According to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck, 25-year-old Fermin Quintanilla, of Arlington, broke into the house just after 3:00 a.m., went downstairs and caressed the female victim’s face when the male victim woke up and yelled at him.
“[The male victim] recognized the suspect from a cast on his arm that he was the same man who assaulted him a few days earlier,” Sternbeck said. “During that incident, the suspect approached the victim outside the victim’s house and started punching him.”
Sternbeck said the victims hadn’t had any previous interaction with Quintanilla, calling the alleged assault and burglary “random” acts. Quintanilla was arrested and charged with burglary and assault and battery. He is being held at the Arlington County Detention Center without bond.
Photo courtesy of ACPD
The County Board is scheduled to examine a proposed development that has angered some residents in Virginia Square. The Board, however, will likely defer the issue at its meeting this Saturday in accordance with a county staff recommendation.
The matter before the Board is a request to consider the proposal for the Latitude Apartments at 3601 N. Fairfax Drive. It involves rezoning the property from commercial to residential and approving a site plan for 265 apartment units, more than 3,000 square feet of retail and more than 2,800 square feet of cultural/educational use. There is also a request to allow an encroachment into a public street and utilities easement in order to add balconies along the N. Monroe Street side of the building.
Residents at the nearby Monroe Condominium (3625 10th Street N.) and others in the neighborhood have voiced opposition to the proposal, claiming the plan has progressed without adequate community input. The largest concern appears to be with rezoning the space to residential, which the residents note violates the Virginia Square Sector Plan. Opponents have also raised concerns about the influx of new residents from the apartment complex causing congestion at the Virginia Square Metro station.
Earlier this month, the Planning Commission held a meeting and residents explained their issues with the project. Members of the Planning Commission voted unanimously to support the county staff recommendation of deferring the issue for further study of the concerns raised.
With a deferral, the Planning Commission would take up the matter again at its November 4 meeting and the County Board could then address the proposal at its November 16 meeting.
As anticipated, Pines of Florence has closed in Virginia Square. The owners of a new restaurant going in at 3811 N. Fairfax Drive have wasted no time in preparing to transform the space.
Tim Ma and Joey Hernandez, known for Maple Ave Restaurant in Vienna, are bringing Water and Wall to Arlington. Ma said Pines of Florence moved out the last couple days of June and the Water and Wall folks brought in designers and engineers right away on July 1.
The concept will be similar to that of Maple Ave, which the chef alternately calls “eclectic American” or “creative American.” Ma said he’s classically French trained and another chef at Maple Ave is Burmese trained. Their different cooking strengths will allow for simple fare such as a chicken sandwich, and more inventive dishes featuring rabbit or sweetbreads.
“The food encompasses a large amount of cuisines. We’re able to put things like a soft shell crab with a Burmese curry, alongside something like a rabbit roulade — which is something you’d associate as very French,” said Ma. “Essentially that’s what American food is now, just a mish mash of all types of cuisines.”
No menu has been devised yet for Water and Wall, but the chefs are testing ideas at Maple Ave Restaurant.
“Maple Ave evolved as the kitchen evolved, and I expect kind of the same thing to happen here,” Ma said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to do items that we’re not able to do at Maple Ave given the limited space. That will take shape as we figure out the kitchen here.”
Ma and Hernandez had originally wanted Maple Ave to be in Arlington but it wasn’t a good fit when they were looking to launch four years ago. Now they feel ready to make the leap from a restaurant of about 10 tables to one of about 25 to 30.
“The economics and scale of that [Vienna] restaurant made more sense for a true mom and pop, which is what me and Joey are,” said Ma. “As we grew at Maple Ave it made sense that we wanted to return to where we were originally looking.”
Ma said he and Hernandez like mix of business and residential spaces in Virginia Square, as well as the overall vibe.
“We kind of like how Virginia Square is a little more quiet. It’s not the hustle of Clarendon or Ballston, it’s a little more relaxed. Yes, we’ve become more destination dining, but we’re already destination dining in Vienna,” Ma said. “We’re happy with that. We’re not in the crowd and the competition of Clarendon. There’s really, really good restaurants there, there’s so many choices now. Hopefully we provide another option here and perhaps fill a niche that doesn’t exist yet in Virginia Square.”
The crew behind Water and Wall hopes to open the restaurant by November 1. Ma acknowledged that such a goal may or may not be met, but he’s patient. He noted that it took four years to get to the point where a second restaurant became a reality, and said extra time just allows for a better opportunity to get things right.
“If the permitting process takes longer, it takes longer. That’s just the way it’s going to have to go down,” Ma said. “The magnitude, the scale of things is different from what we’re used to so we want to make sure we get things done right. Arlington is a different city than Vienna and we want to make sure we cross all the ‘t’s’ and dot all the ‘i’s’.”
Despite striving for perfection, Ma admits that mistakes are also a part of the process.
“We’ve taught ourselves so many things. There were so many mistakes we made, and I’m sure we’ll make here. We’ll make all new mistakes, the same quantity of mistakes, but they’ll just be completely different,” he said. “Hopefully we’re here for a while and learn from those mistakes.”
Although the interior has been cleared of the furniture from Pines of Florence, major renovations have not begun on the restaurant space. Ma said he has a mix of excitement and nervousness about launch the project he and Hernandez have been working on for more than a year.
“I’m just really excited to see how Arlington receives us,” he said. “We’re really stoked about this.”
The site in question currently houses a one-story bank building and a two-story office building with surface parking. There is a request to rezone the land at 3601-3625 N. Fairfax Drive from commercial to residential in order to move ahead with the proposed Latitude Apartments project. The 12-story building would contain 256 residential units and 5,600 square feet of ground floor retail space along Fairfax Drive.
Some Monroe residents believe the plan is progressing without adequate community input. They claim the project directly violates the Virginia Square Sector Plan, which calls for a commercial building on the site. In a written statement, the condo association’s board of directors asked the County Board to reject Latitude’s site plan application.
In response to the association’s complaints and request for county action, Helen Duong with the Arlington County Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development said, “We’re still evaluating the proposal and will be developing a recommendation in the near future.”
The Monroe board’s written statement called the Latitude plan “ill conceived.” It also says the project would “have a disastrous effect on the Virginia Square Community,” by upsetting the desired residential-commercial balance, creating a street parking burden and overwhelming the Virginia Square Metro station.
Monroe board officials will hold a public forum at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 19, in the condo building’s community room. All Virginia Square residents are encouraged to attend the meeting to receive more information about the Latitude Apartments project and to express their views.
(Updated at 3:40 p.m.) Track work will close Metro stations along the Orange Line this weekend, for the third time in the past month. This time the Ballston and Virginia Square stations will be out of service.
The closures begin at 10:00 p.m. on Friday, May 17, and run through closing on Sunday, May 19. Trains are expected to operate at normal weekend intervals even though service will be split into two segments — between Vienna and East Falls Church and between Clarendon and New Carrollton.
Free shuttle buses will replace trains between East Falls Church and Clarendon. Customers using shuttle bus service should add up to 25 minutes to their travel time.
The last trains of the night from Vienna to East Falls Church will depart 28 minutes earlier than normal — at 1:57 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, and at 10:57 p.m. on Sunday.
The Orange Line closures are to allow for track circuit module replacement. There will also be work on the Red and Green lines this weekend. Information regarding those closures can be found on WMATA’s website.
The Ballston Business Improvement District expressed concern about the timing of the Ballston Metro station closure, considering the Taste of Arlington festival is expected to bring around 20,000 people to that area on Sunday.
Members of the BID have worked out a deal with WMATA. The station closures will remain in effect and passengers will still need to take shuttles between East Falls Church and Clarendon. However, starting around 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, additional shuttles will be put into service to accommodate the heavier flow of passengers expected to travel to Taste of Arlington, which begins at noon.
“They will add a whole crew of buses to the schedule for Sunday so they can ensure that nobody is waiting too long and can get to their destination in a timely fashion,” said Ballston BID CEO Tina Leone. “We’re not the first group this has happened to. They’ve assured us they will monitor the buses in making sure they’re arriving and leaving at a rapid rate. We’re just thrilled they were so responsive and so accommodating.”
Leone added that the bus trip is only about 10 minutes, so hopefully festival attendees won’t experience too many delays. Those who prefer to drive to the event should note that the cost is only one dollar for three hours to park at the Ballston garage.
Disclosure: Ballston BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser
Arraignment for Air Force Officer — Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, the airman who was removed from his post as head of the Air Force’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program after being accused of sexual battery in Crystal City, is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon in an Arlington County courtroom. While the Arlington Commonwealth’s Attorney office is prosecuting the case, the Air Force has the option of bringing its own case against Krusinski. [Associated Press]
CivFed Opposes Tree Removal at Cemetery — The Arlington County Civic Federation voted Tuesday to oppose a plan to remove 800 trees at Arlington National Cemetery in order to make way for about 30,000 in-ground burial spots and niche spaces. The resolution asks Arlington’s congressional delegation to sponsor legislation to stop the plan and asks the County Board to officially support the legislation. [Sun Gazette]
Four Students Earn Nat’l Merit Scholarships — Four Arlington students have been awarded National Merit Scholarships. The students receiving the $2,500 scholarships are: Ariel Bobbett and Elizabeth Roy of Washington-Lee High School, Nicole Orttung of Yorktown High School, and Robert C. Wharton of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. [Arlington Public Schools]
Day One of School Board Caucus — The first day of the Arlington County Democratic Committee endorsement caucus for School Board will take place tonight from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Drew Model Elementary School (3500 23rd Street S.). The second day of party voting will take place on Saturday. Incumbent James Lander is facing off against challenger Barbara Kanninen for the Democratic endorsement. [Arlington Democrats]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
The event’s 2013 moniker: “A Royal Ball.”
Now in its 9th year, the Testicle Festival will again be held at the Arlington American Legion Post in Virginia Square (3445 N. Washington Blvd), from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 18. Tickets are $25 online or $30 at the door. Attendees must be at least 21 year of age.
The price of admission will buy you “all the Rocky Mountain Oysters, beer and Crown Royal you can handle,” organizers say. Entertainment will be provided by the Will Gravatt Band, while the testicles will be fried by Frank McGraw, who’s billed as “Montana’s most famous ball chef.”
“Coming to us straight from the original Rocky Mountain Testy Fest at Rock Creek Lodge outside of Missoula, Frank’s tasty recipe has an authentic zest that helped set a record last year for most pounds consumed,” according to the Montana State Society website.
After more than two years of construction, Z-Burger has finally opened its new restaurant in Virginia Square.
The D.C.-based local burger chain opened its first Arlington location, at 3325 Wilson Blvd, to the public over the weekend.
Inside, the restaurant features a bright interior with high ceilings, plenty of floor-to-ceiling glass, and lots of red design accents, from the seating to the multiple Coca-Cola Freestyle drink machines. Outside, there’s free parking for customers — through several spots require drivers to exit by reversing onto busy Wilson Blvd.
No store hours are posted, but an employee tells us the restaurant will be open very late on Fridays and Saturdays — from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. On all other days, Z-Burger will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., we’re told.
Z-Burger offers hamburgers, turkey burgers, hot dogs, cheesesteak sandwiches, a large selection of toppings and sauces, 75 milkshake varieties, and freshly cut fries and onion rings.
Arlington Funeral Home at 3901 N. Fairfax Drive in Virginia Square was demolished last June in anticipation of the construction of a new mixed use development. For now, the site instead serves as a temporary surface parking lot.
The County Board approved the development’s site plan at its meeting on January 21, 2012. The idea is to build a 10-story building with three levels of underground parking. The development would contain office space, ground floor retail and a black box theater.
Per the site plan, the developer may use the land as a surface parking lot for a period of three years, which would end in January 2015. After that, the developer does have the option to ask the county for an extension on the site plan if a building permit has not yet been applied for and approved. That would keep the parking lot there for an amount of time agreed upon in the extension.
The site sat empty for months, but in the past couple of weeks workers from Mercedes-Benz of Arlington (585 N. Glebe Road) have been spotted dropping off dozens of vehicles in the 85 space Virginia Square parking lot. An employee at the dealership confirmed that the business is leasing parking space from the developer.
This location is reportedly one of several lots Mercedes-Benz of Arlington uses for such purposes. Apparently, strong sales have prompted an increase in the volume of cars the dealership keeps on hand, and it doesn’t have enough space to keep all the vehicles on its own lot. The employee said leasing parking space is not an ideal situation in the long-term and Mercedes continues to be on the lookout for spaces suitable for permanent expansion.
As part of the agreement for a parking lot, the developer is required to abide by a number of conditions laid out in the approved site plan. For example, the property must be kept in good condition, hedges must be installed as screening from headlights and no new driveways may be added.
So far there’s no definite word on how long the parking lot will remain before construction begins on the new development. County staff confirms, however, that the developer has applied for two permits — one for shoring and sheeting, and one for building.
Va. Sq. Giant Celebrates Changes – The Virginia Square Giant grocery store (3450 Washington Blvd) is celebrating its “grand reopening” following recent renovations. A representative for Giant says new features include a redesigned produce department with a better fruit and vegetable assortment, a new gourmet cheese case, a new bakery and an expanded natural foods section. Customers at that location will have the opportunity to take part in tastings, raffles and prize giveaways over the next four weekends.
Event Examines Seniors’ Transportation Needs — A Mobility Lab regional symposium held at George Mason University yesterday focused on the transportation needs of residents aged 65 and older. Speakers voiced the need for better coordination of senior transportation programs that would keep seniors mobile in their communities. Suggestions for improvement included better marketing and promotion, using volunteers and issuing performance surveys. [Mobility Lab]
Streetcar Debate Focuses on Types of Riders — At the Arlington Committee of 100 streetcar forum on Wednesday, speakers addressed which riders prefer different modes of transit. Speakers debated whether the Columbia Pike streetcar or a bus rapid transit system would better draw in “choice riders” — those who have access to a car but could be persuaded to take transit under the right circumstances. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by Jason OX4
(Updated at 12:40 p.m.) Tropical Smoothie Cafe in Virginia Square (3811 Fairfax Drive) only has been open for about seven months, but owner Marcus Barnett is already expanding. He will soon open a new location in the Ballston Common Mall.
“We wanted to branch off and we were tipped off about the upcoming mall renovations,” said Barnett. “An opportunity presented itself and we wanted to be a part of that.”
The mall location will be in the food court and won’t yet feature the full menu offered at the Virginia Square location. The focus will be on smoothies, salads, breakfast and energy bars, but wraps and sandwiches will not yet be offered. Barnett said the plan is to eventually expand to a full menu, probably after the mall renovations are completed.
Although the two locations will be close in proximity, Barnett anticipates a totally different clientele.
“All those businesses in the area [Ballston], they don’t really come down to us. Even though it’s so close, just five minutes away, they don’t really come over here,” he said. “There’s a lot of new people and businesses in that area and we want to give them a healthier option.”
Tropical Smoothie Cafe should open sometime in May in the space previously occupied by Crêpe Paris.
(Updated at 10:25 p.m.) A new restaurant is coming to 3811 Fairfax Drive in Virginia Square, but details about it are sparse.
The restaurant will be run by Tim Ma and Joey Hernandez, of Maple Avenue Restaurant in Vienna. This month Ma was named “DC’s Hottest Chef” by the food website Eater. No word yet on what type of food the restaurant will serve, but Maple Avenue Restaurant serves “eclectic American Cuisine… blending Asian, Latin American and French flavors.”
Reached by phone, Ma declined to comment except to confirm that plans were in the works. A state permit application describes the restaurant generally as having a seating capacity of 100 or less and serving wine, beer and mixed drinks. So far, we’ve been unable to find any building permit applications associated with the restaurant.
Local restaurant chronicler Don Rockwell reports that the restaurant will be called “Water & Wall” and will replace the current Pines of Florence restaurant.
Suspicious Package Shuts Down Va. Square Metro — A suspicious package shut down the Virginia Square Metro station yesterday for part of the evening rush hour. The package was determined to be non-hazardous, according to police.
Traffic Calming Coming to Two Streets — Two Arlington streets — S. Hudson Street between Arlington Blvd and 2nd Street, and 7th Road S. between Carlin Springs Road and Greenbrier Street — will be receiving traffic calming measures. The measures include a narrowing of an intersection, a radar speed display, bike lane markings and additional signage, but no speed bumps. [Sun Gazette]
Support Website for Arlingtonian Accused of Murder — A support website has been set up for Chris Deedy, an Arlington resident and State Department security agent who is accused of second degree murder in the 2011 shooting of a man in McDonald’s restaurant in Hawaii. Deedy’s lawyer says his client was protecting others when he fatally shot the 23-year-old Hawaiian. “Law enforcement officers shouldn’t be treated like murderers when they protect the public,” says the website. [DeedySupport.com]
Interview with Kanninen — The Democratic website Blue Virginia interviewed Barbara Kanninen, who’s running for the Democratic endorsement for Arlington School Board against incumbent James Lander. Asked why she’s running, Kanninen said: “If we don’t have competition, we don’t have anyone even trying to prove that they’re going to be a good School Board member.” [Blue Virginia]
The Arlington County Fire Department battled at least three fires over the long holiday weekend.
On Saturday, firefighters extinguished a fire in a detached shed behind a home on the 2900 block of 7th Street N. in Lyon Park. The smoky fire spread to an adjacent fence and caused minor damage to adjacent sheds, but otherwise did not damage any houses, according to ACFD spokesman Gregg Karl.
On Monday, Arlington firefighters battled a two-alarm fire at a house on Shadow Walk in Falls Church, just off Little Falls Road near the Arlington border. Karl was unable to provide additional information about that blaze. ACFD was also called to a small fire on an apartment balcony at 901 N. Monroe Street in Virginia Square. The fire was contained to the balcony, Karl said.
Photo (left) courtesy @CAPT258. Photo (right) courtesy Peter Roof.
There have been some delays in opening, but the finishing touches are now being worked on at the new Z-Burger at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Kenmore Street, between the Clarendon and Virginia Square Metro stations.
After nearly two years of construction, owner Peter Tabibian hopes to open the restaurant in the next two to three weeks. He said an inspector asked for a few more fixes before the final occupancy permit is granted. Tabibian thinks the timing should be better with a March opening anyway, considering it may not be as cold outside.
“I think it’s better to open when it’s a little bit warmer,” he said. “When you open, you want to open with a big bang. It’s not as good when it’s winter.”
Although there are a number of Z-Burger locations throughout the D.C. metro area, this will be the first in Virginia.
“Arlington is a very good place for businesses because it has the right demographics and what we were looking for,” said Tabibian. “They’re building a lot of stuff here and I think this will be a good place for our first Virginia location.”
Z-Burger touts homemade custard in its 75 varieties of milkshakes, freshly cut fries and onion rings, fresh bread that’s delivered twice daily and even cheesesteak sandwiches. Tabibian said the burgers are different than at other restaurants due in a large part to the special spice blend, which he says “is very addicting.” He believes another aspect that sets Z-Burger apart from competitors is the service.
“We are very quick. We have a system that as soon as people come in, the patties are already dropped down on the grill,” said Tabibian. “Everything is cooked to order so people don’t have to wait a long, long time. By the time you order, our goal is to get your food in six to eight minutes.”
Once it opens, the restaurant will celebrate its grand opening with several days of burger giveaways. Until an opening date is set, crews will continue construction work and Tabibian will continue hiring staff. Anyone interested in applying for a position at the new Z-Burger should email firstname.lastname@example.org.