Mercedes Catches Fire After Lightning Strike — An Arlington man’s beloved Mercedes 430 CLK convertible was “burned to a crisp” Monday night after a lightning strike. The lightning apparently struck a power pole, which then fell over. A sparking power line ignited the Mercedes. [Washington Post]
Arlington Honors 16 Trees — The Arlington County Board recognized 16 “Notable Trees” around the county at its meeting yesterday afternoon. During the 10-minute ceremony, details about each tree were read individually as the tree’s owner came up to the front of the room to collect a plaque or certificate. Of the 16 trees, 14 are located in north Arlington and only 2 are located in south Arlington. [Arlington County]
Shirlington Apartment Building Loses Power — Io Piazza, an upscale apartment building in Shirlington, had been without power for more than 24 hours as of last night. An underground transformer that serves the building failed during Monday’s thunderstorms. [Patch]
Year-Round Gift Wrapping at Pentagon City Mall — Starting May 8, the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City will be offering year-round complimentary gift wrapping service. The service is available for purchases of $250 or more at luxury stores. Previously, the service was only offered during certain holidays.
Fmr. Treasurer Endorses Fallon — Frank O’Leary, who retired as Arlington County Treasurer last year, has endorsed Peter Fallon for County Board. “Peter Fallon is a mature, thoughtful, fiscally responsible candidate with an amazing grasp of the issues that confront our county,” O’Leary said in a statement. “I enthusiastically support his approach to improving Arlington.” [InsideNova]
Cristol Published Buzzfeed Listicle — County Board candidate Katie Cristol has published a Buzzfeed listicle, complete with animated GIFs, highlighting “7 Reasons to Vote in Arlington Virginia.” Among the reasons are “housing is getting less affordable,” “over 50% of Arlington is under 35,” “women need a strong voice in Arlington” and “it’s fun.” [Buzzfeed]
Matchbox, the popular D.C. pizza restaurant, is expected to open a new location in Pentagon City next spring.
The restaurant, noted for its wood-fired pizza and craft beer selection, will be located in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, in a yet-to-be-built two-level expansion near the mall’s current S. Hayes Street main entrance.
The new Matchbox will be a whopping 11,000 square feet, with outdoor seating along Hayes Street.
Also expected to open in the spring of 2016 is Sugar Factory, a “famed candy and sweets purveyor.”
The Sugar Factory location will have both “retail features and an upscale dining area.” The dining area will serve “classic American fare and incredible sweet treats, including the King Kong Sundae, a dessert with a whopping 24 scoops of ice cream, two cupcakes, heaping of toppings, lollipops and sparklers.”
Matchbox is in the midst of an expansion and now has half a dozen locations in D.C., Maryland, Virginia and California. Sugar Factory has stores and restaurants in New York City, Las Vegas, Miami and Orlando.
Fashion Centre owner Simon Property Group announced the new retail and restaurant additions this afternoon, along with several other store changes. The mall is currently undergoing a $70 million renovation project that includes the new S. Hayes Street storefronts.
The full press release, after the jump.
Starting at noon, the first 100 shoppers on the Metro level will get goodie bags. At 1:00 p.m., the Asian American Chamber of Commerce will make a presentation, after which the performances begin.
There will be Chinese and Indian musical performances and forms of traditional Lion Dance and Dragon Dance and dancers organized by Filipino-American group Mabuhay, Inc. All the while, visitors can meet with Miss Vietnam D.C., Loney Nguyen and make a traditional paper lantern and spin a wheel for prizes.
Stores throughout the mall will be offering specials in honor of the holiday, which started on Feb. 19 and will last until March 5.
Today through Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., the mall will offer free, full-service gift-wrapping, complete with a variety of wrapping paper, ribbons, and red and pink bows.
The only catch: you have to spend more than $250 at any of a handful of pricey stores. Those stores include:
- Armani Exchange
- Hugo Boss
- Kate Spade
- Michael Kors
- Stuart Weitzman
- Vince Camuto
Shoppers who want to take advantage of the service are asked to bring proof of purchase to the Guest Services kiosk.
The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week, and plans to close thousands of its locations by March 31, including the storefront in the Pentagon City Mall. Employees at the Pentagon City RadioShack could not say when that location would be closing, only that it was relatively imminent.
The RadioShack on the second floor of Ballston Common Mall is expected to be the last remaining location of the national electronics retailer in Arlington by the spring.
That Ballston store will likely be part of the newly formed consortium between Standard General, a private equity fund, and Sprint, the cell phone provider, keeping between 1,500 and 2,400 stores open nationwide, according to Forbes. Whenever the deal is finalized and the transition occurs, the leftover stores will be selling a mix of Sprint products and the electronic goods like cords and adapters for which RadioShack has become known.
Pedestrian Struck Near Eden Center — On Saturday around noon, a pedestrian was struck by an SUV in front of the Eden Center in Falls Church. The pedestrian became trapped under the SUV, prompting an Arlington County Fire Department technical rescue company to respond to the scene. [Twitter]
Power Outage at Pentagon City Mall — The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City closed two hours early Saturday night due to a power outage inside the mall. Police assisted in the evacuation of the mall, which was largely orderly but resulted in traffic jams at the exit to the parking lot due to non-working parking gates. [MyFoxDC, WUSA9]
Board Support Unlikely for Wilson School — The Wilson School in Rosslyn, which was built in 1910 but underwent significant changes in the 1950s, is unlikely to receive support for a historic designation from the Arlington School Board. Preservationists have been lobbying to save the school, but School Board members have expressed skepticism about whether the school actually is historic in its present state and whether it would be practical to preserve it. A vote is expected on Feb. 17. [InsideNova]
The Ballston location closed over the weekend, and pieces of merchandise were still strewn about the store despite most of it laying empty yesterday.
According to a tipster, there was a handwritten sign in the window that read along the lines of, “check the internet if you want to know why we are closed. wet seal sucks! liars!” (Update at 6:30 p.m. — BuzzFeed has a photo of the sign and an interview with its creator.)
Other Wet Seal stores around the country were closed abruptly, and employees of the location that closed in Durham, N.C., also posted a sign complaining about the fashion in which the store closed and how it treated its now-jobless employees.
Bloomberg News reported last week that Wet Seal received a notice of default and owes its creditors $28.8 million by Jan. 12. The financial news site says the company’s stock price has plummeted to 5.7 cents a share, having lost 97 percent of its value in the last year. If the company’s projections hold up, it will have lost almost $240 million by the end of the fiscal year.
According to the Dayton Daily News in Dayton, Ohio, 350 Wet Seal stores nationwide are in line to be closed. Employees in many of those stores were give just one day’s notice.
The Wet Seal location in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City remains open, and a store employee told ARLnow.com today that the Ballston location’s closure and any problems at the corporate level are “news to me.”
A bomb threat was phoned into the Pentagon City mall on Christmas Eve, according to the latest Arlington County weekly crime report.
The bomb threat was called in around 1:00 p.m., just before a “black lives matter” protest at the mall. It’s unclear if the threat was in any way connected to or in response to the protest.
BOMB THREAT, 141224021, 1100 block of S Hayes St. On 12/24/14 at 1304 hours, unknown suspect called in a bomb threat to the Pentagon City Mall. Nothing suspicious found in garage area and mall did not evacuate.
PROTEST, 141224033, 1100 block of S Hayes St. On 12/24/14 at 1432 hours, approximately 15 individuals protested at Pentagon City Mall. No arrests made.
Also in the crime report, an armed robbery occurred in the Rosslyn / Courthouse area. The incident happened early last Monday morning.
ROBBERY,141229005, 1800 block of N Wilson BL. On 12/29/14 at 0330 hours, an unknown suspect displayed a handgun while demanding cigarettes and cash. Suspect description is black male, wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and jeans.
The rest of the weekly crime report, after the jump.
(Updated at 2:35 p.m.) Several restaurants in the food court at the Pentagon City Mall are closed as the mall undergoes repairs to its sewer system today.
The hours-long repairs caused mall management to shut off the water. As a result, Arlington County Public Health closed the food court earlier today, the agency announced.
Among the businesses closed as of 1:00 p.m. were Taco Bell, Chipotle and McDonald’s, but Panda Express, Panera Bread and Popeye’s were open. Post-holiday shoppers had to wait in long lines to buy meals at the restaurants that remained open.
“The County continues to monitor the situation and will take additional action if necessary,” a county media alert stated.
According to Arlington’s Director of Public Health Dr. Reuben Varghese, the mall is reporting they have turned the water back on, which means restaurants that have running water are now allowed to operate. Varghese said health department staff is “on the way” to the mall to confirm the water is running.
The mall is currently undergoing renovations that will change the design of the food court and add tens of thousands of square feet for new shops and restaurants.
The casting call will be held inside the mall from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 3, 2015. Casting directors are “looking for females and males, ages 18 to 27, of diverse backgrounds, shapes, sizes with no minimum height requirement,” according to a press release.
Two local judges will be among those evaluating the hopefuls: Paul Wharton, the fashion and lifestyle correspondent for DCW50, the local CW station that’s organizing the casting call, and Maggy Francois, a D.C. and New York event and fashion marketing executive.
“Wharton and Francois will select three contestants that day to set up immediate Skype interviews with Los Angeles-based ‘Top Model’ casting directors,” the press release says.
DCW50 says it will also be conducting a $1,000 giveaway as part of the event.
Ray’s Hell Burger Opening in D.C.? – A PoPville reader spotted what appears to be a Ray’s Hell Burger Too sign in an under construction storefront at 451 K Street NW, near Mt. Vernon Square. Ray’s Hell Burger Too was previously located in Rosslyn but closed last year after a landlord-tenant dispute. [PoPville]
AFAC Serving Record Number of Families – The Arlington Food Assistance Center served 2,553 families in the week ending Nov. 23, the highest number on record. AFAC Executive Director Charles Meng says he plans to ask the Arlington County Board to bump its contribution to $500,000 from this year’s level of $342,925 during county budget season in the spring. [InsideNova]
Shoe Designer Opens Flagship Store in Pentagon City — Vince Camuto has opened a “flagship store” in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City. Camuto sizes its shoes via “shoe stretching, a unique service that’s currently not offered in any other store in the area,” according to a local fashion blogger. The process “involves heating the leather and then placing it on a metal form.” [Life By Ashley Joy]
5K Race in Ballston This Weekend – The fourth annual running of the “Jingle Bell Jog,” which starts at the Bluemont Trail in Ballston and ends at the “Blue Goose” Marymount University building, is tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. The race’s proceeds go to benefiting the Young Constructors Forum of the Associated General Contractors of D.C. [PR Races]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Dozens of protesters made their voices heard in Pentagon City this afternoon in response to the grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri.
The demonstrators arrived via Metro around 2:30 p.m., after marching thorough the streets of Georgetown to protest the Nov. 24 decision not to charge Ferguson officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. They held signs with slogans like “No Justice, No Profit,” “Black Lives Matter” and “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot.”
The protesters marched through the Pentagon Centre shopping center, held a “die in” in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall food court, marched through Macy’s, and later exited the mall and blocked traffic on S. Hayes Street.
Arlington County Police described the protests as “peaceful” and closed some roads in the area. Some stores closed during the protest, which was timed to coincide with the post-Thanksgiving shopping period.
— J. E. Robinson (@curlyheadRED) November 29, 2014
Pentagon city mall y'all pic.twitter.com/XoCjwnEbAc
— mark essex (@madblackstudent) November 29, 2014
— Lnonblonde (@Lnonblonde) November 29, 2014
— Adam D (@AD_Renaissance) November 29, 2014
— ClinicEscort (@ClinicEscort) November 29, 2014
Officials from Simon Property Group on Thursday previewed the big changes coming to the company’s Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall.
The holiday-themed event featured Santa Claus, taking a break from photos with children to read a renovation “wish list,” and a tile-smashing photo opportunity dubbed “wreck the halls,” complete with candy cane-wrapped sledgehammers.
Arlington County Board member Libby Garvey was among those to ceremonially smash the mall’s surprisingly-difficult-to-break tiles.
The $70+ million renovation and expansion project is already underway and is expected to run through 2016. Among the changes coming to the mall:
- An additional 52,000 square feet of space for five stores and restaurants, located at what is now the mall’s main entrance off S. Hayes Street (estimated completion: spring 2016)
- Outdoor seating for the restaurants in the expansion (new retailers and restaurants to be announced spring 2015)
- Two new glass-enclosed elevators, replacing the existing single elevator (estimated completion: January 2015)
- Additional escalator banks from the Metro level to the ground level (estimated completion: July 2015)
- New lighting, tile, handrails, columns and interior details (estimated completion: July 2015)
- A new valet parking area
The mall’s popular food court — said to be the most successful food court company-wide thanks to its status as an “international tourist destination,” frequented by literal busloads of meal-seeking tourists — will be getting new seating, designed to make it feel less like a “cafeteria.”
The newly-configured food court will seat 750. Its chairs will include padded seats.
Also coming to the mall will be a new burger restaurant and a new chicken restaurant. Simon officials would not reveal the names of the restaurants.
There were, however, two retail announcements made on Thursday. The high-end women’s shoe company Stuart Weitzman is planning to open at the mall this coming spring, and high-end watch retailer Tourneau, which suffered a high-profile robbery last year, is expanding to a 3,000 square foot location on the ground floor in the spring.
The announcements are in keeping with the Fashion Centre’s goal of attracting more higher-end, fashion-forward retailers.
The mall is also adding some technological flare, with a new public WiFi system expected to be switched on around the turn of the new year, and cell phone charging stations planned.
The mall received its last round of major renovations in 1989.
Civ Fed Votes Against Tall Buildings — The Arlington County Civic Federation has voted to urge the Federal Aviation Administration to adopt stricter rules regarding skyscrapers around airports. Such a rule, intended as a safety measure in the event a plane suffers an engine failure on takeoff, could impose a moratorium on future tall buildings in Crystal City and Rosslyn. [InsideNova]
Walk and Bike to School Day — Arlington Public Schools participated in International Walk and Bike to School Day this morning. Students and parents across the county ditched their cars and made their way to school on foot. [Arlington Public Schools]
Man Steals Skinny Jeans from Mall — A 33-year-old D.C. man has been charged with stealing numerous pairs of skinny jeans from the Hollister store in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall. The alleged crime happened Tuesday afternoon. [NBC Washington]
Slow Start for Gay Marriage in Arlington — Only five same-sex couples applied for marriage licenses in Arlington in the 24 hours following the Supreme Court decision that cleared the way for same-sex marriage in Virginia and a number of other states. Among Virginia jurisdictions, Arlington grants the third-most marriage licenses per year. [InsideNova]
Fairfax Approves Streetcar Design Funds — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved its $4.2 million share of design and program costs for the Columbia Pike streetcar on Tuesday. The Board voted 7-2. Arlington County already approved its share of design funds. The Pike streetcar will run from Pentagon City to Bailey’s Crossroads in Fairfax County. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Free People to Open Next Week — The “bohemian” women’s clothing store Free People will open next Friday (May 16) at the Pentagon City mall. The 3,200 square foot boutique is the company’s 94th retail store and the fourth in the D.C. area. [PRWeb]
Bike and Walk to School Day — Today is Bike and Walk to School Day for Arlington Public Schools. Children and parents were encouraged to seek people-powered transportation to school to teach students “about the health and environmental benefits of biking and walking.” [Arlington Public Schools]
Make-A-Wish Star’s Video Released – Addy, the 5-year-old who shot part of a music video in Rosslyn after her wish to become a pop star was granted by Make-A-Wish, has had her video released on YouTube. The video is a cover of the Katy Perry song “Roar.” Addy is suffering from a Wilms Tumor, a form of kidney cancer. [YouTube]
Entrepreneurial Author to Speak at Library — U.S. News & World Report senior money editor Kimberly Palmer will discuss her book “The Economy of You: Discover Your Inner Entrepreneur and Recession-Proof Your Life” tonight at 7:00 at Arlington Central Library. [Arlington Public Library]
Flickr pool photo by Brian Allen