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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | April 18, 2014 at 8:00 am | 1,800 views | No Comments

Fort Bennett Park (photo courtesy Rick Shewell)

Rosslyn Startup to Be Featured on ‘Shark Tank’ — Rosslyn-based startup Zoobean will be featured tonight on ABC’s “Shark Tank.” Zoobean, which describes itself as “a web service that recommends apps and books for children,” will pitch itself to a panel of wealthy investors, including billionaire Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. The show airs at 9:00 p.m. on ABC. The company will also be profiled as part of ARLnow.com’s “Startup Monday” feature next week. [PR Newswire, Des Moines Register]

Pentagon City Mall Expansion Imminent — Work is expected to “begin soon” on a planned 50,000 square foot expansion of the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City. The expansion will add two new levels of retail, restaurants with outdoor seating, new elevators and escalators, and an expanded food court. Mall owner Simon is also expected to announce some of the new restaurants and retailers coming to the mall “shortly.” [Washington Business Journal]

We, The Pizza Eyes ‘Late Spring’ Opening – We, The Pizza, the pizza restaurant helmed by celebrity chef Spike Mendelsohn, will be opening soon in Crystal City. No specific date has been set, but a spokeswoman said the restaurant is expected to open in “late spring.” Mendelsohn also operates burger restaurant Good Stuff Eatery in Crystal City.

‘Miss Gay Arlington’ Pageant Tonight — The Arlington Gay and Lesbian Alliance and Freddy’s Beach Bar in Crystal City (555 23rd Street S.) will host the annual Miss Gay Arlington pageant tonight. Four contestants will compete in four categories: presentation, talent, evening gown, and on-stage question. The event starts at 8:00 p.m. and admission is $10. [AGLA]

Enterprise CarShare Launches in Rosslyn — A car sharing service from Enterprise Rent-A-Car has launched in the D.C. area. Two of its car share parking stations are located in the Rosslyn area. [Enterprise CarShare]

Photo courtesy Rick Shewell

Renovated Rocky Run Park Re-Opens

by Ethan Rothstein | April 7, 2014 at 2:30 pm | 2,613 views | No Comments

(Updated at 6:05 p.m.) The $3 million renovation to Rocky Run Park in the Courthouse area are complete and the park is now open to the public.

The renovations, which were approved by the County Board in November 2012, include two lighted basketball courts, a lighted synthetic turf for drop-in play, a new playground area with equipment for 5-12 year-olds, a picnic shelter and bathrooms. The park, at 1109 N. Barton Street, had its mature trees preserved while the equipment and facilities were reorganized around them.

The renovations were funded through 2010 and 2012 Neighborhood Conservation funds, parks capital maintenance bonds and pay-as-you-go funds. The park came in under budget, according to parks officials. The plans to renovate the park have been in the works since 2009, according to Arlington County.

According to county Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Roberta Korzen, the park opened on Friday and there is an official ribbon-cutting planned for April 27 at 2:00 p.m.

Korzen said an earlier plan to build “stakeable art” in the park was scrapped.

“The ‘skateable’ art feature previously designed in Phase I design development and planned for installation with the Phase II construction activities was removed from the project,” she said via email. “During the final drawing development of the art feature, it was determined that the artistic expression and functionality of the sculpture could not be effectively realized. That area will instead feature a sculpted lawn and shade trees.”

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | March 31, 2014 at 9:30 am | 1,218 views | No Comments

"Please No Smoking" sign in the snow on 3/30/14 (Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann)

County, State Consider Pothole Claims — Potholes abound on roads in Arlington. Should your car be damaged by a pothole, Arlington County and VDOT both investigate pothole damage claims. But as a result of the legal principle of sovereign immunity, which protects the state and local governments from lawsuits, a pothole damage claim is usually only paid in special circumstances. [InsideNoVa]

Hotel Bar Renovates, Expands — O’Malley’s Pub, an “Irish-style” bar inside the Holiday Inn National Airport Hotel near Crystal City, has recently renovated its interior and expanded its footprint by 30 percent. [PR Web]

Arlington Chess Champ Ranked Nationally — Sam Schenk, a sixth-grade student at Williamsburg Middle School, is the 69th ranked chess player among 6th graders in the U.S. [InsideNoVa]

Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann

Pentagon Row Ice Rink Opens Next Week

by Katie Pyzyk | November 7, 2013 at 9:45 am | 1,111 views | No Comments

Newly renovated Pentagon Row ice rink to open on November 15The plaza at Pentagon Row may still look like a major construction site following months of renovations, but the ice rink is scheduled to open for the season next week.

The site has been under construction since April, but workers aren’t worried about finishing in time for the rink opening next Friday, November 15.

“That’s how it works, it doesn’t look like anything for a while and then it suddenly appears,” a worker said.

In addition to a larger rink there will be a new stone fire pit. New features that customers can enjoy in warmer weather include a turf lawn, revamped outdoor dining areas and lighted water fountains.

The grand re-opening celebration will take place from 5:00-8:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 7. Attendees can expect live entertainment and giveaways. Plus, regardless of whether there’s any natural snow, there will be snow at the ice rink every night from December 7 through January 1. Skate among the snowflakes at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. each night.

Hours and pricing can be found online.

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | October 23, 2013 at 9:15 am | 1,430 views | No Comments

Morning sky in Rosslyn

Terminal A Revamp Underway at DCA — A $37 million renovation project at Reagan National Airport’s Terminal A is proceeding swiftly. The project isn’t adding a significant amount of extra space to the historic terminal, but it will make the existing space seem brighter and more open. Most of the work is expected to be complete by the holiday travel season. [Washington Post]

Pupatella Makes National Pizza Rankings — Bluemont’s Pupatella Neapolitan Pizzeria (5104 Wilson Blvd) serves one of the top 40 slices of pizza in the country, according to new rankings. Pupatella’s capricciosa pizza was ranked No. 36 on the list, as judged by the Daily Meal website. [Daily Mail]

Students Receive Scholarships at NAACP Banquet — Through a partnership with the Arlington NAACP, a new scholarship fund awarded $2,500/year college scholarships to four high-performing local students over the weekend. The scholarship fund allows the NAACP to “invest in our youth,” said the head of the Arlington branch of the organization. [Sun Gazette]

Beer and Wine Walks Return to Crystal City — Crystal City’s 1K wine and beer walks will return next month. The walks — which allow participants to sample various wines and beers while walking through Crystal City’s underground shopping center — will take place on Nov. 16 and 17. [Crystal City]

County Board Adopts Public Safety Radio Resolution — The Arlington County Board adopted a resolution yesterday (Tuesday) that calls on builders to install technology that allows better police and fire department communications in new buildings. Modern construction materials have made it difficult for first responders to receive radio signals in newer buildings. The Board’s non-binding resolution calls on builders to install in-building wireless systems to better transmit public radio signals. [Arlington County]

Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | September 25, 2013 at 9:20 am | 1,332 views | No Comments

Car wash signs (Flickr pool photo by Christaki)

Moran’s New Beard Called ‘Santa Chic’ — Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) has been sporting a white beard since August. While the 68 year old’s new look has its supporters and detractors, the congressman’s own staff has taken to calling it “Santa chic.” [The Hill]

Letter: Arlington Dems Use African-Americans as ‘Window Dressing’ — In a letter to the editor, Bobbie Fisher, an African-American resident of Arlington, says that Arlington Democrats are taking African-American voters for granted and not paying sufficient attention to their concerns. “Walk into any [Arlington County Democratic Committee] meeting, you will never find more than a few African-Americans present,” she writes. “We are viewed as window-dressing or bobble-heads, to sit quietly while others raise questions of interest to their community.” [Sun Gazette]

GGW to Host Arlington Happy Hour — The blog Greater Greater Washington will be hosting a happy hour at Fire Works Pizza in Courthouse next Tuesday. The happy hour is an opportunity for the blog’s contributors, editors and readers to get together “for some drinks and lively conversation.” [Greater Greater Washington]

Central Library Renovations in ‘Home Stretch’ — The second floor reference desk and the old first floor circulation desk at Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) are gone, among other ongoing renovations. The library’s renovation project as now entered the “home stretch,” officials write. [Arlington Public Library]

Flickr pool photo by Christaki

‘Metal House’ Rankles Neighbors With ‘Kegger’ Ad

by ARLnow.com | September 23, 2013 at 1:30 pm | 13,408 views | No Comments

"Metal House" in Lyon Park "Metal House" in Lyon Park

Neighbors of an under-construction Lyon Park home are worried about who might be moving in when the renovations are complete.

The “Metal House,” at 2797 Washington Blvd, is named as such because of its modern wood-and-steel exterior. While the home’s appearance is unconventional, neighbors seem more concerned about the way the house is being marketed to potential renters.

The home features a “kegger, flip cup, corn hole-friendly yard,” according to its rental listing, below. It’s a “short stumble home from [Mister] Day’s, Spider Kelly’s, Clarendon Ballroom, Clarendon Grill, Ri Ra, etc.,” the ad continues.

Asking price for the home, which features five bedroom suites, each with its own bathroom: $7,500 per month.

“Ouch,” the ad says simply, after listing the price.

In emails, neighbors alternately called the ad “disturbing” and “rather epic,” expressing concern about the kind of tenants such a listing might attract.

“There are a lot of concerns about the legality of the renovation — neighbors don’t understand how and why the county approved a house that was formerly a single-family home be renovated in this way,” one neighbor, who didn’t want her name used, told ARLnow.com.

The home was renovated by local builder Mickey Simpson after being purchased for $460,000 in 2012. The company did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

CLARENDON (North Arlington): The METAL HOUSE. Coolest rental house in Clarendon. Construction is close to being finished. New 5 Bedroom house available from September 15 – October 1 in Clarendon. Four floors of NEW silly shiny metal contemporary/modern style. Top floor is kitchen/bar Great Room with half bath and ROOFTOP party deck. Two full-sized stainless steel refrigerators. Granite counters. 5 Bedroom Suites — * each BR Suite has a private full bath with an awesome shower* each BR Suite has a walk-in closet* each BR Suite has a full sized washer and dryer (yes, 5 washers and 5 dryers in this house). Kegger, flip cup, corn hole-friendly yard. Parking for at least 5 cars off-street. Short stumble home from Day’s, Spider Kelly’s, Clarendon Ballroom, Clarendon Grill, Ri Ra, etc. You get the idea. Oh, and its only a few blocks from the Clarendon Metro. Absolutely no pets. This is a brand new house. Rent is $7500/month. Ouch. Seeing is believing… Please email for appointment.

Ballston Mall Moves Closer to Redevelopment

by Ethan Rothstein | August 26, 2013 at 10:30 am | 6,434 views | No Comments

Ballston Common Mall (photo by Katie Pyzyk)Ballston Common Mall is moving closer to beginning its major renovation project.

Mall owner Forest City Enterprises is “close to finalizing a deal with Macy’s” to allow the process to move forward and the company to begin applying for permits from the county, according to Forest City spokesman Gary McManus. Securing a deal with Macy’s, one of the mall’s “anchor tenants,” was one of the last impediments to the long-awaited redevelopment.

Forest City is planning to recast the mall as Ballston Center, building more than 300 apartments on top of a renovated shopping center and adding office space. As part of the redevelopment, Forest City is negotiating with Macy’s to take over some of the department store’s space. The negotiations were initially expected to take a few weeks after the announcement of the proposed renovations, in February.

“The deal with Macy’s has taken longer than anticipated,” McManus said in an email.

He said the negotiations are close to being finalized and should be done “within the next few weeks.” Inside the mall, the changes could include a new mix of stores and restaurants.

“The tenant mix of not only the food court but the rest of the mall will be open to revision, expansion and enhancement,” said McManus.

Whole Foods to Add Space in Renovation

by Ethan Rothstein | July 23, 2013 at 1:30 pm | 3,227 views | No Comments

Whole Foods Market in Clarendon by Erin JohnsonWhole Foods in Clarendon began a renovation Monday.

Clarendon Whole Foods marketing manager Jackie Zovko said the store is pushing back a large cooler in the produce department, which will clear space to expand produce, add 8 to 10 feet of the seafood counter and add another grocery aisle, which would allow for expansion of the bulk foods section.

“We hope to have it completed by the first week of October,” Zovko said. “There will be some other changes, but they’re not confirmed yet.”

The renovation is the second phase of Whole Foods’ renovation project for its Clarendon location. Five years ago, the grocery store moved its café section to the second story and expanded its specialty and baked goods section.

Zovko said most of the work will be done at night, after the store closes, so as not to interfere with customers’ shopping experience.

Photo courtesy of Erin Johnson. Disclosure: Whole Foods is an ARLnow.com advertiser.

Towers Park To Undergo $1.3 Million Renovation

by Ethan Rothstein | July 8, 2013 at 1:00 pm | 1,258 views | No Comments

Towers Park, at 801 S. Scott Street near Columbia Pike, is in line for a $1.3 million facelift, complete with a new basketball court, new tennis courts and practice courts and a state-of-the-art lighting upgrade.

The County Board is expected to approve the construction contract for the project at its meeting this coming Saturday, when the item is on Board’s consent agenda, which is intended for non-controversial items. Once the contract is signed, county staff estimates the construction will take seven months.

The lighted facility, which features four tennis courts, two practice courts, a basketball court and a sizable dog park, has severe heaving and deep cracking throughout the court surfaces and it is served by obsolete lighting fixtures,” the staff report states when justifying the need for the improvements.

In addition to the court surface improvements, new “dark sky” lighting — intended to reduce light pollution — will be installed at the courts. Also planned are stormwater drainage improvements, new accessible paths, parking space stripings, an improved picnic shelter and other site furnishings.

The design originally called for the two practice tennis courts to be relocated and four trees to be removed, but, after the county’s parks staff met with the Penrose Civic Association and the Arlington Tennis Association, the practice courts were moved back to their current location in the plan.

The courts — both basketball and tennis — are popular spots for league play and drop-in games, so while construction is going on, athletes looking for a game will have to go elsewhere before the opening of the new facility, likely in the spring of 2014.

Site plan image via Arlington County

Rosslyn Office Building to Be Renovated

by ARLnow.com | June 11, 2013 at 11:00 am | 339 views | No Comments

1777 N. Kent Street (photo via Vornado)An aging Rosslyn office building will soon get a facelift.

The 14-story, 280,000 square foot office building at 1777 N. Kent Street, on the easternmost end of Rosslyn, will be undergoing a full-scale renovation. Building owners Vornado and Gould Property Company announced late last week that they had secured $53.5 million in debt financing from Wells Fargo to help pay for the renovations, which will include “new lobby and common areas and upgrades to the building’s mechanical systems.”

The building, which was built in 1980, is also known as Rosslyn Plaza North.

The Corporate Executive Board has already pre-leased more than 100,000 square feet in the renovated building. That’s in addition to their existing 625,000 square foot lease at the Waterview building at 1919 N. Lynn Street, the Washington Business Journal previously reported.

Jones Lang LaSalle, which helped arrange the financing, described Rosslyn as “one of the strongest office markets in the United States.”

“Situated in Rosslyn, Virginia, 1777 N. Kent Street offers an irreplaceable location including stunning, unobstructed and monumental views of the Washington, D.C. skyline,” the company said in a press release. “The submarket, one of the top performing in the DC metropolitan area offers an urban setting providing abundant amenities and direct access to Metrorail’s Blue and Orange lines, the area’s critical roadways and major international airports including Washington Reagan National Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport.”

Photo via Vornado

Parks Dept. Holding Two Ribbon Cuttings This Weekend

by ARLnow.com | May 31, 2013 at 10:45 am | 621 views | No Comments

Renovated playground at High View Park (photo via Arlington County)Arlington County’s Dept. of Parks and Recreation will be holding two ribbon cutting ceremonies this weekend.

Tonight (Friday), starting at 6:00 p.m., an opening celebration will be held for the newly-renovated High View Park, located at 1945 N. Dinwiddie Street, within the boundaries of the John M. Langston Civic Association.

Renovations to the park include  new play areas, an ADA accessible route from Cameron Street, new benches, and a picnic area.

The event will include moon bounces “for all ages,” face painting, balloon art and refreshments. The ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 7:00 p.m.

On Saturday, Arlington County will celebrate the restoration of Carlin Hall (5711 4th Street S.). Dating back to 1892, Carlin Hall is currently used as a preschool, a community meeting facility and a recreation center. It recently underwent an extensive structural restoration.

A ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for Carlin Hall at 12:15 p.m. on Saturday. The ceremony is part of the annual Glencarlyn Day festivities, which include a pancake breakfast, a parade, a fun fair and a home and garden tour.

Photo via Arlington County

Free Food at Toscana Grill Tonight

by ARLnow.com | May 29, 2013 at 10:45 am | 446 views | No Comments

Water damage at Toscana Grill (photo courtesy Joe Smith)Courthouse restaurant Toscana Grill is giving away free food tonight (Wednesday) before closing for emergency renovations.

On Friday, the Italian restaurant suffered a busted pipe that left three inches of water on the floor. Owner Joe Smith says the restaurant will have to close until mid-June for renovations, including a new dining room floor, new ceiling and new paint.

Not content to let the remaining food in the kitchen go to waste, Smith says he and his staff will be cooking it up and giving it away for free tonight. The free food giveaway will take place from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.

“We will be giving away everything on the menu,” Smith told ARLnow.com via email. “One dish per person, to go only (but there is a patio to enjoy).”

There will also be tip jars set up for the restaurant’s staff. Smith said he’s hopeful that insurance will pay their wages while the restaurant is closed.

Toscana Grill will celebrate its second anniversary under current ownership in mid-July. The restaurant is located in the courtyard area of Courthouse Metro Plaza (2300 Clarendon Blvd).

Photo courtesy Joe Smith

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | May 29, 2013 at 9:00 am | 1,080 views | No Comments

Four Mile Run (Flickr pool photo by Mrs. Gemstone)

‘Virginia Room’ Reopens With New Name — The former Virginia Room at Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) has reopened following renovations. Meanwhile, the room has been renamed the “Center for Local History.” [Arlington Public Library]

Phoenix Bikes Plans Move — The nonprofit Phoenix bike shop has been raising money for a planned move. The new location will be larger than the current classroom-sized shop. Like the current shop, it will be located on public property — at S. Walter Reed Drive and Four Mile Run Drive, next to the W&OD Trail. [Arlington Mercury]

Haute Fabrics Now Open Near Ballston — Marshall, Va.-based fabric shop Haute Fabrics has opened a second location, near Ballston. The new location is located at 730 N. Glebe Road and offers two floors worth of fabrics. [My Notting Hill]

DJO Softball Ranked #7 — Bishop O’Connell’s state champion softball team has been ranked #7 in the nation, with a 30-1 overall record. [MaxPreps]

Flickr pool photo by Mrs. Gemstone

Pentagon Row Concert Series Moves to Alley, Starts June 6

by ARLnow.com | May 13, 2013 at 1:30 pm | 1,632 views | No Comments

Pentagon Row Summer Concert SeriesThe 11th annual “Rock the Row” summer concert series at Pentagon Row will start June 6, but in a different location than years past.

Thanks to major renovations at the shopping center’s plaza, this year the concerts will be held in the alley between Pentagon Row and the Pentagon City mall parking garage. The alley will be closed to traffic during the concerts. As before, the concerts will take place on Thursday evenings from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

This year’s Rock the Row schedule is as follows:

The concerts are free and open to the public.

The renovations at the Pentagon Row plaza include an expanded ice rink during the winter, a turf lawn during the summer, revamped outdoor dining areas, 1,500 square feet of new retail and dining space, lighted water fountains and a stone fire pit. Construction on the project is expected to wrap up this fall.

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