by ARLnow.com Sponsor — September 4, 2015 at 2:45 pm 399 0

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Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church). It is written by Garrett Cruce, a Certified Beer Server in the Cicerone Certification Program.

Behind Dulles International Airport sits a 5-month-old brewery called Ocelot Brewing Company. Even though it’s young, it still feels comfortable and inviting. When you walk into the space, you are greeted by a colorful wall of brewery stickers before you enter the spacious tap room. Long tables with plenty of stools make up the bulk of the seating that isn’t located along the expansive bar. Above the bank of taps is the tap list, colorfully illustrated in chalk.

img_4492To the left of the tap list is the logo for Ocelot, a guitar pick with an ocelot gracefully leaping over the name. The guitar pick is no coincidence — the owners take the spirit of rock n’ roll, its rebellion and constant change, to heart. While there are murals to honor the likes of Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd on the wall and music playing, the spirit of rock n’ roll is in their brewing. They are not interested in creating core beers that can be embellished here and there, but rather in brewing what they want when they want. That’s rock n’ roll.
Ocelot’s owners think big. The only volume they’re interested in is the loudness of their beers. Keeping the batches small, Ocelot brews big beers — sometimes making imperials out of styles that typically stay pretty tame. For instance, they’re planning on making an imperial Kölsch — a light blend of lager and ale.

img_4496The day I visited was a relatively quiet one, but there were quite a few patrons — many regulars — enjoying flights or individual pours of their choice of seven beers. Some customers lined up at Big Frank’s BBQ truck parked outside to get food to eat in the tap room. In a large open space, several customers played corn hole, adding to the festive atmosphere. It was easy to like the place and the people who make it a reality.

Several of Ocelot Brewing Company’s beers can be found on tap from time to time at Dominion Wine and Beer. The first three below are the most likely to be found. The rest are worth visiting Dulles to enjoy.

Two Lost Souls IPA (7.3% ABV)
This IPA is a perfect example of Ocelot’s ethos — one could mistake it for an imperial IPA. However, it passes as a regular IPA here. This is one is brewed with Mosaic and Citra hops giving it a larger-than-life grapefruit aroma that is spiced up slightly by pine. That’s just the aroma. I tasted white grapefruit with a hint of black pepper — making this big IPA a deliciously tart and bitter brew. The tartness gives way to a slight sweetness in the finish. I liked this one so much that I was ready to take home a growler of it, but it has been so popular lately that they ran out of bottles.

Together We Stand Saison collaboration with Crooked Run Brewing (7.3% ABV)
It makes complete sense that Ocelot would choose to collaborate with a farm brewery when they want to make a saison, a Belgian farmhouse style. In addition to the standard Belgian yeast, this beer is made with Citra hops and grapefruit — an addition that completely transforms it. The aroma is true to the style: a combination of banana and clove from the yeast. But the flavor takes this beer beyond the lightly spiced and effervescence of a typical saison. There’s still a pleasant amount of carbonation, but the spice is replaced by tart, unsweetened pineapple. Together We Stand is light and refreshing and a fun departure from the expected saison.

Paper Tiger Black IPA (7.1% ABV)
Recently, I have come to really appreciate the complexity in bitterness that a black IPA can bring. You have the obvious bittering from the hops (it is an IPA, after all), but then you get a different kind of bitterness from the black patent malt. The black malt brings a charred quality, the backbone of the chocolate or coffee flavor found in a traditional stout. Ocelot’s black IPA did not disappoint with it’s own complex aroma — there was the char, almost like charred steak, but there was also a cumin-like spice and pine (both likely products of the hops). The flavor, though two-part, was more straightforward — bittering came from both the malt and the hops. This was very drinkable despite its bitterness and its alcohol content. It was also a table favorite.

img_4490I’d recommend any of their beers, but the following two beers may be harder to find outside their tap room. The first is their sour saison, Idle Hands, a 5.1% ABV sour that didn’t overpower. I smelled apple cider vinegar and baking soda before taking my first sip. The flavor that followed was of unsweetened apple cider that transitioned into tart plum in the finish. This beer was a fine balance of sour and drinkability for someone like me who doesn’t love sours.

The second of their smaller batch beers is the barleywine, Trouble Ahead, an 11.5% ABV whale that very well could spell “trouble ahead” if you’re not careful. I got a delightful raisin bread aroma, then a flavor that was equal parts sweet caramel and bitter hops. The clearly high alcohol amount was well hidden by the balanced flavor. Trouble Ahead is one of the more drinkable barleywines I’ve had recently. Talk about rock n’ roll, what’s more rock n’ roll than brewing a January beer in July!?

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Just Listed in Arlington

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — September 4, 2015 at 9:30 am 1,082 0

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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.”

Word on the street among active realtors is that the market has already picked up steam a week earlier than normal.

There has been a mini-surge of showings this week. Usually the fall market picks up right AFTER Labor Day weekend, not BEFORE. The mortgage banking industry this week also reported an 11% increase in the number of mortgage applications.

This could all bode well for a robust fall real estate market as buyers try to lock in contracts before mortgage interest rates start to climb.

In Arlington this week, 59 new listings came on the market while buyers ratified 50 contracts. Inventory remains relatively low. The 30-yr fixed rate mortgage held steady just under 4%.

Listing of the week:  The opulent double penthouse at 1530 Key Blvd (the Atrium Condominium) in Rosslyn listed at $2,695,000.

You can access all active listings in Arlington on the Cathell Team website.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — September 3, 2015 at 3:30 pm 681 0

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Editor’s Note: This biweekly sponsored column is written by Rick Gersten, founder and CEO of Urban Igloo, a rental real estate firm that matches up renters with their ideal apartments, condos or houses. Please submit any questions in the comments section or via email.

Moving to the Metro area requires a lot of decisions. One of the bigger ones is whether or not to bring a car. The area has plenty of transportation options including Metro, buses, taxis and of course biking and walking. If you do decide to bring a car, where do you plan to keep it? Here are some details for parking in the Arlington area.

On-site Parking

If possible, the easiest option is to use your apartment or condo on-site parking. During your apartment search, be sure to ask about the parking fee. Some buildings only allow one space per unit, so be sure to find out if the building meets your requirements before entering in to a lease.

If your building doesn’t offer parking, or if you are living in a house or townhouse without off street parking, there are a few more options.

Permit Street Parking

In some areas of Arlington, residents are eligible to apply for permit parking. To find out if this is an option, go to the Arlington County website and enter your address, and it will tell you if you are eligible to apply for a permit. Your car needs to be registered in Virginia, with a few exceptions for military and students. The fee is $20 per year, and you will also get a FlexPass to use for guests. The permit process can take some time, so you can get a temporary permit while awaiting approval so you can still park in your local zone. Keep in mind, just because you are eligible to apply, it doesn’t mean you automatically receive a permit, as there is a limited amount per zone. Zones have certain time restrictions, and parking in a permit zone during restricted hours risks ticketing and towing.

Parking Garage

If you aren’t eligible for permit parking, monthly parking garages are another option. The website ParkMe can help you find area garages that offer monthly parking. Monthly parking garages are likely the most expensive option. Keep in mind, this may only be a temporary need while waiting for a space in your building or a permit in your neighborhood to become available.

Short Term Parking

In permit areas, residents can either use a FlexPass for their guests or request a short term parking permit with allows parking in zoned areas for three consecutive days.

Of course there’s also parking garages and metered parking available all over Arlington. Some garages are free on the weekends while others are not, so be sure to check before entering.

Check out the Arlington County website for more information on long and short term parking. Be sure to ask your employer and property manager for more information on parking at work and at home.

Have a rental-related question you’d like Rental Report to answer? Email it to [email protected].

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — September 2, 2015 at 1:45 pm 0

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The following weekly column is written and sponsored by Virginia Hospital Center, a proud member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network and one of America’s 100 Top Hospitals for the third year in a row.

(Updated at 4:55 p.m.) Are you prepared for a disaster? Living close to the nation’s capital makes us vulnerable to all sorts of emergency scenarios, both natural and man-made. Remember the earthquake of 2011? Or the derecho that blew through in 2012 and knocked out electricity, cell phones and key services all at once?

There are simple precautions you can take to keep you and your loved ones safe and ready.

The Arlington County Office of Emergency Management recommends the following:

  • Make a personal or family communication plan. Include a list of everybody’s work and cell phone numbers, and designate an out-of-town relative or friend as a point of contact. More information is available on Arlington’s Emergency Management web site.
  • Prepare a 3-day emergency supply kit. Stock it with basics such as water, non-perishable food, a can opener, flashlights, batteries and first-aid essentials. Tailor it to your specific needs, including medications, baby supplies or pet supplies.
  • Save important documents. Gather financial and other important papers in one secure location. For extra protection, save your documents on a flash drive and leave it with a family member or friend.

Taryn Overman, Patient Care Director of the Emergency Department at Virginia Hospital Center, recommends the following to help you prepare for urgent situations that may happen in the home:

  • Take a basic first-aid and CPR course. Virginia Hospital Center and many other community organizations offer first-aid and CPR courses where you can practice your life-saving skills as you train for emergency situations. You can register for a CPR class at Virginia Hospital Center by visiting our Classes & Events page and clicking on the Calendar tab. Upcoming classes are scheduled for Sept. 25, Oct. 2, and Oct. 23.
  • Keep your emergency information in one location and inform your family or friends of the location. This helps you, family or friends locate your information quickly if an urgent situation arises. The information most useful includes copies of your driver’s license, insurance cards, an updated list of home medications and allergies, emergency contact name and phone number, and a list of your physicians.
  • Know the route to your closest emergency department. It is always important to practice the route in case of an emergency. However, if you think you are having a medical emergency that needs urgent attention, call 911.

September is National Preparedness Month. Be informed. Be ready. Sign up for up-to-the-minute alerts from Arlington County’s Office of Emergency Management. Or visit FEMA’s website to learn what to do before, during and after specific emergency situations, such as a flood, fire or tornado.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — September 1, 2015 at 2:30 pm 965 0

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A  column is written by Will Wiard, Arlington-based real estate broker, voted one of Washington’s Best Realtors of 2015 by Washingtonian. Please submit your questions via email.

Q: What does the Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Statement do and whom does it protect?

A: If you’re selling a home in Virginia you are required to provide a signed “Residential Property Disclosure Statement” to the buyer. As noted in an online attachment to the form (not written out in the disclosure itself), the statement notifies the buyer that the seller is not in a position to disclose or speak to any of the conditions of the property. By doing this, the statement essentially puts the responsibility of exploring and understanding the condition of the property in the buyer’s hands.

The signed disclosure form must be provided to the buyer before any contract terms can take effect. If the seller does not provide the statement, the buyer may void the contract.

Buyers Beware

Virginia is referred to as a “buyer beware” state, which means a seller does not have to proactively disclose any problems with the home. This leaves it up to the buyer to find any issues during inspection. Clearly, as a buyer, it’s important to do your due diligence. When choosing your agent, ask him or her about prior experience with qualified home inspectors in the area. A good agent can connect you with a seasoned inspector and offer an extra eye for anything that may cause immediate concern (even prior to inspection).

As a side note, a seller cannot knowingly lie or attempt to hide or cover up a problem. For example, covering a crack in the foundation with rug or putting a large piece of furniture in front of a hole in the wall. In many cases, if a seller does this they could be subject to legal action even after the property closes and deed is transferred.

Some Exceptions

There are some exceptions where the disclosure statement typically is not required. For example, it may not apply in sales between co-owners or between relatives, or in certain tax, bankruptcy, trust and foreclosure sales.

Also, a builder selling new construction is not required to complete the disclosure form. However, the builder/seller does need to provide a written disclosure of any known defects that are in violation of the building code.

Thank you for this week’s question. Please keep them coming to [email protected]. This is also a great place to reach me for anyone looking to buy or sell a home in the Arlington area.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

by Heather Mongilio — August 31, 2015 at 12:00 pm 904 0

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Editor’s Note: 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.

Ginbrew kit (Courtesy of Ginbrew)

Do-it-yourself booze is popular right now and Arlington resident John Quinn is hoping to capitalize on it.

Quinn and his friend Chris Rories are the co-founders of Ginbrew, a company that helps people make their own gin through a DIY gin kit.

“It makes pretty cool gin, and we thought people would be interested in making it themselves,” Quinn said.

Each Ginbrew kit comes with a mason jar, a cheese cloth and three different types of botanical mixtures. To make gin, the customer pours a bottle of vodka in the mason jar, adds one bag of botanicals and gives the mason jar a shake every day for a week.

After a week, the mixture is poured through the cheese cloth in order to remove any of the botanicals. Rories recommends using middle-of-the-shelf vodka like Smirnoff.

“Gin is like flavored vodka. The original flavored vodka,” said Quinn, who also serves as the chief marketing officer for the company.

Rories is currently the mastermind behind each of the mixtures, while Quinn works on marketing and tasting each flavor.

Ginbrew currently sells two kits, both of which cost $29.99. The original Ginbrew kit has a “Liberty 13″ botanical blend, a “Blue Ruin” botanical blend and “Jenevieve” botanical blend. The Liberty 13 is the flagship blend and is a mixture of 13 botanicals, according to the website. The Blue Ruin has a more traditional gin blend and is heavier on the juniper berry and the Jenevieve is more floral, Rories said.

Ginbrew blends (Courtesy of Ginbrew)

The company also has a summer brew kit, which includes a “Gravier Street” blend, which is heavy on the citrus and meant for gin and tonics, and a “Hops Populi,” which makes a hoppy gin with citrus and floral hints, Rories said. The summer kit also comes with a Liberty 13 blend.

Ginbrew is eight months old, but it is already reaching a large customer base, Rories said.

“We’ve seen sales climb pretty steadily since we launched,” he said.

The company has shipped kits to 49 states, as well as to places in Europe, including the United Kingdom and Germany, he said. It has also received positive reviews from Brightest Young Things and a United Kingdom gin review website.


Just Listed in Arlington

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — August 28, 2015 at 8:30 am 1,264 0

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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 real estate market in Arlington finally slowed to a summer pace this week as should be expected the week before some schools in the area start up.

Only 50 properties went under contract this week, while 60 new listings came on the market. Of those new listings, a large proportion are single family homes, a change in the trend lately of mostly condos as new listings. Of those homes that sold, the average list price climbed to $$652,000 and average days on market dropped to 42. The volatile stock market this week prompted a slight drop in mortgage interest rates with the 30-year fixed rate dipping just below 4%.

The listing of the week:  the historic home at 1721 N. Quincy St.

You can access all active listings in Arlington on the Cathell Team website.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — August 27, 2015 at 2:30 pm 393 0

Healthy Paws

Editor’s Note: Healthy Paws is a new column sponsored and written by the owners of Clarendon Animal Care, a full-service, general practice veterinary clinic. The clinic is located 3000 10th Street N., Suite B. and can be reached at 703-997-9776.

So your furry child is about to have a human child to contend with… how do you get your fuzzy companion to adapt and accept this attention-needy kid? How do you come to terms with the fact that try as you might, you really may not be able to play with your cat or walk your dog nearly as much?

Hopefully the tips below will give you something to help the transition and give you a few things to think about when considering human child/fur-child families:

Pregnancy Considerations

  • Research has shown that moms who have pets while pregnant and children exposed to pets from birth to age one have lower risk for certain allergies and asthma!
  • Toxoplasma transmission from cats gets a lot of attention… but Toxoplasma is a very rare disease in indoor cats (especially if your house doesn’t have a rodent problem and you don’t feed your cat a raw-meat diet.) We’ve been asked by pregnant moms about Toxoplasma antibody testing of cats to help determine risk, unfortunately that doesn’t tell us a whole lot about the presence of Toxoplasma in the gut — and is truly a poor test in determining risk of transmission to humans. Likely, a better way is to do several fecal parasite screens during pregnancy to see if the cat is shedding the Toxoplasma cysts in their feces. Additionally, the cysts shed in the feces take 48 hours to become infective — if the litter box is cleaned daily there is almost no risk of transmission. Please note that a pregnant woman is much more likely to get Toxoplasma from undercooked meat and from gardening (secondary to feral or outdoor cats defecating in the garden) than from her indoor cat. Now, we still don’t recommend pregnant women clean out the litter box — but know the real risk of transmission from an indoor cat is very low.
  • Start working with Fido on any behavior training as early as possible! Knowledge of basic commands will be very beneficial once the baby arrives (i.e. sit, stay, and even hand targeting). If you have an anxious or fearful pet, start working with a behaviorist to help address those problems well in advance of your baby’s arrival for a smoother introduction.
  • If your pet currently eats in an area that will be accessible to the child once he/she starts moving around the house, it’s best to move the feeding station ahead of time to an area that will be off-limits to the baby.
  • Cats can also be trained for the impending situation of a human child and creating an environment around the house where the cat can feel safe (i.e. perches, hideaways) will give the cat places to escape to. Move litter boxes out of the way — but not too out of the way — and out of reach of little baby hands!
  • Understand that despite our best efforts to keep up those long walks, attention and bonding time we have with our pet that there probably will be less time for that (and that is okay!). Do the best you can and if possible, try to plan and practice for changes in your routine. If your pet is social, he or she may enjoy going to doggy daycare or having a puppy playdate a few times a week to get out some extra energy.  

Baby’s Almost Here!

  • Getting your pets used to some of the new smells can be helpful. Washing your hands every so often in baby soap, applying a small amount baby powder or baby oil to your skin will help them acclimate to some of the new smells in the house.
  • Getting your pets used to new noises can also be helpful — play recordings of crying, cooing and giggling babies. Use the rocker, play with some of those noisy toys and turn that baby swing on every now and then. Use positive reinforcement for good, calm behavior during these activities.

Bringing the Baby Home – The Introduction

  • If you have a hospital or out-of-home birth, and it’s possible to take a swaddle cloth home to have your pet sniff ahead of time, that is often advisable.
  • If you have a home birth, the choice to keep your pet home with you during labor or have them boarded or stay with a friend/relative is a toss up. You know your pet’s personality best and often the strength and type of human-animal bond that exists between you and your pet is the biggest determinant.
  • A lot of how kids and pets get along together is shaped by how you work with your child to interact with your pet. Start early with appropriate behavior and pet interaction and never leave your child alone or unattended with your pet.
  • Introducing your pet to your baby should be done in a calm, relaxed manner; and positive reinforcement for good behavior goes a long way.
  • Be sure to have a good understanding of dog and cat body language and make sure that you intervene (i.e. remove child) and do not encourage continued interaction when your pet is displaying overt signs of stress.

And for those of you pet owners who don’t have human children — please be sure to enjoy your night’s sleep for us… one of these days our own kids will grow up and sleep all night and maybe even past 6:30 a.m. (at least we hope so!)

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — August 26, 2015 at 2:45 pm 355 0

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The following weekly column is written and sponsored by Virginia Hospital Center, a proud member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network and one of America’s 100 Top Hospitals for the third year in a row.

You want to live a healthier lifestyle, but where do you find the time? Scheduling health improvement activities into an already overbooked day a challenge many people face. But what if your workplace was also your healthy place?

Want some simple strategies to get your office moving toward better health? Cathy Turner, Virginia Hospital Center’s Director of Health Promotion & Senior Health, offers the following tips:

  • At least once an hour, get up from your desk for a few minutes to stretch and step in place
  • Go for a short walk
  • Opt for a bathroom or water cooler on the other side of the building
  • Walk to a colleague’s office instead of calling or emailing
  • Have a walking meeting
  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Pay attention to your meals and snacking and include proteins to fuel your energy needs

Virginia Hospital Center’s innovative HealthWorks program brings the healthy to your office.

HealthWorks collaborates with Fairfax County’s LiveWell program to provide screenings and workshops at multiple locations and events throughout the county. LiveWell Coordinator Amanda Cohill, BS, ACSM EP-C, says her program’s goal is to improve the health and well-being of Fairfax County employees and retirees. “We give them information and tools to make informed decisions about their health. In addition, we offer a variety of programs, events and screenings throughout the year to keep them engaged. Our employees have enjoyed outstanding results thanks to Virginia Hospital Center’s HealthWorks program.”

HealthWorks gives you the tools to feel better, live better and work better, including:

  • On-site health screenings and assessments for blood pressure, body fat, cholesterol, bone density and more, as well as reliable guidance to improve your numbers.
  • Lectures and workshops for stress management, diet and exercise, and women’s and men’s health, tailored to meet the specific needs of you and your coworkers.
  • Multi-session seminars for smoking cessation, weight loss, cholesterol reduction and other chronic medical conditions. Learn practical guidelines to address these conditions before they escalate.
  • Clinically proven information and advice from registered nurses, registered dietitians, fitness professionals and certified health coaches.

Employers! Call 703-558-6740 or email Cathy Turner to learn more about HealthWorks and develop the best program for your organization. “HealthWorks is a great way to enable employers to make a difference in their employees’ lives by creating a corporate culture that promotes healthy living.” Fees are structured for companies large and small, so you can customize how you spend your wellness dollars.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

by Eleanor Greene — August 26, 2015 at 2:00 pm 749 0

This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Pepper, who loves to knock things over.

Pepper has never met a person she doesn’t like — and doesn’t want to cuddle with. This little cat has lots of energy for running laps, too. Here’s what Pepper has to say for herself.

Hi, my name is Pepper! I was named after smart, powerful babe Pepper Potts (who happens to date Iron Man). 

I love eating cottage cheese and knocking over any drinks I come across. I also enjoy running outside whenever the door opens and doing laps in the apartment hallway. I haven’t quite realized what scratching posts are for yet, but I do like to stretch my claws on a nice pair of jeans or the ottoman! 

So far, I’ve never met a human I didn’t like. I am very soft and love to snuggle with you while you watch TV. I follow my human through the house and help her do anything and everything. If she’s home, I’m hardly ever more than an arm’s length away.

Want your pet to be considered for the Arlington Pet of the Week?[email protected] a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet.

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, the winner of three Angie’s List Super Service Awards and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year, provides professional dog walking and pet sitting services in Arlington and Northern Virginia.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — August 25, 2015 at 2:45 pm 0

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A  column is written by Will Wiard, Arlington-based real estate broker, voted one of Washington’s Best Realtors of 2015 by Washingtonian. Please submit your questions via email.

Q: I’m starting a new company and want to know about the steps to take to lease commercial space?

There are many layers to the commercial real estate market. Knowing where to start can be confusing, particularly if this is your first time hunting for the perfect business location and lease. Here are a few things to think about to get you started.

Define what type of property are you looking for. When renting commercial space you’ll need a strong understanding of your ideal space, size and location requirements. Are you heading up an accounting firm and looking for a standard office space with a conference room and private offices? Or are you running a shipping company where you’ll need industrial space with a loading dock? Or are you opening a wine shop and looking for storefront retail in a high-traffic location? Each business type has its own needs. Make sure to think through these specifications and bring them to the table from the very beginning. You may also want to consider whether you are open to exploring a shared space or an incubator. If you’re a small company or start-up, this kind of space can give you the ability to grow with lower overhead than managing a lease on your own.

Ensure your finances are in order. Similar to renting a residential space, an assessment of your finances and income will be conducted by a potential landlord to ensure your financial situation is fit for tenancy. This can help them better gauge your ability to pay on time and stay in the space throughout the term. Many landlords will ask to see a financial statement for your business as part of the initial process. In more competitive markets, a landlord may not consider your company for a space because of a lack of financial history or because your company business model doesn’t fit the space or there are other companies in the same location from the same industry.

Think about your ideal lease term. On average, a commercial lease can be three-to-five years in a lower density market and 10 years or more in a higher density market. In some cases, a tenant can sublet space for a shorter period of time if they take over an existing lease. However, lease terms for a sublet are handled on a case-by-case basis and the types of property can vary greatly.

Discuss your options for rent abatement. Many businesses entering into new lease agreements for commercial space plan to undergo property updates to maximize the use of the space. Rent abatement (i.e., free rent) is often negotiated as a part of these contracts when the business owner plans to make these updates. If you are planning updates, make sure to ask about rent abatement for tenant improvements during your negotiations often listed in a Letter of Intent (LOI). In some cases, a landlord will give a tenant a few months of rent abatement to build out the space or make capital improvements.

Investing the time upfront to define your property preferences and requirements can help you maximize efficiency throughout the process. Finding the right space can be challenging and in some cases it takes months before the right property comes on the market.

I’m hoping some readers will share any additional advice they have in comments.

Thank you for this week’s question. Please keep them coming to [email protected]. This is also a great place to reach me for anyone looking to buy or sell a home in the Arlington area.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

by Heather Mongilio — August 24, 2015 at 12:45 pm 310 0

Startup Monday header

Editor’s Note: 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.

InGo Login Widget (Courtesy of InGo) An Arlington company is using social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, to help increase the amount of attendees at events.

InGo, a company based at 2500 Wilson Blvd in Courthouse, helps bring people to events by analyzing social media activity and finding friends that would also be interested in attending an event. It then gives people the option to invite these friends to the event.

InGo runs a widget on registration pages for events. When someone registers for a large conference or festival, the InGo widget gives people the option to sign up using their Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn profiles.

Once the registration is completed, InGo shows users who else is attending the event, and allows people to filter through the guest list by their social media networks. Then InGo gives a list of friends that would be interested in going and allows users to invite them.

“It is the future of events,” said CEO Michael Barnett. “It is the future of marketing.”

By inviting friends to an event, social media marketing for the event is more personalized instead of “ads and spam,” Barnett said.

“It seemed so natural to say if we’d get people to invite each other, we’ll grow the event,” he said.

InGo has helped grow attendance numbers for multiple events, Barnett said. The company now serves more than 500 events across the globe and works with 18 out of the top 20 event companies in the world. In addition to its Courthouse office, the company also has offices in Milan and London.

InGo Social Widget (Courtesy of InGo)

“One of the things I didn’t think we expected is that we’d have events on every continent as young as we are,” Barnett said.

The idea to start InGo came from companies telling Barnett that they were have trouble getting attendees to come to their events, he said.

“The challenge [for events] is how do I find you? How do I discover you? That’s what we solve,” Barnett said.

Social media was the natural answer for Barnett, and a personal invitation from a friend to attend an event grabs people’s attention more than an email ad or even an ad on Facebook, he said.

“You can imagine if you get an invitation from a friend that says I’d really like to see you. You’re going to pay attention,” Barnett said.

InGo Social Widget (Courtesy of InGo)

Invitations are personalized for each different social media type. A Facbeook invitation would be a post on the attendee’s wall that tagged the friends the person invited. Invitation’s can also be sent through LinkedIn and Twitter, and the social media sites are used based on the event. Twitter is popular with photography events, Facebook is used best with social events and LinkedIn is great for industry conferences, Barnett said.

“The entire system works because it is very genuine,” he said.

The company works with large events with millions of attendees, Barnett said. He has his eye on helping increase attendance at music and film festival South by Southwest.

The event needs more paying attendees, Barnett said, and InGo has a solution for them.

“it’s such an exciting show and a great fit,” Barnett said.

by ARLnow.com — August 24, 2015 at 5:00 am 551 0

Top Shelf Design
Phone:  571-431-6101
Email: [email protected]

When people think of graphic design, they might picture a single person in their basement designing printouts and posters, banners and brochures. But at Top Shelf Design (TSD) in Rosslyn, you’re more likely to see a team of designers and developers sitting at their computers, bouncing ideas off of each other and thinking of solutions to their client’s design problems.

This scene has changed in the past 11 years since the business opened its doors because the company does 70 percent web development work instead of 40 percent, as they did five years ago. Design in 2015 is about staying current and going mobile, says Gregg Hurson, lead developer at TSD.

“What we’re seeing now is we’re seeing a shift towards digital which is universal. We’re seeing that we’re doing digital annual reports and things like that whereas 5 or 7 years ago that would be straight print, straight to the printer,” said Brendan Kiel, founder and CEO of the company. “We’re also seeing clients that, even if they do a print piece, they’re thinking about how they publicize it on the web, and how people access it on the web, and how they market it that way.”

Kiel and his business partner at the time, started the company around Kiel’s kitchen table in 2004, and the business grew rapidly, from six to 65 clients in the first year. Since then, the company has grown to a staff of 10 and has worked on about 7,000 projects for 1,000 clients, president Kathryn Kiel estimates.

Kathryn says that even as the company has transformed and grown, the staff has had a commitment to what they believe are the most important aspects of their company: great design and attentive customer service.

“I know a lot of clients are really scarred from bad past experiences where their designer goes MIA, or never knowing what they’re going to get or when they’re going to get it, or what’s the next step in the process, or they’ve been trying to reach their developer for who-knows-how-long and they can’t, so I think that’s something that sets us apart,” Kiel said.

When she began doing market research, Kiel called ten design firms, asking about pricing and just general information about them. She says she only got one phone call back from one of the firms. That’s when she knew that an emphasis on communication with customers was going to be a big part of TSD.

“I said, ‘Wow, this is going to be easy. Respond to people quickly, give them what they want, make sure that your deadlines are hit and exceeded their expectations,'” Kiel said.

Another way TSD gets inspiration for its customer service is from an employee, Cassie Stewart. Stewart started at the company working in sales and marketing, but had an idea. With lead designers managing their own projects, much of their work time was spent answering clients’ questions.

“We wondered, how much more creative could we be if designers weren’t interrupted by the phone ringing?” Brendan said.

In January, Stewart became a project manager. She is dedicated to managing client’s successful project. She says it gives our designers more time to focus on excellent and innovative design.


by ARLnow.com Sponsor — August 21, 2015 at 2:30 pm 483 0

Weekend Wine and Beer Guide logo

Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church). This column is written by Dominion owner Arash Tafakor.

Spain has one of the most amazing arrays of grape varietals in the world. With over 600 types of wine-making grapes to choose from, Spanish wine makers have an arsenal of choices to make that perfect wine, and Spanish wine comes close to perfection.

Going to your local wine store’s Spanish section could be a bit overwhelming. Spanish wine varietals are confusing even for an expert. Before you get involved in navigating and understanding Spain’s most popular varietals, it is essential that an educated consumer can interpret Spanish labeling terms.

Most Spanish wines are labeled based on how long the wine is aged and the region the wine comes from. If a label has the term joven, this indicates the wine has not been aged in oak. The term crianza means red wines are aged at least two years with a minimum of six months in oak barrels. Reserva means red wines are aged at least three years with a minimum of one year in oak barrels and the term gran reserva means the wines are aged at least five years with a minimum of eighteen months in oak.

The label of Spanish wine will also include the region the wine comes from. Premium wine regions of Spain include Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Priorat, Catalunya, Rias Baixas, Jumilla and many other smaller regions. Here are some of Spain’s most popular grape varietals.

Courtesy of Dominion Wine and Beer
Known as Spain’s most popular red varietal, this is the main grape in Spain’s Rioja region. This grape gives full or medium-bodied reds, with medium acidity, medium tannins and red fruit flavors. One of my favorite Rioja’s that uses predominately tempranillo is the 2010 Muga Rioja Reserva.

This wine has been given over a year of oak aging making it a perfectly smooth balanced wine with powerful fruit flavors. Regions like Toro, Ribera del Duero, and La Mancha also widely use tempranillo in red wines.

Garnacha (Grenache)
Courtesy of Dominion WineGarnacha grapes are large thin-skinned grapes that ripen perfectly in hot, dry climates such as Spain’s. Garnacha wines are full bodied and high in alcohol content. Garnacha typically have red fruit character with spicy notes and a low amount of tannins.

Garnacha is grown in many premium wine-growing regions of Spain such as Calatayud and Aragon. My favorite Garnachas are the 2013 Espelt Garnacha and 2013 Bodegas Borsao Tres Picos. Both retail around 15 dollars and deliver excellent value and quality. If you don’t mind spending more, the 2012 Alto Moncayo Garnacha is a world class Spanish Garnacha.

Monastrell (Mourvedre)
Courtesy of Dominion WineMonastrell is the most significant grape of the region of Jumilla. Typically difficult to grow, Monastrell is a wine with high levels of tannin, high alcohol content and a slight sweetness.

Monastrell’s are typically earthy with hints of herbs and very low level of fruit notes making it a rich savory wine. My favorite Monastrell is the 2012 Juan Gil Monstrell. This wine is aged in French oak for one year making it a perfect wine that balances fruit, alcohol and oak tones.

Courtesy of Dominion Wine One of my favorite white varietals in the world, Albarino is grown in the Riax Baixas region of Spain. Usually un-oaked, this grape variety gives light to medium-bodied wines with fresh green and citrus fruit and refreshing high acidity. Albarino pairs perfectly with any seafood dish as well as on its own for casual consumption.

My favorite Albarino is the 2013 Burgans Albarino. This fruit driven acidic white is light, crisp and extremely food friendly. Excellent alternative to your everyday whites such as Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

by ARLnow.com — August 21, 2015 at 12:30 pm 547 0

The Arlington real estate market continues on its steady march skyward, but there are still some killer deals to be found in this week’s open house listings. And, for the high-end home shopper, you’ll have plenty of options as well.

As always, see our real estate section for a full listing of open houses. Here are a few highlights:

4600FourMile4600 S. Four Mile Run Drive
3 BD / 2 BA Condominium
Agent: Michael Webb, Re/max Allegiance
Listed: $259,000
Open: Sunday from 1-4 p.m.

523 26th road523 26th Street S.
2 BD / 2 BA Duplex
Agent: Dina Gorrell, Redfin Corporation
Listed: $375,000
Open: Sunday from 2-4 p.m.

2819Woodrow2819 Woodrow Street
2 BD / 2.5 BA Condominium
Agent: Suzanne Granoski, Re/max Executives
Listed: $412,000
Open: Sunday from 2-4 p.m.

3409 Wilson3409 Wilson Boulevard
2 BD / 2 BA Condominium
Agent: Ajinder Mann, McWilliams/Ballard Inc.
Listed: $664,900
Open: Sunday from 12-3 p.m.

1610-queen1610 N. Queen Street
1 BD / 1.5 BA Condominium
Agent: Daniel Lesniak, Optime Realty
Listed: $849,900
Open: Sunday from 2-4 p.m.

2368Nelson2368 N. Nelson Street
4 BD / 3 BA Single Family Detached
Agent: Kathryn Loughney, Keller Williams Realty
Listed: $945,900
Open: Sunday from 1-4 p.m.

2344 Taylor2344 N. Taylor Street
4 BD / 4 BA Single Family Detached
Agent: John Seggerman, Weichert Realtors
Listed: $1,125,000
Open: Sunday from 12-3 p.m.

2654 quantico2654 N. Quantico Street
5 BD / 4.5 BA Single Family Detached
Agent: Conor Sullivan, Re/max Distinctive Real Estate
Listed: $1,499,000
Open: Sunday from 1-3 p.m.


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