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by Katie Pyzyk October 3, 2017 at 3:55 pm 0

Stageplate Bistro in Ballston hasn’t always been open during normal business hours recently, but it’s not closing down. In fact, despite the limited service hours, the staff is preparing for the new restaurant’s upcoming grand opening.

A message on the front door at 900 N. Glebe Road, which is also posted on the restaurant’s website, thanks patrons who already have tried the restaurant during its recent soft opening. The grand opening is scheduled for Monday, October 16.

General Manager Mary Marchetti said the limited service has been to work out any snags, as this is the team’s first restaurant. She said customer feedback has been positive and staff has been able to incorporate customer suggestions in order to perfect operations.

“Just those little things, we were working it out,” Marchetti said. “We’ve had wonderful interactions with guests. I feel really good and really confident now that we’re going to be great.”

When an ARLnow reporter passed Stageplate Bistro during the typically busy dinner hours one day last week, customers trying to go in were met with locked doors. Upon reading the sign, though, several said they would come back for the grand opening and that they were just glad the locked doors didn’t mean the restaurant had met its demise so quickly.

The restaurant will serve its full menu at typical operating hours starting on Monday, October 16. It will open starting at lunchtime from Monday through Saturday, and for now it will be closed on Sundays, although brunch will be added in the future.

Marchetti says the Stageplate Bistro team is excited to be a part of the Arlington community. “We tried to talk with every single table [of customers] that came in,” she said. “Everyone was really interactive. The community has been so unbelievably great.”

by Katie Pyzyk October 3, 2017 at 3:00 pm 0

A restaurant inside the Pentagon City Whole Foods is among those affected by a security breach to the company’s credit card system.

Whole Foods provided public notice that it “recently received information regarding unauthorized access of payment card information used at certain venues.”

The breach does not affect purchases within the regular Whole Foods grocery section, but rather at the taprooms and full-service restaurants inside some locations. Paper Horse, a ramen restaurant inside the Pentagon City Whole Foods, is one of the locations named in the security breach.

Whole Foods’ statement said it notified authorities and has launched an investigation. Customers who may have visited Paper Horse or one of the other affected locations listed online should monitor their credit card statements and contact their bank to report unauthorized charges.

Whole Foods also noted that its systems do not connect with those of its new parent company, Amazon, so purchases on Amazon.com are not involved.

by Katie Pyzyk October 3, 2017 at 2:15 pm 0

The county soon will let the public see its four design concept finalists for the new Long Bridge Park Aquatic and Fitness Center and park expansion.

The designs will be unveiled at an event on Thursday, Oct. 19 from 7-10 p.m. at 2011 Crystal Drive, on the 11th floor.

Visitors can watch presentations, ask questions and give feedback about the concepts. Refreshments will be served and free underground parking is available.

Anyone who can’t attend the unveiling event can give feedback online or at Courthouse Plaza (2100 Clarendon Blvd.) from Oct. 19-27.

Earlier this year, the county announced it would move forward with the $63+ million aquatic center and park expansion project after years of delays, which were largely caused by cost concerns. Phase one of the Long Bridge Park project was completed in 2011.

Disclosure: Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation is an ARLnow.com advertiser

by Katie Pyzyk October 3, 2017 at 1:15 pm 0

The owners of the The Board Room in D.C. had hoped to unveil their Arlington location in the old Sehkraft Brewing spot last month, but construction delays are pushing back the opening of the Clarendon bar and entertainment venue.

Mark Handwerger, the owner of The Board Room’s parent company, Bedrock Bars, wrote in an email, “We are not exactly pleased by the delays.” But he said that The Board Room’s team is “holding everyone’s feet to the fire.”

Part of the issue has been a hold-up on the millwork, delivery and installation of two additional bars. The owners ultimately had to resort to out-of-town fabricators because “everyone within a couple hundred miles of D.C. is buried with other projects, most notably The Wharf,” Handwerger said.

Today an ARLnow reporter visited 925 N. Garfield Street and observed a couple workers inside the demolished bar space, although not a lot of heavy duty construction was taking place. Some of the wall murals have been painted over and new drywall is piled nearby. There’s also a lot of debris and building material staged to be hauled away.

The new goal is for The Board Room to open mid-November if everything goes smoothly.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor October 3, 2017 at 12:15 pm 0

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: How old are most of the homes in Arlington and where are the newer homes located?

Answer: I thought I’d balance last week’s column on schools with something a bit less controversial… the age of our housing stock. The majority of housing units in Arlington were built from the 1930s through the 1950s.

With limited land available to build new communities, the majority of single family homes built in the 21st century are one-off projects replacing older homes instead of larger new communities you see elsewhere in the country.

I pulled data on all sales in Arlington since Jan 1, 2010 and broke it down by the decade. Each housing unit was built to provide some insight into the age of our market and where you’re likely to find the most homes for sale built in the 21st century. Note that this is not a dataset of all Arlington housing units, just those sold since 2010.

Data Highlights

  • About 40% of Arlington’s condo inventory was built in the 2000s and caters to our huge population of wealthy millennials
  • The fastest selling (highest demand) sub-market is for 1940s townhomes in Fairlington, a popular destination for young families due to affordability, convenience and walkability to Shirlington Village
  • Despite the average family size in the US decreasing by about one person since the mid 1900s, the average single family home built in the 21st century has 1.5 more bedrooms, 2 more bathrooms and is over twice the size (they also take the longest to sell)
  • The oldest home sold since 2010 was built in 1836 and located in the Alcova Heights neighborhood (off Glebe Rd, between Rt 50 and Columbia Pike) and sold for $950,000
  • Nearly half of single family homes built in the 21st century are located in the 22207 zip code
  • Housing built in the 1940s (4,647) and 2000s (4,218) make up 40% of the housing units sold since 2010
  • Single family homes built in the 1940s sell fastest among all single family homes, likely due to demand for homes to be torn down or expanded and renovated

(more…)

by Katie Pyzyk October 3, 2017 at 11:30 am 0

The recent spate of major hurricanes making landfall in the U.S. has raised the possibility of flood-damaged vehicles making their way up to the local used car market, Virginia officials warn.

Hundreds of thousands of vehicles are thought to have been damaged by hurricane-related flooding. That has prompted warnings from Virginia’s Department of Motor Vehicles and attorney general.

Although Virginia state law requires owners to report water damage when selling their vehicle, not everyone does. The AG and DMV have released guidelines of what to watch for when purchasing a used vehicle.

Their full statement is below.

RICHMOND (October 3, 2017) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) are urging customers in the market for a new or used car to be on the lookout for vehicles with water damage in the wake of massive flooding caused by a recent onslaught of hurricanes that has damaged or destroyed countless vehicles.

“All Virginians purchasing a used car directly from another individual should have the vehicle inspected by a mechanic, but that advice is even more pertinent in the wake of massive flooding when the risk of purchasing a water-damaged car increases,” said Attorney General Mark Herring. “Virginians need to be on the lookout for signs of water damage when purchasing a vehicle, and should always trust their instincts – if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

“Nearly one-out-of-three car sales occurs directly between individuals,” DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb said. “The dangers of water-damaged cars can be hidden. Aside from mold and rust, electrical systems could erode and fail over time. Computer sensors could be damaged and safety protections like air bags could fail in a crash.”

State law requires water damage to be reported on a vehicle’s title; however, dishonest sellers can find ways to circumvent these requirements, putting buyers at risk. If a vehicle is branded as non-repairable, the vehicle cannot be titled in Virginia, but a non-repairable car could be titled in another state. If a Virginian purchases that car and tries to title it in Virginia, the vehicle’s history would show it as non-repairable and the customer couldn’t obtain a title.

Virginia Code § 46.2-624 requires insurance companies to report to DMV when they have paid a claim of $3,500 or more on a vehicle due to water damage. Insurers are required to notify DMV of such water damage, even if the owner intends to continue driving the vehicle.

One tool consumers can use to check a vehicle’s history is the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS). By centralizing national title records, NMVTIS can help customers take extra precautions to identify flood-damaged, stolen or otherwise unsafe vehicles prior to titling. For more information, visit vehiclehistory.gov.

While there is no sure method to test for vehicle flood damage, here are several inspection tips that may help detect significant water damage:

  • Examine the interior and the engine compartment for evidence of water and grit from suspected submersion.
  • Check for recently shampooed carpet, and check under the floorboard carpet for water residue or stain marks from evaporated water not related to air-conditioning pan leaks.
  • Look for rusting on the inside of the car and under interior carpeting, and visually inspect all interior upholstery and door panels for evidence of fading.
  • Check under the dashboard for dried mud and residue, and note any evidence of mold or a musty odor in the upholstery, carpet or trunk.
  • Check for rust on screws in the console or other areas where water would not reach unless submerged.
  • Check for mud or grit in alternator crevices, behind wiring harnesses, and around the small recesses of starter motors, power-steering pumps and relays.
  • Complete a detailed inspection of the electrical wiring system, looking for rusted components, water residue or suspicious corrosion.
  • Inspect the undercarriage or other components for evidence of rust and flaking metal that would not normally be associated with late-model vehicles.
  • Ask a lot of questions and be thorough. Trust your instincts: if you don’t like the answers or the deal sounds too good to be true, walk away.

While these inspection suggestions will not detect flood damage in every case, they do provide some information to protect consumers from purchasing a vehicle damaged by floodwaters. If you are purchasing a used vehicle, always consider having it inspected by a mechanic.

Photo (top) via U.S. Coast Guard

by Katie Pyzyk October 3, 2017 at 10:45 am 0

The University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business is expanding into two floors of a Rosslyn high-rise office building.

The new “state-of-the-art learning facility” will occupy the 30th and 31st floors of 1100 Wilson Blvd — owned by Monday Properties — with administrative, conference and classroom space taking up approximately 40,000 square feet. The school already has regional staff offices in the building and holds executive MBA classes at 1000 Wilson Blvd and 1919 N. Lynn Street.

“We are pleased to continue building Darden’s presence in Northern Virginia and the metro DC area at this premier Rosslyn location,” Darden School of Business Dean Scott C. Beardsley said in a statement. “Rosslyn’s proximity to major spheres of influence in D.C., including Capitol Hill and the White House, played a significant role in our decision, with the support of the University of Virginia.”

Local architects are designing the space, which will include tiered classrooms, flat classrooms, learning team rooms, open study areas, a board room, conference rooms and office space. A large ballroom will serve as a food service and conference space.

At its meeting last month, the Arlington County Board took up the issue of Monday Properties converting office space in the building to educational use. The business school is scheduled to move into its new location next spring.

Another change coming to 1100 Wilson Blvd next year is the opening of a 5,000-square-foot rooftop deck for tenant use. The indoor-outdoor space, touted by Monday as “one of the most expansive rooftop deck amenity offerings in the DC-metro market,” will be able to accommodate events and conferences.

Disclosure: Monday Properties is an ARLnow.com advertiser. Photos via Google Maps and Darden School of Business.

by Katie Pyzyk October 3, 2017 at 9:45 am 0

(Updated at 10:45 a.m.) The number of Arlington residents commuting via bicycle is on the rise, according to the Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey, contrary to the national trend.

The survey showed that in 2016, 2.4 percent of Arlington commuters cycled to work, up from 1.9 percent in 2015. That number is an average of men and women, but slightly more men commute by bicycle. “We think it’s great, of course, and part of a longer trend,” said BikeArlington program director Henry Dunbar. “The bike mode share has tripled since 2009 (0.8 percent), and will keep climbing as Arlington continues to improve its bike infrastructure and more people learn that biking is often the quickest and cheapest way to get around.”

Arlington’s bike commuting growth is in line with Washington, DC, where 4.6 percent of all commuters now cycle, up from 4.1 percent the previous year. But the region’s commuting habits are not indicative of those in the rest of the country. The Census Bureau shows that last year bike commuting was down nationwide for the second year in a row, falling from 0.59 percent to 0.57 percent of all commuters.

The survey offered data but no possible causation for the numbers. However, a number of factors likely contribute to the nationwide bike commuting slump, including low gas prices and more people working from home. Arlington, however, has been designated a Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists, due in part to its bike-friendly infrastructure and the volume of cyclists.

Other data revealed by the latest census figures include:

  • 26 percent of Arlington commuters take public transit
  • 5.7 percent of Arlington’s workforce works from home
  • 34 percent of Arlington workers work in Arlington, while another 24.1 percent work elsewhere in Virginia and 41.8 percent work outside the state

by ARLnow.com October 3, 2017 at 8:30 am 0

Construction at Shirlington Library — Construction is expected to begin this week on renovations to the Shirlington Branch Library, to bring the library into Americans with Disabilities Act compliance. Library administrators caution that “certain areas of the building may be closed for short periods, and noise may be unavoidable at times.” [Arlington Public Library]

Millennials Leaving D.C. for Cheaper Cities — “A new analysis by George Mason University researchers finds that… more people are leaving the region than arriving for the first time since the Great Recession. Millennial deserters — ages 20 to 29 — are one factor. But another big one is baby boomers leaving to begin retirement life elsewhere. Families and the unemployed are also going.” [Washington Post]

‘Anti-Muslim’ Group Holding Conference — Despite opposition, ACT for America — which describes itself as “a nonprofit national security organization” but which is described by critics as “the largest anti-Muslim organization in the U.S.” — kicked off its annual conference yesterday at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Crystal City. [Southern Poverty Law Center]

Yorktown Teacher Publishes Third Book — “Melanie McCabe, an English teacher at Yorktown High School and now three-time author, will debut her new work, His Other Life: Searching For My Father, His First Wife, and Tennessee Williams at the Arlington Central Library (1015 N Quincy St., Arlington) on Thursday, Oct. 5.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Region’s Dry Spell Continues — Today is expected to be the 20th straight day without measurable precipitation at Reagan National Airport. But it is still far from the region’s record of 34 straight rainless days in the fall of 2007. [Washington Post]

Photo courtesy Leslie Aun

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