Anyone who’s driven along Clarendon Blvd near the Whole Foods at 2700 Wilson Blvd knows the grocery store has a tendency to cause minor backups.
This afternoon during the lunch hour, the traffic problems escalated, backing up traffic for several blocks in the area and leading to police being called for traffic control. We’re told backups like this are common around major holidays, like Christmas and New Years.
Part of the problem, according to the responding officers, is cars parking — legally — in pay spots on the left-hand side of Clarendon Blvd between the entrance to Whole Foods and N. Edgewood Street. That causes cars waiting to turn into the store’s parking lot to wait in one of the travel lanes.
At about 1:00 p.m., there were three officers on Clarendon Blvd helping to direct traffic. That helped to clear much of the backed up traffic, which also extended to several side streets.
When asked, two of the officers each said it was far from the worst Whole Foods-caused traffic they had seen in Clarendon.
Cherry Trees Planted at Library — As part of its Neighborhood Tree Planting Program, the National Cherry Blossom Festival and the Japan-America Society of Washington planted three cherry trees in front of Arlington Central Library yesterday. The program “is an effort to celebrate and share the gift of cherry blossom trees throughout the DC-metro region… and helps create new National Cherry Blossom Festival traditions beyond the Tidal Basin,” festival organizers said in a statement. [Facebook]
Whole Foods Deli, Chicken Counter Stay Closed — The main grocery store and much of the prepared foods sections at the Clarendon Whole Foods (2700 Wilson Blvd) are open following Tuesday’s fire, but county officials say the market deli and chicken counter will stay closed until the health inspector approves its reopening.
County to Consider Privatizing Volunteer Agency — Changes may be coming to Volunteer Arlington, the county’s volunteer agency. Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan is establishing a new advisory task force “to look into whether Arlington’s volunteer office is the right business model to meet community needs.” The task force will consider whether outsourcing Volunteer Arlington “would enhance volunteer activity in the community.” [Arlington County]
Restaurant Exceeds Kickstarter Goal — SER, the winner of Ballston’s Restaurant Challenge, has exceeded its $15,000 Kickstarter goal. The Spanish comfort food restaurant, coming to 1110 N. Glebe Road in Ballston, has so far raised $17,145. It also received a $245,000 interest-free loan as the prize for winning the Restaurant Challenge. [Kickstarter]
Arlington GOP Blasts Olympic Bid — Arlington Republicans do not share Democratic officials’ enthusiasm for the regional bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics. “It’s not a great idea,” said local GOP chairman Matt Wavro, citing costs and security concerns. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Rob Cannon
(Updated at 4:35 p.m.) The Whole Foods Market in Clarendon was evacuated Tuesday afternoon after smoke started spewing from the roof.
Arlington County firefighters rushed to the 2700 Wilson Blvd. store after they received a rescue call at about 2:45 p.m., ACFD spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Marchegiani said.
The fire was put out quickly and all customers and staff were ordered to leave as firefighters searched for hot spots.
The blaze started on a stove in the front area where rotisserie chickens are sold and and was extinguished by the store’s employees, Marchegiani said. Patches of grease then caught fire in a cooking vent.
No injuries were reported.
A health inspector was called to ensure the store will be safe for re-entry. When the store can reopen won’t be known until an inspector can make an assessment, county Department of Human Services spokesman Kurt Larrick said.
“Hopefully it is just minor damage and there are no food safety issues, and they will be back up and running soon,” Larrick said.
One lane of Clarendon Blvd was shut down to accommodate emergency vehicles.
Ethan Rothstein contributed reporting
Arlington Two-Year-Old Has ‘Read’ 1,000+ Books — A two-year-old Arlington girl has read — or, at least, had her parents read — 1,000 books so far. The girl is the poster child for Arlington Public Library’s new “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” program, which encourages parents to help children build language skills by reading what amounts to about one book a day. [Washington Post]
Jose Andres Products Coming to Whole Foods — A new line of Spanish oils, vinegars, olives and “easy-to-make paella kits” from Chef Jose Andres, of Jaleo fame, will be coming to Whole Foods stores around the Washington area next month. [Washington Business Journal]
Road Closures for 9/11 Heroes Race — A number of roads in the Crystal City and Arlington Ridge areas will be closed Saturday morning for the 9/11 Heroes 5K Race. Parking restrictions will also be in place. [Arlington County]
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.
The Board approved three measures for Metropolitan Park Phase 4/5 at 1200 S. Eads Street. In addition to approving the overall site plan, Board members voted to amend the Pentagon City Phased Development Site Plan from 1976 to increase the allowed building height. They also approved an amendment to the Master Transportation Plan to allow a portion of the planned 12th Road S. to be deleted.
The new building will join two others at the Metropolitan Park site. Developer Vornado decided to combine phases 4 and 5 of the project into one building containing 699 residential units and more than 40,000 square feet of retail space. A Whole Foods grocery store will occupy most of the retail space.
“This is an important milestone for the Metropolitan Park development, because it includes a full-service grocery store that will serve residents of the Pentagon City and Crystal City neighborhoods,” said Arlington County Board Chairman Walter Tejada. “We are now halfway to our goal of transforming this industrial part of Pentagon City to a more walkable, transit-oriented area that offers a great mix of homes and places to shop.”
The county lists a number of benefits for the project, including a developer contribution of around $5 million to the Affordable Housing Investment Fund and $150,000 to the county’s public art fund to support art within the Metropolitan Park development. More than $130,000 will be contributed for undergrounding utilities at the development site, and transportation improvements will be added such as expanded sidewalks, street furniture, trees and outdoor cafe seating. The developer has also committed to a design that is expected to earn LEED Silver Certification.
The site plan for a new apartment building in Pentagon City with a Whole Foods grocery store on the first level will go before the County Board for approval on Saturday.
The proposal involves Metropolitan Park Phase 4/5 at 1200 S. Eads Street. Developer Vornado wishes to combine Phases 4 and 5 to make one building, the fourth in the Metropolitan Park development. Phases 1 and 2 of the project focused on building The Gramercy at Metropolitan Park and The Millennium at Metropolitan Park, which are both currently occupied. Phase 3 is for The Acadia at Metropolitan Park, which is under construction. Planning for the overall project has been in the works for about a decade.
The 22-story new building would contain nearly 700 residential units and would have more than 40,000 square feet of ground floor retail space. Almost 37,000 of the retail space would be taken up by a Whole Foods. The plan includes a four level, 885 space underground parking structure that will likely have one floor reserved exclusively for use by the grocery store.
In addition to site plan approval, the Board will consider an amendment to the 1976 Pentagon City Phased Development Site Plan to permit the proposed building height. An amendment to the Master Transportation Plan has also been requested to allow the removal of a portion of a previously planned new street — 12th Road S. — from the proposal.
The Planning Commission’s Site Plan Review Committee (SPRC) discussed Metropolitan Park Phase 4/5 at six meetings from November 2012 through April of this year. Members discussed numerous aspects of the development that could be cause for concern like building height, building density, streetscape improvements and grocery store operations. No major issues were identified in the final site plan that would prevent approval of the project.
Last week, members of the Planning Commission voted unanimously (11-0) in favor of the proposal. Similarly, the Transportation Commission unanimously (7-0) approved the final site plan proposal and amendment to the Master Transportation Plan at its meeting on June 27.
Staff recommends the County Board follows the lead of the Planning Commission and the Transportation Commission by approving the proposal.
Prince Harry Visits Arlington Nat’l Cemetery — Britain’s Prince Harry is visiting Arlington National Cemetery this morning as part of his two-day visit to the Washington area. The prince is expected to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns and to visit the burial area for military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. [NBC Washington]
Now Official: Whole Foods to Pentagon City — Whole Foods has made it official and signed a deal with Vornado to open a 37,000 square foot store in on the ground floor of a planned 700-unit apartment building in Pentagon City. The store will be the company’s second in Arlington, and is expected to open in 2017. [Washington Business Journal]
Wieners Added to Testicle Festival — The Fairfax County-based Top Dog food truck has been recruited to serve hot dogs at next weekend’s Montana State Society Testicle Festival in Virginia Square. Jed Link, an organizer of the event, called the combination of Rocky Mountain Oysters and hot dogs “a culinary reunion that’s guaranteed to entertain.”
Flickr pool photo by Martin Humm
Developer Vornado is in negotiations to bring a new Whole Foods grocery store to Pentagon City.
The store would located on the ground floor of Vornado’s planned Metropolitan Park apartment building at the corner of S. Eads Street and 12th Street. The building, currently in the Site Plan Review stage, will replace a dilapidated warehouse and is part of a larger effort to turn 12th Street into a mixed-use commercial corridor.
Vornado’s Metropolitan Park building will the fourth in the overall Metropolitan Park development. The development will also result in an extension of 12th Street between Eads Street and Fern Street. Vornado’s planned, 2 million square foot PenPlace office and hotel development will be located across the future 12th Street, which is now a pedestrian path.
Met Park 4-5, as the Vornado apartment building is being called in planning documents, is expected be up to 22 stories tall, with two connected towers, and will contain just shy of 699 apartments. A 37,000 square foot grocery store space on the ground floor is being incorporated into the building with the express purpose of attracting Whole Foods, though no lease or letter of intent has been signed yet, we’re told.
An official with the Crystal City Business Improvement District told us the organization is “thrilled” with the prospect of bringing Whole Foods to the area. Currently, Whole Foods’ only location is the perpetually-crowded Clarendon store at 2700 Wilson Boulevard.
Developers hope the building plan will go before the County Board at some point mid-2013. No word yet on how long construction would take.
Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser
The “Arlington Pub” will be located on the second floor area of the store and will offer local draft beers, wine by the glass, bottled craft beer, growlers and an organic coffee bar in a “pub style atmosphere.” The pub will also offer “tasty nibbles” for patrons. All beer will come from a 200 mile radius.
Whole Foods is planning a grand opening celebration for the pub on Thursday, Sept. 20. The event, which is open to the public, will feature raffles, beer mug giveaways, beer and food tastings, and meet and greets with brewery representatives.
“Pull up a stool, fill up a mug and join Whole Foods Market Arlington in celebrating the official opening of Arlington Pub,” the store said in an invitation to the event.
The coffee bar will open at 8:00 a.m. daily, and the pub will remain open until 9:30 p.m.
Photo courtesy Erin Johnson
The alleged crime took place inside the store, on the 2700 block of Wilson Boulevard, at 1:50 p.m. on Sunday. According to the police report, a female shopper had bent down to retrieve a bottle of wine when the man — 24-year-old Frank Alex Bouknight — came up behind her and placed his hand between her legs and on her genitalia. Bouknight then laughed and walked away, police say.
Bouknight fled the area in a bus, but then returned and was located by police sleeping on a public bench in front of the nearby Barnes and Noble store, four hours after the assault, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. Police found “hardcore pornography” magazines inside Bouknight’s backpack, Sternbeck said.
Bouknight’s alleged sexual misconduct continued when he was brought back to police headquarters.
“Once in the police interview room, the subject repeatedly masturbated,” according to the crime report.
Bouknight was charged with sexual battery. He is being held without bond.
Photo courtesy Arlington County Police Department
Tomorrow (Oct. 22), from noon to 2:00 p.m., the Whole Food Market in Clarendon (2700 Wilson Blvd) will be hosting AppleFest — a “harvest tasting event” devoted entirely to apples.
“From juicy and aromatic apples to those that are fine textured, families and apple-enthusiasts can welcome the new fall season while sampling a variety of tasty apples and enjoying its culinary and crafty delight,” Whole Foods said in a press release. Planned activities include cooking demonstrations, crafts, tastings and an apple scavenger hunt.
Next Saturday (Oct. 29), the Market Common shopping center in Clarendon (2700 Clarendon Blvd) — across from Whole Foods — will be hosting its annual FALLoween event.
The free, family-friendly event will feature a petting zoo, a kids circus, face painting, sidewalk chalking, a comedy show, a DJ and other live entertainment. Plus, there will be trick-or-treating for the kids at a number of stores and each attendee will have the opportunity to take home a free pumpkin.
FALLoween is being held from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Costumed people and pets are also invited to join a FALLoween parade, which kicks off at 11:30 a.m.
Also on Saturday, Oct. 29, Doorways for Women and Families will be organizing a Howl-O-Ween Dog Walk for the Homeless.
From 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., dog owners are encouraged to dress up their pooches and bring them to the James Hunter dog park for a mini-walk to support Doorways. The park is located at the corner of N. Herndon and 13th Streets in Clarendon.
“All human participants will help Doorways to reach our walker goal for the Fannie Mae Help the Homeless Walkathon, while our animal participants will get the chance to compete for prizes from local pet store merchants, including Wylie Wagg and Kissable Canine,” Doorways said on its website.
Registration for the walk is $30 for adults and $20 for youth 25 and under. Pets are free.
Greene Turtle Coming to Ballston — Sports bar The Greene Turtle is coming to Ballston later this year. The restaurant has signed a lease for a 7,000 square foot space on the ground floor of the new Virginia Tech Research Center (900 N. Glebe Road). [Washington Business Journal]
New Apartment Complex Coming to Ballston — A new 150-unit apartment complex called The Crimson on Glebe is coming to Ballston. The five-story mixed-use building will be located across from Ballston Common Mall at the corner of Glebe Road and N. Carlin Springs Road. Owners are hoping to wrap up construction by mid-2013. [CoStar Group]
Buck-a-Burger Sale at Whole Foods — Get ready for your Fourth of July cookout with the Buck-a-Burger deal at Whole Foods. Today only the Clarendon Whole Foods is offering eight varieties of burger patties for $1 each. (They’re normally $2.) [Clarendon Culture]
(Updated at 6:00 p.m.) A reader sent us these photos, taken today at the intersection of N. Edgewood Street and Wilson Boulevard.
The tipster said he spotted an Advanced tow truck idling in a no parking zone close to the intersection, in front of the Clarendon Whole Foods. Upon closer inspection, he says he noticed that the driver was asleep and the engine was running. The truck sat there “for at least 45 minutes,” hindering the ability of Edgewood Street drivers to see cars and pedestrians coming up Wilson Boulevard, according to the tipster.
“If I did this I’d be towed,” he declared.
Tuesday night cooking classes are on hold at the Clarendon Whole Foods (2700 Wilson Blvd) while the store looks for a new chef.
The Clarendon store is now searching for Kiss’ replacement.
Photo courtesy Stacey Viera