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by Katie Pyzyk — January 23, 2012 at 10:30 am 6,443 94 Comments

A plan to revamp part of Virginia Square has been approved by the Arlington County Board. The development is planned for the site that houses the old Arlington Funeral Home (3901 Fairfax Dr) building.

BDC Crimson LLC is the developer for the nine story mixed-use commercial building, which will include offices, ground floor retail and a 12,985 square foot black box theater. The theater will cost $3.7 million to build, and will be leased to the County for 30 years, at $1 per year. It will hold 150 people.

“This project brings us closer to realizing the community-crafted sector plan’s vision of Virginia Square as a center for arts, culture and education,” said Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes. “The public plaza will enliven Virginia Square, and the Black Box Theater will add a significant cultural destination to this part of the Metro corridor.”

The County will collaborate with groups like the Arlington Commission for the Arts to devise a business plan for operating the theater. They’ll look at cost, use and operational alternatives for review by the County Manager in the preparation of future budgets.

The new plan also includes a 12,325 square foot public plaza along North Quincy Street. The County will hold a workshop so stakeholders and the public can give input on some components of the final plaza design, such as pattern and asphalt color.

The office building will have 250 parking spaces that will be available to the public on nights and weekends. Six additional spaces will be provided for retail customers and 17 for the theater. The developer will provide free four hour parking to theater patrons.

BDC Crimson LLC will seek LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, and will contribute $1 million to the County’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund, plus $1 million to nearby Quincy Park or other open space improvements and park amenities. These contributions let the developer have nearly 70,000 square feet of additional space for the project.

This plan has been in the works in various forms since 2004, with some major revisions in 2007. Previously, the facility was designed to include residences and a new funeral home. The County Board voted unanimously to approve the current plan.

by Katie Pyzyk — January 10, 2012 at 2:15 pm 4,208 35 Comments

(Updated at 2:45 p.m.) It’s only been three days, but already the new Hot People Food truck is gathering a following. The owners are serving up modern Asian food along the Orange line corridor.

With creatively named dishes like “Bikini Beef” and “Hot Girl Salad” it’s obvious the owners like to have fun at work. They’re so confident about their food’s quality that they’re letting customers try free samples.

“No good? No charge. Guarantee!” owner Leopold Liao said.

Liao and his co-owner girlfriend Lauren Liu plan to go to college, but are working to save up money first. They’ve worked in a variety of Asian restaurants for years, and Liao says he’s interested in opening a restaurant in the area. However, he found the market to be unwelcoming at this time.

“I love to cook. I want to open a restaurant,” Liao said. “But with this economy, it’s expensive. You don’t have to pay rent on a food truck.”

The recent H-B Woodlawn graduate has lived in Arlington for about seven years. He loves the area and that’s what prompted the decision to have the food truck based in Arlington. Both Liao and Liu are from China and came to the United States to learn English. Although the dream is still to open a restaurant at some point, right now the focus is on the Hot People Food truck and catering fundraisers and events.

Hot People Food’s website is a work in progress, but does give a menu and daily locations. They’re also relying on twitter to inform followers of where they’ll be. Their first day was last Friday, and they’re spending this week in Rosslyn to get their name out.

And as far as the name? Yes, “hot” does refer to the people in Arlington.

“I thought in this downtown, everybody’s hot,” Liao said. “No matter what you do, everybody’s hot.”

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