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The kabob restaurant replacing Green Valley Pharmacy could finally be open by this summer

Green Valley Pharmacy (staff photo by Matt Blitz)

It appears that the new restaurant coming to the former Green Valley Pharmacy could finally be ready to open by this summer.

Over the last several months, the county has reviewed and approved a number of plans related to the proposed renovations at the historic building. Another sign of progress: recent meetings with the community that had in the past pushed back on some of those proposals.

Construction could begin within weeks on the property, which has sat mostly untouched for the better part of six years, we’re told.

The county, the building owner, the restaurant tenant, and the Green Valley Civic Association have all signaled to ARLnow that they are ready to move forward to redeveloping the local landmark into a kabob restaurant.

“We do still have concerns with parking, ingress, and egress,” Green Valley Civic Association president Portia Clark told ARLnow via email. “[But] the community is not holding up this project.”

The restaurant project was first reported in September 2021 and came with the blessing of Jessie Al-Amin, the daughter of former pharmacy owner Doc Muse.

Muse was a graduate of the Howard University School of Pharmacy and opened Green Valley Pharmacy in 1952 as Arlington’s only pharmacy and lunch counter to serve the county’s Black community during the Jim Crow era.

The business at 2415 Shirlington Road was designated by the county as a local historic landmark in 2013, with a historic marker placed there in 2014.

Al-Amin inherited the building from Muse when he died in 2017. The pharmacy at 2415 Shirlington Road closed shortly after his death.

In August 2019, Al-Amin made a deal with local business owner Nasir Ahmad for him to rent the building and open a new business. Ahmad owns restaurants in Sterling and Fredericksburg and told ARLnow he previously owned a fried chicken eatery in Green Valley close to twenty years ago, where John Robinson, Jr. Town Square is now.

Since it is protected as a local historic district, any proposed exterior alterations had to be approved by the Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board’s (HALRB) design review process.

In October of last year, the HALRB approved proposed hardscaping and parking modifications. Last month, the board issued a Certificate of Appropriateness allowing for exterior alterations.

“For the time being, the HALRB process is complete, unless there are future changes needed to their approved certificates OR if additional exterior alterations are proposed (signage, outdoor seating, etc.),” Historic Preservation Program coordinator Cynthia Liccese-Torres told ARLnow.

Even if the HALRB needed to review external signage, Liccese-Torres said, the restaurant could still open without signage being finalized.

The only hang-up now, at least on the county side, is for the Dept. of Environmental Services (DES) to approve the building permit. A county spokesperson said that a review is currently taking place, though said that they could not provide a timeline for when it might be completed.

Ahmad told ARLnow he believes he’ll hear back from the county within the next few days, noting that even if plans needed to be altered that shouldn’t delay the project that much.

From there, construction would likely take three to four months. That could put an expected completion date sometime in the late spring or early summer.

As previously reported, the restaurant is set to serve chicken, rice, kabobs, burgers, and pizza. While “Halal Spot” was thought to be the restaurant’s name, Ahmad said they have yet to make a final decision on that.

Clark said that whatever the name might be, the community is ready for it to be redeveloped.

“They need to do something because the building is now just an eyesore,” she said. “The window coverings look awful.”

Trash and illegal parking have also become problems, locals tell ARLnow, which has added to the downtrodden look of the property.

But “slow and steady” progress seems to be happening and those involved are looking forward to finally opening a new community-serving business.

“I’ve always wanted to make sure [the redevelopment] represented my father’s legacy,” Al-Amin said. “It will be nice when it’s done.”

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