bedroom rental apartments. The apartment building and attached parking will have a separate entrance from the restaurants and remaining mall.

Kettler Capitals Iceplex, the main Macy’s store — which will fold in the furniture store on its ground floor — the Sport&Health Club and the Regal Cinemas will all remain in the closed-air section of the mall, which is being rebranded as “Ballston Center.”

Along Wilson Blvd, parts of the mall — which originally opened as the Parkington Shopping Center in 1951 before it was rebuilt and reopened as Ballston Common Mall in 1986 — will be torn down and replaced with an open-air, town center-like plaza. Demolition is expected to begin by late 2015.

“[Forest City] thought about what was going to have the highest impact,” Leone told ARLnow.com, saying the Ballston BID has been “on a very high level” helping to form plans for the mall’s redevelopment. “To make it a town center, this is life-altering for the people who live and work here.”

McManus said that the pedestrian bridge from the mall to the current National Science Foundation headquarters across the street is tentatively slated to be torn down — private conversations between Forest City and Arlington County Board members led the mall owner to remove it from the plans — but an agreement needs to be reached with the NSF building’s property owner before that can happen.

McManus also said that the retail mix in the mall will change, to become more restaurant and entertainment-oriented. It will be aimed at serving the immediate area, not as a mall that brings in most of its shoppers from other areas, despite the fact that it will have “some destination retail, too.”

“We don’t want to compete with Tysons or Pentagon City,” McManus said. “We’ve started this project before, but this time it’s got all the momentum behind it.”

In addition to the four-level, 580,000 square foot mall’s redevelopment, Leone announced plans for changes to public spaces expected this fall, like public art projects, Ballston-branded signs lining the streets and the new Fairfax Drive landscaping ARLnow.com reported on earlier this month.

Among the proposed projects is a redesigned Metro plaza, which Leone said she hopes will include an “interactive light installation” under the Metro canopy. The light installation is being designed in Amsterdam — it will track pedestrians’ movements underneath and project light based on that movement. The Metro plaza is also planned to include an small amphitheater and redesigned bus parking to remove some buses from N. Stuart Street. (more…)

by ARLnow.com — June 16, 2014 at 3:30 pm 2,540 0

Melvin Baxter (photo courtesy ACPD)A Maryland man has been arrested for allegedly attacking and robbing an 87-year-old Arlington resident.

The incident took place around 4:50 p.m. Saturday afternoon on the 3800 block of 9th Street N., in the Virginia Square area. Police say Melvin Baxter, 57, grabbed the 87-year-old man by the neck and threw him to the ground before robbing him of the cash in his wallet and fleeing on foot.

“A witness immediately came to the assistance of the victim and contacted police, providing a detailed description of the assailant,” according to an Arlington County Police Department press release. “The victim sustained minor injuries and was treated by medics on scene. At approximately 5:00 p.m., an officer located and detained the suspect on the platform of the Ballston Metro Station.”

Baxter, a Capitol Heights, Md. resident, was charged with robbery and held without bond at the Arlington County Detention Facility.

by ARLnow.com — June 16, 2014 at 12:05 pm 8,289 0

Police car (file photo)Sunday did not turn out to be a very fun day for one intoxicated 30-something in Ballston.

Police were called to the intersection of Fairfax Drive and N. Taylor Street around 9:30 p.m. for a report of a body lying in the street. Police and medics arrived on scene and and determined that the individual was bleeding from his head but was breathing.

Officers talked to a witness and learned that the man was “extremely intoxicated” and had been trying to walk backwards in the street when he lost his balance, fell, hit his head and knocked himself out, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.

The man, 33, was by himself at the time and it’s unknown where he was walking from. He was transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

by Ethan Rothstein — June 12, 2014 at 4:30 pm 3,286 0

Matsutake closes in Ballston Matsutake closes in Ballston

(Updated at 5:10 p.m.) The Matsutake Steak and Sushi restaurants in Ballston and Crystal City have closed for business.

The Crystal City location, at 320 23rd Street S., appears to have closed some time ago — its listing on Yelp is reported closed. The Ballston restaurant may have closed this week, and an eviction notice is posted on the door notifying the restaurant to vacate by yesterday morning. It’s placed next to a sign notifying customers of the restaurant’s closure:

“Boru/Matsutake Restaurant has closed with no plans to re-open in the near future,” it reads. The restaurant was a combination of Matsutake’s hibachi restaurant and a Boru Asian Bistro. “Restaurant is for rent.”

The restaurant is on the ground floor of Stafford Place II, the headquarters of the National Science Foundation, which is moving to Alexandria by 2017.

Hat tip to Robert Lauderdale

by Ethan Rothstein — June 3, 2014 at 10:00 am 2,963 0

(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.

by Ethan Rothstein — June 2, 2014 at 5:30 pm 2,194 0

Restaurant Challenge finalists Victor Albisu, left, and Christiana Campos (photo courtesy Ballston BID)The Ballston Business Improvement District’s Restaurant Challenge is over before its long-promoted “Top Chef”-style cookoff could begin.

Del Campo and Taco Bamba chef Victor Albisu has withdrawn his concept, a Mexican restaurant called Bombazo, leaving Christiana Campos and her Spanish restaurant, Casita, as the winner.

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.

by ARLnow.com — May 30, 2014 at 9:00 am 1,407 0

Missing Dog poster in Lyon Village

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.

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