Arlington, VA

ARLnow Weekend Discussion

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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(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

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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

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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