Arlington, VA

by ARLnow.com June 11, 2019 at 1:00 pm 0

A building in one of the highest foot traffic areas of Rosslyn is getting a big upgrade.

The owner of the Rosslyn Metro Center building at 1700 N. Moore Street announced today that it will be starting construction on a $35 million renovation project later this month. The building, which is next to the Metro station, will also be getting a new food hall and fitness studio.

“As part of this effort, the building’s exterior, lobby and common areas will be totally renovated and will include a state-of-the-art conference facility and flexible work space,” according to a press release. “The addition of new retail, a 30,000 square foot fitness studio with a dedicated outdoor terrace, and the chef-driven destination food hall by Oz Rey housing 12 artisanal food stalls and two lounges that extend onto an outdoor terrace overlooking the streetscape.”

Oz Rey, an Austin, Texas-based “culinary experience company,” plans to fill the dozen food halls with locally-based vendors offering “premium coffee, as well as things like a burger/sandwich concept, Asian stalls, and a fresh seafood purveyor,” the Washington Business Journal reports.

Arlington’s first food hall — a term that essentially refers to an upgraded version of a traditional mall food court, populated by local chefs and vendors instead of chains — opened earlier this year in Ballston and continues to add vendors.

A press release with more on the upgrades to Rosslyn Metro Center, which is now being called Rosslyn City Center, is below, after the jump.

Photos (1 and 2) via American Real Estate Partners, (3) via Google Maps

(more…)

by Michael O'Connell May 20, 2019 at 9:00 am 0

Arlington Agenda is a listing of interesting events for the week ahead in Arlington County. If you’d like to see your event featured, fill out the event submission form.

Also, be sure to check out our event calendar.

Monday, May 20

Bus Transformation Project Open House
GMU Founders Hall (3351 Fairfax Drive)
Time: 4:30-7:30 p.m.

Join us for the Bus Transformation Project open house. Learn about the draft plan for transforming bus, engage with staff, and share your feedback. Come join in the discussion!

1st Time Home Buyer Seminar*
Keri Shull Team (1600 Wilson Blvd, Suite 101)
Time: 6-7:30 p.m.

Topics covered include financing programs, how to avoid double paying a rent and a mortgage, how to calculate your budget the right way and more.

Tuesday, May 21

EcoAction Author Night
Josephine’s Italian Kitchen (2501 Columbia Pike)
Time: 7:30-9:30 p.m.

Join EcoAction Arlington for our first author night! We will feature readings by several local authors, including a few with books just published. Featured authors include Jessica Claire Haney, Rick Hodges, and Nancy Striniste of EarlySpace.

Wednesday, May 22

Death Cafe: Exploring the Subject of Death
Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street)
Time: 2-3:30 p.m.

Columbia Pike Library (816 S. Walter Reed Drive)
Time: 6:30-8 p.m.

Jamie Arthurs from Dignity Memorial and Jane Morrison from Capital Caring will be facilitating two informal group-directed discussions about death and other end of life issues; other than helping people become more comfortable with the topic, there is no particular. Free coffee and sweet treats will be served.

Friday, May 24

Fridays at the Fountain
Crystal City Water Park (1601 Crystal Drive)
Time: 5-9 p.m.

Open every Friday starting in May, Fridays at the Fountain is Crystal City’s seasonal pop-up beer garden set within the Crystal City Water Park, featuring food from The Stand’s rotating lineup of vendors, adult and kid friendly beverage selections, and live music from local bands and musicians.

Saturday, May 25

Learn the Art and Science of Storytelling*
Cafe Sazon (4704 Columbia Pike)
Time: 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Storymasters will help you craft a compelling narrative, inspire others to follow your lead and connect with diverse audiences. Gain feedback from a diverse community and walk away with confidence in your ability to motivate people toward a vision and make meaningful change in the world through storytelling.

*Denotes featured (sponsored) event

by Airey May 7, 2019 at 9:15 am 0

Bird lovers of all feathers can head to Bluemont this weekend for a morning of avian education and exploration.

World Migratory Bird Day Festival” will feature bird walks, games, activities, and free coffee from 9-11 a.m. Saturday at Lacey Woods Park, organizers say. Attendees to the free event are asked to meet at the park’s basketball court near the intersection of Washington Blvd and N. George Mason Drive.

The Wildlife Rescue League will also showcase some of its live feathered friends, including a blue jay named “Snafu.”

Arlington County naturalists Jennifer Soles and Ken Rosenthal are organizing the weekend event. Rosenthal told ARLnow on Monday that festival attendees have a chance to spot interesting birds because several species often flock to Lacey Woods Park, which he described as a “green oasis that will get the birds in.”

Last year, Rosenthal said attendees spotted a blackpoll warbler. These songbirds typically weigh less than an ounce but migrate over 1,800 miles across North America, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and 88% of blackpoll populations have died out in the last half century.

Many other birds that can be spotted in Arlington migrate between North to Central America — such as hummingbirds and osprey.

Soles and Rosenthal say all the printed materials for the event are in English and Spanish, but they are seeking one to two volunteers who can help translate some of the discussions on Saturday into Spanish.

Soles said these migratory birds “live half their lives in Spanish-speaking countries” and hopes that Arlingtonians with roots in Central American countries like El Salvador and Guatemala will attend the event and get a chance to recognize some familiar species.

“We sort of share these birds between us,” said Soles.

by Airey April 29, 2019 at 3:45 pm 0

Arlington Agenda is a listing of interesting events for the week ahead in Arlington County. If you’d like to see your event featured, fill out the event submission form.

Also, be sure to check out our event calendar.

Tuesday, April 30

MONA Private School Fair 2019
Congressional School (3229 Sleepy Hollow Road, Falls Church)
Time: 7-9 p.m.

Mothers of North Arlington (MONA) — a support and social group for mothers — is organizing the a school fair, the 2019 Private School Fair, to give families the opportunity to meet admission representatives from over 40 local PK-12 private schools all together in the same space.

Wednesday, May 1

Trek Women’s Open House
Trek Bicycle Clarendon (2731 Wilson Blvd)
Time: 7-9 p.m.

Open house to for those who identify as women, trans, and/or non-binary to hear from  inspiring cycling advocates, meet awesome new friends, and win incredible prizes, including an FX2 bike. Plus, the first 50 guests will get a special surprise.

Thursday, May 2

Arlington PreK and K Girl Scout Formation Meeting!
Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street)
Time: 5-6 p.m.

Start your Girl Scout adventure in May. Parents, girls and community members are invited to learn about the 107 year-old movement and how your involvement makes Girl Scouting amazing with a meeting at Central Library. Attendees are encouraged to RSVP or reach out for more information.

Rock The Loop Free Concerts
Market Common Clarendon (2800 Clarendon Blvd)
Time: 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Join Market Common Clarendon on Thursday evenings, May through July, for a series of FREE concerts on The Loop from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. Support Homeward Trails Animal Rescue by purchasing beer or wine served by Heritage Brewing Co. during the concerts on The Loop. DreamStreet will be playing this Thursday, followed by Charles Platt next week.

Friday, May 3

Virginia Tech Executive MBA Class Visit
Virginia Tech Research Center (900 N. Glebe Road)
Time: 5:30-9 p.m.

Get a glimpse into the Virginia Tech Executive MBA student experience with a class visit. During the visit, you will sit in on a current Executive MBA class and have the opportunity to engage with our students, faculty, and program staff in a more casual environment. Attendees must register online at least 48 hours before it begins on Friday.

Wakefield High School a month before school startsChicago
Wakefield High School (1325 S. Dinwiddie Street)
Time: 7-9:30 p.m.

The Wakefield Players present the musical “Chicago.” Character Roxie Hart murders her faithless lover and convinces her drab husband, Amos, to take the blame… until he discovers that he’s been two-timed by his wife and turns on her. Charged with a “hanging offense” Roxie and another “Merry Murderess” Velma Kelly vie for the spotlight and the headlines that will bring them fame, fortune, and acquittal.

Courageous Leadership: The 2019 District 27 Spring Conference*
Crowne-Plaza Hotel Crystal City (1480 Crystal Drive)
Time: Friday 5:30-10 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

Sign up to join the conference awarding this year’s recipient with the District 27 Communication and Leadership Award. Attendees can buy individual or table tickets and will be able to hear from speakers working in fields such as consulting and those in Toastmasters leadership. The event also features networking opportunities and a silent auction.

Saturday, May 4

Environmental Collection & Recycling Event (E-CARE)
The N. Quincy St Property (1425 N. Quincy Street)
Time: 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.

Arlington County will hold its biannual Environmental Collection and Recycling Event (E-CARE) this weekend, directly across the street from Washington-Liberty High School and the David M. Brown Planetarium. E-CARE is an event where residents can safely dispose of hazardous household materials (HHM), recycle bikes, small metal items and much more.

Community Shred Event
McEnearney Associates (4720 Lee Highway)
Time: 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

McEnearney Associates welcomes the community for a free shredding event outside of its Lee Highway office. There will be a large truck on site looking forward to seeing you, and available to dispose of papers best shredded instead of thrown away.

Jane’s Walk: Arlington
Arlington Farmers Market (14th Street N. & N. Courthouse Road)
Time: 10-11:30 a.m.

WalkArlington and local landscape architects Ana Quintana and Lan Hogue will host the first inaugural Jane’s Walk in Arlington — a global event to activate the ideas of Jane Jacobs, legendary advocate for neighborhoods, and to support a community-based approach to city building through citizen-led walking tours. Attendees will explore Clarendon and Courthouse during the free event.

Cat Cafe
Columbia Pike Branch Library (816 S. Walter Reed Drive)
Time: 2-4 p.m.

Meet the purrfect addition to your family at the library where attendees will be able to enjoy free coffee and tea, eat sugary treats and play with the cutest adoptable kittens from the Animal Welfare League of Arlington this Saturday. Staff from AWLA will be present to answer cat behavioral questions and adoption advice. Please bring an ID and proof of residence if you plan to adopt on the spot.

Halls Hill-High View Park 2019 Neighborhood Day
High View Park (1945 N. Dinwiddie Street)
Time: 1-5 p.m.

The free neighborhood day is back with moon bounces, face painting, food truck, prizes, raffles, Zumba, games, music, and more this year. The event will provide feature water, toys, and games for K-9 family member(s). The price of attendance is a box of cereal that event organizers will provide to the Arlington Food Assistance Center.

National Chamber Ensemble – The Contemporaries*
Gunston Arts Center (2700 S. Lang Street)
Time: 7:30-9:30 p.m.

Music and dance unite as NCE and Bowen McCauley Dance premiere another exciting creation set to the music of Igor Stravinsky and the stunning choreography of Lucy Bowen McCauley. The event is a multimedia project for violin, cello, piano and computer that evokes the Disco Era and the music of the pop/rock group Queen.

May the 4th | an outer space dance party
Reagan National Airport (2401 Smith Blvd)
Time: 7-11:30 p.m.

On Saturday, May the 4th, also known as Star Wars Day, Scorpio Entertainment will transform the historic Reagan National Airport Terminal A Lobby into a spaceship-inspired cosmic dance party, featuring an open bar, live entertainment, views of the runway, glow wear for all guests, social media projection wall, galactic light show, and “a few other surprises” that may include a real-life Sharknado moment.

Sunday, May 5

LWV-Arl Co-sponsors State Senator Dist. 51 Candidate Debate 
Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street)
Time: 3:15-5:00 p.m.

The League of Women Voters of Arlington along with the Nu Xi Zeta Chapter, Alexandria and the AAUW Arlington Branch is sponsoring a debate between state senate candidates Nicole Merlene and Barbara Favola. This is an opportunity to meet and question the candidates and learn their positions on important issues. Tickets are free with online registration.

*Denotes featured (sponsored) event

by Airey April 8, 2019 at 5:30 pm 1 Comment

Arlington Agenda is a listing of interesting events for the week ahead in Arlington County. If you’d like to see your event featured, fill out the event submission form.

Also, be sure to check out our event calendar.

Monday, April 8

Galaxy HutGalaxy Hut Comedy Night
Galaxy Hut (2711 Wilson Blvd)
Time: 8:30-10:30 p.m.

Reid Clark is hosting a comedy night at the Galaxy Hut featuring performances by Rob Coffee, Shop Kelly, Fernando Madrigal, Sid Reynolds, and Alex Starr. Tickets cost $5.

Tuesday, April 9

The Climate Crisis: Impacts and Solutions
George Mason University (3351 Fairfax Drive)
Time: 7-9 p.m.

Former Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette will give a presentation on climate change, following by panel discussion about climate crisis and what Arlington is doing about it.

Wednesday, April 10

French Students Choral Concert*
Clarendon United Methodist Church (606 N. Irving Street)
Time: 7-8:30 p.m.

Arlington’s sister city of Reims, France performs in the county as the last stop on a three week tour. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children under 16 and can be purchased online.

#MeToo: Being Men — Raising Men
Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street)
Time: 7-8:30 p.m.

Join County Board Members and Male Community Leaders (teachers, coaches, veterans, fathers, students and more) for a panel discussion about healthy masculinity and sexual assault.

Arlington Committee of 100’s: E-Scooters, Dockless bikes
Marymount University  (2807 N. Glebe Road)
Time: 7-9 p.m.

The Committee will hold a discussion on the benefits and downsides of e-scooters and dockless bikes. The Meet & Greet begins at 7pm, dinner at 7:30.

Thursday, April 11

Mother2Mother Presents Songs of Hope
Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse  (2903 Columbia Pike)
Time: 6:30-10 p.m.

The Cabaret-style show with pop, jazz, and broadway music advocates for at-risk women and children and raises funds for The DC Children’s Advocacy Center.

Friday, April 12

Saint Agnes Lenten Fish Fry*
St. Agnes Catholic Church (1910 N. Randolph Street)
Time: 5:30-7 p.m.

The church’s annual Lent fish fry returns with plenty of fish, sides and drinks for everyone. Families are invited, and anyone looking to attend the dinner event can RSVP online.

Mister Days’ Last Days
Mister Days (3100 Clarendon Blvd)
Time: All day

Clarendon’s longtime sports bar Mister Days invites the public to help celebrate its last night open after 43 years in business. Owner Robert Lee told ARLnow last week he’s retiring.

Saturday, April 13

Arlington Arts Festival (Photo via event website)

7th Annual Arlington Festival of the Arts 
3003 Washington Blvd
Time: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday

Admission is free to the 7th annual Arlington Festival of the Arts which will feature works of art from pottery to paintings by over 100 artists this weekend.

Trail Cleanup on the W&OD
Barcroft Sports & Fitness Center (4200 S. Four Mile Run Drive)
Time: 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Volunteers are cleaning litter from the side of the W&OD Trail between Barcroft Sports & Fitness Center and Columbia Pike. Refreshments, water, and trash bags are available.

*Denotes featured (sponsored) event

by Vernon Miles March 25, 2019 at 12:45 pm 0

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.comStartup 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.

(Updated 1:45 p.m.) Most people don’t spend a lot of time thinking about refinancing their car, which is why Ballston-based startup MotoRefi aims to make it as simple and painless as possible.

The company claims to save customers an average of $100 per month on car refinancing. MotoRefi works with credit agencies to take improvements in people’s credit score and other factors into account when it comes to car payments.

“A car is the most expensive purchase many people make, outside of their home,” said Kevin Bennett, CEO of MotoRefi. “Unfortunately, most people are driving around in cars with payments that are too high and are at risk of unexpected car expenses that could derail their finances.”

Bennett said reducing the amount people spend every month on car payments helps MotoRefi customers build better financial protection and save up to pay off student loans or other debts.

“We also reduce the risk that people will face a large unexpected out-of-pocket car expense, which is important because people have enough economic anxiety and risk in their lives,” Bennett said. “We help ensure that your car is an asset to your life, not a liability.”

According to Bennett, traditional refinancing can be confusing and lacks transparency. The process starts obligation free, with offers from lenders visible with no social security number required and no impact on a credit score.

If the customer chooses to go through with the refinancing, MotoRefi charges a $399 fee to cover the costs of processing documents and retitling vehicles, which is included in the refinanced loan amount.

Moving forward, the company is looking into platform expansions on the technology and analytics sides, as well as expanding into new markets and growing the local team. Bennett made sure to note that the company is currently hiring.

The company started in 2017 out of an office in Alexandria but moved to Ballston in 2018.

“We moved [to Ballston] because of its central location, the region’s impressive workforce and technical talent, proximity to the metro and the great restaurants and coffee shops the Ballston’s redevelopment has brought to the neighborhood,” Bennett said. “We’ve got a Philz Coffee, Sweet Green, Cava and a ton of other destinations our team loves. And we’re working on a sweet new HQ in the neighborhood, so stay tuned for more to come on that.”

Photo courtesy MotoRefi

by Alex Koma December 10, 2018 at 3:45 pm 0

Arlington Agenda is a listing of interesting events for the week ahead in Arlington County. If you’d like to see your event featured, fill out the event submission form.

Also, be sure to check out our event calendar.

Tuesday, Dec. 11

Electric Scooter Safety
Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street)
Time: 7-9 p.m.

With more and more dockless electric scooters popping up on the streets of Arlington, join Lime to learn the basics of safe scooter riding and test drive one of their dockless electric scooters in the library auditorium.

Wednesday, Dec. 12

Arlington Community Chorus Winter Concert
Kenmore Middle School (200 S. Carlin Springs Road)
Time: 7:30-8:30 p.m.

Celebrate the season with the Arlington Community Chorus at its concert, “Wintertide.” Directed by Melodie Henderson and accompanied by Laura Lindsay, the group will perform a wintery mix of songs, including the always crowd-pleasing “Winter Wonderland” and “Sleigh Ride.”

Thursday, Dec. 13

Amazon and Arlington with Real Estate Agent Natalie Vaughan
Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street)
Time: 7-8:30 p.m.

Join Natalie Vaughan, associate broker at Compass Real Estate, to explore the “Amazon Effect.” Vaughan will discuss the possible implications of Amazon’s HQ2 (well, half of it anyway) for the region’s housing market: Will prices soar? Will rents skyrocket?

Friday, Dec. 14

Creative Coffee: Destress Doodles
Connection: Crystal City Library (2100 Crystal Drive)
Time: 11 a.m.-12 p.m.

Bring your favorite art materials, sketchbook, and a cup of coffee or tea. Play with ‘Zentangles’ and learn how to draw away the frustration of the holidays. This program is designed for adults, but art-loving mature high schoolers are also welcome.

Saturday, Dec. 15

Virginia Bronze Handbells – The First Noel*
Clarendon UMC (606 N. Irving Street)
Time: 7-8:30 p.m.

The Virginia Bronze handbell ensemble will present a holiday concert, The First Noel. Tickets are available online at vabronze.org. Advance tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and children. At the door, tickets are $15 for all ages.

National Chamber Ensemble – Holiday Time Warp*
Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington (4444 Arlington Blvd)
Time: 7:30-9:30 p.m.

NCE’s holiday concert will bring classical masterpieces and holiday favorites from the Baroque to the present together on one program for all. The concert concludes with a carols sing-along led by beloved tenor and media personality Patrick D. McCoy.

Sunday, Dec. 16

Equality Virginia: Transgender Advocacy Speakers Bureau
Congregation Etz Hayim (2920 Arlington Blvd)
Time: 10:15 a.m.-11:45 a.m.

Engage in dialogue with a member of the Transgender Advocacy Speakers Bureau. The speaker will help listeners build a better understanding of transgender life experiences through storytelling and open, candid discussion.

*Denotes featured (sponsored) event

by Alex Koma October 1, 2018 at 9:45 am 0

Ballston Quarter is now set to feature a full complement of restaurants with outdoor patios in the new development’s plaza, despite some reticence from Arlington planning staff.

The newly renovated Ballston Common mall now has the county’s go-ahead to welcome six restaurants with outdoor seating areas to its west plaza, along Wilson Blvd, after the County Board unanimously approved some permit changes at a meeting last Tuesday (Sept. 25).

The following restaurants will now be able to welcome outdoor diners to the plaza:

The decision to allow the full range of patios, however, ran counter to the recommendation of county staff. They raised concerns that one set of outdoor seating, located to the left of plaza when seen from Wilson Blvd, would be particularly disruptive to people walking through the development.

“It’s essentially a further privatization of the public space in the public plaza,” Adam Watson, a staffer in the county’s planning division, told the Board. “It obstructs public access and circulation.”

Evan Pritchard, an attorney for Ballston Quarter developer Forest City, argued that the full range of outdoor seating is a “key ingredient of the plaza area” and dismissed concerns that it would somehow impede the flow of pedestrians through the development.

“Most people heading to Ballston Quarter will never encounter the plaza unless they want to,” Pritchard said, pointing out that most visitors will access the development either via a pedestrian bridge connecting to the area’s Metro station or through the mall’s entrances on Wilson Blvd and N. Glebe Road.

The plaza itself is designed for outdoor events, and will connect to the development’s new “food hall,” Pritchard added.

Board members were persuaded by that line of thinking, with John Vihstadt observing that “the plaza is a destination, not a conduit.”

“A destination is most attractive when it’s busy and energized, not empty and desolate,” Vihstadt said.

County staff compared Ballston Quarter’s plaza to Rosslyn’s Central Place, just across from the area’s Metro station, which is a heavily trafficked open space between several large skyscrapers. But Board member Erik Gutshall didn’t view that as an apt comparison, arguing that the plaza is “not a streetscape where we’re trying to manage competing needs” as it won’t sit on Wilson Blvd itself.

“I have confidence that Forest City will be able to manage this place to everyone’s benefit,” Gutshall said.

The Board also laid the groundwork for approving another change to the plaza sought by the developer: the addition of two large LED “media screens” above the plaza.

Forest City initially planned to withdraw its request for a permit for the screens, after Pritchard discovered that they might be a bit too far off the ground to meet the county’s zoning rules. Instead, the Board pushed off consideration of the matter until December, giving members time to tweak the ordinance and allow the new screens to move forward.

Ballston Quarter is currently slated to open in late October, after a brief delay, though Forest City expects its restaurants and retailers to open on a rolling basis over the coming months.

by ARLnow.com July 31, 2018 at 8:45 am 0

Amazon Hiring Local ‘Economic Development Manager’ — Amazon is hiring for a new position of economic development manager in the D.C. area, though the company says the position is not connected to its HQ2 search. Per the Business Journal: “Responsibilities would include working on site selection, ‘new corporate initiatives, site expansion plans and requirements,’ and working with ‘state and community economic development, workforce and labor, taxation, and other key government agency officials, as well as chambers of commerce, utilities, and other key public/private stakeholder groups.'” [Washington Business Journal, Amazon]

New Food Hall Coming to Rosslyn — The team behind Chasin’ Tails seafood restaurant in East Falls Church is planning a new 5,000-square-foot Asian food hall, dubbed “Happy Endings Eatery,” at Rosslyn’s Central Place complex. Among the expected offerings will be Vietnamese food like summer rolls, noodle bowls and banh mi sandwiches; bubble teas; and Vietnamese coffee. [Washington Business Journal]

GW Parkway Traffic Woes — The kickoff of a new construction project caused bumper-to-bumper traffic on the GW Parkway yesterday. The project to repair the bridge over Windy Run is taking away one lane in each direction. Work is expected to last through early fall. [WJLA]

Free Food in Rosslyn Today — To celebrate the opening of its new U.S. headquarters in Rosslyn, Nestlé is planning to give away free food, drinks and ice cream at Central Place Plaza from 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. today. [Twitter]

Dying Dog Becomes Internet Star — “The saying goes: ‘Every dog has his day.’ That day has come for Smoke the hound, now featured in a viral video as he scratches off items on his bucket list. Smoke recently arrived at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington with terminal cancer. Now, the animal shelter is making every moment count.” [WJLA]

Photo courtesy Jeremy Galliani

by Alex Koma June 11, 2018 at 3:45 pm 0

Last week, we asked the two candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for Arlington County Board to write a sub-750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them in tomorrow’s primary. 

Here is the unedited response from Chanda Choun:

Hello!  I am Mr. Chanda Choun (pronounced CHAHN-duh CHOON), a resident of central Arlington. I work as a senior business manager and engineering leader for a cybersecurity tech company. I am also a part-time Army Reserve soldier assigned to the United States Cyber Command. My community involvement stretches across the County from civic associations to faith ministries to business groups to service organizations.

I came to America as a little child from war-torn Southeast Asia and grew up poor in a small Connecticut town. Regardless of challenging circumstances, duty compelled me do whatever needed to be done to succeed and serve my family, faith, and country.  Now, I want to serve you on the Arlington County Board.

So what am I going to do for Arlington? My governing platform can be summed up in three missions: Economic Development, Social Advancement, and Political Leadership.

Economic Development is #1. We need more money. Due to our 20% commercial office vacancy rate, there was a $20 million shortfall in our county government budget this year. Next year, taxes and fees may be further raised on businesses and residents. More cuts may be made to programs and services such as parks, roads, and schools. My goals are to attract new businesses, retain and grow existing businesses, and thus ultimately provide more job options and pay for all Arlington workers while lowering tax burdens on residents.

Big businesses fill our tall buildings and provide thousands of jobs along our transit corridors. I have worked with and in corporations managing multimillion dollar projects and will coordinate between civic and economic organizations to win large tenants.

The downsizing of federal agency and military buildings the last decade resulted in Arlington losing millions of square footage of occupied office space. But now the US Defense budget has been increased by $100 billion.  I will leverage my military/business experience and understanding of government procurement to guide these dollars back into Arlington.

We cannot forget small businesses. I started my career as a roadside diner dish boy and coffee shop coffee boy. Let’s keep local government processes from overwhelming business owners and managers with paperwork and paranoia. For example, Arlington did not allow online payment of building permits until this year! Small shops also keep neighborhoods distinct and memorable; some even call funky. As a civic leader, I will push for Arlingtonians, especially young people, to turn their gaze away from DC and patronize great places and people right in their backyard.

Social advancement is the second mission of my campaign. I want everybody to have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Education is foundational to creating a better self and society. My goals are to find the material and monetary resources needed to accommodate our rapidly growing student population, recruit and retain high quality educators, and create better outcomes in life for all children.

Housing is next. Our opportunities are limited when the cost of living takes too much of a person’s paycheck. My approach to making housing more affordable is by increasing supply and lowering demand. There are parts of Arlington right now where denser, lower cost housing cannot be built due to outdated zoning regulations. Let’s explore zoning modifications and exceptions in our county’s General Land Use Plan. To lower housing demand, encouraging employers to allow telecommuting (work from home) and expanding Metro deeper into Virginia will alleviate population pressures that are concentrating so many people in our part of the Commonwealth.

Civic identity is key to pride in person and place. Symbolizing Arlington as the North Star of Virginia will give people an easy to remember visual to recognize and communicate to others. As more people proudly identify themselves as Arlingtonians, we can grow an engaged community that brings crowds to civic groups and local service organizations.

Political leadership is the third mission of my campaign. Arlington and its leaders need to elevate our profile, our model, and our values to the rest of America. As your County Board Member, I will be an ever present and highly known servant leader to Arlington’s quarter million people. I will present Arlington to the rest of Virginia as a visionary, well-planned urban county to be emulated when it comes to smart growth and high quality of life. I will present our County Board to the Nation as a model of caring, intelligent leadership shining across the Potomac River against the corruption and negativity in Washington DC. Arlington can be the North Star of Virginia… and America.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor May 9, 2018 at 11:45 am 0

This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

Shopping local took on a new flavor over the holidays with Made in Arlington items featured on the shelves of the Plaza Shop in the Courthouse branch of Arlington Public Library.

Underscoring local talent and unique products, the initiative took shape as a new partnership between Arlington Economic Development and Arlington Public Library. What had been a steady source for Arlington logo decorated accessories, the offerings now began to reflect the makers and artisans calling Arlington home.

Patrons stopped in to find a book and were now greeted by an emporium of individually made chocolates, handmade textiles, locally roasted coffee, home accessories made from Arlington fallen wood, 3D printed puzzles and artist designed t-shirts.

While you’ll still find locally made items central to the shop, a new array of weekly pop-ups will be appearing in the lobby of 2100 Clarendon Blvd. for five weeks this summer.

Starting Thursday June 28, from 12-3 p.m., individual Made in Arlington vendors will be on hand to sell unique items, talk about their craft and sometimes have an edible sample!

Interested in being part of Made in Arlington or having a featured time in the lobby pop-ups? New vendors are welcome to apply and should contact AED for more information.

Supporting entrepreneurs, small businesses and creatives is all part of Arlington’s creative economy initiative. With the resources and partner relationships developed within the public sector and with private sector business, growth of these endeavors is an important part of business diversity and economic sustainability.

Check here for ongoing Creative Economy listings and opportunities. More Creative economy stories on the blog.

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