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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | August 19, 2014 at 9:15 am | 1,756 views | No Comments

Shadowy jogger in Banneker Park (Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick)

One Candidate for Treasurer Race — Democrat Carla de la Pava, who has served as Arlington County treasurer since July 7, following the retirement of Frank O’Leary, is running unopposed in November. No other candidate filed to run in the special election by the Aug. 15 filing deadline. [InsideNova]

Bracket Room to Host Pregame Shows — The Bracket Room, 1210 N. Garfield Street in Clarendon, will host both the Fox 5 and the 106.7 The Fan Redskins pregame broadcasts this fall, according to a press release. The on-location broadcasts will take place at the sports bar for all 16 regular season games. [PRNewswire]

Cyclists Stopped on I-66 — A pair of bicyclists “dressed like Lance Armstrong” were stopped by Arlington County police on I-66 this morning, according to scanner traffic. It’s unclear why the cyclists were on the interstate. Police directed them to nearby Glebe Road.

Arlington: Great for Soccer Moms? — Arlington is the No. 3 locality in the country for “soccer moms,” according to an analysis that factored in things like the number of soccer clubs and food and transportation affordability. [Nerd Wallet]

Ohio Town Raises Money for Arlington Family — Residents of Chagrin Falls, Ohio are trying to raise $10,000 for the Sachar family of Arlington. Their son, 8-year-old Ashlawn Elementary student Eli Sachar, was struck and killed by a car on July 12 during a visit to Chagrin Falls. [Cleveland.com]

Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick

‘True Detective’ Band to Play Iota Club

by ARLnow.com | August 15, 2014 at 1:00 pm | 859 views | No Comments

Handsome Family, the band behind the theme for the hit HBO show “True Detective,” will be playing Iota Club and Cafe (2832 Wilson Blvd) in Clarendon later this month.

Handsome Family (courtesy photo)Playing a genre described as alternative country and “Gothic Americana,” Handsome Family is made up of husband-and-wife duo Brett Sparks and Rennie Sparks. The Sparks together play guitar, banjo, bass and ukulele in addition to providing vocals.

The New Mexico-based band is scheduled to headline a show at Iota on Thursday, Aug. 28, starting at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $15, available only at the door on the day of the show.

True Detective received 12 Emmy nominations last month, including outstanding music composition for a series. The awards show will air on Monday, Aug. 25, three days before the Iota concert.

Unauthorized Construction Caused Clarendon Gas Leak

by Ethan Rothstein | August 7, 2014 at 5:10 pm | 1,695 views | No Comments

The gas leak in Clarendon that caused several buildings to evacuate last weekend was caused by unauthorized construction, ARLnow.com has learned.

Interior construction on the small, vacant space of 3127 Wilson Blvd caused the gas leak, and Arlington County’s department of Community Planning, Housing and Development said they have not approved any permits for work, and ordered the work to stop after the gas leak.

“On Saturday, our Building Inspector issued a notice of violation on the business and posted a stop work order,” CPHD spokeswoman Helen Duong said. “The business was doing major renovation without a permit.”

The small space, next door to Goody’s pizza shop, is owned by Tara Sharma, who also owns Classic Cigars & British Goodies (2907 Wilson Blvd). Sharma, who bought the space two months ago, said he doesn’t know what he plans to put into the space — except it won’t be a restaurant, coffee shop or ice cream store — but plans to make a decision in the next few weeks.

Sharma told ARLnow.com today that Washington Gas, which owns the gas line and the right-of-way for construction work, turned off the gas meter in the space at his request because “we don’t need the gas for the business.”

“I called them and told them there was a pipe there,” Sharma said. “They said ‘do whatever you want, there’s no gas in the pipe.’”

According to county staff, any penalties for unauthorized work in the right-of-way that caused the gas leak would be levied by Washington Gas. Representatives from Washington Gas did not return multiple messages seeking comment. Sharma said he hasn’t had any indication he’d be penalized for causing the leak.

Sharma agreed to stop construction while waiting for the county to approve his permit.

Crime Report: Cigarette Thieves Get Burned

by ARLnow.com | August 7, 2014 at 2:30 pm | 1,783 views | No Comments

Two men allegedly stole cigarettes from the Clarendon CVS store early Monday morning and an employee chased after them. The employee’s suspect description helped police make two arrests shortly after.

From this week’s Arlington County crime report:

ROBBERY, 140804010, 3100 block of N. Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 5:25 am on August 4, two male subjects stole cigarettes from a CVS. An employee chased the subjects on foot and was able to identify them for arriving police officers. Ronald Richardson, 53, of Washington D.C. was arrested and charged with robbery and possession of stolen goods with the intent to sell. Melvin Bradshaw, 47, of Washington D.C. was arrested and charged with robbery, possession of stolen goods with the intent to sell, and carrying a concealed weapon.

The rest of this week’s crime report, after the jump. All named suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty.

(more…)

Cherry Blow Dry Bar Coming to Clarendon

by ARLnow.com | August 4, 2014 at 10:30 am | 3,630 views | No Comments

Future location of Cherry Blow Dry Bar in Clarendon (photo via @CommonCenser)Cherry Blow Dry Bar, a specialized hair salon, will be opening at 1041 N. Highland Street in Clarendon.

This won’t be a full-service salon offering haircuts and coloring. In fact, the website explains, “We do two things… and we do them extremely well.” Those two things are hair blow outs and extensions.

Cherry Blow Dry Bar offers $35 blow outs every day, regardless of hair length. Extensions are described as “premium, long-lasting, and beautifully blended tape extensions that won’t damage your hair.”

The goal, according to the website, is to transport customers to a world of celebrity-level luxury. Some of that luxury includes the ability to enjoy a complimentary glass of champagne or cocktail, in addition to soft chairs in a modern and relaxing environment.

Blow Dry Bar was founded in Sydney, Australia, in 2008 and now has 23 locations there. The owner began franchising in the U.S. last year under the name Cherry Blow Dry Bar. Currently there are two locations in Florida and one in Tennessee. Four others, including the Arlington location, are expected to open soon. No word yet on an exact date for the Clarendon opening.

Hat tip to @CommonCenser

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | August 4, 2014 at 9:15 am | 1,864 views | No Comments

Sunflower on N. Stafford Street

Gas Leak Causes Evacuation in Clarendon — A Saturday gas leak forced the closing of Clarendon Blvd. near the Clarendon Metro station. Approximately 50 people evacuated six nearby buildings during the incident. Nobody was hurt. [Washington Post]

Proposal to Turn Basement into Classrooms — On Thursday, Arlington School Board members are expected to approve a $2 million project to turn basement crawl space into classrooms at Arlington Science Focus School. The project would end the need for the four relocatable classrooms on the school’s property, as well as a planned fifth. [InsideNova]

No GOP Treasurer Candidate So Far — The Arlington County Republican Committee doesn’t have any contenders so far to run in the special election for county treasurer. If no names are added by the August 15 deadline, Treasurer Carla de la Pava will be unopposed. [InsideNova]

Clarendon’s IOTA Starts ‘LGBT and Straight Friends Social’

by Ethan Rothstein | August 1, 2014 at 10:30 am | 1,514 views | No Comments

Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl perform as The Ghost of a Saber Tooth TigerIOTA Club & Cafe, a music venue and restaurant at 2832 Wilson Blvd in Clarendon, will begin hosting “LGBT and Straight Friends Social Night” every Tuesday.

Starting next week on Aug. 5, patrons 21 and over, gay or straight, are encouraged to come to the cafe for a night of unity. There’s no cover charge — IOTA frequently requires tickets purchased at the door for its Tuesday night shows — and IOTA says it will stay open until 1:00 a.m. or later.

“We’re making a commitment to the LGBT community by making our Tuesdays a weekly social for LGBTs and their straight friends at IOTA,” co-owner Stephen Negrey said in a press release. “Why not? This will be great fun and maybe even productive.”

Negrey and his sister Jane Negrey Inge have co-owned IOTA since they opened it in 1994 as a music venue. Since then, they’ve expanded to serve coffee and espresso during the day and “smasher” sandwiches. The club also announced there would be “Mikey’s ‘Bar A’ Video Wall” to entertain guests during the socials.

“In planning this new weekly event at IOTA,” Inge said, “I’m trying to lighten up and not imagine arty or intellectual rumination, cultural connection and the like.”

Inge said in the announcement that she hopes local LGBT advocacy groups will partner with them in the future.

“It seems the LGBT community and their straight friends might benefit from a reliable place and a routine time to cross-pollinate,” Inge said. “We hope people will come IOTA on Tuesdays to party and meet people working on LGBT events.”

File photo

Amsterdam Falafelshop Plans September Opening

by Ethan Rothstein | July 29, 2014 at 3:15 pm | 2,024 views | No Comments

Amsterdam Falafelshop's future space in Clarendon Amsterdam Falafelshop's future space in Clarendon

Amsterdam Falafelshop, the local falafel and “Dutch fries” chain, is planning to open its Clarendon location by the end of September.

Amsterdam Falafelshop announced in April it would be moving into the former BGR: The Burger Joint space next to Hard Times Café at 3024 Wilson Blvd. Franchise owner David Rosenstein — who also owns a dozen D.C. area Popeye’s franchises — planned a mid-summer opening, but as is the case with many restaurant build-outs, it has taken longer than expected.

The space now has a sign on the window that reads “Amsterdam Falafelshop is landing here this summer… Cause [sic] we love this neighborhood and we think you love falafel… we think you need falafel… we think you crave falafel.”

County Board Approves Pub Crawl Regulations

by Ethan Rothstein | July 21, 2014 at 10:30 am | 4,252 views | No Comments

2014 All-American Bar Crawl attendeesBar crawls in Clarendon may be changing after the Arlington County Board approved new event regulations at its meeting on Saturday.

The new regulations will include fees charged to the organizers to recoup the cost of extra police and community resources required to deal with the nearly 5,000 people estimated to attend some of the crawls. The crawls, which have previously been organized without much input from the county, will now need to be approved in advance.

The specifics of how much organizers will have to be and the criteria under which pub crawls will be approved or rejected have not yet been determined. County Manager Barbara Donnellan said she plans to return to the County Board with the full, implemented policy before Halloween, which is expected to be the date of the next major pub crawl.

“We have, I believe, the highest percentage of 25-34 year olds as a percentage of our population than any community in the United States, and we embrace that group,” County Board Chair Jay Fisette said during the meeting. “We embrace their vitality and the energy they bring to our community as a creative class and workforce, and at the same time we request and require that they respect others.”

The approved regulation was seen as somewhat of a compromise between residents who want fewer and smaller crawls and the organizers who want to see the crawls continue on unabated. The Board first discussed amending its special events policy, last updated in 2012, in April during budget discussions. At the time, Donnellan requested $45,000 for police overtime specifically to manage the pub crawls. The Board directed Donnellan to return with an updated policy.

In the meantime, the crawls drew another round of controversy after an attendee in June allegedly stripped naked before leading police on a car chase that ended with a crash in Clarendon. That incident, paired with a women alleging stripping naked at the Arlington Magistrate’s Office during a March bar crawl, helped bring the issue to the Board’s attention.

“It’s two incidents out of thousands of people,” Project D.C. Events co-owner Alex Lopez told ARLnow.com earlier this month. Lopez pointed out that neither happened inside a bar. Project D.C. Events organized both the March and June pub crawls at which the incidents take place, as well as crawls in D.C. that have occurred without public incidents. “You don’t hear about bar crawls in D.C. because nothing happens at them. If you say, ‘oh everything was peaceful in the last bar crawl,’ well, no one is going to read that.”

According to a county press release, about 1,130 people responded to an online survey about how best to manage the pub crawls, but only one member of the public spoke during the comment period: frequent County Board critic Jim Hurysz.

The motion passed 5-0 and the Board generally lauded the police and staff for their work in bringing a “common sense” solution to the issue.

“It’s an evolution to figure out how to satisfy the various kinds of people who live in Clarendon,” Board Vice Chair Mary Hynes said. Hynes lives just a few blocks from the epicenter of the pub crawls in Clarendon. “People don’t want Clarendon’s reputation to be only what happened at that last pub crawl. Business owners want people to come to Clarendon and eat and enjoy all the amenities.”

“We’re going to do this and monitor and see what happens,” Hynes continued, “and if this doesn’t work, we’ll be back here… to see if we need to take any more steps or not.”

Photo via Project D.C. Events

Apartments Replacing Jay’s Saloon Could be Approved This Week

by Ethan Rothstein | July 16, 2014 at 5:10 pm | 3,655 views | No Comments

The long-planned development that would knock down Clarendon dive bar Jay’s Saloon and Grille (3114 10th Street N.) and several other businesses could be formally approved by the Arlington County Board this Saturday.

If approved, Jay’s co-owner Kathi Moore, who owns the restaurant with her ex-husband, Jay Moore, told ARLnow.com today that she’s been given until Spring 2015 before she has to close down. Jay’s has been operating with the knowledge they could be closed down for the development since 2011.

The development on the table is a mixed-use building called 10th Street Flats with 135 residential units, nine live/work units, 3,660 square feet of retail and 4,704 square feet of office space and two levels of underground parking. In addition to Jay’s, the development would also include the demolition of a salon, car dealership and insurance agency on the 3100 block of 10th Street N.

Ballston-based Clark Realty Capital owns the property and is spearheading the development plans, but officials with Clark could not be reached for comment today. The building is proposed as five stories tall, and the live/work units — designed as apartments with a separate office space — could be converted into retail space as market conditions dictate.

The building would be L-shaped, according to the staff report, with “composite wood panels and composite wood and aluminum trellises to create differentiation on the façade given the project’s long frontage along 10th Street. The ground floor uses masonry, glass, and aluminum and provides for 79 percent transparency.” It would be LEED Gold certified and have dedicated affordable housing units to compensate for density above what is called for in the General Land Use Plan.

In the review process, community members outlined concerns about traffic in the smaller streets surrounding the area, particularly 9th Road N., a residential block. The plans also call for the roof to be accessible to residents as an amenity, which raised the eyebrows of the community and some local officials. County staff is recommending the building’s approval nonetheless, saying the traffic wouldn’t result in an “undue adverse impact” on local traffic and stipulating a buffer area on the roof to mitigate noise.

Moore said if she and her ex-husband could have, they would have bought the land along with the restaurant when they opened in 1993, but they “couldn’t afford it then, can’t afford it now.” The restaurant bills itself as “one of the last true ‘dive bars’ in Arlington,” and Moore said her clientele is upset about the closing.

“Both my lunchtime and my nighttime crowd are like ‘what are we going to do?’” Moore said. “My heart goes out to them because we’re not like the rest of Clarendon.”

Like Westover’s The Forest Inn, Jay’s is considered one of the last of a dying breed in Arlington. Local freelance writer Kevin Craft, who has written about Arlington’s dwindling dive bar scene for Arlington Magazine, said there are very few places with as diverse a crowd as Jay’s Saloon.

“I think it’s always important for a place to have a sense of its own history,” Craft told ARLnow.com in a phone interview this morning. “Places like Jay’s are where different generations and professional classes can mix and mingle, and I think Arlington is losing those establishments, unfortunately.”

Moore said she doesn’t believe Jay’s will be moving anywhere else — “20 years is enough here,” she said — but the regulars were glad to find out the saloon will stay open through football season. She purchased some new TVs for the fall, and, when the restaurant does close, plans to hold an auction, including selling all the knick-knacks that line the bar’s walls.

“Our regulars are already asking to take stuff,” she said. When asked what the most sought-after item is, she immediately pointed to the painting of a naked woman hanging over the bar. She then laughed, adding “but that’s not for sale.”

Renovations Coming to Iconic Clarendon Office Building

by ARLnow.com | July 16, 2014 at 12:15 pm | 3,927 views | No Comments

It’s arguably the most recognizable office building in Clarendon, and it’s currently vacant.

The office building at 3100 Clarendon Blvd, across from the Clarendon Metro plaza, was built in 1987 and, until recently, housed the high-security Defense Intelligence Agency. Now that the DIA has moved to Reston, property owner Piedmont Office Realty Trust is reportedly planning exterior and interior renovations to the building in an attempt to attract new tenants to fill its 250,000 square feet of space.

The renovations will include adding more glass to the building — on the second floor, above the ground floor retail that runs along the entire block, and down the middle of each side of the tower, according to an individual familiar with the plans who spoke to ARLnow.com on the condition of anonymity. Also set for a refresh: the street-level courtyard that currently includes outdoor seating for Mad Rose Tavern.

The exact plans and timeline for the renovations are not clear — a representative of the leasing agent, Avison Young, declined to comment, saying that additional information would be made available within “the next few weeks.”

New Clarendon Apartment Building Eyes August Opening

by Jason Hargraves | July 11, 2014 at 1:00 pm | 2,377 views | No Comments

The Beacon at Clarendon West, the new apartment building at the intersection of Washington, Wilson Boulevard and N. Irving Street, is set to open Aug. 15.

The two-tower Arlington apartment complex is already 23 percent leased, a leasing agent told ARLnow.com, adding that she expects a sharp rise in interest once the building is open and agents are working on site. Pre-leasing is happening down the street in the Courthouse neighborhood, at 1920 Clarendon Blvd.

The Beacon’s 187 apartments include 1-bedroom, 1-bedroom-with-den and 2-bedroom units ranging in price from $2,100-$3,000 per month. The Beacon touts itself as a “boutique” alternative to the larger apartment buildings in the area.

As for the retail frontage on Washington Blvd, a Jimmy John’s sandwich shop is expected to open later this year. No other tenants have been confirmed yet, but leasing agents say there’s been interest from several retailers.

Second Westover Beer Garden Location Moves Closer to Opening

by Ethan Rothstein | July 8, 2014 at 2:00 pm | 5,872 views | No Comments

The second location of the Westover Beer Garden, expected to open near Clarendon in March 2015, is beginning to take shape.

The establishment will be called the Sehkraft Beer Garden and Haus, a play on words of “sehkraft,” which is German for vision or eyesight, but pronounced “say craft,” owner Devin Hicks said. The brewpub, at 925 N. Garfield Street, expects have a 10-barrel system to brew beer in-house, five taps straight from the tanks to the bar, five taps for house-made kegged beers and collaborations with other breweries, and 30 “guest” beer taps.

“We’ll do growler fills, which should be a big hit,” Hicks told ARLnow.com this morning. “Right now we’re working on getting some of our beers to be distributed so we can send them to various bars and restaurants. It’s legal in Virginia, but Arlington zoning has deemed it to not be permissible within Arlington County. We’re looking into fixing that with our lawyers that helped us with the county in Westover.”

The head brewer for Sehkraft Brewing will be John Peters, who most recently was the lead brewer for Lost Rhino in Ashburn. Peters worked with Hicks for a collaboration beer – a triple IPA with 150 bitterness units and 10.1 percent alcohol by volume – in 2012. Hicks said he already is planning collaborations with established West Coast breweries Stone Brewing and Sierra Nevada.

In addition, head chef Jay Jenks, currently the head chef at Westover Beer Garden, will be in charge of Sehkraft’s kitchen. The 10,000-square foot space will have a butcher shop, a small market, and seating for 210 on the inside and 122 in the outdoor beer garden. Hicks said he will soon be applying for a live music permit, and is in the application process for ABC permits.

“This is desired and deserved for Arlingtonians,” Hicks said. “It’s going to be really exciting for everybody. We’re going to have great beers, a lot of guest brewers from notable brewers across the country… The importance of beer gardens in Europe is pretty huge. It’s always been a social gathering spot for drinking their local beers, and we want to bring an American version of that.”

County Manager to Recommend Permit Process, Fees for Pub Crawls

by ARLnow.com | July 8, 2014 at 12:35 pm | 2,798 views | No Comments

Pub crawl organizers should have to obtain a permit for each crawl and reimburse the county for the cost of extra police on the street.

That’s what Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan is expected to recommend to the County Board at its meeting later this month. Donnellan will recommend that pub crawls be classified as “special events,” subject to the county’s special events policy, according to county officials.

Arlington’s special events policy was last updated in 2012. The policy is designed to ensure that adequate resources are available for special events while allowing the county to recover its support costs.

Classifying pub crawls as a special event is seen as a compromise, somewhere in between the crawl participants who would like the events to continue unabated and residents who see the crawls as a nuisance and would like them curtailed. The events will continue, but in a more regulated environment, provided organizers can afford the extra costs.

“Organizers would have to get a special events permit and would be required to cover the costs of additional police, fire and trash services — above core services — generated by their event,” Arlington County spokeswoman Mary Curtius told ARLnow.com. “At this point, the Manager’s recommendation does not include any minimum or maximum allowed numbers of pub crawls — the applications will be reviewed as they come in and approved based on the availability of resources.”

Donnellan’s recommendation is coming less than a month after an attendee at the All American Bar Crawl (photos from the event, above) allegedly stripped naked and led police on a car chase that ended in a crash in Clarendon. In an email to a concerned constituent, County Board Chair Jay Fisette addressed the incident.

“I want you to know that we have no tolerance for this kind of behavior. At the same time I want to stress that this incident was highly unusual,” Fisette wrote. “Our top priority is safety. The Board has concerns about the impacts of pub crawls and in April asked the Manager to research options to address these impacts.”

Fisette went on to say that pub crawls can be regulated, but not banned.

Clarendon is one of our most vibrant and lively areas. We support the businesses there, and we welcome visitors who patronize our many great restaurants, shops and pubs. We want to keep it a great place to live, visit, dine, work and shop. It’s important to know that, under Virginia law, we can’t ban pub crawls. We can, however, regulate pub crawls to ensure that they are safe for all and effectively managed. Part of that regulation must include ways that the County can recover some of the costs associated with the stepped-up enforcement activities during the events, and trash and litter cleanup after the events. In the meantime, as part of the FY15 budget, the Board approved one-time funding ($42,000) for overtime costs in the Police department while a longer term strategy is developed to address the increasing frequency and cost associated with pub crawl events.

In addition to the June incident, a bar crawl attendee made the news in March when she allegedly showed up naked at the Arlington Magistrate’s Office and demanded that she be allowed to visit her husband, who was arrested earlier that day during a St. Patrick’s Day-themed pub crawl.

Both bar crawls were organized by Courthouse-based Project D.C. Events. According to the company, the two events attracted a combined 8,500-9,000 registered attendees.

“It’s two incidents out of thousands of people,” said Project D.C. Events co-owner Alex Lopez, who also pointed out that neither happened inside a bar. Lopez and fellow co-owner Mike Bramson said they work closely with Arlington County Police and with participating bars to ensure there’s plenty of security on hand.

Neither could explain why bar crawls in Arlington have resulted in high-profile incidents and controversy while D.C.-based crawls seem to go off without a hitch.

“We’ve taken the same steps in D.C. as we do in Arlington,” Bramson said.

“You don’t hear about bar crawls in D.C. because nothing happens at them,” said Lopez. “If you say, ‘oh everything was peaceful in the last bar crawl,’ well, no one is going to read that.”

Bramson and Lopez said they and other bar crawl organizers shouldn’t be on the hook for the cost of extra police staffing because the events are already generating thousands in extra tax revenue.

(more…)

Crumbs Bake Shop in Clarendon Closes

by Ethan Rothstein | July 8, 2014 at 10:00 am | 4,066 views | No Comments

Crumbs in Clarendon closes Crumbs in Clarendon closes

The Crumbs Bake Shop in Clarendon (2839 Clarendon Blvd) has closed, along with all other Crumbs locations nationwide.

The New York City-based cupcake and pastry chain opened its Clarendon location in late December 2010 and gave away 1,000 cupcakes a few days later to celebrate its grand opening. The location was the only one in Arlington; Crumbs also operated three locations in the District and one in Tysons Corner.

According to Business Insider, Crumbs went public in 2011, but began losing money soon after as the cupcake craze cooled down and sales of its large, nearly $5 cupcakes flagged.

Crumbs had begun closing some of its locations last year, but announced a company-wide store closure and a planned Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation filing yesterday afternoon.

“Regrettably Crumbs has been forced to cease operations and is immediately attending to the dislocation of its employees while it evaluates its limited remaining options,” the company said in a statement.

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