At 2:06 a.m. Thursday, the driver of a GMC Yukon sped over the Key Bridge from Georgetown into Rosslyn when he struck the curb at the intersection of Ft. Myer Drive and Lee Highway, Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said.
“The vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed,” Sternbeck said, “and alcohol may have been a factor.”
When the vehicle hit the curb, Sternbeck said, it flipped over and rolled multiple times. While the car was rolling over, the driver was ejected. A “citizen passerby” saw the crash and gave the driver CPR until the police arrived. At that time, police continued to administer CPR until the man was transported back across the river to GW hospital.
As of yesterday afternoon, the driver was in critical condition with life-threatening injuries, Sternbeck said. There was no update on his health today because ACPD detectives are focusing their efforts on the death investigation in Aurora Highlands.
District Taco, the Mexican restaurant that started as a taco cart in Rosslyn five years ago, is coming back to the neighborhood.
Owner Osiris Hoil said he signed a lease today to occupy 3,000 square feet at 1500 Wilson Blvd, in a storefront across Clarendon Blvd from Starbucks. It will be a welcome sight to District Taco’s fans in the neighborhood, who haven’t been able to partake of all-day breakfast burritos and other favorites since the cart closed last year.
“Oh man, I’m super excited for this,” Hoil told ARLnow.com over the phone this morning, hours after finalizing the paperwork. “We have a lot of customers in Rosslyn that love us, and I’m excited to go back with them.”
The space will be District Taco’s seventh location, and he’s planning to sign leases for three more by the end of the year, including another one somewhere in Arlington. Hoil’s original brick-and-mortar store is still going strong at 5723 Lee Highway, he said, and the customer service and atmosphere there is what he tries to replicate at all of his shops.
“The Arlington location is the original, and that one works very well,” he said. “We are a young company, we’re very excited, and we have a lot of energy.”
The buildout of his locations usually takes about five months, Hoil said, putting the Rosslyn store’s opening on track for mid-September this year.
County Board to Consider Concrete Contract — The Arlington County Board is set to consider an on-call concrete maintenance contract this weekend. The contract is intended to reduce the cost of repeatedly bidding out small contracts for road, sidewalk and curb work. The low bidder, Arthur Construction Company, is expected to bill about $3.8 million annually under the contract, according to county staff estimates. [Arlington County]
Bistro 360 Profiled — Bistro 360, the Rosslyn eatery opened last year by the owner of Cassatt’s Kiwi Café, is winning plaudits for its unique food offerings, which feature Asian, Central European and French influences. [Arlington Magazine]
Flickr pool photo by Michael Coffman
(Updated at 2:25 p.m.) Next Tuesday, the Arlington County Board will vote on a budget that may or may not close Artisphere, the ambitious but money-losing cultural center in Rosslyn.
With the future of Artisphere and the nature of the county’s support for the arts on the line, it’s worth taking a look back at the optimism that surrounded Artisphere’s opening.
County leaders showed off the $6.7 million, 62,000 square foot facility on Oct. 6, 2010, touting it as — in our words — “a centerpiece of the effort to revitalize the workaday Rosslyn business district.”
Indeed, even though it was a county-owned facility, the Rosslyn Business Improvement District provided much of the support for Artisphere’s opening. In a press release about the opening — printed on Rosslyn letterhead — the BID committed $1 million in start-up funds for the facility, and pledged $300,000 annually for the life of the center. That commitment was signified in the form of a giant $7.3 million check presented to then-County Board Chair Jay Fisette at a press event.
Artisphere was designed to be a “new breed of urban arts center,” with four performance venues, three visual art galleries, a 4,000 square foot ballroom, a “WiFi Town Hall,” and its own cafe and bar. Initial programming cut a broad cultural swath, including music and dancing, often with an international flair; conceptual and interactive art exhibits; poetry open mic nights; documentary and art film screenings; the Washington Shakespeare Company; educational events; and even puppetry.
Rosslyn, county and cultural leaders believed that the Artisphere would be a game-changer for the neighborhood, attracting 250,000 visitors a year and generating nearly $800,000 in admission and ticket revenue, in addition to expanding the county’s artistic horizons.
“Artisphere is a new model for American cultural centers… a unique techno-savvy arts space that offers interactive opportunities to participate in the creative experience,” Arlington Cultural Affairs division chief Norma Kaplan said in the 2010 press release. “It will be a venue between work and home where people living and working in the Washington area can engage in the arts, challenge their intellect, or just hang out.”
(Kaplan would leave her post for a job in New Jersey less than a year later, after Artisphere’s visitor revenue projections came in 75 percent below expectations. By the April 2011, fewer than 50,000 people had visited Artisphere.)
Artisphere might have opened on an intriguing date, but in the rush to open on 10/10/10 the county was unable to hire an executive director or find a cafe operator in time for the opening. It would be January 2011 before Jose Ortiz, who previously worked at the Harvard Art Museum, was hired to lead the center as executive director. In April came the opening of Here Cafe + Bar, run by the owners of Guajillo in Rosslyn.
Another new pizza place in Rosslyn opened to the public yesterday.
Spinfire Pizza, at 1501 Wilson Blvd, is in the middle of a soft opening, training staff and preparing its 90-second, custom-made pizzas starting at 11:00 a.m. every day. It joins its neighbor just a few blocks away, Wiseguy NY Pizza, as new businesses opening this month serving the Italian staple.
The restaurant offers personal pizzas with up to four toppings for $8.99, and toppings range from pizza staples like pepperoni and mushrooms to Sriracha sausage, candied pecans and dried cranberries. It also make calzones, which, like the pizzas, are baked for 90 seconds in Spinfire’s custom, rotating oven.
The restaurant is owned by Paisano’s owner Fouad Qreitem and Washington Redskins receiver Pierre Garçon. The co-owners will be in Rosslyn on April 30, when Spinfire holds its grand opening celebration.
County Considering Hiking Parking Fees — The Arlington County Board this month is expected to consider a staff proposal to raise the short term parking rate from $1.25 to $1.50 per hour and the long term rate from $1 to $1.25. The Board will also consider extending the end of metered parking hours from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. [InsideNova]
Arlingtonians Worried About Climate Change — According to a new study, 65 percent of Arlington residents say they’re worried about climate change. That compares to 74 percent of D.C. residents who say they’re worried about climate change and a national average of 52 percent. [DCist, Yale]
NTSB Examining Arlington Smoke Incident — Looking for clues into the fatal smoke Jan. 12 smoke incident near the L’Enfant Metro station, NTSB investigators are looking at arcing electrical components from a Feb. 11 smoke incident between the Courthouse and Rosslyn Metro stations. Meanwhile, Metro is trying to figure out how to accelerate a plan to replace older power cables. [Washington Post]
‘Ready for Hillary’ Ready to Shut Down — The Rosslyn-based super PAC Ready for Hillary is preparing to shut down when Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign officially ramps up. The PAC has compiled a list of 3.8 million supporters and 130,000 donors. It raised $14 million with a staff of 1-2 dozen. [Associated Press]
Photo courtesy @jamijrodgers
Rosslyn’s only pizza-by-the-slice restaurant is now open, but only for lunch for the next few weeks.
Wiseguy NY Pizza opened quietly for lunch yesterday at 1735 N. Lynn Street, but by noon today there was a line out the door as owner Tony Errol’s sought after slices were being offered for half-off.
“We’ll get better,” a sweaty Errol told ARLnow.com as he and his new staff were deluged with customers. “We’re still training.”
Errol didn’t tell anyone he’d opened, hoping that crowds would be light to break in his new restaurant. That backfired, as Rosslyn’s pizza-starved lunch crowd learned of Wiseguy’s arrival. The pizza place will open for full hours and service on April 20, Errol said.
For now, Wiseguy is only offering slices of pizza, garlic knots and Junior’s Cheesecake, which is shipped from the legendary bakery in New York.
Spinfire — co-owned by Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garçon and Paisano’s Pizza owner Fouad Qreitem — promises to make its personalized, single-size pizzas in 90 seconds.
(Updated at 5:40 p.m.) The Rosslyn Business Improvement District has announced the lineup for its weekly outdoor movie, returning this summer: quotable comedies.
Last year’s theme was “Office Space,” a chance for the thousands of workers in Rosslyn to laugh at movies’ depictions of their daily lives. This year, the comedies will be more farcical than ever, with modern classics “Wedding Crashers,” “The Big Lebowski” and “Zoolander” all lined up.
Each movie will start at dusk — generally between 8:30 and 9:00 p.m. at Gateway Park (1300 Lee Highway) — and is free to attend. Viewers are encouraged to bring picnics, or enjoy dinner and drinks beforehand; the Continental Pool Lounge‘s happy hour nearby ends at 8:00 p.m.
The weekly showings begin on Friday, June 5. The lineup is as follow:
- June 5: Wedding Crashers
- June 12: Mean Girls
- June 19: Happy Gilmore
- June 26: Tommy Boy
- July 3: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
- July 10: When Harry Met Sally
- July 17: Anchorman
- July 24: Clueless
- July 31: The Big Lebowski
- Aug. 7: Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery
- Aug. 14: The Hangover
- Aug. 21: Despicable Me
- Aug. 28: Zoolander
Disclosure: Rosslyn BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
A new sushi restaurant appears to be moving in to the Colonial Village Shopping Center, next to the IceBerry frozen yogurt shop, at 1713 Wilson Blvd.
Rolls By U has put construction paper in the windows and simple signs on the door, with the business’ name, plus “where u create,” typed out on its logo.
The restaurant’s Twitter account has tweeted just twice, but its bio says “coming to Arlington this spring” and its second tweet includes the hashtag “#createyourown,” implying a do-it-yourself sushi concept.
Arlington County appears ready to move forward with selling Rosslyn Highlands Park to a developer in exchange for a new fire station, and some residents are protesting the deal.
This Saturday, a new group called Friends of Rosslyn Highlands Park will host a rally at the park (1555 Wilson Blvd) to try to garner support and more signatures for its petition to the Arlington County Board. The rally will run from 10:00 a.m-noon and the group says it has invited all members of the County Board and the six announced candidates to attend and listen to park advocates’ concern.
Of particular concern to the group: the revelation that Arlington signed a letter of intent with developer Penzance to trade the piece of land for a new fire station in January 2013, six months before the Western Rosslyn Area Planning Study (WRAPS) was launched.
“Friends of Rosslyn Highlands Park, along with neighboring civic associations and countless citizens, are dismayed that a negotiation behind closed doors would threaten, and in effect predetermine the fate of, one of Arlington’s cherished neighborhood parks,” Katie Elmore, spokeswoman for Friends of Rosslyn Highlands Park, said in a press release. “Such action by the County Board corrodes public belief in the ‘Arlington Way’ and the viability of future public processes.”
The WRAPS Working Group was formed by the County Board to determine the best mix of uses for the area between 18th Street N., Wilson Blvd, N. Quinn Street and the edge of the 1555 Wilson Blvd office building. The WRAPS group has met regularly since the summer of 2013 and the County Board will vote on the area’s future next month.
The park currently includes a small playground, basketball court, parking lot and some open green space; a total of 30,182 square feet. It’s adjacent to a 45,000 square foot playing field behind the Wilson School that will stay in place when the site becomes the future home of H-B Woodlawn.
The proposal that county staff recommended to the Board earlier this month would reduce county park space to 11,500 square feet, but add a publicly-accessible plaza in between new high-rise, mixed-use office and residential buildings.
The proposal also calls for Penzance to construct a N. Pierce Street extension between Wilson and 18th, even though some residents said they preferred an extended N. Ode Street, slightly farther east. County staff say Ode Street would interfere with traffic from the new fire station and the new school.
While preserving open space and parkland has been a stated County Board priority, the panel has made it clear that it would be willing to sell the land in exchange for fulfilling other priorities. Residents say not only is the county selling one of the last remaining green spaces in Rosslyn, but it’s not even getting a good deal.
“This is trading a public good for private gain, the sale price of the land is significantly undervalued, the financial trade off is short-sighted and not ‘fiscally responsible,’ and the board has been deaf to the input of residents on this issue,” Elizabeth Schill, who lives nearby, told ARLnow.com in an email. “This is not a NIMBY issue, but rather one in which we are opposed to the sale of rare and irreplaceable parkland to a private, commercial developer at below-market rates for purely private gain.”
Some of county staff’s proposals for Rosslyn Highlands Park’s replacements include more urbanized versions of playgrounds, or basketball courts integrated with plaza seating like the new plaza on 19th Street N. But the Friends of Rosslyn Highlands Park say it just won’t be the same as the park they’ve been bringing their children to for years.
“The park is a second backyard, a friendly place,” Friends of Rosslyn Highlands Park leader Anna Duran said in an email. “The park for us is a place to relax, a place to nod in humanity at other humans, perhaps unknown at the time, but just a moment away from friendliness. There, we’ve gotten much further with making friends than in passing each other on the street — and much further than in passing through a jungle of tall business buildings.”
Photo, bottom, courtesy of Anna Duran
A cyclist was hurt this morning in Rosslyn when the backseat passenger of an Uber car opened a door in his path.
The incident happened around 8:30 a.m. on N. Lynn Street, just south of Wilson Blvd. Initial reports indicate that the white BMW was stopped next to the bike lane when the Uber rider opened the rear passenger-side door just as the cyclist was about to roll by on a Capital Bikeshare bike. The cyclist slammed into the door.
Police and paramedics were called and the cyclist was treated on scene. He refused treatment to a local hospital.
The BMW’s door was damaged and would not fully close. No damage was visible to the Bikeshare bike. The cyclist was visibly shaken but did not have any outward sign of injury. No other injuries were reported.
The cyclist declined to comment to ARLnow.com, except to confirm that the car was moved closer to the curb after the accident.
Police took statements from the driver, the passenger and the cyclist. No word yet on whether any charges will be filed.
The incident happened as Arlington County Police officers were conducting a pedestrian safety detail just a couple of blocks down Lynn Street.
Rosslyn Skyscraper Still Empty — The D.C. area’s tallest building, 1812 N. Moore Street in Rosslyn, is still empty a year and a half after its completion. Owner Monday Properties, however, is feeling good about the regional economy and about Rosslyn specifically. The company is reportedly not planning to lower its asking rent for the building. [Washington Post]
Deaf Man Suing Arlington County — Updated at 9:20 a.m. — A homeless deaf immigrant who was wrongly jailed for six weeks, allegedly without access to an interpreter, is suing Arlington County in federal court for failing to meet the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The man, Abreham Zemedagegehu, is originally from Ethiopia and was unable to communicate with his jailers via written English. [Associated Press]
Advertising on ART? — The Arlington County Board on Tuesday briefly discussed the possibility of adding advertisements to the side of ART buses — but no action was taken. It was also revealed that the cost of a Metrobus route is about 2.5 times more expensive than the equivalent ART bus route. [InsideNova]
Local Business 40th Anniversaries — Two local businesses are celebrating a 40th anniversary this month. Heidelberg Pastry Shop (2150 N. Culpeper Street) celebrated its 40th year in business this past Saturday, while the Crystal City branch of Navy Federal Credit Union (2450 Crystal Drive) is celebrating its 40th with cake, refreshment and giveaways to those who stop by the branch.
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Sephora Coming to Clarendon — Skincare and cosmetics retailer Sephora has signed a lease at Market Common Clarendon. The company plans to open a store at the shopping center later this year. [Washington Business Journal]
Contractor Causes Flood in Rosslyn — A contractor on a backhoe caused a mini flood on Wilson Blvd yesterday afternoon, after striking a fire hydrant line. The incident also caused several hours of water service disruptions in the area. It’s at least the second time in the past few months that someone at the construction site hit a water line and caused flooding. [WJLA]
New Website for Rep. Beyer — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) launched a newly redesigned website this week. The site features a background image of Rosslyn and the Potomac River. [U.S. House of Representatives]
Village Sweet Bakery Opens — Village Sweet, a new bakery in Westover, opened for business on Tuesday. Owner Dawn Hart decided to open the brick-and-mortar store as an expansion of Monster Cookie Co., her online, customized sugar cookie business. The bakery is located at 5872 Washington Blvd, next to Lost Dog Cafe. [Facebook, Washington Post]
McAuliffe Signs Auditor Bill — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has signed Del. Patrick Hope’s bill that will allow the Arlington County Board to hire an independent auditor. The bill will become law in July. Board members Jay Fisette, Libby Garvey and John Vihstadt say they support the hiring of an independent auditor. Board member Walter Tejada, who’s retiring at the end of the year, has expressed reservations about the position. [InsideNova]
Signature Casts Wesley Taylor — Shirlington’s Signature Theatre has cast Wesley Taylor — who has held prominent roles on NBC’s “Smash” and Broadway’s “Rock of Ages” — in its upcoming production of “Cabaret.” The show will run from May 12 to June 28. [Associated Press]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
The Arlington County Police Department has installed one of its movable-type signs — notably used to tell drivers “Don’t hit the car in front of you” in 2013 — at the intersection of N. Lynn Street, Lee Highway and the I-66 westbound off-ramp. The sign tells drivers to “Yield to Pedestrian,” a persistent problem as those coming off I-66 try to turn right on a green light toward the Key Bridge.
The sign is the latest in a multi-departmental effort to reduce accidents at the intersection. Last month, a temporary, no-turn-on-red signal was installed. The timing of the lights has been altered to give pedestrians and cyclists — coming from the Custis Trail to the west and the Mt. Vernon Trail to the east — a head start before cars begin turning.
In the future, more permanent measures like taking away a travel lane on Lee Highway and extending the curbs have already been approved and are in design phases.
When the sign was initially installed, it was blocking the pedestrian walk signal, but it has since been moved, according to ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
“The sign has been moved and strategically placed next to the signal,” he said. “A pedestrian brought [its placement] to our attention. It’s a good thing that citizens are paying attention to that sign and taking some safety precautions because that’s intersection is known to have quite a bit of interest.”
Photo courtesy @DanaCJensen
Today from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m., the Rosslyn Business Improvement District is hosting its second ever pop-up beer garden, in the plaza at the corner of 19th Street and N. Moore Streets.
“In a busy urban area like Rosslyn with a large amount of pedestrians walking around, pop-up events like this do well since they maximize open space, grab attention and present something new and exciting,” Rosslyn BID President Mary-Claire Burick told ARLnow.com in an email. “With Plaza on 19th, an area that was previously just sidewalk, we now have a great space to regularly hold events like these.”
The food will be served by the Urban Bumpkin BBQ truck, an Asian and barbecue fusion staple of the Rosslyn food truck lineup. Playing music during the whole event will be Rew Smith, a “pop/rock singer-songwriter” from Maryland.
Last year’s Oktoberfest beer garden – the first at the new plaza — drew more than 600 people, and event organizers are hoping the holiday and the warm weather will draw an even bigger crowd today. The BID will be passing out green koozies as a bonus for beer drinkers.