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by ARLnow.com — February 3, 2015 at 9:15 am 3,620 0

Balloons at a Giant store (Flickr pool photo by Jim Webster)

New Chinese Restaurant?Noted chef Peter Chang appears to be planning to open a new Chinese restaurant at the Lee Harrison Shopping Center on Lee Highway. [Washington Business Journal]

Rosslyn: Hub of Hillary Intrigue — Rosslyn is home to an organization devoted to helping Hillary Clinton’s presidential prospects, an organization that spends much of its time trying to dig up dirt on Hillary, and a news organization that is covering the 2016 presidential race. This has created some awkward moments at Rosslyn’s few after-work watering holes. Concludes a magazine article: “The epicenter of the country’s great Hillary debate remains a small, charm-deficient enclave across the river from D.C.” [National Journal]

State Legislators Pass Uber Bill — Both houses of the Virginia General Assembly have passed a bill that would allow ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft to operate legally in the Commonwealth. [Washington Business Journal]

Bachelor Contestant Is From Arlington — Jillian Anderson, a now-former contestant on this season of ABC’s “The Bachelor,” is an Arlington resident. Anderson, 25, is described as a competitive weightlifter and an “outspoken gym junkie.” [WJLA]

Crystal City: City of the Future? — Paul Singh, founder of Crystal City-based Disruption Corporation and its Crystal Tech Fund, says he wants to model a “sustainable model for an American city of the future” in Crystal City. “Our efforts in the city should be a 100-year legacy,” he said. [Technically DC]

Flickr pool photo by Jim Webster

by Ethan Rothstein — February 2, 2015 at 3:50 pm 2,709 0

(Updated at 5:10 p.m.) All that stands between Crystal City’s newest bar and its future, thirsty patrons is an Alcohol Beverage Control Board inspector.

Highline RXR, on the second floor of 2010 Crystal Drive, is built out with reclaimed wood and windows from barnhouses and industrial facilities across the country. Co-owner Peter Bayne said once the ABC inspector comes, he must order about $30,000 worth of beer and liquor and set them all up before opening. He predicts the bar will open this weekend.

Walking up the staircase — designed to look like an industrial train car and painted by a local artist — to the entrance of the large space, you’re greeted with several arcade games, including Monopoly pinball. In a back room, there’s Big Buck Hunter, Golden Tee and Ms. Pacman. The space is open and lined with giant windows.

The bar is broken into a front and back area. The front, where patrons enter, has a space for a stage and the major tap system, which includes 24 standard taps and six beer taps on a separate system that will be rotated more frequently and feature rarer beers. There will also be four red and four white wines on tap. Next to the bar is a custom-built shelf that will have 20 to 30 board games from Monopoly to Settlers of Catan.

To enter the back area, patrons must cross through a floor-to-ceiling “window wall,” built with windows from an old factory. The wall can open to create one big space, or close for private parties or when the back room’s windows are open. The windows in the back room can open enough to make it feel “almost like you’re outdoors,” Bayne said. People on the street will be able to see and hear the activity in the bar above.

“Part of the challenge of this place was finding a way to get people up to the second floor,” Bayne said. “By opening this window, it lets us engage with the street so people can really see that activity.”

There are 72 total beer taps — with two dozen in the back area as well — and if Bayne decided he didn’t want to duplicate, he could offer more distinct draft beers than any other restaurant in Arlington. But “that would take a lot of coordination.” He paused for a second, “maybe we could do it for an Oktoberfest party. That would be amazing.”

Bayne is the co-owner of Bedrock Bars, which also owns the Continental in Rosslyn, Carpool in Ballston and Penn Social and Buffalo Billiards in D.C. Despite his wealth of experience opening bars in the area, Bayne oozes enthusiasm over his newest venture.

“We just want to be the best bar in the area,” he said. He looks across the street at Disruption Corporation and the new startup economy beginning to breathe life into Crystal City and can’t help but get excited. “They’re bringing a creative, young energy to this area. We hope to give them a fun bar to go to.”

by Ethan Rothstein — February 2, 2015 at 12:15 pm 667 0

Startup Monday header

Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

OmniEarth COO and cofounder Jonathan Fentzke(Updated at 1:15 p.m.OmniEarth COO and cofounder Jonathan Fentzke says his company likes to stay “under the radar,” an ironic phrase considering its plans to launch 18 satellites to generate data from around the world in a host of different sectors.

Officially launched in February 2014, OmniEarth takes geospatial data and provides analytics for a broad range of companies. This could mean telling municipal water suppliers which parcels are using too much water — crucial in drought-ridden areas like California — or telling oil and gas companies where there are faults along their pipelines.

“More than 80 percent of data these days has a location along with it,” Fentzke told ARLnow.com from his office above the Crystal City Shops this morning. “Remotely sensed data can give you an indication of how things are changing on a global scale.”

Fentzke and his cofounder, CEO Lars Dyrud, have been friends for more than a decade, but both were working in the applied physics laboratory at Johns Hopkins University when they realized their work for the public sector had use for private companies. Hosted payloads, when one entity rents extra space on a rocket being launched into space, were growing more and more common, and Fentzke and Dyrud wanted to bring it to market.

“We did three years of customer discovery, talked with more than 200 potential clients and saw that there really was traction for this business,” Fentzke said. “We sell information to people who know what to do with it, and we sell analytics to the people who don’t.”

OmniEarth logoOmniEarth’s main business model is selling applications of their data to its clients. That can be predictive models for the effects of the weather on a crop to multinational farm companies, where forests are being illegally cut down or even something Fentzke called a Twitter “happiness index,” which takes the mood of tweets and compares it with the location of people tweeting them, drawing maps based on the data.

OmniEarth is barely a year old and has already received about $3.5 million in funding, with partnerships with massive companies like Harris and Ball and local tech companies like Dynetics. They have partnered with Spaceflight to launch a constellation of 18 small satellites, monitoring “multi-spectral data,” with imaging outside of the visible spectrum (i.e. infrared light).

“The satellites are like our utility, and data and analytics is like our plug,” Fentzke said. “If you don’t have a plug, you can’t access the utility, like electricity.”

Fentzke, an aerospace engineer by training, says OmniEarth is “by scientists, for business users and decision-makers,” and the company is attempting to trademark the slogan “every day, everywhere.” The Board of Advisors reads like a who’s who of the cross-section of industries the company caters to, from a retired U.S. Air Force general to oil and gas executives to a former NASA administrator.

Part of OmniEarth's headquarters in Crystal CityThe company is growing faster than many other Arlington startups, but for what Fentzke and Dyrud have in mind, this is only the beginning. OmniEarth has already bought a smaller company called IRISmaps to leverage its geospatial data and continues to look to expand.

“This is not a get-rich quick scheme,” Fentzke said. “Our goal is to grow something that stands alone. We didn’t just blindly pick this business because satellites are cool. It’s a tool for data, and when you know how to leverage remotely sensed data, you have market-leading information, and it’s legal.”

In another year, the 20-person company expects to double in size and bring in “some big dollars” by the end of 2015. OmniEarth may still fly under the radar as a big-growth company in Arlington, but it won’t be a secret for long.

“The moment I think it’s valuable for us to wave our flag and say ‘hey look at us,’” Fentzke said, “we’ll do that.”

by ARLnow.com — January 29, 2015 at 10:15 am 1,607 0

Capital Bikeshare station at S. Eads Street and 23rd Street S. (Flickr photo by Euan Fisk) Previous configuration at S. Eads Street and 23rd Street S. (photo via Google Maps)

Over on Greater Greater Washington, a mini debate is raging in the comments section about whether this Capital Bikeshare station (pictured, left) in Crystal City is a good idea.

It’s located on S. Eads Street at 23rd Street S, in what was previously a shared bike lane and vehicle travel lane (albeit one with a CaBi station on the side of the road). Now, the lane consists only of a protected bike lane and an in-street Capital Bikeshare station.

In support of the station, some say it has improved safety for cyclists while keeping the station off of the sidewalk. Also, it prevents conflict among drivers when two cars heading straight have to abruptly merge into one lane at the end of the intersection.

Those arguing against the station say it reduces lines of sight, making it harder for drivers to see cyclists and pedestrians crossing the intersection. It also is vulnerable to an errant driver and eliminates a lane used by cars turning onto 23rd Street. Finally, those returning and checking out bikes at the station may come into conflict with those using the bike lane.

Do you like or dislike the placement of the station?

Flickr photo (left) by Euan Fisk. Photo (right) via Google Maps.

by ARLnow.com — January 27, 2015 at 12:45 pm 447 0

ARLnow.com is holding its fifth anniversary bash in Crystal City tonight from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

If you haven’t booked your tickets yet, you can still do so through 5:00 p.m. on Eventbrite. Tickets will also be available at the door.

The event, at the ever-expanding headquarters of the Crystal Tech Fund and Disruption Corporation, will feature two hours of all-you-can eat food from Ruth’s Chris and plenty of wine and beer, thanks to our friends at the Crystal City BID.

To help celebrate our fifth anniversary (which technically is on Thursday), we’re recounting some of the top stories of 2010.

Coming off of the depths of the Great Recession, the year that was 2010 was especially active for business openings in Crystal City. Here are some of the memorable openings in our first year:

See you tonight, Arlington!

by ARLnow.com — January 22, 2015 at 9:05 am 2,262 0

Soldiers from The Old Guard in the snow  (photo via @The_Old_Guard)

Another Early Morning Fire — Arlington County firefighters rescued a man from an early morning house fire on the 2100 block of S. Randolph Street. This is the second day in a row that Arlington firefighters rescued someone from a house fire. [WJLA]

Association Moves from Alexandria to Arlington — The American Diabetes Association is moving from Alexandria to Arlington. The association has signed a 78,000 square foot lease for a building in Crystal City. The building, owned by Vornado, has been vacant since the previous military moved out due to the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Act. [Washington Business Journal]

Snow Total for Arlington — Yesterday’s afternoon snowfall resulted in an accumulation of 0.4 inches in Arlington, according to a measurement at Reagan National Airport. In the Great Falls section of Fairfax County, 1.8 inches was recorded. [National Weather Service]

Va. Considering All-HOT Lanes I-66 — Virginia is considering a plan to convert I-66 to HOT lanes only during peak periods. That would mean that transit and carpools of three or more people are allowed to use the highway for free during rush hours, but anyone else has to pay tolls. Construction could begin as soon as next year, with the goal of starting HOT lane service by 2017. [Washington Post]

Opening Date for Kapnos in BallstonKapnos Taverna, the new 165-seat Greek restaurant from chef Mike Isabella, has set an official opening date of Tuesday, Jan. 27. The restaurant is located at 4000 Wilson Blvd in Ballston.

Photo via @The_Old_Guard

by ARLnow.com — January 14, 2015 at 11:15 am 1,128 0

DC Tattoo Expo logoA large tattoo expo is coming to Crystal City this weekend.

The D.C. Tattoo Arts Expo is being held at the Crystal Gateway Marriott (1700 Jefferson Davis Highway) from Thursday night to Sunday night.

Organizers say the expo is “back, bigger and better than ever.”

“We will again have over 160 of the world’s best tattoo artists, including the finest tattoo artists from the DC Metro area,” according to the expo website. “We have more vendors, more clothing, more tattoos, more craziness and more fun than ever before.”

Attracting tattoo artists and enthusiasts, the event features live tattooing and body piercing. There are discounts for active duty military members and children under 12 get in free with a paying adult.

by ARLnow.com — January 12, 2015 at 3:45 pm 1,556 0

arlnow-5th-anniv-2Believe it or not, ARLnow.com is turning five years old.

Launched on a Friday, on the eve of a snowy Saturday and a week before Snowmageddon, ARLnow.com has been published continuously ever since. During that time it has gone from being an informal local news blog based out of a Crystal City apartment to a professional news publication with full-time employees and an actual office.

By the time we officially turn five, two weeks from now, we’ll have published more than 10,000 articles, including on-the-ground breaking news reporting, big local scoops that became national stories, and plenty articles chronicling everyday life in our fair county.

To celebrate our big day, we’re inviting everybody to our anniversary bash. Our friends at the Crystal City Business Improvement District are helping to organize the event, which is being held from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 27 at Disruption Corporation’s headquarters (2231 Crystal Drive) in Crystal City.

The party will feature drinks and delicious appetizers, all included in the price of admission. Tickets are $20.10, but act fast because for “early adopters” they’re just $12.90 through tomorrow night.

See you there!

by Ethan Rothstein — January 7, 2015 at 2:00 pm 998 0

Update at 3:45 p.m. — The gas line has been shut off and the incident has been cleared. Northbound Crystal Drive remains shut down between Potomac Ave and 27 Street S. as repairs on the gas line continue.

Emergency crews are shutting down the 2600 block of Crystal Drive to repair a gas leak.

According to scanner traffic, multiple units from the Arlington County Fire Department are on scene for a hole in a four-inch gas line running underneath the street. Crystal Drive is under construction in the area and crews appeared to have hit the line while working.

The construction subcontractor that struck the gas line was working on the Crystal City Potomac Yard Transitway project, Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokesman Eric Balliet confirmed to ARLnow.com.

Police are also being dispatched to keep pedestrians away from the leak and to try to keep those in the buildings adjacent to the leak inside. One of those buildings is a large Environmental Protection Agency office at 2777 Crystal Drive.

The street is shut down from Potomac Ave to around 26th Street S. Drivers in the area should seek alternate routes. According to the scanner, police have cleared the buildings in the area and there are no evacuations.

There is no indication yet of when the leak will be repaired and how it may affect the evening rush. Washington Gas repair crews are on scene.

Photo via Google Maps

by ARLnow.com — January 7, 2015 at 11:00 am 2,259 0

Mother and son shovel snow on 1/6/14 (Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley)

Murphy Apologizes for Snowy School Opening — Arlington Public Schools superintendent Patrick Murphy has personally apologized for the unpopular decision to open schools on time yesterday, in the midst of a snow storm. Murphy said APS, like other local school systems that also opened on time, had to make a decision early in the morning, when the forecast still called for less snow. “Once that decision is made, we are kind of locked in,” said Murphy. [InsideNova]

Salt Truck Slides Down Hill — The refreeze may have claimed a salt truck last night. A reader spotted a salt truck being pulled out of a ditch on N. Roosevelt Street. [Twitter]

Crystal City Profiled — As part of its ongoing “Where We Live” series, the Washington Post has profiled Crystal City, which the paper says is “not just underground anymore.” The neighborhood is noted for being convenient to various forms of transportation and having a very low crime rate. [Washington Post]

Remembering Kathryn Stone — Kathryn Stone, a “legendary figure in the history of Arlington County and the Commonwealth,” is remembered for her role in advancing the role of women in government. [Falls Church News-Press]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

by Ethan Rothstein — December 22, 2014 at 4:20 pm 892 0

Startup Monday header

Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

Eastern Foundry CEO and Founder Geoff OrazemEastern Foundry, a new startup incubator focusing on government contractors as tenants, launched on Dec. 16. With 70 offices covering 21,000 square feet, it’s already 85 percent full.

Eastern Foundry CEO and Founder Geoff Orazem said he expects to be full in his space on the fourth floor of 2011 Crystal Drive by “mid-February at the latest.” Its occupancy rate is just one example of the sweet spot his company has found in its sector.

Taking a walk through the halls of Eastern Foundry belies the future the company envisions. Outside a few of the office doors are framed fact sheets about the companies inside, with photos and bios, plus the company’s mission, relationships within the federal government and former jobs where the workers may still have contacts. These sheets will soon be outside every office, and are a resource for companies looking for partners or advice.

Every Thursday, Eastern Foundry hosts a seminar on issues government contractors face, led by a working expert in the field. These topics have already included GSA scheduling, and the ins-and-outs of Small Business Administration set-aside mandates. Eastern Foundry is also using the 10th floor of the Vornado-owned building — currently a vacant 40,000-square foot space – and turned it into an event space and flexible area for some of its tenants.

A standard Eastern Foundry office“No one has integrated residential, community and business development the way we have,” Orazem told ARLnow.com. He said Eastern Foundry is the first government-contractor-only incubator in the country.

Orazem is a former U.S. Marine Corps infantry platoon commander and graduate of Harvard Law School, but realized he wanted to help facilitate business success while working to set up a “tribally run trucking cooperative with government contracts” in Iraq and Afghanistan around 2009.

“We were having an amazing impact on development and security in the area,” he said. “I had far more influence by creating jobs than I ever did as a Marine.”

He spent three years working for McKinsey & Company in D.C. before he decided to try to start his own contracting firm in January. The process, he said, was far more onerous than he had imagined, and his background as a veteran and his “fancy named” college degree didn’t help.

“It wasn’t hard for reasons I thought were good reasons,” he said. “It was difficulty with the process. It was bewildering, bureaucratic, obfuscating and infuriating.”

Eastern Foundry's kitchen and break roomOrazem realized the opportunity was there to help people like him get through the process. During a meeting with a friend at 1776 in D.C., he saw how collaboration was working for tech startups, and had a “mini-breakthrough.” He realized a cooperative space could have the same impact for contractors as it does for young tech companies.

Orazem hired Andy O’Brien at Jones Lang LaSalle to broker a real estate deal, and Vornado started aggressively pursuing Orazem to consider Crystal City.

“Vornado basically made us an offer we couldn’t refuse,” he said. “We’re really excited about the area and the vision of Vornado to recreate it as a technology and innovation center. They were really putting their money where their mouth was.”

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — December 17, 2014 at 9:00 am 1,646 0

Kirkwood Road near Clarendon (Flickr pool photo by Alves Family)

HOT Lane Lawsuit May Haunt County — At a time when the state is studying HOT lanes and other possible changes to I-66 inside the Beltway, Arlington County’s past actions may come back to haunt it. County officials “burned some bridges” when they filed a lawsuit against VDOT in 2009 to block HOT lanes on I-395. The county has also lost some regional credibility by abruptly canceling the streetcar project. Efforts by Arlington to oppose any changes on I-66, therefore, may fall on deaf ears. [InsideNova]

Incubator Launches in Crystal City — Eastern Foundry, a “veteran-owned government technology and innovation incubator,” celebrated its launch in Crystal City yesterday. The company held a ribbon cutting ceremony with Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Vornado/Charles E. Smith president Mitchell Schear. [PR Web]

Man Arrested for Arlington Attack — Fairfax County Police have arrested a man wanted for allegedly attacking his ex-wife’s boyfriend in Arlington. In the June 15 attack on Columbia Pike, police say Edwin Patino-Medina ripped two necklaces off the boyfriend’s neck then tried to run him over with a car. [WUSA 9]

Menorah Lighting Tonight — Last night was the first night of Hanukkah. Tonight, in the park next to the Clarendon Metro station, Chabad Lubavitch of Alexandria-Arlington will hold a menorah lighting and community celebration. The event kicks off at 6:00 p.m. and features a “giant 6 foot menorah” plus music, potato latkes, chocolate gelt and “dreidels for all.” Tomorrow, the group will hold its annual Chanukah on Ice event at the Pentagon Row ice rink.

Flickr pool photo by Alves Family

by ARLnow.com — December 16, 2014 at 1:30 pm 1,826 0

Arlington-based PBS is celebrating the upcoming fifth season of its hit Downton Abbey with a building-sized mural on its Crystal City headquarters.

The temporary art installation, featuring the likeness of Downton character Lady Mary , is 90 feet high and 54.5 feet wide — 4,900 square feet total — and took about 140 hours to complete. It was installed at 2100 Crystal Drive in partnership with the Crystal City Business Improvement District and building owner Vornado/Charles E. Smith.

“Downton Abbey is the top PBS drama of all time and we are thrilled to showcase that in Crystal City, where PBS calls home,” said Angela Fox, president and CEO of the Crystal City BID, in a press release.

“Crystal City residents, workers, and visitors are encouraged to take photos of themselves with the project, and hashtag #DowntonPBS,” the press release said.

The fourth season of the British period drama drew an average audience of 13.2 million viewers, according to PBS, making it one of the highest-rated dramas on American television. The fifth season will premiere on Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015.

Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser.

by Ethan Rothstein — December 15, 2014 at 3:45 pm 0

Teck Cocktail holiday party posterDisruption Corporation in Crystal City (2231 Crystal Drive, 10th floor) is hosting the annual Tech Cocktail holiday party and all-star award ceremony tomorrow night.

The party will start at 6:00 p.m., end at 8:30 and costs $25 to attend ($35.99 if the guest wants a copy of Startup Mixology by Tech Cocktail’s Frank Gruber). All guests are encouraged to bring canned goods to donate to the Arlington Food Assistance Center.

Hundreds from the D.C. startup scene are expected to be in attendance, and awaiting the announcement of the annual awards. Winners will be named in the following categories:

  • Best Design (Product)
  • Best Bootstrapped
  • Most Innovative Product
  • Most Disruptive
  • Biggest Pivot
  • Best Company Culture
  • Most Active in Local Community
  • Most Likely to Get Acquired
  • Best Social Good Startup
  • Best Big Company with Startup Culture
  • Most Charismatic or Best Founder(s)/Leader(s)
  • Best Community Leader

Several Arlington companies — including Disruption Corporation and its founder, Paul Singh – are nominated for the awards, which are still open for voting here.

There will also be a mixology demonstration and cocktails — naturally — for the occasion. After the event concludes, the remaining guests will migrate just one floor up for a happy hour at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse.

Photo via Teck Cocktail

by ARLnow.com — December 8, 2014 at 3:35 pm 6,597 0

Update at 6:30 p.m.: Investigators have determined that the substances found in the apartment were cleaning supplies and chemicals such as acetone, police spokesman Lt. Kip Malcolm told ARLnow.com. The substances were held in “weird containers,” for reasons unknown. Hazmat teams have cleared the scene.

Earlier: Police and the Arlington County hazmat team are investigating a possible drug lab found in a Crystal City apartment.

Arlington County Police, Virginia State Police and the hazmat team were called to the Crystal Square Apartments (1515 Jefferson Davis Highway) this afternoon after the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office found “suspicious items” and substances in an apartment during an eviction. The items include laboratory equipment like respirators, scales and beakers, according to ACPD spokesman Lt. Kip Malcolm.

The hazmat team is performing tests on the items to determine what they are and if they’re hazardous. While the equipment may be for some sort of drug lab, it’s not suspected to be a meth lab, which would have prompted evacuations. So far, the building has not been evacuated, Malcolm said.

There have been no reports of any health problems in the apartment building nor of any arrests made by police. Police have closed a portion of 15th Street S. near the scene as the investigation continues.

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