Arlington County is planning to designate the Fraber House at 1612 N. Quincy Street in Cherrydale a “local historic district,” then sell it to the highest bidder.
The house and surrounding grounds were purchased by the county from the Fraber family in 2002, for $537,000, with the intention of demolishing the yellow Bungalow-style home and using the land to expand adjacent Oakgrove Park.
The latter part of that plan was foiled when the Cherrydale neighborhood included the house and its detached garage in its designation to the National Register of Historic Places.
The home was deemed historically significant as “a classic example of the early-20th century Bungalow form… built and lived in by the types of middle and working class people who first established Arlington as a commuter suburb.”
“This presented a dilemma for the County’s land acquisition and historic preservation programs,” county staff wrote in a report this month. “For the last eleven years, the County has considered a variety of options to balance preserving the open space for Oakgrove Park and preserving the historic buildings on the site.”
That eleven years of contemplation has led to a plan to protect the home with a local historic designation, then try to sell it to someone who would presumably want to fix it up and live in it. The plan calls for the home to be offered for sale by a real estate agent starting this summer. It will be sold in “as is” condition — given that it “still retains its original building footprint, windows and doors, and nearly all of its exterior and interior materials and details.”
The parcels of land around the home will be retained by the county and used to expand Oakgrove Park, which consists of a youth soccer field, a playground and picnic equipment. The county says it will use proceeds of the sale to fund future park land acquisition.
In March, the county’s Historic Affairs and Landmark Review Board recommended that the historic designation be extended to the home’s detached garage. Earlier this month, the Arlington Planning Commission voted unanimously to also favor historic status for the garage.
County staff, however, is recommending that the garage, which sits on land the county wants to use for the park, not receive historic status. Instead, the county will encourage the buyer of the home to move the garage closer to the home, on privately-owned land. Or, if that fails, the county will “make the garage available to an interested part for relocation… at the expense of the interested party.”
“This would allow the County to retain the remaining parkland for open space (as was the original intent) and for future park amenities,” staff wrote.
The County Board is scheduled to consider the Request to Advertise the historic designation at its Saturday meeting.
Photos via Arlington County
If you can’t manage to travel to Paris anytime soon, walking into a new shop in Cherrydale may be enough to give you a French fix. The recent addition of La Maison at 3510 Lee Highway should please local Francophiles.
“This is a dream come true,” said owner Jeeun Friel. “I just love decorating and I’m a collector of beautiful things.”
The store quietly opened on Saturday (March 16) and has seen a steady stream of curious customers come through the doors.
“It’s been a lot of positive feedback. They’ve been very welcoming here,” said Friel.
The shop carries a variety of French and French-inspired products ranging from jewelry to candles and soaps to antique furniture pieces. Friel said she makes every effort to buy true antiques and not reproductions. She also sells art and new furniture pieces made by local artists, and as evidenced by the various bright items throughout the store, Friel reports a passion for “having fun with color.”
“La Maison means ‘the house’ in French. I want everybody to feel like this is someone’s home,” Friel said. “It’s kind of like a Parisian market with all different kinds of things.”
She originally worked as a private chef, but about 10 years ago Friel and a partner went in together on their first business, a hair salon, which they sold a few years later. Since then, she had been interested in opening a small store highlighting her enjoyment of decorating.
The space was previously occupied by a palm reading business, and prior to that it was Cherrydale Clockworks, which closed suddenly in August 2010.
“I’ve always adored this neighborhood, and I know it’s certainly up and coming,” said Friel. “I’ve seen it change the last seven years. I just love Cherrydale.”
Although no firm date has been set, Friel plans to hold a grand opening celebration next month. Until then, she’s working to get a website up and running and on spreading the word about the store’s soft opening.
“Come and say hello,” Friel said. “I welcome anyone and everyone and just want them to feel like this is a special place with lots of different, eclectic, unique little finds. It’s like a treasure hunt.”
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]
A Safeway representative attended the Cherrydale Civic Association (CCA) meeting earlier this month to discuss the remodeling plan with residents. According to information presented at the meeting, the building footprint would remain the same and the remodeling would occur within the store.
“We’ve asked them for a better deli, fresh produce, a bakery. A lot of food was too close to expiration,” said CCA President Maureen Ross. “It’s just in need of renovations.”
Ross noted that Safeway has thus far been receptive to the idea of adding a Capital Bikeshare station on the grounds.
”We’re very excited and we’re praising them,” Ross said. “We’ve also asked them to see if they’d be willing to adopt the street trees because Arlington County has not been able to maintain the trees and they look terrible.”
There’s the possibility that the final plan will involve changes to the store facade and landscaping, but that will not be determined until Safeway gives final approval and the design is revealed. Final approval is also necessary in order to name an official start date for the makeover, although the CAA hopes it can begin in March. We’re told the renovation should take around 90 days to complete.
Signs have gone up on the ground level of 3800 Lofts (3800 Lee Highway) announcing that Kite Runner Cafe is coming soon. It will sit between Subway, which opened earlier this year, and House of Steep, which opened in September.
No permits have yet been displayed and no workers could be spotted on site. So far we have not been able to get in touch with the owner to get more information about the type of restaurant Kite Runner Cafe will be or when it’s scheduled to open.
Restoration Anglican Church (1815 N. Quincy Street) hasn’t been in existence for long, but it’s already looking to expand into a larger building.
The church congregation formed in January 2009, when it was around 100 people. At that time, it rented space for one service per week from Trinity Baptist Church, as did a third congregation which ended up relocating to Reston. Restoration bought the church building when Trinity disbanded in 2010.
Now, the congregation is closer to 450-500 people and the number of weekend services has increased to three. The Rev. David Hanke says the congregation has reached its threshold for expansion in the current facility.
“Our ability to keep adding services has hit its end so we need to build something larger,” he said.
Last month, Restoration began its capital campaign in an effort to raise a portion of the $4.5 million budgeted for the project. Although a design has not yet been finalized, the goal is to build a facility that would seat around 400 people, instead of the current 150 person capacity.
The existing church building will be razed and the new facility will be built on the same plot of land. So far there is no hard date for breaking ground, considering a final design hasn’t even been approved yet, but the hope is to start construction in early 2013.
While construction takes place for an estimated 12 to 18 months, the congregation will use space at Little Falls Presbyterian Church for one service per weekend.
Rev. Hanke reports having a good relationship with the surrounding community, and mentioned attending a Cherrydale Citizens Association meeting to address any concerns about a larger church. One of the issues that has come up as a concern among some residents is the lack of parking.
Right now, there are only 13 parking spaces at the church but there is a shuttle on Sundays that runs to the designated parking lot adjacent to Washington-Lee High School near I-66. The parking plan is in compliance with a county code allowing churches to run such shuttles to nearby parking lots. Rev. Hanke says the new church will house the same number of spots and the Sunday shuttle service will continue. Church goers will be reminded, as they are now, to appease neighbors by not parking on Quincy Street or nearby side streets.
Although a finished church facility is far in the future, the congregation is looking forward to its larger, permanent home.
“In the ongoing conversation we’re having with our community, one of the parallels I’ve drawn is to being a homeowner. There’s a big difference between renting a space and owning a space,” said Rev. Hanke. “Since we became owners, we became much more invested in the Quincy Street area. We love being on that street and we love our neighborhood. We are excited we have the opportunity to be there for a long, long time.”
(Updated at 2:40 p.m.) – Power has been restored to nearly all of the 2,200 customers who were without power due to a vehicle accident in Cherrydale. The intersection of N. Quincy Street and Lee Highway, however, remains a mess.
According to an officer on the scene, just before 10:00 a.m., the driver of a large truck was attempting to make a right turn onto Lee Highway from northbound Quincy Street. Somehow he snagged a cable anchored into the sidewalk, which supports a utility pole. The top of the pole snapped and brought down wires, a transformer and part of another pole.
“This is all just because some guy couldn’t make a turn correctly,” the officer said.
The officer declined to comment on whether the driver received a ticket.
Traffic signals were dark in parts of Cherrydale, Ballston and Virginia Square in addition to the residential customers without power. Dominion was able to re-route power and all but 166 customers had electricity restored within an hour, according to Dominion spokeswoman Le-Ha Anderson. As of 2:40 p.m., there are only 9 remaining customers who don’t have power, and they are in the immediate vicinity of the accident.
Dominion crews are on the scene and have to replace the smashed transformer, one utility pole, the cross beam of another utility pole and will have to reconnect all the power lines. They also have to clean up the fluid that leaked from the smashed transformer, which Anderson said is harmless mineral oil. Crews had first hoped to have all the work finished sometime around 5:00 p.m., but due to the extent of the damage, the new estimate is in the 7:00-9:00 p.m. range.
Quincy Street remains closed between 20th Street and Lee Highway. Police are at the intersection to help with traffic control.
Cherrydale is about to become home to a unique business aimed entirely at relaxation and wellness. House of Steep (3800 Lee Highway), a new “tea house and foot sanctuary,” is scheduled to open its doors on Friday (September 21).
Owner Lyndsey DePalma had been looking to get out of the corporate world to open a tea house for years. She started the ball rolling about two years ago while in business school and went on to receive her reflexology certification. She wants her business to be a haven for busy individuals looking to escape from daily stress.
“We can actually take 15 minutes, 30 minutes and just relax,” DePalma said. “It’s not just a tea house, it’s an experience, it’s a place to relax.”
Customers who want to continue relaxing after leaving House of Steep will be able to purchase some of the two dozen varieties of loose tea. Although there will be some traditional favorites such as Earl Grey and Jasmine Green, House of Steep will also feature around 10 specialty teas blended in house. The selection will rotate, and each month one employee will concoct a new blend.
A unique aspect of the business that often confuses people upon first hearing about it is the concept of a “foot sanctuary” in the back of the store. Customers can receive a foot massage and rest their feet in an herbal foot bath, with or without an accompanying cup of tea. The foot soaks will be customized for each person’s needs, such as relaxation, stimulation or muscle aches. DePalma said the health benefits of the tea will complement the reflexology benefits of the foot soak.
“The reason it works together, in my mind, is just the whole ancient Eastern wisdom that there’s a lot of health and healing that happens in your feet,” she said.
The tea house will serve lighter, healthy fare such as wraps, salads and summer rolls. DePalma prides herself on locally sourcing ingredients for the dishes, and for selling baked goods from local bakeries LeoNora and Out of the Box.
“One of the themes of my business is to support local whenever I can,” said DePalma. “My mom and grandma were entrepreneurs and my mom’s business did suffer from big box stores. Local has always been part of my bloodline.”
The local push will continue throughout the establishment by featuring local artists’ works on the walls and using two local artisans’ relaxation products in the foot sanctuary.
Although DePalma had initially thought an area with higher foot traffic would be preferable to the current location, she realized being off the beaten path may allow customers to further enjoy the experience. Instead of rushing through for a quick cup of tea on the way to work or errands, they’re encouraged to slow down and enjoy the overall experience.
“It’s a little bit removed. It’s a little more of a destination; originally it was more of a convenience thing,” DePalma said. “I’m striving for something that’s memorable.”
DePalma reports the surrounding community has been supportive and excited about the store, despite a number of delays with opening. DePalma is still working out all the kinks, and hopes to win over even more people during House of Steep’s grand opening on October 19. Full plans are still in the works, but there will definitely be a ribbon cutting, massages and reflexology demonstrations.
“This is my first startup, so I’m learning a lot while I go. I’m creating this new kind of thing in the hopes it will actually stick and really take off in this area,” said DePalma. “I feel like this area really enjoys something to do, especially health focused.”
Nationals star Bryce Harper, perhaps most widely known for calling out a reporter for asking a “clown question,” has received a request to try out a new career — firefighting.
The Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department recently discovered that Harper, an Arlington resident, has always had aspirations of becoming a firefighter. That prompted a formal invitation to the All Star, and any interested teammates, on Friday.
The department learned about Harper’s desire from the Nats blog, which posted a question and answer session with the player.
The department posted the following on its website:
We noticed that Washington Nationals rookie outfielder Bryce Harper, when asked by a fan what he’d be doing if he wasn’t playing baseball, responded that: “I’d probably be a firefighter. Ever since I was growing up, I wanted to be a firefighter or a baseball player. Going into the offseason, I’m going to get my EMT and do the firefighting thing so I have something to fall back on.” Recognizing Mr. Harper’s inner calling as something more than just a savvy PR move, the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department invites Bryce Harper, and any other Nat who’d like to come to check out the fire service in the offseason. We’ll look forward to seeing you at our November meeting.
So far, neither Harper nor the Nationals responded to the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department’s invitation.
Flickr pool photo courtesy D Rob
Parking has been temporarily restricted along the side of Old Lee Highway due to a lane striping error.
The VDOT-owned street was recently repaved, but the crew that added the double yellow line apparently failed to take parking on the eastbound side of the road into account. As a result, eastbound traffic has to partially cross into the westbound lane to get around parked cars. Residents worried that this posed a grave danger to drivers.
“It’s only a matter of time before a serious accident occurs,” one resident said on the Cherrydale neighborhood listserv.
Arlington County has now put up temporary no parking signs between Taylor and Randolph Streets, while VDOT prepares to re-stripe the lanes. Arlington County Director of Transportation Dennis Leach told the Cherrydale listserv that the work may be performed over the weekend.
“Weather permitting, parking and striping should [be] normal by Tuesday,” Leach said Wednesday night.
Arlington will soon be home to a tea house. House of Steep (3800 Lee Hwy) is moving into one of the retail spaces at the Bromptons at Cherrydale property, which is now known as 3800 Lofts.
The store’s website highlights the calming tea house atmosphere, in which customers can enjoy tea, snacks and sandwiches. Interestingly, spa services will also be offered, with the signature treatment being an aromatherapy foot soak.
So far we only know of one other retailer that’s coming to the building: a Subway sandwich shop.
There’s no official opening date yet, but the website hints that the owners of House of Steep are aiming for June. Until then, customers can purchase items from the store online.
Meanwhile, the building’s management company is applying for a permit for outdoor seating. The seating area would be in front of the building, along Lee Highway.
County staff had previously raised concerns about the outdoor seating plan first put forth in 2003. In addition to trouble with the placement of tree pits, the layout reportedly didn’t provide corridors to the retail entrances and the residential exit stairs.
The plan redesign fixed the issues, so reviewers now recommend the County Board approves the outdoor seating permit at Saturday’s meeting.
Police originally received a call around 2:00 a.m. for a fight in progress in the 2000 block of N. Kenmore Street, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
The victim, a homeless man who had been living in his car in the neighborhood for the past five years, said an adult Asian male had jumped on his car and started attacking him. During the struggle, the suspect — who was drunk — was able to get into the driver’s seat of the car and hit the victim with the vehicle, according to Sternbeck. The suspect then started to drive off but wrecked the car 100 feet away. Undeterred, the suspect ran back at the victim to continue assaulting him.
At that point, Sternbeck said, the victim pulled out a pocket knife and stabbed his attacker in the chest. The suspect ran off and, after arriving at the scene of the fight, police called in a helicopter to search for him. The suspect was not initially located by police but, later, a woman called police to report her boyfriend missing. The boyfriend matched the description of the suspect, and police were then able to locate the suspect in his residence, suffering from a serious chest wound, according to Sternbeck.
The suspect, identified by police as 24-year-old Andrew Lee of North Carolina, was taken to a local hospital for treatment. After an investigation, Lee was charged Monday with attempted malicious wounding and unauthorized use of a vehicle. He’s currently being held without bond at the Arlington County jail. The motive for the attack is unknown at this time, Sternbeck said.
The victim did not require transport to the hospital, according to Sternbeck.
Senate Dems Defeat HPV Immunization Repeal — State Senate Democrats are taking credit for killing a bill that would have repealed the 2007 law that requires sixth grade girls be immunized from the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Said Arlington’s Sen. Barbara Favola (D), in a statement: “The best way to eradicate cervical cancer is widespread HPV vaccination. In the past, the most successful immunization programs, such as those for smallpox or polio, required universal vaccination. Cervical cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths in the world, but with this vaccination, there is hope for ending the suffering caused by cervical cancer.” [Washington Post]
Favola Criticized for Skipping Budget Vote — State Sen. Barbara Favola is being criticized by Republicans for skipping a vote on the state budget in favor of making a TV appearance. Favola appeared on MSNBC’s ‘Hardball with Chris Matthews’ while votes were being taken on the Republican-supported budget plan. In the end, however, her vote wouldn’t have changed the outcome — the budget didn’t pass. [Sun Gazette]
Cat Enters Va. Senate Race — A cat is running for Virginia’s open U.S. Senate seat. The “Hank for Senate” campaign has launched, amid a flurry of publicity, with a campaign TV ad and the campaign slogan “Milk in every bowl.” Hank has quite the personal story — including being saved from euthanization by an animal rescue group. [WTOP]
Cherrydale Library Book — The 50-year history of the cozy Cherrydale branch library has been documented in a new book. “Fifty Years of Cherrydale Library,” by Greg Embree, is available online (for free) and in print. [Blurb]
The contract for the final phase of the ongoing effort was awarded to Trafford Corporation. The first phase of the project, which includes removing overhead electrical lines from I-66 to N. Monroe St, is in its final stages.
When the project is finished late next year, Lee Highway will no longer have power lines dangling overhead from I-66 to N. Quincy St. This is one of the first utility undergrounding projects the County has undertaken.
This part of the neighborhood revitalization project has been in the works for years and has suffered from numerous delays. Some of the challenges have included avoiding interference with existing utilities under the roadway, working around private properties, and dealing with unforeseen circumstances such as utility crews being sent to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.
Following the completion of the undergrounding, the County plans to go forward with the remainder of the Cherrydale Lee Highway Revitalization Project. That involves restarting the planning and construction on other aesthetic and pedestrian safety improvements. Right now, that’s anticipated to be finished sometime in 2014.
A commercial tenant will soon move into a building that’s been the center of a years-long controversy in the Cherrydale neighborhood. A Subway restaurant is coming to the Bromptons at Cherrydale building (3800 Lee Hwy), now known as 3800 Lofts.
The residential space above the restaurant was supposed to be sold as condos, but multiple issues prompted the developer to convert the units to rentals over the summer.
Subway will be the first retail tenant in the building. The space, including the residential portion, sat empty for years due to problems with the building’s structural soundness, multiple lawsuits and a faltering economy.
Work has already begun on the restaurant, but there’s no word yet on an opening date.