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by Andrew Ramonas — February 9, 2016 at 2:15 pm 0

Walkway to Ballston Common Mall (photo by m01229)

Plans for a revamped pedestrian walkway over Wilson Boulevard in Ballston are up for discussion tonight.

Arlington County is scheduled to host a community meeting on the redesign of the pedestrian bridge at Ballston Common Mall (4328 Wilson Blvd) from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The gathering is slated to happen in the mall’s second floor retail area across from the Payless shoe store.

Attendees will have the opportunity to meet the walkway’s designer and give feedback on the project.

A new bridge is part of a $317 million plan to redevelop the mall, which is being rebranded as Ballston Quarter. The walkway provides an elevated, indoor pathway to the Ballston Metro station.

Final plans for bridge are expected to go to the county manager for consideration in late June.

Flickr photo by m01229

by ARLnow.com — February 2, 2016 at 1:55 pm 0

(Updated at 3:20 p.m.) A long-time convenience store and deli has closed in Ballston.

Richmond Market & Deli, on 9th Street N. between N. Randolph and Stafford Streets, apparently shut down last month. A sign in the window says “business closed down… enquiries welcome.”

It’s unclear why the store closed nor what will replace it.

Photos courtesy Bill Colton

by ARLnow.com — February 1, 2016 at 3:05 pm 0

Police car lightsA middle-aged man with “long white hair in a ponytail” exposed himself to a woman near the Ballston Metro station around 8:40 p.m. on Friday.

Police say the man was urinating in public on the 4200 block of N. Fairfax Drive when he exposed himself to a woman who was walking by.

From a police crime report:

INDECENT EXPOSURE, 160129020, 4200 block of N. Fairfax Drive. At approximately 8:40 p.m. on January 29, an unknown male subject was seen urinating in public and then exposed his genitals to a female victim. The subject is described as a white male in his 50’s-60’s, with long white hair in a ponytail. He was wearing a Washington Redskins baseball cap, blue quilted vest, white undershirt, and blue jeans.

by ARLnow.com — January 11, 2016 at 1:15 pm 0

It didn’t take long for the Exxon station at the corner of N. Glebe Road and Carlin Springs Road to close following the Arlington County Board’s approval of a new apartment development in October.

The station is now shuttered and surrounded by a fence, as is the adjacent Prestige Certified Motors dealership (which moved to 7700 Lee Highway in Falls Church) and a surface parking lot once used by Macy’s. The block-long parcel of land is located across from Ballston Common Mall.

To be built on the parcel: a six-story, 173-unit apartment building dubbed 672 Flats. The building will include two ground floor retail spaces, an underground parking garage with 177 spaces and 70 bicycle parking spots.

No word yet on a construction timeline. Developer Penrose Group has completed a number of other projects around Arlington, including Pike 3400 on Columbia Pike, the Latitude Apartments in Virginia Square and the Residence Inn in Courthouse.

by ARLnow.com — January 7, 2016 at 4:45 pm 0

The Superbarber shop in Ballston has closed.

Located across the street from Ballston Common Mall, at 850 N. Randolph Street, the barber shop had a loyal client base and generally positive reviews.

“Looks like they cleared out over the holiday weekend,” said reader David J., in an email. “They were there for a while, and were a neighborhood staple.”

The shop has closed for good, but a sign in the window did not specify why.

Photos by Justin Funkhouser

by Jennifer Currier — January 6, 2016 at 4:30 pm 0

A Total Wine store is coming to Ballston.

The chain booze outlet, to be located at 800 N. Glebe Road near Mussel Bar, has applied for a Virginia ABC license to offer wine and beer for sale along with beer keg sales and delivery.

Though the Bethesda-based national retailer has locations in surrounding Alexandria, McLean, Fairfax and Springfield, this will be the first Total Wine location to open in Arlington.

A representative from the company — known as “America’s Wine Superstore” — confirmed the Glebe storefront is in the early stages of opening.

There appears to be no activity yet inside the space, and the representative could not provide an approximate date of when they hope to open the store.

Hat tip to ARLnow commenter Dean

by Jennifer Currier — January 5, 2016 at 1:30 pm 0

Rosslyn Metro by BrianMKA

Yesterday’s evening commute for Ballston resident Andrea Gagliardi was following the normal routine, until she found herself helping a disabled man find his way home.

The man — who Gagliardi described as approximately 50 years old, mute and mentally disabled — was being helped by another woman when she arrived at the Courthouse Metro station. That woman was visibly upset, saying someone had dropped him off at the station, leaving him to figure out how to get to an address written on the back of a business card.

“I couldn’t believe someone had just left him,” Gagliardi told ARLnow.com this morning. “The other woman was truly an angel for finding him and initiating the help because I might not have noticed him if she hadn’t called me over.”

The woman asked Gagliardi if she recognized the address. Though she didn’t, she thought she recognized the ZIP code and confirmed it was also in Ballston.

“I offered to take him on the train since I was going that direction, hoping there would be police at my station,” she said. “I wasn’t going to try and take him to the address. It could’ve been any place that wasn’t safe for him or me to be.”

“I didn’t feel threatened by the man at all,” Gagliardi added. “He was pleasant and friendly throughout the trip. I just think he was embarrassed, so I kept ensuring him we would figure it out together.”

Gagliardi was surprised to find a lack of police presence at the Ballston station and decided to get the attention of the station manager, who at first thought the man couldn’t speak English. Once he realized the man couldn’t speak at all, that’s when Gagliardi said he understood the gravity of the situation and Metro officials took over.

“The manager led him away from the crowds, so I left the station looking for a police officer, but no such luck,” she said. “I knew I had done the right thing, but I started feeling guilty thinking I should’ve stayed and made sure he was okay. If I could do it again, I would’ve stayed.”

The incident Monday was the third time in a little over the year Gagliardi has come to the assistance of someone in need at an Arlington Metro station. The first was an intoxicated man who almost fell onto the tracks, and last month a woman was stuck on an elevator.

“At first I thought why does this always happen to me,” she said. “But in each of the three scenarios I’ve been involved in, there have been other people also helping.”

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — December 15, 2015 at 9:30 am 0

Children and parents gather around Santa and his fire truck in Fairlington

Local Man Wins ‘Ultimate Fighter’ — Arlington native Ryan Hall has captured the Ultimate Fighter title for his weight class after soundly defeating Artem Lobov in the Octagon on national television Friday. [Fox Sports]

New Ballston Apartments Rent Quickly — Less than a year after it opened, The Maxwell, a 163-unit luxury apartment building on N. Glebe Road in Ballston, is now 93 percent leased. [PR Newswire, Multifamily Biz]

County: Don’t Worry About Orange Tubes — Arlington County is telling residents not to worry about the orange plastic tubes they may see sprouting from the ground. The tubes are not part of a nefarious terrorist plot, they’re conduits for Arlington’s upgraded fiber optic traffic signal system. [Arlington County]

Local Nonspeaking Youth Present at Conference — Three nonspeaking Arlington students gave 10 minute TED-style talks at a disability advocacy conference in Portland, Oregon earlier this month. [Growing Kids Therapy Center]

Pet Photo Contest Cancelled — Our Dress Your Pet Like a James Bond Character photo contest has been cancelled. The contest was to promote a James Bond-themed New Years Eve event in Ballston that has since been cancelled due to a regulatory issue. Those who have already submitted photos for the contest will be contacted soon and given a consolation prize.

by ARLnow.com — December 14, 2015 at 11:15 am 0

Rendering of 4000 Fairfax Drive (Carpool redevelopment)A new 22-story apartment building is slated to replace Ballston watering hole Carpool.

The Arlington County Board on Saturday unanimously approved a site plan amendment for a distinctive new glass-and-metal residential tower, with 330 apartment units, at 4000 Fairfax Drive. It will replace Carpool and its low-rise, 1960s era building.

“Ballston is in the midst of an important transformation that is bringing more housing and retail to the neighborhood along with new public gathering spaces,” County Board Chair Mary Hynes said in a statement. “This redevelopment will add housing within walking distance of two Metro stations, provide important community benefits and help reinvigorate the neighborhood.”

The new building will include a publicly accessible courtyard with a water feature, 8,000 square feet of ground floor retail space, a rooftop deck and pool, and 264 underground parking space.

Community benefits secured by the county include $2.2 million for the Arlington’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund, $75,000 for public art, $32,100 for utility undergrounding, sidewalk and streetscape improvements, $350,000 for traffic signal improvements on Fairfax Drive and LEED Gold sustainability certification.

The recently-renovated Webb Building, a 10-story office building next to the new apartment tower, will remain, for now. It is slated to be redeveloped into more apartments as part of a second phase of the project in about 10 years.

The next step in the project is for the developers to exercise their contractual option to purchase the Carpool site. No word yet on when Carpool might serve its last beers.

by ARLnow.com — December 9, 2015 at 9:50 am 0

Ashton Heights house brightly decorated for Christmas (Flickr pool photo by Doug Duvall)

Price Dip for Orange Line Homes in 2016? — Houses and condos along the Orange Line in Arlington’s 22201 Zip code appreciated in value by double digits this year. But a dip in prices around the Clarendon and Ballston areas may be ahead in 2016, according to an analytics firm. [Washington Post]

Marymount Farmers Market Proposed — A farmers market has been proposed for Marymount University. This weekend, the Arlington County Board is expected to defer consideration of a use permit for the market until February due to “zoning-related issues.” [Arlington County, InsideNova]

Foggy Morning in Arlington — Updated at 10:50 a.m. — D.C. and much of Northern Virginia, including Arlington, are under a dense fog advisory through 1 p.m. Earlier this morning, the FAA was reporting departure delays between 31 and 45 minutes at Reagan National Airport due to low clouds. [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Doug Duvall

by ARLnow.com — December 1, 2015 at 9:55 am 0

Puddle runner (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

Shirlington Tree Lighting Rescheduled — Due to rain, the Shirlington tree lighting event scheduled for tonight has been rescheduled. The holiday event is now set for Monday, Dec. 7 from 6-8:30 p.m. [Facebook]

Yona Now Open in Ballston — New ramen restaurant Yona opened for lunch yesterday in Ballston, attracting a “packed house” for $15 bowls of ramen. The restaurant, at 4000 Wilson Blvd, plans to start serving dinner on Friday. [Yona, Twitter]

Pothole Attracts Attention of Pentagon Police — A pothole on a stretch of roadway near the Pentagon attracted the attention of security forces after at least three cars became disabled due to running over it. Pentagon police are sent to investigate any time a vehicle stops on the site of the highway in view of the building. In 2010 a man fired shots at the Pentagon from his car on the side of I-395. [WTOP]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

by Jennifer Currier — November 24, 2015 at 10:00 am 0

A casual ramen and Asian small plates restaurant is set to open in Ballston next week.

Yona will open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. starting next Monday. It will also serve dinner beginning the following Friday, Dec. 4.

The new restaurant is owned by former “Top Chef” contestant Mike Isabella, who also owns two other Arlington establishments, Kapnos Taverna and Pepita. All three businesses opened this year in the same building, at 4000 Wilson blvd.

Unlike his other two eateries, Isabella won’t be the brain behind the food at Yona. That job is for Chef Jonah Kim.

“Yona is going to be more than just a way for Jonah to show off his mastery of Japanese and Korean flavors,” Isabella said in a statement. “We are creating a concept unlike anything in Northern Virginia. Ramen may be a humble dish, but it’s one that pays back the care and attention to detail a great chef can put into it.”

The menu Kim created features a handful of ramen options, but it also features several small plates and raw dishes, including fluke and smoked hamachi.

Kim said he thinks these items will complement each other well and bring something unexpected to the restaurant.

“There’s something about a truly substantial, warm bowl of soup that people don’t expect from a ramen place,” Kim said. “That’s still the focal point, but I think guests will be surprised by a non-traditional approach to it, especially with the cold dishes on the menu.”

A full drink menu will also be available, offering sake, cocktails, beer and wine.

The space itself can seat approximately 50 people at both communal and private tables. It also has an open kitchen and interior and exterior decorations inspired by Japanese and Korean influences.

Yona will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

by ARLnow.com — November 23, 2015 at 9:00 am 0

D.C. monuments seen during sunset from Arlington (Flickr pool photo by Brian Allen)

Huge Apartment Building Proposed for Ballston — A Bethesda-based developer is proposing a huge new apartment building on the western side of the intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Glebe Road in Ballston. The building would feature 483 apartments, 760 underground parking spaces and 68,000 square feet of retail including a grocery store. The nearby Bluemont Civic Association has expressed concern about the proposal, including the potential impact of traffic from the grocery store. [Washington Business Journal]

Mall Worker Accused of Stealing Dozens of Shoes — A maintenance worker at the Pentagon City mall has been arrested and accused of stealing at least 77 pairs of shoes and boots and 9 purses. Police say surveillance footage shows Michael Meza-Guevara unsuccessfully trying to disable surveillance cameras. [NBC Washington]

Arlington Tops Regional Teacher Pay List — Arlington Public Schools offer the highest average teacher pay in suburban D.C. The average teacher salary in Arlington was $78,002 a year, compared to $76,029 for Montgomery County, which ranked third. [WTOP]

Editorial Supports I-66 Toll Plan, Widening — A new Washington Post editorial supports Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s plan for adding tolls to I-66. The editorial also supports widening the highway: “The right policy response to the I-66 mess, in addition to promoting mass transit, is to widen the road. Unfortunately, that’s been blocked by Arlington County, whose hostility from the outset is why the road was designed to narrow to four lanes inside the Beltway (from six outside).” [Washington Post]

Freezing Temperatures This Morning — Temperatures reached the freezing mark, dropping down to 32 degrees for the first time this season. The average first freeze in Arlington occurs on Nov. 18. [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Brian Allen

by Jennifer Currier — November 18, 2015 at 11:15 am 0

The Arlington County Board unanimously approved the redevelopment of Ballston Common Mall at its meeting last night.

In its approval of the project — which is now referred to as Ballston Quarter — the Board also entered a Letter of Intent to pursue a public-private partnership with Forest City Enterprises, the company that currently owns and operates the mall and is spearheading the redevelopment effort.

“This is an important, exciting redevelopment in the heart of Ballston,” Board Chair Mary Hynes said in a statement. “The long-term benefits of a revitalized Ballston Quarter warrant a public-private partnership — a wise strategic investment for the public good.”

The partnership is primarily financial at this stage of the project. According to a press release, the county plans to contribute $10 million to the project, including parking and transportation improvements around the mall, and would issue a $45.4 million Community Development Authority bond to further finance the redevelopment.

At the meeting, Hynes said other details of the agreement are “not fully fleshed out.”

The entire project is expected to cost $317 million for interior, facade streetscape improvements to existing buildings at the intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Glebe Road. It also includes new development, like a 22-story, 406-unit apartment building where the Macy’s Furniture Store currently is.

The redevelopment of the mall itself involves more than 323,000 square feet of retail space, an open-air plaza with vendor stalls, improvements to the parking garage and a new pedestrian bridge over Wilson Blvd.

Public testimony given at the meeting by Ballston residents, business owners and stakeholders was overwhelmingly positive, thanking the Board for their work and expressing support for the project moving forward.

“Ballston has continued to evolve and transform over the years,” Ballston BID CEO Tina Leone said. “This property has served as a huge economic generator in the past, and it is vital to Ballston’s sustainability and long-term competitiveness.”

Resident and small business owner Jennifer Galloway echoed the need to rethink the mall.

“There’s currently a void in Ballston for most of our daily needs,” she said. “The redevelopment of the mall helps to fill that void and truly bring a town center feel to the heart of the area.”

Some residents did raise concerns and asked the Board to reconsider a proposal to remove the median strip on Wilson Blvd and to maximize the amount of space made available to the public on the property.

Board members addressed those concerns and took note to consider them moving forward. Still, members had positive views of the future of the project and of Ballston.

“This is a unique experience for us, stepping up like this to partner in the way we’re proposing to do it,” Board member Jay Fisette said. “It’s a smart, strategic investment all the way around, both public and private. We’re doing it with a reliable, experienced partner. That’s no small part in this.”

Board member J. Walter Tejada also shared his excitement.

“Ballston has the dynamic where you have to like urban living because it almost has the pulse of a city,” he said. “You can almost feel it, and [the project] has so much potential to make it even greater.”

by ARLnow.com — November 10, 2015 at 10:30 am 0

The Arlington County Board is scheduled to consider a 12-unit townhouse development in Ballston this weekend.

The Ballston Oak Townhomes development, between 1124 and 1138 N. Stuart, has been in the county’s Site Plan Review process for about a year. Originally slated for as many as 16 townhouses, the latest proposal calls for four separate buildings containing a total of 12 townhouses.

Each home will have a two-car garage, accessible via a shared concrete driveway with a single entrance to the street. Three visitor parking spaces are also proposed.

The development, which is adjacent to the Arlington Market on Washington Blvd, will replace four single family homes, each dating back to the 1920s or 1930s. One home, at 1124 N. Stuart Street, “is a stucco covered Apartment Bungalow that is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places,” according to a Site Plan Review document.

The County Board is set to consider a site plan for the development and an associated storm sewer easement-related item on Saturday. So far, the county staff report and recommendation for the items has not been posted online.

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