The Embassy of the Republic of Korea (ROK) has offered Arlington County the use of prime land in the Courthouse area at no cost. The County Board is scheduled to vote on the lease agreement at its meeting this Saturday, May 18.
The two parcels of vacant land run along Clarendon Blvd, between N. Adams Street and N. Barton Street. The ROK Arlington Embassy Annex building lies adjacent to the land, but faces Wilson Blvd. The land parcels up for grabs currently house nothing but fenced asphalt and gravel lots.
The embassy reports that the space is only used a few times each year during large meetings. It decided to offer the land to the county as a goodwill gesture.
Terms of the lease would allow the county to use the land free of rent as long as it maintains the parcels. The county may use the property for any legal use, provided it notifies the embassy prior to changing the land use. Any permanent improvements on the land would first require consent from the embassy.
The lease agreement would be in effect for a minimum of two years and would continue until terminated by one of the parties. The county staff report indicates maintenance costs associated with the lease would be minimal and no significant fiscal impact is expected.
Although the county staff report recommends the Board approves the deal, so far no firm plan has been developed for the future of the land. The county’s Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development (CPHD) performed a preliminary land analysis and came up with some potential uses and improvements to the property. CPHD is prepared to solicit public input on possible uses for the site.
LOFT, formerly known as Ann Taylor LOFT, sells “upper moderate” priced women’s clothing for for work and home. The company’s two stores in Arlington — at the Pentagon Row and Market Common Clarendon shopping centers — closed recently to undergo some remodeling.
The Pentagon Row location is expected to reopen this Friday (May 3) and the Clarendon location should reopen at some point next week, according to company spokeswoman Marie Larson.
“This new concept store is complete with plush seating and open space encouraging interaction among clients and larger groupings of mannequins in order to show our guests additional outfitting options,” Larson said.
It’s been closed for the past 15 months, but Potomac CrossFit is reopening this weekend at its new location in Courthouse.
Last year, Potomac CrossFit at 1039 N. Highland Street in Clarendon closed, along with nearby businesses, to make way for a new development that’s currently under construction. Tomorrow, the gym will hold a grand reopening celebration at its new home at 1320 N. Courthouse Road.
With more than 8,000 square feet, the Courthouse location offers more than double the space of the previous site. Employees at the new location also boast of shower facilities, new equipment and a revamped class schedule.
Everyone is welcome to stop by for a free class tomorrow (Saturday) at 10:30 a.m. No CrossFit experience is necessary. Immediately following the class, the grand reopening celebration will kick off at 11:30 a.m. Visitors can check out the facility, meet instructors and enjoy food and drinks.
Arlington Homeless Population Increases — Despite a decline of 2.4 percent across most of the region, Arlington’s homeless population rose by six percent between 2012 and 2013. The figures were gathered during the annual homeless census on January 30. The county’s new homeless count stands at 479 people, up from 451 the previous year. [Sun Gazette]
Streetcar Cost/Benefit Test — An article criticizing Libby Garvey’s op-ed in the Washington Post contends streetcars do indeed pass the cost/benefit test, contrary to Garvey’s thoughts. The author favors a streetcar to buses based on points such as the streetcar having a greater passenger capacity, faster rate of travel and bringing more development to the area. [Greater Greater Washington]
Raise the Roof Service Project — The Arlington Teen Network Board has teamed up with Rebuilding Together Arlington/Fairfax/Falls Church for a service project called “Raise the Roof.” Tomorrow (April 27), volunteers will begin repairing the Borromeo Housing, Inc. group house, which is a transitional home for teen moms and their children. Volunteers are collecting money to continue with the next phase of the service project, which involves a facelift of the interior and exterior of the home. Those interested in contributing can do so through the project website.
Police Seek Tips in Two Theft Incidents — The Arlington County Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in finding suspects involved in two separate theft incidents. The first incident involved shoplifting at South Moon Under (2700 Clarendon Blvd) on March 1. Suspect descriptions are available online, along with contact information for reporting tips. The second case involves tracking down persons of interest in the theft of a victim’s wallet. The victim’s credit cards have since been used around the area. Suspect information and contact information for reporting tips for that crime can also be found on the police department website.
The county’s BikeArlington program posted the following photo of one of the shelters on Facebook.
“The temporary rack assembly shown here will be replaced this week with 12 permanent racks,” BikeArlington said. “The two bike shelters are designed to accommodate 12 racks each, which together will provide cover for up to 48 bikes.”
“The Clarendon shelters are identical to Arlington’s two existing bike shelters. The first was located at the Shirlington bus station. The second recently opened at the Pentagon City metro station. An air pump and repair stand with basic tools will also be installed at all three bike shelter locations sometime this summer.”
The new bike shelters are part of the larger Clarendon Metro Plaza project, which has resulted in new paving, seating, lighting, landscaping and newspaper racks outside the Metro station. Construction on the project is expected to wrap up this spring and summer.
Photo via Facebook
The stations will close beginning today at 10:00 p.m. and running through closing on Sunday. The closures allow for track circuit replacement, which is a safety measure recommended by the NTSB.
Trains will operate every 15 minutes in two segments: between Vienna and Virginia Square, and between Rosslyn and New Carrollton. There will be free shuttle buses to take passengers between stops from Virginia Square to Rosslyn. Customers using the shuttles should add 15 minutes to their travel time.
To allow for shuttle bus connections, the last train from Vienna to Virginia Square will depart 31 minutes earlier than normal on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. The train will leave Vienna at 2:05 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, and at 11:05 p.m. on Sunday.
Riders on the Blue and Yellow lines should also expect delays. Trains will be single tracking between Braddock Road and Pentagon City due to maintenance such as rail tie, fastener and insulator renewal. Blue and Yellow trains will operate every 30 minutes.
A man who was pulled over by police in Clarendon on Saturday night allegedly thought it would help his case if it was known that he was a police officer.
The only problem? He wasn’t a police officer at all, according to this week’s Arlington County crime report.
The 38-year-old Sterling man turned out to be a medical assistant, the crime report says. He was charged with impersonating a police officer.
IMPERSONATING A POLICE OFFICER, 04/06/13, 1000 block of N. Irving Street. At 10:38 pm on April 6, a subject claimed he was a police officer and displayed a badge during a traffic stop. Further questioning revealed he was a medical assistant in a doctor’s office. Hussein Al-Rehaief, 38, of Sterling, VA, was charged with impersonating a police officer and failure to obey a highway sign. He was released on a summons.
The rest of the crime report, after the jump.
(Updated at 1:20 p.m.) Vice President Joe Biden stopped by Liberty Tavern (3195 Wilson Blvd) in Clarendon this morning to film a segment for a TV news show.
Biden was one of the guests on the MSNBC show Morning Joe, which filmed a roundtable discussion on gun reform at the restaurant.
It’s not the first VIP visit for the Clarendon restaurant. President Obama dined at Liberty Tavern on October 27, 2011. Biden, for his part, is no strangers to popular Arlington eateries. He had lunch at Metro 29 Diner on Dec. 7, 2012.
Biden and his security detail arrived at Liberty Tavern around 11:00 a.m., Clarendon Patch reported via Twitter. The Vice President left at 12:15 p.m., flashing a big smile and a thumbs up to a crowd that had gathered across the street. Morning Joe hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski stood outside O’Sullivan’s, across from Liberty Tavern, to see Biden’s departure.
Liberty Tavern co-owner Mark Fedorchak said Biden and the other guests were served pastries and coffee from Northside Social, which he and his brother Stephen also own.
Fedorchak said Biden “was very conversational” and talked with him about their mutual northeastern Pennsylvania roots. As it turns out, Biden used to enjoy going to the Scranton-area Circle Drive-In Theatre, which is owned by the Fedorchaks’ uncle.
That wasn’t the only incidental connection between Biden and Liberty Tavern’s ownership group. Restaurant co-owner and local developer Brian Normile got a chance to apologize to Biden for accidentally driving a ball into his golf foursome during a recent trip to Kiawah Island, South Carolina.
The Vice President apparently didn’t mind. According to Fedorchak, Biden wrote a gracious note on a menu before leaving the restaurant.
“Next time lunch, thanks for the hospitality,” it said.
Photos by ARLnow.com except as noted
(Updated at 11:55 p.m.) Fat Shorty’s, a new restaurant specializing in beer and sausages, will be opening in Clarendon tomorrow (Thursday).
The restaurant is located at 3035 Clarendon Boulevard, in the former Rabbit Salad and Grill space. Though it has changed names and formats, Fat Shorty’s is still owned by local restaurateur Aaron Gordon. Instead of gourmet salads and other “slow food,” Gordon has teamed up with chef Rahman ”Rock” Harper, a past winner of the the Fox TV show Hell’s Kitchen, to create a restaurant based around the humble and relatively speedy sausage.
Fat Shorty’s will offer nearly 20 different types of sausage, with prices ranging from $6.75 for “classic” sausages like bratwurst and chorizo; $7.50 for “gourmet” sausage like Andouille and Toulouse; and $8.25 for “exotic” sausage like alligator and rattlesnake (really). The sausages are sourced primarily from local D.C., Virginia and Maryland sausage makers, Gordon said.
The remainder of the food menu consists of two mussel dishes, German potato salad with bacon, baked beans, a side salad, fries and a Snickers pie for dessert. To drink, Fat Shorty’s offers primarily German and Belgian beers, with six varieties on tap and a dozen in bottles. Six wines are also on the drink list.
The food can be purchased to go, or consumed inside the restaurant on picnic bench-style seating.
Harper, who has been working at D.C. Central Kitchen following several post-reality-TV chef jobs didn’t pan out, says the sausage-themed restaurant is a good fit for the region.
“Everybody loves sausage,” he said. “This is half smoke city. We’re giving people what they love.”
Asked what will bring customers into Fat Shorty’s when boiling a grocery store sausage seems quicker and cheaper, Harper said the sausages themselves — selected after sampling dozens in a marathon taste test with Gordon — are the big draw.
“The product is much better… you’re not going to get this at home,” he said.”We tasted way more sausage that we care to comment about.”
“We tasted every sausage from here to Chicago,” Gordon added.
Gordon, who also owns TangySweet, Red Velvet Cupcakery and a couple of new restaurants in D.C., says the closure of Rabbit “saddened” him, but was a necessary decision since the concept never fully caught on with more than a loyal contingent of customers. Most restaurant-goers were used to the pricing of salads at places like Chop’t and SweetGreen, and were reluctant to pay more for Rabbit’s higher-end salads.
“We heard that people liked them, but they were $3 or so too expensive,” Gordon said. He also said he overestimated the market for healthy eating in Clarendon.
Fat Shorty’s is currently scheduled to open its doors Thursday at 4:00 p.m.
Blog Points Out Bike Lane Blockers — Frustrated with supposed inaction by Arlington County Police, a local resident has created a Tumblr site to publicly “shame” the owners of vehicles that illegally park or idle in bike lanes in Arlington. [Arlington Bike Lane Blockers]
Clarendon Farmers Market Starts Tonight — The Clarendon Farmers Market is back for the season, starting tonight. The market will run from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m., in the newly renovated Clarendon Central Park, next to the Metro entrance. The market will run every Wednesday through Dec. 18 before taking a break for the winter. Another seasonal farmers market, the Crystal City Freshfarm Market, is set to start the season on Tuesday, April 30. [Clarendon Alliance, Freshfarm Markets]
District Taco to Open Third Location — District Taco, which opened its first location on Lee Highway, is getting ready to open its third location. The new District Taco restaurant, like the second location, will be located in D.C. [Prince of Petworth]
Tejada Talks Immigration Reform — County Board Chair Walter Tejada spoke to a group of pro-immigration supporters at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Clarendon Tuesday morning. Tejada told the crowth that “it is our duty” to “work and fight together for comprehensive immigration reform.” The group is planning a rally at the Capitol next week. [WJLA]
Fire Weather Watch — The region is under a Fire Weather Watch. Gusty winds and low humidity are creating ideal conditions for brush fires. [Capital Weather Gang]
La Tagliatella has opened its first Arlington location.
The international Italian restaurant chain opened its new Clarendon location, in the former Restaurant 3 space at 2950 Clarendon Blvd, earlier today (Monday). The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner daily, from 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Though the chain originated in Spain, La Tagliatella has constructed an elaborate interior in Clarendon, designed to mimic an Old World Italian restaurant.
“Acclaimed Atlanta design firm ai3 assisted European designers of DecoRetro to create a special ambiance with a rich tapestry of textures, colors and patterns,” the company said in a press release. ”This authentic style mirrors the Old World culture and traditions, transporting guests to a real and true experience of European dining.”
The menu consists of traditional Italian favorites, plus a selection of beer and wine.
“La Tagliatella’s signature menu features a variety of authentic dishes including several pasta and sauce combinations and unique Napoletano-style pizzas, all created with the finest key ingredients imported from the northern region of Italy,” the company said. “La Tagliatella offers 50 selections of wine by the bottle and glass as well as several bottled and draft beers.”
This week, gay marriage has come to the forefront of American politics as the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments regarding California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). In light of the proceedings, Rep. Jim Moran (D) is reiterating his stance as an advocate of LGBT rights, including gay marriage and full marriage benefits.
DOMA overwhelmingly passed in Congress in 1996, but Moran notes he was one of the few who voted against the law. He released the following statement on Wednesday, following oral arguments in the case of United States v. Windsor, which challenges the constitutionality of DOMA:
“DOMA is unjust and un-American, contradicting long-standing legal principles and blatantly discriminating against specific legal marriages just because they involve gay and lesbian couples. DOMA flies in the face of our nation’s commitment to civil rights. I am proud to have been one of the 67 representatives who voted against this law’s passage in 1996.
“It’s also disturbing that House Republicans have wasted over $3 million defending DOMA in court over the past three years. I find it unconscionable that while budgets are being slashed by sequestration and many federal workers face furloughs, Republicans in the House voted to pay private lawyers $525 per hour to defend this discriminatory law.
“I strongly support the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry and have full access to the benefits and obligations of marriage. While churches should continue to be able to sanction marriages consistent with their faith, discrimination has no place in the laws that govern our country.
“In addition to being the truly ‘pro-family’ position, marriage equality is an issue that tests our nation’s fidelity to our fundamental values. The Declaration of Independence affirms that ‘all men are created equal’ and that every American has a right to ‘the pursuit of happiness.’ Surely these principles cannot be fulfilled without the ability to marry the person you love.”
Power has been restored to most of the customers affected by a power outage that occurred in the Clarendon, Courthouse and surrounding neighborhoods. However, there are pockets that may be dark for another hour or two.
At the height of the outage, more than 6,600 customers were without power. As of 10:20 a.m., Karl Neddenien with Dominion Power said less than 1,000 are still dark. Those customers are expected to have power restored by noon.
According to Neddenien, the outage occurred due to a problem in an underground equipment vault near Washington Blvd and N. 10th Street. Crews continue to work to figure out exactly what went wrong. There were reports of a flash and a couple of loud bangs just before the outage, but Neddenien isn’t able to confirm yet if that’s related to the outage.
“We need to get in there and determine just what happened,” Neddenien said. “But more importantly, we need to work on getting power back to everyone.”
Police have been assisting with directing traffic at busy intersections where the traffic lights went out, particularly at Lee Hwy and N. Veitch Street. Most of the affected traffic lights have come back on, but there are reports of some still out in Clarendon. Drivers who encounter dark lights without police directing traffic are reminded to treat the intersection as a four-way stop.
Although at one time the project was slated to be finished last month, the Clarendon dog park renovations are still ongoing. Now we’re hearing that the revamp of James Hunter Park could take another couple of months.
According to Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish, the new goal is for a late spring reopening. The current delay is on top of setbacks during the planning process, which prevented the renovations from being finished last summer as originally planned.
Last May, the County Board approved a contract worth more than $1.6 million to renovate the park, which sits at the corner of N. Herndon Street and N. 13th Street.
The revamp plan emphasizes several sustainable and “green” features, such the use of recycled materials and an automated water management system that will capture and reuse rain water. The water will be stored in an underground unit and will be used for onsite landscaping irrigation. The park will also have a system to collect and use solar energy. The irrigation pumps, for example, will be run by solar power.
The final design for the park shows a plaza terrace with an open lawn area, gardens, a canine area, pedestrian areas, picnic areas and public art.
It’s still under construction in Clarendon, but owners of La Tagliatella say the new restaurant will be opening on Monday, April 1.
The European-based Italian restaurant chain has more than 130 locations worldwide, but the Clarendon location — in the former Restaurant 3 space at 2950 Clarendon Blvd — will only be the company’s third U.S. location, after two in the Atlanta area.
“Showcasing traditional Italian recipes made with the highest quality ingredients, La Tagliatella offers guests a relaxed-yet-distinctive atmosphere,” the company said in a press release (after the jump). “La Tagliatella’s signature menu features a variety of authentic dishes including more than 400 pasta and sauce combinations and several unique Napoletano-style pizzas, all created with the finest key ingredients imported from the northern region of Italy.”
After it opens on April 1, La Tagliatella will be serve lunch and dinner seven days a week. It will be open Sunday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.