This content was written and sponsored by The Keri Shull Team, Arlington’s top producing residential real estate team.
In this Neighborhood Spotlight, Libby Bish of The Keri Shull Team takes us to True Food in Ballston Quarter.
True Food Kitchen combines conscious nutrition with delicious dining.
As General Manager Quinn Edgar says, “Eat better, feel better and celebrate a passion for better living.”
All kinds of diets are accommodated here: vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free — even keto and paleo. At other restaurants, conversations about your dietary restrictions with servers can be a prolonged hassle, but True Food Kitchen makes it easy.
True Food takes care to get sustainably farmed ingredients from reputable sources. Naturally, the menu rotates with the seasons to serve whatever is abundant and fresh at that time of year. True Food’s summer menu is currently in effect, including delicious craft cocktails full of fruit flavors and organic wines and spirits.
Some of Quinn’s favorite dishes include:
- Charred Cauliflower with harissa tahini sauce. Served with dill, pistachio and mint.
- The Poke bowl with wild-caught albacore tuna, avocado and cucumber. The poke bowl’s ponzu sauce has quinoa rice, cucumbers, pickled ginger, a lot of great summer flavors
- Tomato and watermelon salad with heirloom tomatoes with DNA from before 1950. This one’s also got the same delicious ponzu sauce as the poke bowl above.
- Ancient grains bowl: Quinoa, sweet potatoes, onions, avocado. This one’s perfect if you’re dairy free.
True Food Kitchen also has a bar and house cocktails.
Quinn recommends some of True Food Kitchen’s refreshing non-alcoholic beverages, which receive all the care and thought that mixologists usually devote to inventing cocktails:
- Medicine Man with green tea, pomegranate, black cherry and honey.
- Pomegranate Chia Limeade, a healthy twist on a summer classic.
- Lavender iced tea, with pea flower and lemon.
- Hangover Prescription, with pineapple, orange, honey and coconut water.
If you want a meal that makes you feel better- not worse — stop by True Food Kitchen in Ballston Quarter.
Want to live in Ballston or other incredible Arlington neighborhoods, surrounded by great spots like this? Contact The Keri Shull Team at 703-952-7653 or [email protected] and we’ll help you find your next new home!
Just before the closing of Falls Church’s Mad Fox brewpub last month, founder/brewer Bill Madden was kind enough to agree, after wrapping up the closing and taking some time to collect his thoughts, to answering some questions I’d sent him.
Early this week, Madden responded and we’ve had a back-and-forth covering a range of topics, focusing on the challenges facing not only brewpubs like Mad Fox, but for restaurant/retail in our area in general.
In his statement announcing Mad Fox’s closing, Madden cited competition becoming “fierce since our opening in 2010 with… an overwhelming number of choices for the local population,” such that staying open was “no longer sustainable.”
Digging into that a bit more, Madden emphasized the intensity of that competition as we see an increase in “restaurant options that are hot for a few years and then fizzle out,” “(w)ine and beer shops opening restaurants,” and supermarkets “with buffets and bars and more prepared foods to take home or just eat there like a restaurant.”
Factor in meal-prep services like Blue Apron, and you have a lot of businesses trying to cover higher rents on smaller pieces of the pie.
Mad Fox faced unique challenges nearly from the start. “When we opened the only way to sell a pint of beer to a consumer on site was to have a food component in Virginia,” Madden said. “That changed in 2012 with SB 604,” the law allowing brewery taprooms to serve full pours on-site.
604 was instrumental in the proliferation of new breweries in Virginia, but for a large brewpub in a high-rent district like Mad Fox, it made things just that much more difficult. “If we opened with a smaller footprint in a lower rent location and had gone into canning our product we would be in a much different position,” Madden told me.
I brought up my hunch that most taprooms will become brewpubs of sorts over the next few years; Madden responded that “the food component needs to be addressed, consumers need food with their beer, period,” and that he could see brewpubs in “high rent, suburban, urban locations,” albeit “in a much smaller space.”
Even those smaller spaces might be hard to find, however. Madden sounds downright prophetic.
“Rents either need to go down or there will be blight… I see plenty of shuttered spaces and I would ask anyone in Real Estate the question ‘where is the hot area to be in like a Reston Town Center or Arlington used to be?’ They all say they have not a clue.”
Reflecting on the legacy of Mad Fox, Madden says he’s most proud of how they supported the area’s beer scene, “promoting what were then new breweries with our festivals and events when many were just starting out.”
He recently attended the opening of Old Ox’s new Middleburg location and visited Quattro Goombas Brewery in Aldie, and while his future plans aren’t yet known, he says he plans to stay in the beer business in some capacity. Hopefully he’s not out of it for long; we’re missing something without him.
Upcoming Tasting Events at Arrowine:
Friday, August 16 (hey, that’s today!), 5-7 p.m.: Rafael Mendoza of Hardywood Brewing Company
Friday, August 23, 5-7 p.m.: David Hartogs of Rocket Frog Brewing Company
Saturday, August 24, 3-6 p.m.: Frankie Quinton of Atlas Brewing Company
Friday, August 30, 5-7 p.m.: Stephanie Boles from Old Ox Brewing
Friday, September 13, 5-7 p.m.: Tom Blanch of Sierra Nevada
Saturday, September 14, 1-4 p.m.: Joe Kasper of 3 Stars
Saturday, September 21, 1-4 p.m.: Devon Callan of Reason Beer Company
Friday, Novermber 8, 5-7 p.m.: Jesse Ploeg of Potter’s Craft Cider
Looking for a home? There are plenty of houses and condos open for viewing this weekend.
2408 16th Street N.
5 BD/5 BA, 1 half bath single-family home
Agent: Ttr Sotheby’s International Realty
Open: Saturday 2-4 p.m.
2011 N. Pollard Street
4 BD/3 BA, 1 half bath single-family home
Agent: Re/Max Allegiance
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.
749 S. Granada Street
4 BD/3 BA, 1 half bath villa/townhouse
Agent: Fairfax Realty Select
Open: Sunday 12-6 p.m.
510 S. Kensington Street
3 BD/2 BA single-family home
Agent: Re/Max Allegiance
Open: Sunday 1-3 p.m.
4823 29th Street S.
2 BD/2 BA condo
Agent: Kw Metro Center
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.
4500 S. Four Mile Run Drive #1115
2 BD/2 BA condo
Agent: Fairfax Realty of Tysons
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.
Just Listed highlights Arlington properties that just came on the market within the past week. This feature is written and sponsored by Team Cathell, “Your Orange Line Specialists.”
The wild and crazy economic news this week didn’t discourage home buyers and sellers from conducting business.
Buyers ratified 47 contracts and sellers put 59 homes on the market this week. Some 20 of those new listings were sold in seven days or less. Who said the real estate market slows in August? They need to wake up and smell the coffee. One property over the Arlington border in Del Ray, Alexandria, attracted 44 offers and escalated nearly 40% above the list price.
You’ve already started to hear the big “R” word in the news, and you’ll hear plenty more in the weeks and months ahead. Is a recession really looming over the horizon? Economists say it’s inevitable that our economy is due for a normal cyclical cooling down after a historic nine years of uninterrupted growth. Remember, a “recession” is just two quarters (6 months) of negative growth.
The U.S. economy is slowing, but not nearly as much as other major economies like China, Germany, the UK, Argentina and Russia. Sustaining the stronger U.S. economy is consumer confidence and spending. But that could change. Events like the Dow Jones index dropping 800 points on Wednesday could begin to influence consumer confidence.
Don’t let the hype of left and right media scare you into thinking our economy is about to tank like it did in 2008. That is highly unlikely. A slowdown in U.S. gross domestic product, yes. But a meltdown? Not likely.
Actually, the bad economic news brings short term good housing news, temporarily. The fear of a global economic recession prompts investors to seek safe havens for their capital, like U.S. Treasury bonds. That flood of capital into T-bills drives down the yield, which influences our mortgage rates. So we are likely to see a drop in rates. And this week already, in the last few days, the rate on the 30-yr fixed mortgage dropped from 3.75% to 3.625%.
For home buyers, there is a narrow window of opportunity to ratify a contract between now as rates drop and Labor Day weekend. After that, there will be much more buyer competition as the market heads into the active Fall season. So go for it!
Click to see all the fresh new inventory in MRIS and call Team Cathell (703-975-2500) when you find a home you like.
- 900 N. Stafford Street #1109, Arlington, VA 22203 — $399,000
- 1276 N. Wayne Street #630, Arlington, VA 22201 — $650,000
- 304 N. Edison Street, Arlington, VA 22203 — $735,000
- 4576 26th Street N., Arlington, VA 22207 — $824900
- 3211 19th Street N., Arlington, VA 22201 — $849,900
- 406 S. Highland Street, Arlington, VA 22204 — $925,000
- 3683 N. Harrison Street, Arlington, VA 22207 — $1,050,000
- 3607 22nd Street N., Arlington, VA 22207 — $1,250,000
Title insurance is boring, but Allied Title & Escrow is here to decode the jargon and make it (somewhat) more interesting. This biweekly feature will explore the mundane (but very necessary!) world of title insurance while sharing interesting stories of two friends’ entrepreneurial careers.
For this week’s edition of Boring Title we wanted to let all of our clients know about our new ping pong challenge!
If any of our clients have a closing in our ARLINGTON OFFICE they have the chance to play an employee from Allied Title & Escrow for $100 off their title fees.
Watch out though… we’re pretty good!
Have questions related to title insurance? Email Latane and Matt at [email protected]. Want to use Allied Title & Escrow when you buy a home? Tell your agent when you buy a house to write in Allied Title & Escrow as your settlement company!
This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Ferda, a sweet rescue pup who recently found her forever home.
Here is what Ferda’s owner says about life here in Arlington.
Ferda was adopted from Pet Rescue Alliance in mid summer. My husband saw her online and fell in love, so when we heard she was still available we jumped at the chance to meet her. When we brought her home she explored for a minute, then claimed a cushy spot on the couch and promptly fell asleep. I guess she decided she was home.
Ferda is probably a mix of a Boxer and a Boston Terrier, though since she was found abandoned as a puppy we don’t really know for sure. Our research into that mix revealed that they are known to be smart, affectionate and very loyal. Considering how she’s basically velcroed to us when we’re home I’d say it’s an accurate description.
Ferda loves looking for squirrels along Four Mile Run and joining us for happy hour at the many dog-friendly patios in Arlington. She’s a goofball who makes us laugh everyday. She mastered ‘shake” really quickly, which is a super cute trick. We’ve put in some effort at expanding her repertoire, with a little ‘roll over’ and ‘spin’, but so far her response to each has been to wave at the air until we shake her little paw. Oh well, she’s definitely enjoying tons of treats no matter the results of her training.
Want your pet to be considered for the Arlington Pet of the Week? Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Please don’t send vertical photos, they don’t fit in our photo galleries!
Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks. Becky’s Pet Care is the winner of eight consecutive Angie’s List Super Service Awards, the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year and a proud supporter of the Arlington County Pawsitively Prepared Campaign.
Becky’s Pet Care provides professional dog walking and pet sitting in Arlington and all of Northern Virginia, as well as PetPrep training courses for Pet Care, CPR and emergency preparedness.
In the past few months, we’ve noticed a trend among Arlington’s security technology companies.
Several innovative, fast-growing Arlington companies in the cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and data analytics fields are being acquired by larger companies. In March, BluVector, a network security company applying artificial intelligence to detect cyber threats, became part of Comcast.
In the same month, Deep Learning Analytics, a data analytics company and winner of Arlington’s Fast Four competition three years in a row, was acquired by General Dynamics Mission Systems.
In May, eGlobalTech, a cybersecurity consulting and cloud security company, was acquired by Tetra Tech. In June, the pattern continued as Distil Networks, a leader in bot traffic detection and mitigation, became Imperva. And finally, Endgame, an endpoint security protection company, entered into an agreement with Elastic N.V., a data management firm from the Netherlands.
It comes as no surprise that so many of Arlington’s top cybersecurity firms were targeted for acquisition. These Arlington firms have developed niche products and services that are utilized by both government and commercial customers. Many of these companies are globally recognized leaders in their respective sectors.
By acquiring these firms, it allows the larger companies to further enhance their existing platforms by offering even more comprehensive and specialized solutions to their clients.
They also absorb the companies’ existing customers, often including government agencies whose mission it is to defend the nation from cyber threats, like the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense.
Arlington is home to about 200 cybersecurity companies employing more than 5,000 people. These cyber-based acquisitions will most likely continue as more of Arlington’s cyber companies develop specialized products and solutions targeting industry needs.
It is a testament to Arlington that so many technology companies have not only chosen to locate in Arlington but have thrived and developed a rich ecosystem of innovative companies leveraging federal funding to create and develop new products and services with applications in the private sector.
Each week, “Just Reduced” spotlights properties in Arlington County whose price have been cut over the previous week. The market summary is crafted by licensed broker Aaron Seekford of Arlington Realty, Inc. GET MORE out of your real estate investment with Aaron and his team by visiting www.arlingtonrealtyinc.com or calling 703-836-6116 today!
Please note: While Aaron Seekford provides this information for the community, he may not be the listing agent of these homes.
We see properties with reduced prices by $10,000, $25,000 and even $100,000 quite a bit.
This week, we’ve unearthed a real treat: a $500,000 reduction! Yowsers! And see below for the full scoop on this home.
Amid this big-time reduction, it’s important to remember that these “Just Reduced” prices may only be the beginning. Once you enter the negotiation stages of a prospective transaction, these initial reductions can only be a fraction of what you end up saving off a listing price in the long run.
And, when it comes time to enter those negotiation stages, you’re going to want a seasoned team on your side — a team that truly knows the area, the value of the home of your dreams and how to advocate on your behalf.
When you’re ready to GET MORE out of your transaction, our team is already to roll!
As of August 12, there are 128 detached homes, 15 townhouses and 94 condos for sale throughout Arlington County. In total, 17 homes experienced a price reduction in the past week:
Please note that this is solely a selection of Just Reduced properties available in Arlington County. For a complete list of properties within your target budget and specifications, contact Aaron Seekford.
This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Arlington resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!
Question: What do you think about the iBuying trend in real estate? Have you seen an impact in Arlington?
Answer: iBuying offers homeowners a way to sell their home quickly without going to market, using a price generated by an Automated Valuation Model (AVM) like Zillow’s Zestimates. The big players are Opendoor, Offerpad, and Zillow but recently some well-known brokerages have joined the party including Redfin and Keller Williams.
At this time, none of the main players are offering iBuying in Arlington or the D.C. Metro area. Currently, the largest iBuying market in the country is Phoenix with about 6% of transactions going through an iBuyer (half of those are with Opendoor).
How It Works
The process of iBuying is similar for each company and looks something like this:
- Homeowner submits a request for an offer and provides some basic information about their home (bedrooms, square footage, etc.)
- iBuyer makes an initial offer on the home based on their AVM pricing algorithm
- If the owner likes the price, the iBuyer conducts a property inspection to determine condition and cost of repairs
- iBuyer makes a final offer given the property condition
- Owner can accept and close usually within 10-14 days
- Sell quickly
- Sell as-is
- No showings
- No repairs or improvements
- No contingencies that cause contract to void
- No cost to get an offer
- Sale price likely below market value
- “Service fees” usually range from 7-10% of the sale price, well above most commissions when using an agent
- Still pay your normal closing costs (taxes, title fees, etc.)
- iBuyers not operating in most metro areas
When Does An iBuyer Make Sense?
There are all sorts of reasons a homeowner may value speed and convenience over price so iBuying exists for that market, but it should remain only a small percentage of the overall real estate transaction market. iBuying won’t always be the best option for somebody looking for speed and convenience, but with no cost and little effort to get an offer, it makes sense to at least see what an iBuyer is willing to pay.
If you’re in a market where iBuying exists (or when it eventually comes to Arlington), why wouldn’t you request an instant offer from an iBuyer and compare it to what your real estate agent thinks you can get on market? I know a broker in Texas who got more for his house from an iBuyer than he could get on the market because the AVM pricing algorithm over-valued his house.
Will iBuying Last?
I’m not sure how iBuyers will survive an economic downturn when they’re sitting on a huge amount of inventory that’s worth less than they paid for it. It’s a great business model in a hot market, but potentially devastating when the market turns.
Another flaw I see in the current model is that homeowners (like the broker in Texas I mentioned earlier) can take advantage of the process. An owner who does their homework, meeting with agents and getting iBuyer offers, will most likely only choose the iBuyer if they’re over-paying. That’s great for owners who can take advantage of it, but I’m not sure how that can be a sustainable business model.
An additional drawback is that iBuyers generally charge a fee of 7-10% of the purchase price, which is mostly attributed to the risks associated with buying based on an algorithm and a basic property inspection. If iBuyers can figure out how to reduce risk enough to cut this fee in half and sustain themselves through downturns, things will get interesting for the real estate industry.
There have always been brokers and investors who specialize in “buy now” or instant offer programs, but what makes iBuying unique is the implementation of technology to determine pricing and to make the process more convenient, as well as the scale of operations.
I think the longer-term solution is something that blends the convenience and scale of a well-funded tech company with the market knowledge of a local agent.
If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column or to set-up an in-person meeting to discuss local real estate, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at www.EliResidential.com. Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.
Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington D.C., and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.
This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Northern Virginia that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement and private sector employee matters.
By John V. Berry, Esq.
Several states (not Virginia yet), have made moves to restrict the using unreasonable non-compete agreements with employees. Our practice has shown us that Virginia non-compete agreement reform is needed.
We have represented employers and employees in our practice and have found that many non-compete agreements in Virginia are extremely over broad and unreasonable.
What are Non-Compete Agreements?
A non-compete agreement is simply a contract between an employee and an employer in which the employee agrees not to enter into competition with the employer during or after employment.
Reasonable non-compete agreements are helpful and often necessary for employers to hire individuals without risking that they will then lose their customers if an employee leaves and tries to take clients with them. However, these types of agreements have started to get completely unreasonable.
Currently, non-compete agreements have not been restricted by Virginia law but regulated through the courts. Employees in Virginia who sign non-compete agreements can be held to them only if they pass this three-part test:
- Is the restriction reasonable in the sense that it is no greater than is necessary to protect the employer in some legitimate business interest?
- From the standpoint of the employee, is the restraint reasonable in the sense that it is not unduly harsh and oppressive in curtailing his legitimate efforts to earn a livelihood?
- Is the restraint reasonable from the standpoint of a sound public policy?
Paramount Termite Control v. Rector, 380 S.E.2d 922 (Va. 1989).
However, the problem with the status quo is that employers have the upper hand, for the most part, with these types of agreements and enforcement. Take for example an employee making $50,000 a year, who signed an unreasonable non-compete agreement but is threatened by a large law firm and faced with massive legal expenses in challenging it.
In short, it is time for Virginia to provide safeguards for employees in this area.
Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.
Most people using Amazon won’t browse past the first page of listings for any given search or category. That’s where newly-Arlington-based startup Amify comes in.
Amify doesn’t sell products. Rather, the company works with other brands to help them drive sales and maximize their revenue on Amazon.
“Much like a brand might outsource PR to a PR firm, brands can outsource their Amazon presence to Amify,” Amify CEO and founder Ethan McAfee said in an email. “We can usually do it a lot better and a lot cheaper than a brand can do it internally. A few brands we work with include Fender Guitars and Pacers Running.”
McAfee said Crystal City has historically been viewed as a “boring concrete jungle filled with government agencies and contractors,” but that Amazon’s move will help to change that.
“We moved there to be ahead of the curve,” McAfee said. “In a few short years, the number of fun and modern restaurants and bars will increase and make National Landing” — the name for the combined Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard neighborhoods along the Blue and Yellow lines — “a much more attractive place to have an office.”
McAfee said the two Metro lines, airport, VRE and highway access also make Crystal City an attractive spot for Amify. It doesn’t hurt that McAfee said the largest pool of talent for people with Amazon knowledge will be centered around the new headquarters. Like a remora fish swimming alongside a shark, it’s a symbiotic relationship that can hopefully keep Amify well-fed on business in Amazon’s waters.
“Wherever Amazon goes, it’s going to generate some sort of regional brain trust or community that somehow relates to its business,” said McAfee. “We want to be a part of that brain trust. We want to be around smart people who work or who have worked for Amazon, and are passionate about selling online and advancing the experience of sellers on the platform. It’s an excellent environment to be in if you’re a business like ours.”
Things have been going well recently. McAfee said Amazon’s reported decision to retire a large number of its first-party seller relationships — ditching some small brands that sell their own products to Amazon via purchase order, in favor of third-party marketplace sellers that stock and sell goods via Amazon’s platform — has left some of those brands reeling and trying to reclaim their Amazon presence.
But like the remora fish, McAfee said sometimes Amify can very much be at the whims of the larger beast.
“Much like Walmart, Amazon is a very large retailer and can throw around its weight,” McAfee said. “It certainly makes sellers’ lives more difficult, but at the same time, no other platform is going to provide sellers with the same exposure or access to consumers as Amazon.”
“Given control of the largest online marketplace in the world, it’s conceivable one might tip the scales in their favor,” McAfee continued. “This is not to give Amazon a pass, it’s just to say that this is something we’ve anticipated and therefore can respond to in the context of how it impacts our customers.”
Despite that uncertainty, McAfee said relocating closer to HQ2 should help put the company on more stable ground.
“Being closer to Amazon will be an opportunity for us to grow our company by solidifying our place as Amazon’s top brand partner and attract new talent by being one of the first companies on the ground of this growing tech hub,” he said.
Photos via Amify/Facebook