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by Katie Pyzyk October 6, 2017 at 6:00 pm 0

The first full weekend of October starts with excitement for Washington Nationals fans, as the team begins its playoff series against last year’s World Series winners, the Chicago Cubs.

Another big event taking place this weekend is the 33rd annual Army Ten-Miler on Sunday. A number of roads will be closed in Arlington to accommodate the race.

These were our top five most-viewed stories of the week:

  1. Scott Disick to Host Pentagon City Restaurant Grand Opening
  2. Construction Update: Ballston Quarter Mall
  3. Crime Report: Woman Wakes Up to Find Intruder in Home
  4. New Apartment Building With ‘Vintage Americana Aesthetic’ Now Leasing in Ballston
  5. Patio Fire Scorches Freddie’s in Crystal City

Feel free to discuss anything of local interest in the comments below. Have a great weekend!

by Katie Pyzyk October 6, 2017 at 10:30 am 0

Central Coffee Bar (1901 N. Moore Street) in Rosslyn is officially open. Owner Mehmet Osman Coskun was thrilled that as of 8:30 a.m. on its opening day, staff already had served 200 customers.

This is his team’s first business in Arlington and they credit the county and the Rosslyn BID for helping them get through first-time business owner snags during the process of opening. “When you have a new business, you don’t know a lot of stuff… and you need support,” Coskun said. “You made your investment and you’re hoping people will help you out.”

The venue isn’t just going to be for coffee and pastries. Owners have applied for a liquor license so they can transition Central Coffee Bar into a bar in the evening. Coskun believes that the establishment’s later service hours will set it apart from others in the neighborhood.

“A lot of places in Rosslyn close by 8 p.m., so people feel like they don’t want to go somewhere at night because it’s going to close soon,” Coskun said. “But we extended our hours to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday because we do feel like people want to hang out after work and socialize and get something to drink. And we really want to appeal to the locals.”

This morning Coskun reiterated what he previously told ARLnow, that he’s interested in expanding in the county and eventually opening a coffee shop/bar in Clarendon.

Central Coffee Bar will hold a grand opening next Thursday, October 12. From 2-4 p.m. all guests will get a free coffee.

by Katie Pyzyk October 6, 2017 at 9:30 am 0

Autumn might have officially arrived on September 22, but weather in the 80s and 90s since then has had some people still stuck in summer mode. Despite the weather roller coaster, some people are going full steam ahead into fall and embracing fall activities.

A number of events in Arlington over the coming weeks are fall-themed, such as Columbia Pike Fall Fest on Saturday or the Howl O’ Ween Walk to the Rescue on Sunday. But there are plenty of traditional fall activities you might enjoy that aren’t necessarily an organized event, such as looking at the changing colors of fall foliage or picking apples and pumpkins. Or maybe you’re a sports buff and at this time of year you most enjoy watching playoff baseball.

This morning we want to know: What is your favorite fall activity? Let us know in the comments about other fall activities you enjoy that we may not have listed.

by Katie Pyzyk October 5, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

Samuel Wolbert is the new president and CEO at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.

Prior to joining AWLA, Wolbert worked at a shelter near Lexington, Kentucky. Before that he was a legislative attorney for a nonprofit organization in Michigan.

“I am very thrilled to be here. I think we have a great organization. I look forward to continue working with the community to help grow it,” Wolbert told ARLnow.

The league’s former CEO, Neil Trent, had led the organization since 2010.

Wolbert currently has a dog and two cats and also has experience with fostering animals. He reports having a soft spot for senior animals and so-called bully breeds.

As far as his future goals for AWLA, Wolbert plans to start a monthly series highlighting the organization’s successes.

“I think the community can expect that we’ll continue to do what’s best for the animals and we’ll continue to improve the lives of animals, not just in the shelter but in the community,” Wolbert said.

AWLA is hosting an event next week for the public to meet the new CEO and mingle with other animal lovers. It will run from 5-8 p.m. on Tuesday (October 10) at New District Brewing Company (2709 S. Oakland Street). Those who are interested in attending can RSVP online for the free event.

by Katie Pyzyk October 5, 2017 at 12:45 pm 0

Sunday is the 33rd annual Army Ten-Miler race, part of which takes place in Arlington.

The race begins at 7:50 a.m. on Route 110, and the course takes runners into the District before returning to Arlington in the I-395 HOV lanes. The race ends in the Pentagon north parking lot.

The following road closures will be in effect in Arlington:

  • Route 110 between Rosslyn and Crystal City will be closed in both directions at 5:00 a.m. (Use the George Washington Memorial Parkway as an alternative)
  • I-395 HOV northbound from Crystal City to the 14th Street Bridge will be closed at 6:00 a.m.
  • Eads Street from Army Navy Drive into the Pentagon/northbound I-395 HOV lanes will be closed at 5:00 a.m.
  • I-395 southbound HOV exit to S. Eads Street / Pentagon south parking lot will be closed at 5:00 a.m.
  • Route 27 in both directions from George Washington Memorial Parkway to I-395 will be closed at 7:00 a.m.
  • Army Navy Drive from S. Eads Street to S. 12th Street at 8:00 a.m.
  • 12th Street from S. Eads Street to Long Bridge Drive at 8:00 a.m.
  • Long Bridge Drive will be closed from S. 12th Street to Boundary Channel Drive at 8:00 a.m.

All roads should reopen by 2 p.m.

The Pentagon north parking lot will be restricted to “Authorized Vehicles Only” from 4:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Pentagon employees and visitors to the Pentagon Memorial can park in the south parking lot, which is accessible by Columbia Pike and S. Fern Street.

Runners and spectators are encouraged to use Metro, which will open two hours early, at 6 a.m., for the event. Metro offers the following tips for traveling to and from the race on Sunday:

  • While the closest Metrorail station to the start of the race is Pentagon Station on the Blue and Yellow lines, to avoid crowds, riders are encouraged to consider using Pentagon City instead.
  • Pentagon Station will be available for “exit only” from 6 a.m. until 8 a.m.
  • In the event of crowded conditions at Pentagon Station, trains may temporarily bypass the station. (In the event of crowding, some customers may be directed to use Pentagon City instead.)
  • Please take note of service changes on the Red Line.
  • Additional Blue Line trains will run between Franconia-Springfield and Stadium-Armory from 6 a.m. until 8:40 a.m., and from 11:15 a.m. to 12:50 p.m.
  • Metro recommends purchasing a SmarTrip card in advance loaded with enough value for the entire day to avoid long lines and speed your trip. SmarTrip cards can be purchased at fare vending machines located at station entrances.

All Metrobus service that usually runs to and from the Pentagon will be diverted to Pentagon City until about 2 p.m.

by Katie Pyzyk October 5, 2017 at 9:30 am 0

The county is considering a proposal to instate a “housing conservation district” (HCD) to preserve existing market-rate affordable housing.

According to a presentation at The Alliance for Housing Solutions’ annual affordable housing forum last month, the concept for a preservation district has been built off of ongoing work for affordable housing in Arlington.

In 2015, the county adopted the Affordable Housing Master Plan and earlier this year it released a report about preserving market-rate affordable housing (MARKs). The County Board held a work session on the topic in April, and since that time work has continued on developing an HCD study and framework.

Part of the ongoing analysis for a housing conservation district is to determine which sites should be included and what the boundaries would be. Numerous studies point to Arlington’s garden apartments as an affordable housing resource that’s disappearing as they’re increasingly being redeveloped into larger homes. The MARKs study released earlier this year indicates that the parts of Arlington most at risk of losing these types of units to redevelopment are Westover, Ballston and Rosslyn.

Nothing has been finalized yet, but the preliminary HCD goals are:

  • Encourage the retention and renovation of existing rental affordable housing units.
  • Provide opportunities for the creation of new affordable units when redevelopment occurs.
  • Signal that a variety of tools are available to achieve the above.

Although they also haven’t been finalized, the preliminary HCD objectives are:

  • Provide committed affordable housing (CAF) rental housing up to 60% of the area median income (AMI).
  • Preserve MARKs up to 80% AMI.
  • Provide ownership housing between 80% and 120% AMI.
  • Preserve historic buildings.
  • Incorporate sustainable building practices.
  • Encourage renovation and infill development while accommodating redevelopment.
  • Projects compatible to their surroundings.
  • Any density changes recommended to be supported by community & transit.
  • Encourage underrepresented housing forms.

Consultation with county commissions will continue through the fall and community outreach is expected to begin sometime this winter, as is a General Land Use Plan amendment. A Zoning Ordinance amendment is expected next year.

Photo via Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing

by Katie Pyzyk October 4, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

(Updated at 5:10 p.m.) TV personality and entrepreneur Scott Disick will host the grand opening of the Sugar Factory American Brasserie at the Pentagon City mall next week.

The new 5,500 square foot restaurant and retail store is located in a newly-expanded portion of the mall, facing S. Hayes Street. It opened to its first customers in May but is now preparing for a grand opening celebration.

Disick, 34, rose to fame on the reality show Keeping Up With the Kardashians and is the father of three children with ex Kourtney Kardashian. His personal life remains a source of fascination in tabloids and celebrity magazines.

Sugar Factory sells celebrity-endorsed sweets and seats up to 200 people in its restaurant, which serves a wide variety of signature cocktails alongside mostly standard issue American fare.

The grand opening event will take place Thursday, Oct. 12 from 6-10 p.m. Dinner reservations are available by calling 703-258-3374 or online through OpenTable.

Courtesy photo

by Katie Pyzyk October 4, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

Police have arrested a man suspected of stealing from a woman on S. Glebe Road this afternoon.

The suspect reportedly stole an “unattended bag” from a woman who was shopping in the Unit block of S. Glebe Road. Although police do not release the names of businesses where crimes occur, that block is home to a Goodwill store, among others.

The suspect fled the scene and police took him into custody nearby, on the 100 block of S. Glebe Road. An ARLnow tipster who lives near the arrest scene said numerous police vehicles responded and officers urged neighbors to lock their cars and doors.

ACPD says the investigation is ongoing but there is “no threat to the public.”

Update at 10:50 a.m. — From an ACPD crime report:

GRAND LARCENY (Significant), 2017-10040137, Unit block of S. Glebe Road. At approximately 11:26 a.m. on October 4, police responded to the report of a larceny that had just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that a female victim was shopping when her purse was stolen from inside a shopping cart. When witnesses attempted to stop the suspect, he fled the area on foot into the National Foreign Affairs Training Center where he was detained until Arlington County Police arrived on scene. James Mitchell, 53, of No Fixed Address was arrested and charged with Grand Larceny. He was held on no bond.

Photo courtesy Amy Collins

by Katie Pyzyk October 4, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

Forecasters say Arlington could break its rainless streak next week, depending on what happens with Tropical Depression 16, which is expected to turn into Tropical Storm Nate.

The storm has the potential to intensify rapidly and could strike the Gulf Coast as a strong tropical storm or Category 1 hurricane this weekend. The storm is expected to make its way north just as a cold front is pushing into the East Coast.

The rain could arrive in Arlington by late Sunday night, but timing depends on how quickly the front moves through and its clash with the depression. That also would affect how much rain falls, but the Capital Weather Gang predicts it could be several inches.

The National Hurricane Center predicts that this storm will bring “torrential rain” to Central America, but cautions that it’s too early to determine any further impacts this early.

by Katie Pyzyk October 4, 2017 at 11:30 am 0

Parents of Thomas Jefferson Middle School students are petitioning for traffic calming measures on a stretch of road near the school where they report witnessing a number of vehicle-pedestrian close calls.

They’re asking for a crossing guard and a traffic-calming measure — such as a four-way stop — at the intersection of 2nd Street S. and Irving Street, which is a heavily traveled pedestrian thoroughfare for students going to and from school.

The entire stretch of 2nd Street S. near Thomas Jefferson Middle School, from Irving Street to Old Glebe Road, is well-traveled by vehicles and does not have four-way stops. Parents chose to ask for traffic calming at the Irving intersection because of the significant amount of both pedestrian and vehicle traffic at that particular spot. Plus it’s one of the few streets in the neighborhood that runs uninterrupted all the way from Columbia Pike to Washington Blvd., making it easier for motorists to speed than on adjacent streets.

The intersection, like the others on 2nd Street, may not have four-way stops, but it does have painted pedestrian crosswalks. Neighborhood residents say motorists ignore people in the crosswalks, though, especially during morning and afternoon rush hours. “That’s prime commuter time and prime school time,” said TJ parent Alisa Key.

Key saw a girl nearly get hit while walking in the crosswalk to school, and that prompted her to take action. “I couldn’t walk away from that without doing anything,” she said. “In the past two weeks, we have had multiple near misses and countless instances of motorists… disregarding kids in the crosswalk. We have taken it upon ourselves to help the kids cross safely because APS and the county have not.”

The group of concerned parents invited county officials to visit the site to see the dangers that students and other pedestrians face. The group reports that a number of representatives showed up from Arlington Public Schools, the county’s Department of Environmental Services, the police department and the county board.

DES currently is collaborating with APS and police on reviewing the intersection and will report the results of the study next week. According to a DES spokesperson, “The traffic study consists of collecting additional traffic volume, speed and pedestrian volume data to determine whether a four-way stop meets federal standards (Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices).”

Parents are hopeful that the results next week indicate the need for increased safety measures, including a crossing guard. In the meantime, they’ve been taking turns positioning themselves at the crosswalk in the morning to make sure children get to school safely. They’ve also started an online petition requesting traffic calming measures, which has more than 400 signatures.

Parents are particularly worried about what happens when the volume of students increases upon completion of a new elementary school at the TJ site.

“The intersection at S. Irving & S. 2nd Street is a magnet for kids, bikers, walkers, etc. because there are currently three community attractions at this site — TJ Park, TJ Recreation Center, TJ Middle School and soon to be coming Fleet Elementary School,” said concerned parent and Arlington Heights resident Colleen Godbout. “This intersection needs calming measures immediately.  We can not wait for the accident that is inevitable here.”

by Katie Pyzyk October 4, 2017 at 10:35 am 0

Students and parents throughout Arlington celebrated “Walk and Bike to School Day” this morning, and those at Hoffman-Boston Elementary School especially got into the spirit.

Parents and crossing guards assisted children across the intersection of S. Queen Street and 13th Road S., where they were greeted by a parent helper. “Good morning! Thanks for walking today!” she said to kids approaching school property.

Some of the students seemed hesitant and needed a little prompting about how to safely walk through a crosswalk. The parent helper chuckled, saying, “You have to remember, for some of them this is their first time walking here.”

Once at school, the kids gathered for a Walk and Bike to School Day event in the back field. After participating in some activities, students formed a star and had their picture taken by the Arlington County Fire Department from the top of a ladder truck.

Students were excited about the photo opportunity, but so were the adults. “I’m waiting for the kids’ picture. I want that photo!” said a parent.

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.

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