A free blues concert will be held Thursday evening (May 16) at Penrose Square on Columbia Pike. The event is being held to promote the upcoming Columbia Pike Blues Festival.
Thursday’s concert will take place starting at 6:30 p.m. and will feature Karl Stoll and the Danger Zone and the Chris Polk Band. The concert, at Penrose Square (2503 Columbia Pike), is free and open to the public.
The 18th annual Columbia Pike Blues Festival will take place on June 15 and feature legendary guitarist G.E. Smith, who’s best known for being the musical director for Saturday Night Live and for being lead guitarist for Hall & Oates, Bob Dylan and other major musical acts.
As always, the Blues Festival will be held on S. Walter Reed Drive just north of Columbia Pike. The performance schedule on June 15 includes:
- 1:00 p.m. — BG and the Mojo Hands
- 2:00 p.m. — Clarence “Bluesman” Turner
- 3:30 p.m. — Chris Polk [Sound Check]
- 5:00 p.m. — Cathy Ponton King
- 6:30 p.m. — G.E. Smith
File photo. Disclosure: Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization, organizer of the Blues Festival, is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
Columbia Pike is getting in on the frozen yogurt craze, with the opening of a Menchie’s (2405 Columbia Pike) in Penrose Square.
The shop opened on Friday (December 28) and features a wall of 16 self-serve frozen yogurt machines and dozens of toppings. Menchie’s tries to cater to people with food allergies, so there are dairy free and gluten free options, as well as extensive ingredient labels for each flavor. Menchie’s has its own organic dairy in California which supplies the products and provides some flavors not available anywhere else.
Franchise owner Robert Guinn said business has been steady since the opening and customers have been receptive to the frozen yogurt shop.
“We were looking for someplace we could fit in and growth with,” Guinn said. “The community is really strong and we’ve been really happy with the retail traffic coming by.”
The chain is recognized around the world partly due to its team of “Sweet Friends” such as Menchie, Mookie, Barry and Sprinkle. Guinn said kids can identify with the Sweet Friends according to their different personalities considering each character has different traits. Employees at the Columbia Pike location having been taking turns dressing up as Menchie to draw customers into the store.
“All of our team members thought they’d never want to be in a Menchie costume, and honestly all of them have been out there and loved it,” Guinn said.
This is the first Menchie’s location in Arlington. The shop plans to hold a grand opening starting next Saturday (January 12) which will run for a week. There will be a variety of events announced, including frozen yogurt and t-shirt giveaways.
The ceremony for the 17,000 square feet park, located at 2503 Columbia Pike, will be kick off at 4:00 today. The park features a tree-covered upper terrace with movable tables and chairs, an inner plaza with a water feature, small gardens, a sustainable storm water runoff bio-filtration and re-circulation system, and “Echo,” a large two-piece sculpture by Richard Deutsch (more information, below).
The park was designed by the prominent local design firm Oculus. A second phase of the project will include “a transit Super Stop in front of the square along Columbia Pike to support the current Pike Ride buses as well as future generations of transit.”
“With the completion of this first phase of the Penrose Square project, we are really beginning to feel and see the transformation of Columbia Pike,” Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes said in a statement. “A visionary group of residents came together to create this vibrant, public square that will serve as a welcoming place, where neighbors can come together to socialize, dine, relax and have fun.”
In a press release, county officials described in inspiration for the “Echo” sculpture.
As a member of Penrose Square’s landscape design team, Richard Deutsch created the interactive sculpture inspired by the Three Sisters Radio Towers, formerly located near Columbia Pike and Courthouse Road.
Built in 1913 by the Navy as cutting-edge technology, the towers broadcast the first trans-Atlantic radio signal in 1915, connecting Arlington with the Eiffel Tower. They also introduced regular broadcasts of time signals — important navigational aids for ships at sea. When National Airport opened in 1941 the towers posed an aviation hazard and were taken down.
Echo provides a modern interpretation of Arlington’s significant contribution to the history of communication. The concave elliptical parabolas carved into each monolith reflect and project sound, allowing words spoken into one stone to be heard by listeners at the other. California-based artist Deutsch designs sculpture and environments using stone, water, bronze, and stainless steel. Like Echo, much of his work is marked by an understanding of space and environment and an attention to social context and history.
The new public plaza at the Penrose Square development along Columbia Pike is still expected to open this fall, despite a recent setback.
The contractor working on the $2 million project found and accidentally ruptured an oil tank earlier this month during excavation work, we’re told. The rupture contaminated part of the site, but the county and contractors worked quickly to remedy the situation.
According to Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish:
The tank’s presence was previously unknown by the County. [Arlington] County’s construction manager immediately stopped contractor from working and notified our 3rd party consultant. Samples were taken and the fire marshal and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VADEQ) were notified. VADEQ directed County to have the tanks removed by a licensed contractor in the presence of the fire marshal. Samples were also taken to determine the extent of the contamination. Remediation steps have been approved by VADEQ.
Kalish said the plaza is still on track to open this fall.
“Construction is scheduled to be completed and the project opened in fall 2012,” she told ARLnow.com. “This issue will cause some delay, but is still expected to be completed and open in fall 2012.”
The plaza will consist of “a tree-covered, upper terrace with movable tables and chairs; an inner plaza with a water feature; a unique two-piece sculpture called ‘Echo’; an inscription of the historic significance of the site, and a grass mound area shaded with trees for informal seating,” according to the county.
Construction is getting underway on a new public plaza along Columbia Pike.
Fences have gone up around the construction site — a small grass field in front of the Penrose Square apartment complex, on the 2400 block of Columbia Pike. The first construction phase of the $2 million Penrose Square public plaza is expected to be completed this fall.
“Penrose Square is the first of three squares that will eventually be located along the Pike Corridor and will be an active pedestrian center and community gathering spot within the corridor’s Town Center,” said Arlington County parks department spokeswoman Susan Kalish.
Among the plaza’s planned features:
The first phase of development calls for a tree-covered, upper terrace with movable tables and chairs; an inner plaza with a water feature; a unique two-piece sculpture called “Echo”; an inscription of the historic significance of the site, and a grass mound area shaded with trees for informal seating.
Continuing Arlington’s goal of a sustainable environment, the tree terrace area will have Silva Cells installed beneath the surface to facilitate stormwater runoff filtration into the soil while providing maximum soil volume for root growth. The Silva Cells prevent compaction of the soil so that tree roots are protected and also help to retain water to sustain the trees during dry periods.
What’s more, a portion of the square will have a water feature designed to shoot thin jets of water 5 – 12 feet into the air from the pavers. The water feature will enhance the square by providing the movement and sounds of water and make an enjoyable place for people to visit. The water from the fountain will be collected, treated and then reused in the fountain again to conserve water.
And finally, the square will also have a new Super Stop Station located along the front sidewalk that will support the current Pike Ride system as well as future generations of transit that are planned for Columbia Pike.
The Washington Post’s Going Out Guide has today’s scoop that mixologist Todd Thrasher, Northern Virginia’s king of cocktails, will be opening a new bar within the already-announced Eamonn’s: A Dublin Chipper restaurant on Columbia Pike.
According to the Post, the 30-seat bar — named ‘TNT’ — will feature original cocktail creations and a sort of global cocktail “greatest hits” menu. TNT and Eamonn’s is expected to open around the beginning of spring.
Interior construction on Eamonn’s is currently underway. The restaurant and bar will be located at the corner of Columbia Pike and S. Barton Street, on the ground floor of the new Penrose Square apartment building.
(Updated at 12:40 p.m.) The small grassy field in front of the new Penrose Square apartments on Columbia Pike will likely be transformed into a considerably less grassy, $2 million public plaza over the next year.
Over the weekend, the Arlington County Board will vote on whether to approve a construction contract and a public art contract for a “Penrose Square Public Plaza” at 2503 Columbia Pike. The 17,360 square foot plaza will be a central focus of the revitalized Columbia Pike “town center,” and will serve “as a meeting and gathering spot in the Corridor’s new urban fabric.”
The construction contract, worth some $1.6 million, will create “a tree-covered terrace with movable tables and chairs; an inner plaza with a water feature… an inscription of historical significance of the site; and a grass mound area shaded with trees for informal seating.” The water feature will be made sustainable “by collecting, treating and then reusing water from the fountain again to minimize daily water consumption.”
Yearly operating costs for the plaza are estimated at just above $100,000 per year, including $68,290 for grounds maintenance, $20,000 for fountain maintenance and $13,000 for utilities like water and electricity.
The plaza will also feature a public art installation. Dubbed “Echo,” the installation by artist Richard Deutsch will consist of two large granite slabs, each with a parabola carved out of one side. The slabs will be arranged so that someone at the end of one parabola will be able to clearly hear someone speaking at the other parabola, 30 feet away.
“The artwork is inspired by the significant role that Arlington’s Three Sisters Radio Towers, formerly located on the nearby Navy Annex property, played in the development of the nation’s trans-Atlantic communication capabilities,” the County Board report says. The sole-source contract to create the installation is worth $425,000.
Echo is expected to be installed in the spring of 2012. Construction on the plaza is expected to wrap up in the fall of 2012. A second construction phase — which will eventually extend the plaza into what is now the adjacent CVS parking lot — is also in the works.
On Saturday, Aug. 27, the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization will host its first outdoor movie. The inspirational football flick The Blind Side will be screened at the new, grassy public square at the Penrose Square development, starting at 8:00 p.m. Giant is co-sponsoring the family-friendly movie night.
CPRO Executive Director Takis Karantonis says the screening is a trial of sorts — a one-time event that will hopefully lead to a full-fledged outdoor summer film festival on the Pike next year.
“We are trying to find ways to use the public spaces” along the Pike, Karantonis said. “We can’t put pressure to create new public spaces if we don’t use the ones we have.”
Construction Planned for New Penrose Square Park — Construction is set to begin on a new public park in front of the Penrose Square apartment building on Columbia Pike. Included in the park will be a 50-ton granite sculpture of a “concave elliptical parabola.” [Pike Wire]
Free Pizza Offer — For some reason, Papa John’s and the Washington Post are giving away thousands of free pizzas over the next three days. Papa John’s has three Arlington locations. [The Capitol Deal]
A-SPAN Launches ‘Street Soccer’ Team — The Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network has set up a soccer team for its homeless clients. The team was created as part of the Street Soccer USA program. [Shirlington Village Blog Spot]
Flickr pool photo by Christaki
The grocery store will be offering wine tastings, tapas samplings and prizes to customers from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Friday and from noon to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Prizes include free bags of Giant brand products and free groceries for a month.
The 60,000 square foot store, located at the corner of Columbia Pike and S. Adams Street, will open its doors at 6:00 a.m. on Friday, June 24.
Flyer image courtesy Jordan Higgins
An opening date has been set for the new Giant supermarket in the Penrose Square development.
The 60,000 square foot store, located at the corner of Columbia Pike and S. Adams Street, is planning to hold its public grand opening on Friday, June 24.
“The return of the Giant grocery store to the now significantly and visibly more attractive, inviting and walkable Pike Town Center is a momentous step ahead in the Pike’s revitalization,” said Takis Karantonis, Executive Director of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization.
What was once a muddy construction pit is now a lush, grassy field.
Sod was recently planted at the Penrose Square development on Columbia Pike. The sidewalk in front of the development, which was once completely blocked by construction, is now navigable by pedestrians.
Trees were planted around the new apartment complex earlier this month. The clock near the building’s roof line, however, still hasn’t been turned on.
Construction crews are starting to wrap up work on the massive Penrose Square development on Columbia Pike. As the project nears completion, county officials are preparing to do some rehab work on the rough stretch of pavement in front of the development.
Penrose Square is now leasing its upscale apartment homes. The move-in date for tenants is set for mid-May. Billed as a “town square” for Columbia Pike, Penrose Square will feature about 300 apartments, a new, 47,000 square foot Giant supermarket, a handful of shops and a public park.
The construction of Penrose Square has required extensive utility work on the section of Columbia Pike in front of the development. As a result of the constant digging, the Pike has become rough and gravelly between South Wayne Street and South Barton Street.
Arlington County Department of Environmental Services spokeswoman Mylisa Kennedy says the county expects to start repaving the roadway in April. Sidewalk and curb work, meanwhile, is set to start next week.
The Penrose Project is in the final stages of the infrastructure upgrades and installations. All wet utilities have been installed and over 90 percent of the dry utilities, or undergrounding, has also been installed. We will begin to demolish and install new sidewalk, curb and gutter on Columbia Pike beginning Monday February 21st and we expect to begin the final paving the first week in April. In the meantime, staff will continue to monitor and restore the roadway to keep it safe for vehicular traffic. Hopefully, this will all be restored and looking better in the coming weeks ahead.