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by Ethan Rothstein — March 25, 2015 at 10:00 am 4,354 0

(Updated at 10:40 a.m.) Julie Drews and Beth Helle have lived in Arlington for a decade, and they grew so tired of not having a specialty craft beer store in their neighborhood that they decided to open one themselves.

They have leased space at 2004 Wilson Blvd, in the new 2001 Clarendon apartments, to open The Brew Shop, which will sell craft beer, homebrewing supplies, wine and locally roasted coffee beans.

The pair are accountants who hail from the Midwest. Drews is from Michigan, home of craft beer landmark breweries Bell’s Brewery, Founders and New Holland. She said now that the D.C. craft brewing scene has taken off with the likes of D.C. Brau, 3 Stars and Port City, it’s an opportunity to capitalize on the area’s craft beer community.

“There was almost nothing here when I first got here, but things are definitely turning the corner now with beer in D.C.,” Drews told ARLnow.com yesterday. “This is an area where people care a lot about beer.”

The Brew Shop will offer growler fills and partner with local breweries for events. Drews — who reminisced about drinking at Dr. Dremo’s steps from where her shop will open — wants The Brew Shop to be a hub of the local beer-drinking community.

“We want to be the first great beer shop in Arlington,” she said. “There are a lot of wine shops that sell beer, but we want to be the great beer shop that sells wine.”

Drews and Helle have applied for a permit with the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board and are in the construction permitting process with Arlington County. They hope to open in the fall.

by Ethan Rothstein — March 19, 2015 at 3:30 pm 470 0

California Tortilla in Courthouse reopensEveryone who buys a burrito or quesadilla from the California Tortilla in Courthouse tonight can help an at-risk child learn to read.

From 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at 2057 Wilson Blvd, any customer who mentions the Arlington-based The Reading Connection will have 25 percent of their order donated to the nonprofit.

The Reading Connection is dedicated to improving the lives of at-risk children and families, who are living in shelters,” Reading Connection board of directors member Lynn Cannon told ARLnow.com, “by helping them create and sustain literacy-rich environments and motivation for reading.”

The Ballston-based nonprofit has partnered with the Mexican food chain, which has agreed to donate 25 percent of gross sales over the three-hour period. Many similar fundraisers involve a retailer donating 10 percent or so of gross sales but, Cannon said, “The folks at Cal Tor have been really nice to work with and very generous.”

The money will go toward funding readalongs at homeless shelters and community centers, buying books for children, parent literacy workshops and training for family support workers who promote the importance of reading.

File photo

by Ethan Rothstein — March 16, 2015 at 11:00 am 4,961 0

The last hurdle for the redevelopment of the Wendy’s in Courthouse has been cleared.

The Arlington County Board approved a 12-story office building and public plaza on Saturday to replace the Wendy’s and Wells Fargo at the intersection of N. Courthouse Road and Wilson and Clarendon Blvds. The approval was una

The building will have more than 196,000 square feet of floor area and 6,960 square feet of ground floor retail. The glass column designed to face west is viewed as an “iconic architectural feature,” the developer, Carr Properties, wrote in its site plan application.

The developer agreed to transfer development rights of the Wakefield Manor apartments in exchange for the incoming building’s additional density. The County Board wanted to preserve the market-rate affordable housing complex — buildings County Board member Jay Fisette called “beautiful” and “historic” — which is just a few blocks away from the Courthouse Metro.

In addition to the development rights, Carr Properties has agreed to make the office building LEED Gold-certified, contribute more than $530,000 to the Affordable Housing Investment Fund, and pay $557,250 for open space in the Courthouse area. The county also considers the public plaza Carr Properties plans on building at the intersection — which will sport a seasonal kiosk — a community benefit.

The site will only have 244 parking spaces, less than the county zoning ordinance calls for, and Carr Properties will contribute $450,000 to an enhanced transportation demand management plan to mitigate the effects of loss of parking. It’s reportedly the first redevelopment that has been allowed with less-than-required parking since the County Board made that an option in 2013.

There’s no indication of when the Wendy’s will be torn down. The Wendy’s will follow Taco Bell as fast food options in Courthouse that have made way for new developments. The Wells Fargo will be replaced by a location in the ground floor of the new building.

by Ethan Rothstein — March 13, 2015 at 2:00 pm 2,160 0

Coffee with a Cop (photo via Sean Douglass)The Arlington County Police Department wants to grab a cup of joe with you.

Next Thursday, March 19, members of the ACPD’s Second District team will be serving as baristas at Java Shack from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. The ACPD has pre-paid for $100 worth of drip coffee to give out to customers, and officers will be serving it as well as making themselves available to the community.

ACPD’s Second District covers from Ballston to Rosslyn, Crystal City and Pentagon City and the residential neighborhoods closeby. Capt. Kamran Afzal is the commander of the second unit, and he said the event is a way to talk to the community “with no agenda.”

“We’re just trying to engage the people that we serve over a cup of coffee,” Afzal told ARLnow.com over the phone today. “Anything goes, whatever people want to discuss, we’ll discuss, and maybe humanize each other.”

The First District unit of ACPD hosted a similar event at Metro 29 Diner in January, Afzal said. The Java Shack, under new management since January, will look to do more community-oriented events like ‘Coffee With a Cop’ in the future.

“‘Coffee With a Cop’ is a great example of the types of community events that have defined Java Shack’s growth over the years,” Java Shack manager Robert Peck said in a press release. “We are honored to host the Second District Team and look forward to giving our baristas a break while the police run the counter.”

Photo courtesy Sean Douglass

by ARLnow.com — March 9, 2015 at 2:00 pm 6,952 0

Geoffrey Fisher (photo courtesy ACPD)An Arlington man is being accused of almost running over a jogger during a fit of road rage near Courthouse.

The alleged incident happened Saturday around 10:15 a.m. Police say a jogger was crossing 10th Street at N. Barton Street when a man driving an older BMW  “nearly struck” him in the crosswalk.

A verbal exchange ensued and in a “fit of rage” the driver “proceeded forward” with the jogger still in front of the car, said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.

“The driver proceeded forward causing the victim to jump on the hood and was driven approximately 20-30 feet before hitting the brakes and throwing the victim to the ground,” according to the crime report. “The victim did not sustain injury and the suspect fled the scene, located at his residence a short time later. Geoffrey Fisher, 65, of Arlington, VA, was arrested and charged with attempted unlawful wounding. He was released on a $5000 unsecured bond.”

A witness told police that the jogger had the walk signal when he was initially almost struck.

by Ethan Rothstein — March 9, 2015 at 11:45 am 6,419 0

The Bachelor contestants (photo via Facebook)Arlington’s very own contestant on the reality show “The Bachelor” will be at Clarendon’s very own “The Bachelorette” contestant-owned restaurant tonight for the 19th season finale.

Jillian Anderson was eliminated early on this season, and infamously slipped on a rug and nearly fell when she thought this season’s bachelor, Chris, called her name during the rose ceremony. Instead, he picked her competitor, Julia, and 25-year-old Anderson returned to her home in Arlington. Tonight, she will be at Bracket Room in Clarendon (1210 N. Garfield Street) to watch Chris hand out his final rose.

Bracket Room is owned by a former contestant of The Bachelorette, Chris Bukowski, and has hosted viewing parties for the reality show’s season finales since it opened in 2013. Happy hour begins at 4:00 p.m. and the show starts at 8:00 p.m. Bracket Room’s Facebook page says there will be specials on wine and dessert.

At the same time, at Guarapo Lounge in Courthouse, radio hosts Sarah Fraser — another Arlington resident — is hosting a watch party of her own. Starting at 7:00 p.m., Anderson is expected to stop by for another appearance. There will be $1 tacos plus wine and cocktail specials and the chance to win prizes.

It’s unclear at which restaurant Anderson will watch Chris give out the final rose to one of the two finalists, Whitney and Becca.

Photo via Facebook

by ARLnow.com — March 4, 2015 at 12:30 pm 7,943 0

(Updated at 4:30 p.m.) Arlington County Police were involved in a vehicle and subsequent foot pursuit through the Lyon Park and Courthouse neighborhoods this afternoon.

The pursuit started around 12:20 p.m. According to initial reports, an officer trying to make a traffic stop on Route 50 at 10th Street N. was dragged when the driver took off.

Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said the suspect, a D.C. resident, was pulled over for a red light violation. Police found a gun in the suspect’s car after taking him into custody.

The chase went through Lyon Park and ended following a foot pursuit at Fairfax Drive and N. Barton Street, next to Rocky Run Park in Courthouse. The suspect’s car blew out its two right tires and crashed into a squad car. He consequently took off running in the neighborhood and was caught soon afterwards.

Sternbeck said that initial reports that the officer was dragged were slightly overblown. He was leaning into the Chrysler Pacifica when the suspect took off, and was carried for about five steps before he could disengage. The officer didn’t suffer any injuries, Sternbeck said, just “muddy boots.”

N. Barton Street was blocked off between Fairfax Drive and 11th Street for about two hours. Police officers and a K-9 conducted searches for an item the suspect might have thrown out of the car during the pursuit, but Sternbeck said he didn’t know if anything was recovered.

by Ethan Rothstein — February 19, 2015 at 10:00 am 3,290 0

Toscana Grill(Updated Feb. 23 at 9:45 a.m.) A new Vietnamese restaurant plans to take over the space currently occupied by Toscana Grill in Courthouse.

The owners of Pho Deluxe, which has locations in Fairfax and Tysons Corner, told ARLnow.com that Toscana Grill is closing April 1, after which they will move in.

They hope to be open a month afterward at 2300 Clarendon Blvd, facing Courthouse Plaza.

Owners Hue and Dan Nguyen said the restaurant will specialize in the beef noodle soup, as well as rice dishes and noodle dishes. It will also have a full bar.

Toscana Grill had briefly closed in fall 2013, but reopened under new management.

Next door, meanwhile, Velocity Five’s conversion to Courthaus Social is about to get started. Co-owner Fito Garcia said this morning that the sports bar will be closing “in the coming week” to begin its remodeling to an “American beer garden.” Garcia said he expects the remodeling and staff training to be complete in time to open in April.

A previous version of this story stated Toscana Grill would close March 1. That has been corrected.

by ARLnow.com — February 11, 2015 at 2:30 pm 3,309 0

Update at 2:50 p.m. — The Courthouse station will be reopened shortly. A “test train” is being used to see if it’s safe for Metro to start using the affected stretch of track again. Metro and fire department personnel tell ARLnow.com that there were no communication or coordination problems during the incident response.

The Arlington County Fire Department and Metro personnel are on the scene at the Courthouse Metro station due to an electrical issue on the tracks.

The fire was reported just before 2:00 p.m. It’s said to be an insulator fire in a tunnel just outside the Courthouse station, similar to the electrical malfunction that caused smoke to fill a Yellow Line tunnel last month, killing one person.

The station was evacuated and riders exiting the station said it was moderately smoky inside but not stifling. A slight haze and an electrical smell of something burning was also present outside the station for a period of time.

Firefighters were “working with WMATA to shut down power and extinguish” the fire, according to the ACFD Twitter account. Numerous Metro and fire personnel are on the scene. Police have shut down 15th Street near the station.

As of 2:32 p.m., ACFD said the track fire was extinguished there were “light smoke conditions” inside the station. Some fire trucks have started leaving the scene.

Orange and Silver Line trains are single-tracking past the station, according to Metro.

No injuries have been reported.

Fort Myer and Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority firefighters also responded to the incident.

by ARLnow.com — February 11, 2015 at 8:00 am 5,392 0

Jerome King (photo courtesy ACPD)An apartment concierge helped stop a registered sex offender from attacking a woman Tuesday morning, according to police.

The incident happened around 8:00 a.m. at the new 19Nineteen apartments, on the 1900 block of Clarendon Blvd in the Courthouse area.

Police say a man grabbed a woman as she came to the front door of the building to see if her Uber driver had arrived. He allegedly threw the woman to the ground, at which time the building concierge tackled the man and held him until police arrived.

“The victim did not sustain physical injury but was clearly shaken when interviewed by our detectives,” said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.

Washington resident Jerome King, 32, was charged with abduction with the intent to defile. He was held without bond.

Photo courtesy ACPD

by ARLnow.com — February 5, 2015 at 10:45 am 4,194 0

(Updated at 2:25 p.m.) A new 2.17 acre apartment development is likely coming to the Courthouse area.

Gables North Rolfe Street is planned as a two building, 400,000 square feet, 395 unit apartment complex on the 1300 block of N. Rolfe Street, in the Radnor / Fort Myer Heights neighborhood, just off of Route 50.

The tract of land on which the project will be built is steep, wooded and also includes a handful of older single family homes and small apartment complexes. Because Arlington County owns three parcels of land on the site, it has been able to work with developer Gables Residential on a number of public benefits.

Among the the benefits, to be paid for by the developer:

  • A new, 8,000 square foot public park that will include a 200-year-old tree
  • LEED Gold certification for the apartment complex
  • Thirty-nine units of committed affordable housing
  • A stand-alone, 14-unit transitional living facility, for those recovering from substance abuse. This will replace the existing Independence House facility on the site, according to Arlington Dept. of Human Services spokesman Kurt Larrick.

The project is expected be considered by the County Board at its February meeting, in two weeks.

Discussing the project at last night’s Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting, County Board Chair Mary Hynes said the benefits from such projects represent key Democratic values.

“Affordable housing furthers diversity, inclusivity and sustainability, all of which are values… that have driven this community,” she said.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story reflected County Board Chair Mary Hynes’ remarks that the planned transitional living facility was for those who were just getting out of jail. A county spokesman says that is incorrect, and that the facility will be for substance abuse recovery.

by Ethan Rothstein — February 3, 2015 at 2:30 pm 1,228 0

2013 Clarendon Mardi Gras paradeThe annual Clarendon-Courthouse Mardi Gras parade is back this year after a snow-induced hiatus in 2014.

The parade is scheduled to start at 8:00 p.m. on Fat Tuesday, Feb. 17, on N. Barton Street. About 40 floats and parade participants have already signed up to take part in the hourlong event, which will run up Wilson Blvd to N. Irving Street.

A snowstorm on Mardi Gras forced the Clarendon Alliance — which organizes the event — to push it back to St. Patrick’s Day. Yet another storm that March forced the 16th annual parade to be canceled altogether.

“Normally it’s a rain or shine type deal,” Clarendon Alliance Executive Director Matt Hussmann said. “But the snow banks were so big on the sidewalks, nobody could watch the parade.”

This year, if the weather cooperates, Hussmann said the “family-friendly” parade should continue to be the biggest and best-attended Mardi Gras parade in the D.C. area. The Ballou High School marching band is back, the Louisiana State University alumni group will again have a big presence, and beads and candy will again be flying around.

“The parade’s got a great feel to it,” Hussmann said. “It’s really a local event. The people in the parade are businesses people go to. Everybody’s yelling and waving and dressed up and they’ve got costumes. The floats are really creative. There’s a lot of music, they’re throwing beads and candy. It’s just home-grown fun.”

Before the parade, Courthouse’s Bayou Bakery will be hosting a “Bayou Gras Block Party.” The New Orleans-themed bakery, at 1515 N. Courthouse Road, is offering $30 tickets for three cajun dishes — like jambalaya and chicken and sausage gumbo — $20 tickets for Mardi Gras-themed cocktails and $15 tickets for three pours of Abita Amber Ale. Children under 12 years old will get a free mac and cheese.

The block party will run from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Tickets can be bought online or at Bayou Bakery.

File photo

by Ethan Rothstein — January 30, 2015 at 2:35 pm 2,191 0

Snow began to fall as developers and Arlington officials broke ground this morning at the future site of the Hyatt Place hotel at 2401 Wilson Blvd.

The hotel was approved last spring and is expected to be finished by summer 2016, according to the Schupp Companies, which owns the site. What now sits at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Adams Street — where Wilson Tavern and Northern Virginia Mixed Martial Arts used to be — is a large, empty foundation with graffiti on the sides.

What will be built, starting on Wednesday, is an eight-story, 161-room hotel that will be the first LEED Gold-certified hotel in Arlington, and the first LEED Gold certified Hyatt Place in the country. Ray Schupp, the owner of the Schupp Companies, planned on building a hotel when he first bought the property in 2007.

“I told Ray, ‘that’s a great idea, the county’s going to love that,’” Schupp Development Manager Jim Villars said. “We got site plan approval in May. It’s been a long seven years.”

The plan for the development fluctuated from a hotel, to a planned apartment building, before its final status as a hotel with four single-family houses behind it, as a buffer to the adjacent community. As part of the site plan approval, the developers will donate $1.54 million for a Courthouse Metro elevator and will install a piece of public art at the corner of Wilson and Adams.

“This is a fabulous example of how we can do this moving forward,” Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes said. “The community wanted a hotel here and county staff just needed to find a way to make this work.”

The hotel will be the first Hyatt Place in Arlington, but the brand’s portfolio is rapidly expanding. According to Hyatt Place’s vice president of real estate and development, Jim Tierney, a Hyatt Place is expected to open every other week in the U.S. by the end of the year.

Along with the hotel, the building will have space for a first-floor restaurant — potentially a reincarnation of Wilson Tavern — and two floors of underground parking.

by Ethan Rothstein — January 26, 2015 at 4:45 pm 4,324 0

Summers in Courthouse planning to reopen Summers in Courthouse planning to reopen

Salt and pepper shakers are still on the tables at Summers Grill and Sports Bar, which closed at the end of last month, and customers will soon join them.

The restaurant, which opened in 1982 and rose to prominence as a haven for soccer fans before the sport became popularized in the U.S., terminated its lease because of a big dip in business, according to the Washington Post. Just weeks after it closed, a sign appeared on its door this weekend announcing it would soon reopen.

“Back by popular demand of our loyal customers,” the sign reads, “and the generosity of our landlord (JBG Cos.), Summers Sports Bar will re-open soon!”

Summers’ owner and JBG representatives did not return requests for comment. Looking through the windows of the restaurant — which sits at the corner of Clarendon Blvd and N. Courthouse Road — it appears that it shouldn’t take long to prepare for a reopening.

by Ethan Rothstein — January 20, 2015 at 5:00 pm 2,038 0

ABC sign in Courthouse (photo courtesy Andy Bailey)An ABC liquor store is under construction at 1919 Clarendon Blvd, in the ground floor of a new apartment building on the block.

ARLnow.com reported in July that the state Alcoholic Beverage Control department was in lease negotiations for one of the new retail spaces in the building, just a few blocks from the site of its former location in the Colonial Village Shopping Center.

Signs are already up in the windows of the new space, on Clarendon Blvd between N. Rhodes and Troy Streets, for construction. When contacted, an ABC spokesperson could only confirm the store will be opening in the future, but said there is no available information about when the store might be open.

The site of a possible new ABC store in CourthouseWhile the ABC store is undergoing their interior buildout, so, too, is Shawafel, a “quick served” Lebanese restaurant, next door. The location of Shawafel will be the H Street NE business’ second brick-and-mortar shop.

Before the ABC store opens, the closest spot to pick up bottles of liquor for Rosslyn and Courthouse residents is the store at 1001 N. Fillmore Street, at the intersection with Washington Blvd.

Photo, top, courtesy Andy Bailey. Photo (bottom) is a file photo.

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