Tom Sarris Dies — Tom Sarris, proprietor of former Rosslyn restaurant staples like The Covered Wagon and Tom Sarris’ Orleans House, has died. Sarris died in Arlington on Saturday at the age of 89. [Dignity Memorial]
Sparket Launches Today — Crystal City’s arts and crafts market, dubbed the “Sparket,” launches today on the sidewalk in front of 1900 Crystal Drive. It will open from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The market is run by the same management company that runs the flea markets at Eastern Market and on U Street. [Crystal City]
Metro > NYC Subway? — When complaining about Metrorail, many critics like to compare it unfavorably to New York City’s Subway system. However, Arlington County’s Mobility Lab points out that there are at least five ways that Metro beats the MTA. [Mobility Lab]
Photo via Yelp
The lifting of the ban — which impacts JBG’s Central Place development and the new, currently vacant office building at 1812 N. Moore Street — could have positive economic implications for the county.
It could help spur construction of the office tower component of the Central Place development (the residential component is currently under construction), and could help Monday Properties in its efforts to find an anchor tenant for its 1812 N. Moore building, which is currently the tallest building in the D.C. metro area.
The Arlington County Board previously banned signs above 50 feet on the buildings as a condition for allowing them to be built taller than otherwise allowed by zoning. County staff has recommended lifting the ban and also redrawing a map used to determine sign regulations in the Rosslyn and Radnor/Ft. Myer Heights area.
Both Monday Properties and JBG Cos. support the measure.
The recommendation is proposed to bring the regulations for that area of Rosslyn in line with the county-wide sign ordinance passed in 2012 that details regulations for signs more than 35 feet high. In addition, it will no longer be required that the developers in question must seek a site plan amendment — a process that can take more than a year in some cases — to erect a sign more than 35 feet high; if approved, those requests can be handled administratively, with more specific guidelines.
“The revised sign regulations include objective standards upon which to base an approval of signage at the roofline,” the staff report states. “Indeed, many of these sign requests can now be addressed administratively. Staff is therefore proposing to remove the specific prohibition on signs above a height of 50 feet within the Central Place area, as there now exists a clearer, County-wide standard for the review and approval of roofline signs that was not in place in 2007 [when the ban was approved].”
A new wine bar and tapas restaurant is coming to Rosslyn.
Sip Wine Tasting & Tapas Restaurant plans to open in a currently vacant retail location at 1501 Wilson Blvd just after Labor Day. This will be the small Atlanta-based chain’s first D.C. area location, though it recently opened a location in Baltimore.
“Sip Wine Tasting & Tapas Restaurant will offer an extensive array of by-the-glass wine options, with more than 80 different wines that may be ordered by the sip, the half-glass, full glass and bottle, with seventy-two wine available through self-serve wine machines operated through a card system,” according to a spokeswoman. “The restaurant will include chef-inspired tapas-style menu items offered for lunch and dinner and a special brunch menu on Saturday and Sunday.”
On its website, Sip says it offers bottles to patrons at retail prices — as opposed to restaurant prices — with an added $14 corkage fee. It also offers one ounce sips of dozens of wines.
The full press release, from landlord Monday Properties, after the jump. (more…)
Sandwich chain Capriotti’s plans to open its storefront at 1500 Wilson Blvd on Tuesday, July 29.
The shop is currently finishing renovations, but Director of Operations for Capriotti’s D.C. franchises Joe Combs was passing out flyers to passersby last week in an effort to recruit employees.
Capriotti’s had hoped to open the Rosslyn location last January, but only announced it had signed its lease in April. The Rosslyn location will be open Monday through Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday 11:00 p.m. to 7:00.
“We’re known for our fresh pulled turkey and our fresh roast beef,” Combs said. “Our sandwich ‘The Bobbie’ was voted best sandwich in America by AOL. It’s basically Thanksgiving on a roll.” The Bobbie comes with pulled-turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing and mayonnaise.
Founded in Delaware in 1976, Capritotti’s is now based in Las Vegas and has 105 locations nationwide. Some Arlington residents may have already gotten their first taste of The Bobbie from Capriotti’s booth at Taste of Arlington.
SpinFire Pizza, the 90-second pizza concept coming to 1501 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn, is planning a fall opening.
The restaurant will use a rotating oven to cook personal pizzas for customers in less than two minutes, it says in a press release. The 2,300-square-foot eatery will also serve salad, gelato and “a robust beer and wine selection.”
The location will be SpinFire’s second when it opens; there’s another being built in Ashburn, a few miles from the Redskins’ practice facility.
“We are very excited to build our second SpinFire location in Rosslyn with its compelling resident demographics, strong daytime office population, and a true 24/7 live, work and play environment,” Garçon said in the release.
A car ran off the road and into the woods on westbound I-66 at the Route 110 ramp, near Rosslyn.
The wreck happened around 12:30 p.m. Rescuers responded for a report of an occupant trapped in the vehicle, but that person was apparently able to get out before firefighters arrived on scene.
Two people were reportedly transported to the hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.
Five Rideshare Drivers Nabbed in Arlington — Arlington police have issued citations to five drivers of rideshare services like Uber and Lyft since June 5, the department says. The drivers were all pulled over for separate traffic infractions and admitted to driving for the services, which are currently operating illicitly in Virginia. [Washington Post]
Teens Arrested for Skate Park Vandalism — Four teenagers have been arrested and charged with causing $35,000 in damage to the Powhatan Springs Skate Park earlier this month. The teens are accused of painting “graffiti containing vulgar language” at the park, which was closed until county crews could clean it up. [NBC Washington]
Arlingtonian Wins, Then Loses at Wimbledon — For the second year in a row, Arlington resident and tennis pro Denis Kudla advanced to the second round of Wimbledon. Kudla, 21, defeated Turkey’s Marsel Ilhan in the first round of the tournament before falling to No. 10 seed Kei Nishikori of Japan in straight sets. [Wimbledon]
Wine Bar Coming to Rosslyn — Bistro 360, a wine bar and gourmet market from Cassatt’s Kiwi Cafe owner Art Hauptman, is coming to the former Cafe Assorti space at 1800 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. The wine bar will have as many as 140 seats indoors and outdoors. Bistro 360 hopes to open its doors by the end of the summer. [Washington Business Journal]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
New Homeless Shelter to Open in March — Arlington County’s new year-round homeless services center is now expected to open in March. That means the existing emergency winter homeless shelter in Courthouse is likely to be open much of the winter. [InsideNova]
Competitors Agree on Sign Change — Competing commercial real estate companies have joined together in support of a proposal for Arlington to allow rooftop signs on two new Rosslyn office buildings, one already built and another set to be built if the signage is approved. Company officials say that Arlington’s reputation with the business community is at stake, especially at a time of increased competition with areas like Tysons Corner. [Washington Business Journal]
Silver Line Opening Date Set — The Silver Line is set to open to riders on July 26. A ride from Rosslyn to Tysons Corner will take about 22 minutes, while a ride from Rosslyn to Reston will take 34 minutes, according to Metro. [Reston Now, Twitter]
District Taco Expanding to Alexandria — District Taco, which started in Arlington as a tiny taco cart, has just signed a lease to open a new location at 701 S. Washington Street in Alexandria. When it opens, District Taco expects to reach a count of 200 employees. [Twitter]
Moran on Iraq Situation — Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) says of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq and the current threat of invading Islamists in that country: “if you break it, you own it, and we broke it… we should have never gone into Iraq.” Moran said isolated air strikes might be warranted to help combat the jihadist militants. [WJLA]
Flickr pool photo by Rob Cannon
Board to Consider Sign for Rosslyn Skyscraper — The Arlington County Board next month will consider lifting a prohibition on rooftop signs on two new Rosslyn office towers. The action would potentially allow the JBG Cos. to begin work on its Central Place office tower, which is expected to be anchored by the Corporate Executive Board. [Washington Business Journal]
Fisette Asks for Alternative Streetcar Funding Plan — Federal funding is currently expected to pay for half of Arlington’s $287 million share of the Columbia Pike streetcar system’s costs. But federal funding is not guaranteed and, at last night’s Capital Improvement Plan work session, County Board Chair Jay Fisette asked Arlington Director of Transportation Dennis Leach to work on an alternate streetcar funding plan that does not use federal dollars or county funds from residential taxpayers. [Mobility Lab]
Green Party Endorses Vihstadt Again — The Arlington Green Party, which endorsed independent County Board candidate John Vihstadt in this spring’s special election, has announced that it will endorse him again in November’s general election. [InsideNova]
UberX Lowers Fares — Two weeks after Virginia started cracking down on ridesharing services, UberX — the service where regular people drive you around in their personal cars — has lowered its fares in the D.C. area by 25 percent. The new fares are significantly lower than comparable cab fares, the company says. [InTheCapital]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
Politico to Stay in Rosslyn — The Capitol Hill publication Politico has been looking for new office space, but will keep its home at 1100 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn after all, according to an internal memo. Politico’s owner, Allbritton Communications, said last year that it plans to use proceeds from the sale of its Rosslyn-based TV station WJLA (ABC 7) to fund an expansion of Politico. [Fishbowl DC]
Woodstock Park Improvements Approved — The Arlington County Board has unanimously approved a $644,127 contract to construct improvements to Woodstock Park, including a new basketball court and playground. [Arlington County]
Ray’s, Heavy Seas Makes Burger List — Two Arlington eateries are among the D.C. area’s ten hottest places for burgers, according to online food publication Eater. Rosslyn’s relatively new Heavy Seas Alehouse is No. 5 while Ray’s to the Third, also in Rosslyn, is No. 7. [Eater]
A Very Arlington Tweet — Was it the “Arlington-est tweet ever” when Bike Arlington tweeted today that “it’s flip-flop commuting weather?” [Twitter]
Photo courtesy @rydaka
(Updated at 2:55 p.m.) The Arlington County Board unanimously approved a major redevelopment in Rosslyn at its meeting Saturday morning.
The Board voted 5-0 in favor of a proposal by Monday Properties to tear down two aging 1960s-era office buildings, at 1401 Wilson Blvd and 1400 Key Blvd, and replace them with a new office tower, a new residential building, and public gardens.
Also set to be demolished is the buildings’ parking garage, in which Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward met a source dubbed “Deep Throat,” who passed on information that helped exposed the Watergate scandal. The scandal helped to topple the presidency of Richard Nixon in 1974. Monday plans to build a “commemorative monument regarding the Watergate scandal” as a community benefit of the project.
The 24-story office building planned for the site will include 513,004 square feet of office space and 11,131 square feet of ground floor retail. The 28-story residential building, located above what is now a Gold’s Gym, will contain 274 multi-family dwellings and a 44,409 square foot grocery store.
Together, the buildings will share 816 vehicle parking spots and 161 bicycle parking spots in a six-level, below-grade parking garage.
In addition to the buildings, Monday’s plans include a publicly accessible plaza with landscaped gardens, water features, outdoor dining and seating, a bocce court, “interactive play features” and a pedestrian connection from the corner of 18th Street and N. Oak Street to N. Nash Street.
Other community benefits offered by Monday Properties include:
- $7.8 million cash contribution to the county’s affordable housing fund, to be used for affordable housing in Rosslyn (no dedicated affordable housing will be offered in the residential building)
- $5.7 million for transportation improvements
- $3.1 million for Rosslyn-area park improvements
- $1.1 million for a transportation demand management program
- $1.1 million for reconstruction of the N. Nash Street skywalk
- $750,000 for public art
- $50,000 for a new Capital Bikeshare station in Rosslyn
- Streetscape improvements
- Bicycle lane improvements
- Removal of the N. Nash Street slip lane
- Installation of multi-space parking meters
- LEED Platinum sustainability certification for the office building
- LEED Silver sustainability certification for the residential building
“This redevelopment is a key part of our efforts to transform Rosslyn into a world-class downtown,” Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette said in a statement following the vote. “It will bring a much-needed full-service grocery store, a beautiful public space with interactive play features, and 274 residential units to the heart of Rosslyn.”
“This redevelopment epitomizes Monday Properties’ commitment to creating a sustainable and dynamic 24-hour business and residential community in Rosslyn,” Monday Properties co-president Tim Helmig said in the statement. “We believe that our plan for the block will be the catalyst for economic development and job growth. It could generate the critical mass that will attract businesses and the talented people who want to live within walking distance from their jobs.”
There’s no official word yet on a timeframe for the demolition and construction, but one source told ARLnow.com that it may be about three years before demolition could start due to lease provisions with existing office tenants.
Skyscraper construction near the Rosslyn Metro stop may force some food trucks to relocate or scale back their visits to the lunch hot spot.
“It sucks,” Louie Hankins, the co-founder of the Rito Loco truck, told ARLnow.com. “We can only park two or three trucks here where we used to park seven to eight.”
Construction began this winter on the Central Place apartment building, a 31-story skyscraper that’s projected to be completed in 2017, and has resulted in lane closures and parking restrictions on the stretch of N. Lynn Street between Wilson Blvd and 19th Street N.
Hankins said the construction hasn’t drastically decreased his business. Still, he is considering coming to Rosslyn once every two weeks instead of his usual weekly stop.
“It’s taking most of our parking spots,” said Cindy Hernandez, assistant manager of the Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling truck. With the limited space, other food trucks often beat them to a parking place. In that case, the Rocklands truck relocates to Courthouse.
“There’s more parking but fewer customers there,” Hernandez said. Rocklands used to park in Rosslyn five times a week, but they now only come twice.
Some trucks experienced push-back from authorities, like the Korean BBQ Taco Box truck, which received two tickets after parking on N. Lynn Street, according to Yog Noh, who works on the truck. Noh said that they now park on Wilson Blvd outside of Chipotle, where they see less foot traffic. “A lot of the people who buy our food can’t really see where we are.”
The KBBQ truck had at least 80 customers a day on Lynn Street before construction. Now they get 40 daily customers on Wilson. “I think it’s going to affect us because Rosslyn is one of the best spots we come to,” Noh said.
The KBBQ truck is not the only truck officials have asked to move from Lynn Street. According to Urban Bumpkin truck owner John Nguyen, security guards near the Cosi, at the corner of Lynn and 19th Street, started calling the police on his truck this morning. Nguyen claimed he had started parking at a one-hour metered spot, but was forced to move to Ballston for lunch.
“I said, ‘how are you going to write me a ticket if I just got here?’” Nguyen said. “We were parking in a legal spot with no sign. One of the parking enforcers said they were cracking down on food trucks.”
As a result, Urban Bumpkin served 75 customers in Ballston instead of the usual 100 or more they get in Rosslyn, Nguyen said.
Doug Maheu, the Arlington County Director for the DMV Food Truck Association, and owner of Doug the Food Dude food truck, said that parking is always scarce on Lynn Street because “it’s a gateway into D.C.”
“Lynn Street is probably the premiere spot in Arlington right now,” Maheu said. “Hopefully we can find some other places that are close.”
Maheu is speaking with the county about alternative parking and plans to contact the Rosslyn Business Improvement District. Mary-Claire Burick, executive director of the Rosslyn BID, said the organization is working to find a solution.
A new restaurant that boasts serving pizzas “freshly-baked in 90 seconds” appears to be moving to Rosslyn at 1501 Wilson Blvd, next door to Roti.
Spinfire Pizza is planning on opening one of its first two locations in Rosslyn — the other is expected to open in Ashburn, Va. — but there’s no indication of when the restaurant will open its doors.
The signage on the restaurants window indicate that the pizzas will be Neopolitan-style, made-to-order, and customers will be able to choose from 50 toppings. It appears Spinfire will also offer salads, beer and wine.
A virtual tour online of the concept gives the restaurant the look of a “fast casual,” assembly line-style of eatery, which is burgeoning in Rosslyn with Roti, Chipotle, Chop’t and Tom Yum District.
A Chinese restaurant that bills itself as “Healthy. Tasty. Fancy,” appears to be coming soon to Rosslyn.
Secret Chopsticks has posted signs all over the windows of the ground floor space along N. Fort Myer Drive of the Turnberry Tower luxury condominium building. The signs point interested passers-by to a website that is empty, other than the restaurant’s logo and the description “contemporary Chinese cuisine.”
The signs say “coming soon Summer 2014.” The business was registered with Arlington County in February. Its domain name and Facebook page were registered in 2012.
No one from the restaurant could be immediately reached for comment.
Hat tip to Chris Junior
McAuliffe: I-66 Widening Outside the Beltway — Speaking to the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) said he will press for more lanes on I-66, but only outside the Beltway. The governor “noted ruefully” that the Arlington County Board strongly opposes the widening of I-66 through the county. [InsideNova]
Flags In at Arlington Nat’l Cemetery — Soldiers from the Old Guard helped to place more than 220,000 American flags in front of gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery for Memorial Day. The annual event has taken place every year for four decades. On Monday the cemetery will host the annual Memorial Day observance and wreath-laying ceremony. [WJLA]
Confusing Metro Maps — New strip maps that incorporate the Silver Line are too complicated, says a writer for the blog Greater Greater Washington. “They confuse many riders with labels that line up in a misleading way, and try to cram too much information on the maps,” the writer opines. [Greater Greater Washington]
Rosslyn, the Brooklyn of Washington – A 1889 real estate ad in the Washington Post describes Rosslyn as “the Brooklyn of Washington.” Editor’s note: This item previously appeared in a previous Morning Notes post. Its inclusion today was inadvertent. [Ghosts of DC]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman