by ARLnow.com February 20, 2013 at 5:45 pm 6,211 78 Comments

Wilson Blvd in front of Ballston Common Mall (photo by Katie Pyzyk)A long-awaited renovation project is inching closer to reality for Ballston Common Mall.

Mall owner Forest City Enterprises has been in the planning stages for major renovations to the 26-year-old, 580,000 square foot facility since at least 2010. Today (Wednesday) the Washington Business Journal reported that that the company revealed preliminary plans and renderings for the renovations at an industry conference in National Harbor.

“The rebranded Ballston Center at 4238 Wilson Blvd. would include more than 300 apartment units, three levels of office space and a significantly reconfigured retail space,” WBJ reported.

Tina Leone, CEO of the recently-formed Ballston Business Improvement District, said her organization is looking forward to the positive changes the redevelopment could bring to the area.

“It is very exciting and we are so pleased to be working with Forest City to further improve our wonderful neighborhood,” Leone said. “The design calls for an exterior renovation that will complement the recent developments that have occurred here, such as Shooshan Company’s Founders Square and JBG’s gorgeous 800 N. Glebe building. This change, along with the BID’s plans to beautify Wilson Boulevard, will make for a much improved, more inviting streetscape to our main street of Ballston.”

Forest City has not yet submitted its plans to Arlington County for approval.

Disclosure: Ballston BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser

by Katie Pyzyk February 20, 2013 at 3:45 pm 30 Comments

Union Jack's in BallstonAn incident that started with an exchange of words inside Union Jack’s (671 N. Glebe Road) and spilled outside sent a man to the hospital for a brain injury.

According to police, on Friday, Feb. 8, the two groups were involved in a verbal altercation inside the bar which escalated throughout the night. Both parties left and while one group of four was trying to walk away, the other group allegedly followed and started a physical altercation.

One of the victims was knocked down and had his head kicked, resulting in a subdural hematoma, or bleeding on the brain. He spent four days in the hospital and was released to the care of his mother, who lives out of state. At the time he was released, the victim had not yet regained hearing in one of his ears.

Another victim was knocked out when she was punched in the face. She has made a full recovery and police anticipate she’ll participate in any upcoming trial or legal proceedings against the suspects.

Two people from the attacking group were arrested. Kevin Gutierrez, 21, was charged with malicious wounding and two counts of assault and battery. He spent four days in jail and has been released on bond. Ebony Hunter, 22, was charged with one count of assault and battery. She was released after being booked.

Police were able to catch up with the suspects quickly due to several witnesses reporting the fight. However, there are varying reports of exactly how many people took part in brawl, and some of the details reported by those involved are fuzzy.

“Everybody’s recollection of the night was a little bit impaired due to the amount of alcohol that was consumed,” said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.

by ARLnow.com February 20, 2013 at 2:45 pm 2,037 43 Comments

Girl Scout Cookies 2012 (screen grab via http://littlebrowniebakers.com)

Booth sales of Girl Scout cookies will get underway in Arlington later this week.

Thin Mints, Samoas, Tagalongs, Trefoils, Do-Si-Dos and other cookies will be available for sale at Metro stations, stores, shopping centers, apartment buildings and elsewhere starting on Friday.

The booth sale locations for this coming weekend can be found below. A full listing of daily locations for local booth sales through end end of March can be found on the Little Brownie Bakers website.

  • Crystal City Metro station
    • Friday, Feb. 22 — 3:00 to 7:00 p.m.
    • Saturday, Feb. 23 — 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • Pentagon City Metro station
    • Friday, Feb. 22 — 3:00 to 7:00 p.m.
  • Courthouse Metro station
    • Friday, Feb. 22 — 3:00 to 7:00 p.m.
  • Ballston Metro station
    • Friday, Feb. 22 — 3:00 to 7:00 p.m.
    • Saturday, Feb. 23 — 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • East Falls Church Metro station
    • Friday, Feb. 22 — 3:00 to 7:00 p.m.
  • Pentagon Centre shopping center (1201 S. Hayes Street)
    • Friday, Feb. 22 — 3:30 to 7:30 p.m.
    • Saturday, Feb. 23 — 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
    • Sunday, Feb. 24 — 12:00 to 5:00 p.m.
  • Giant store (2501 9th Road S.)
    • Friday, Feb. 22 — 4:00 to 8:00 p.m.
    • Saturday, Feb. 23 — 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    • Sunday, Feb. 24 — 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Giant store (3115 Lee Highway)
    • Friday, Feb. 22 — 4:00 to 8:00 p.m.
    • Saturday, Feb. 23 — 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    • Sunday, Feb. 24 — 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Giant store (3450 Washington Blvd)
    • Friday, Feb. 22 — 4:00 to 8:00 p.m.
    • Saturday, Feb. 23 — 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    • Sunday, Feb. 24 — 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Safeway store (5101 Wilson Blvd)
    • Friday, Feb. 22 — 4:00 to 8:00 p.m.
    • Saturday, Feb. 23 — 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    • Sunday, Feb. 24 — 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Ft. Myer Main Exchange (2nd and McNair Streets)
    • Saturday, Feb. 23 — 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
    • Sunday, Feb. 24 — 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.
  • Ft. Myer Commissary (523 Carpenter Road)
    • Saturday, Feb. 23 — 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    • Sunday, Feb. 24 — 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.
  • Ft. Myer Post Exchange (104 McNair Road)
    • Saturday, Feb. 23 — 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Westover Market (5863 Washington Blvd)
    • Saturday, Feb. 23 — 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Kettler Capitals Iceplex (627 N. Glebe Road)
    • Saturday, Feb. 23 — 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
    • Sunday, Feb. 24 — 1:00 to 6:00 p.m.
  • Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street)
    • Saturday, Feb. 23 — 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    • Sunday, Feb. 24 — 12:45 to 5:00 p.m.
  • Meridian at Ballston (900 N. Stuard Street)
    • Saturday, Feb. 23 — 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • Meridian at Courthouse (1401 N. Taft Street)
    • Saturday, Feb. 23 — 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • Culpepper Garden retirement community (4388 N. Pershing Drive)
    • Saturday, Feb. 23 — 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
  • The Jefferson retirement community (900 N. Taylor Street)
    • Saturday, Feb. 23 — 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • Goodwill Industries (10 S. Glebe Road)
    • Saturday, Feb. 23 — 12:00 to 6:00 p.m.
  • Grateful Red (2727 Wilson Blvd)
    • Saturday, Feb. 23 — 12:00 to 4:00 p.m.
  • St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church (3304 Washington Blvd)
    • Saturday, Feb. 23 — 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
    • Sunday, Feb. 24 — 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
  • St. Ann Catholic Church (980 N. Frederick Street)
    • Sunday, Feb. 24 — 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

by Katie Pyzyk February 20, 2013 at 1:50 pm 4,421 186 Comments

Lacey Lane subdivision plan

The developer behind the upcoming Lacey Lane subdivision in the Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood is giving peek at what the new area will look like once it’s developed.

The Barrett Companies, which is a business run by the Chamberlin family since the 1980s, bought the vacant property on the corner of Washington Blvd and N. George Mason Drive and had it excavated last month. The Chamberlins had been working to acquire the land for about a decade.

According to brothers Taylor and Milton Chamberlin, the goal for the Georgian style homes is for them to be an alternative to “McMansions.”

“We really take our time to design the homes to fit in the neighborhood. We’re not builders that come in and put this huge McMansion in a small neighborhood where it doesn’t fit. That’s not what we do,” said Taylor. “All of this is really thought through and it’s really livable, usable space. It’s not those McMansions where you walk in and wonder, ‘What do you do in this room?'”

The base model runs around $1.4 million and features four bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms, with the possibility of another bedroom and bathroom on an additional level. Costs will vary based on the different lot sizes and individual add-ons the purchasers want in their homes.

“We’re pretty enthusiastic about what we’re giving back to the community and what we’re providing for people who want to live there,” Taylor said. “They’re neat homes, they’re going to be well built.”

Another goal is to foster a 1950s sense of community among the owners of the nine properties, in which everybody knows and interacts with their neighbors. The homes will only be accessible via a private road and there will be a small fence around the subdivision.

“There’s a sense of community where people can interact a little bit more, but not lose their privacy,” said Milton.

The homes feature outdoor living area options — such as screened in “sleeping porches” off the second floor bedrooms or fireplaces exposed to the outdoors — which are supposed to add to the sense of community.

“While one neighbor is out grilling, you can see a couple of other neighbors hanging out on their patios,” Milton said. “You can sit and hang out and watch the kids in the backyard. It’s a very functional space.”

Excavation at Washington Blvd and N. George Mason DriveThe brothers noted The Barrett Companies’ effort toward green building and energy efficiency. From better insulation and caulking to installing appropriate outlets in the detached garages for plugging in an electric car, the Chamberlins believe small touches make their properties stand out.

“It’s the little things that are very time consuming that a lot of builders wouldn’t want to do,” Taylor said. “All those little things add up. It makes it so much more efficient.”

A few neighbors had voiced concerns about last month’s removal of around 150 trees on the property to make way for the subdivision. But Taylor said the trees that were removed weren’t of high quality; many of them will be replaced with new trees that are native to Virginia.

“The trees that were on this site were very low quality trees per Arlington County’s grading scale. A lot had just grown wild over the years,” said Taylor. “In the process of coming back in here, we’re putting in a lot of newer, higher quality trees to grow up around the homes. I do understand the concern of neighbors around it. They’re going to see that it will be beautiful and lush and green again.”


by ARLnow.com February 20, 2013 at 12:05 pm 1,738 20 Comments

This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Kochi, an 8-year-old rescue kitty who lives in Aurora Hills.

Kochi is a survivor. She overcame a near-death experience last Christmas, says her owner, Martha.

Last Christmas, Kochi nearly died because her vet recommended an an over the counter drug to relieve a skin condition. It was not specified that the medicine should not contain aspirin or ibuprofen, which as it turns out, is toxic to both cats and dogs.

After an IV and blood transfusion from another good-hearted donor kitty, Kochi is fully recovered. She knows most pet owners are familiar with toxics like Poinsettia, chocolate and antifreeze, but wants to warn other pets that if anyone tries to give you aspirin or ibuprofen, spit it out quickly and go get a big drink of water!

The Arlington Pet of the Week is sponsored by Dogma Bakery, which has locations at The Village at Shirlington (2772 S. Arlington Mill Drive) and the Lee Harrison Shopping Center (2445 N. Harrison Street).

Want your pet to be considered to be the Arlington Pet of the Week? Email [email protected] Each week’s winner receives either a $25 Dogma gift card or a prize from another pet-related business.

by ARLnow.com February 20, 2013 at 10:30 am 1,515 28 Comments

Wakefield High School junior Re’Quan Hopson hit a game-winning three pointer as time expired last night to advance the boys basketball team to the regional semifinals.

Wakefield, which captured the National District championship last week, was trailing 43-44 with 4.2 seconds left in the game when Hopson inbounded the ball, received a pass back, and hit the three point shot as the game clock hit 0:00. Wakefield won 46-44 and screaming students rushed the court.

Northern Virginia Sports has a full game recap and another video angle of the shot. Wakefield will now face an away game at Robinson on Friday night.

by ARLnow.com February 20, 2013 at 9:55 am 2,532 47 Comments

A new sandwich shop is expected to open in Ballston in April.

Which Wich, which is replacing the former Daily Grind coffee shop at 4300 Wilson Blvd, has set Monday, April 22 as a tentative opening date, according to company spokesperson Hala Habal.

Based in Dallas, Texas, Which Wich has more than 300 locations in 30 states. The Arlington location is the first in the D.C. area and the third in Virginia.

The company is best known for its customizable sandwiches and its unique ordering system.

Which Wich offers more than 50 varieties of customizable, toasted “wiches,” from the signature Wicked® sandwich, loaded with five meats (turkey, ham, roast beef, pepperoni, and bacon) and choice of three cheeses, to unique items such as Thank You Turkey®, with stuffing and cranberry sauce. The Which Wich menu also includes plenty of vegetarian options, such as tomato & avocado and black bean patty, as well as 30 healthy wiches and bowls for less than 400 calories each. Guests can dine in or take out. Catering is also available.

Which Wich is known for its creative ordering system. Guests use red Sharpies® to mark up pre-printed menus on sandwich bags. They select a sandwich from one of 10 categories, then choose the bread, cheese, spreads, and toppings. The sandwiches are prepared to guests’ exact specifications, toasted to perfection, and delivered in the now-personalized sandwich bags. After they’ve enjoyed their wiches, guests are encouraged to draw on their bags using red Sharpies and hang their “artwork” on the community wall.

In addition to customized, toasted wiches, customers can enjoy hand-dipped shakes, signature house chips, and just-out-of-the-oven cookies in an edgy yet magnetic environment. Which Wich locations newspaper reading stations, free wi-fi, and a community wall showcasing the sandwich bag artwork.

Which Wich is also proud of its Sandwichfaction Guarantee®. We stand behind all of our sandwiches. If you’re not 100% satisfied with your wich at the time you receive it, we will replace it, refund your money, or both.

Store photos courtesy “JohnB2”

by Katie Pyzyk February 20, 2013 at 8:55 am 19 Comments

Cherrydale art

More Car Window Shooting Arrests — Fairfax County Police arrested two suspects accused of shooting out car windows with BB guns. Both suspects — 19-year-old Alexander Chase and 18-year-old Herbert Reyes-Cartagena — are from Arlington. Chase was arrested last month by the Arlington County Police Department and charged with similar crimes. The suspects are accused of more than 30 window shooting incidents in Fairfax County, and Chase is accused of involvement in 250 cases throughout Northern Virginia. [Washington Post]

Summer Camp Registration Begins — Registration began this morning for the summer camps offered through Arlington’s Department of Parks and Recreation. Registration can be done via mail, online or by faxing an application to 703-228-4765. Registration by phone or walk-in will begin on February 27.

Lee Highway Art Celebration — The Cherrydale and Maywood neighborhoods held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday to celebrate new art on a median at the intersection of Lee Highway and N. Monroe Street (photo above). Local mural artist Jarrett Ferrier submitted the winning proposal for the Lee Highway Art Project. His design consists of panels depicting scenes from around the neighborhoods, such as the Cherrydale Fire Department, Cherrydale Branch Library and a railroad line that used to run along Lee Highway.

Agape Bears Closes in Ballston Mall — Agape Bears, a shop in Ballston Common Mall featuring handmade teddy bears, closed over the weekend after more than 15 years in business. Owners Elizabeth and Bill Taylor are well known not just for the store, but also for donating bears to police and fire stations, as well to victims of disasters. The Taylors plan to still sell the specialty bears online. [WTOP]


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