Today is Bike to Work Day around the D.C. area. More than 1,500 people were expected to participate in Arlington alone.
This year Arlington County hosted seven “pit stops” for the event — in Ballston, Crystal City, East Falls Church, Rosslyn, Shirlington and at Penrose Square on Columbia Pike. Six were morning pit stops; the seventh, also in (or, at least, near) Shirlington, is an “afternoon party” at New District Brewing, from 4:30-6:30 p.m.
The two biggest stops were Ballston and Rosslyn, where bicyclists gathered en masse, enjoying the nice weather and offerings from various vendors in a festival-like atmosphere. At the stop in Rosslyn, Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) pedaled in and gave a brief speech.
“Let’s make Arlington and D.C. a better place to live,” he said.
Tim Kelley, marketing manager for BikeArlington, said that Bike to Work Day started in 2002 and has become a fun annual tradition for bike commuters and occasional cyclists alike. BikeArlington was expecting 500 people to stop by the Ballston pit stop and more than 1,000 at the Rosslyn location.
What does it take to plan an event with 50,000 attendees and dozens of restaurants, vendors and entertainers?
For the four-person team behind Taste of Arlington, planning this year’s event started the day after last year’s event.
“It’s a year-long project,” said Tina Leone, CEO of the Ballston Business Improvement District, which organizes the annual event. “It starts off like a tsunami, very calm, then it explodes. We’re a four person team and we have many other projects going on. The stress level definitely rises, but we always pull it off, every year.”
“You immediately start to renew the sponsors,” Catherine Roper, the BID’s Chief Marketing Officer, said of the early planning. “When planning something of this magnitude you have to work smart. So we form a lot of strategic alliances, partnerships with folks.”
Those partnerships — with organizations from TV and radio stations to local professional sports teams to this very website — have helped the event to grow from around 10,000 attendees when the BID took over its planning to the nearly 50,000 attendees expected this year.
“It’s one thing to plan something and execute it well but you need the people to come,” said Roper.
This year the BID is also partnering with the Arlington Food Assistance Center. AFAC is helping the BID recruit some 450 volunteers for the event. In return the BID has committed to donating at least $25,000 in proceeds from Taste of Arlington to AFAC.
In years past, the setup on Wilson Blvd took place from midnight to 6 a.m. on the morning of the event. With the growth of the event — it now takes place up over several blocks — the BID decided to start the setup on Wilson Blvd the day before.
“This year we get to set up on Saturday and get the tents up in the daylight,” said Roper. “When you’re dealing with something outside, you have to bring everything to the streets [and] you have to make sure you have energy to make everyone happy.”
The expanded layout means that long food lines and jam-packed streets are mostly a thing of the past.
“We expanded the footprint and fortunately [attendees] don’t all come at one time, it’s over seven hours,” said Leone. “It never feels overcrowded, we’ve made improvements to the layout of restaurants. You can now buy tickets online so we don’t have to worry about” long ticket lines anymore.
The day of the event, hundred of volunteers help to make the event happen while the core team makes sure everything runs smoothly.
“We train our volunteers very well, they know what they’re going to be doing that day, they know the map,” said Roper. “We couldn’t do this without our volunteers. It’s crazy, there’s a lot of energy, but it’s all for a good cause.”
Taste of Arlington is taking place this Sunday, May 15 from noon to 7 p.m. This year it will feature a 400-foot “street pub” plus an expanded, family-friendly KidZone and a lineup of eight bands on two stages. Tickets are still available online.
Don’t miss ARLnow.com’s “tasting table” with our friends Sarah Fraser and Samy K, amid the main restaurant row at Taste. See the four dishes we selected for the tasting table here, here, here and here.
Big Changes Planned for Ballston Church — The Central United Methodist Church at 4201 Fairfax Drive in Ballston is planning a complete redevelopment of its 30,000 square foot property. Preliminary plans have been filed to build “a new church, a new preschool space, and a seven-story, 132-unit apartment building — 60 percent market-rate and 40 percent dedicated affordable.” [Washington Business Journal]
McAuliffe Signs Bills at Wakefield HS — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed two pieces of education legislation at Wakefield High School yesterday, as pictured above. The new laws “will lead to an overhaul of the state’s high school graduation requirements, aiming to make high school more relevant to the working world” and better supporting students who start a career after high school. [Washington Post, Twitter]
Reagan Airport Bridge Closed This Weekend — Starting at 11 p.m. tonight, through early Monday morning, drivers heading to Reagan National Airport will not be able to access it via the Route 233 bridge over Jefferson Davis Highway. Ongoing construction prompted the planned closure. [Patch]
Solar House for Sale — A “one-of-a-kind luxury home” is for sale in Cherrydale. The five-bedroom house features a 10KW photovoltaic solar panel array, an energy recovery ventilation system, two-story screened porch, two-car garage, third floor loft with wet bar, a 560 square foot rooftop deck, exercise room with yoga/MMA flooring and an outdoor shower. It’s listed at just under $1.9 million. [Truplace]
Reminder: Chamber Hosts Candidate Forum Monday — The Arlington Chamber of Commerce is hosting a County Board candidate forum this coming Monday. The forum, featuring a discussion of topics important to the Arlington business community, is taking place from 6-8 p.m. at the Rosslyn Hyatt (1325 Wilson Boulevard). Democrats Libby Garvey and Erik Gutshall, and independent Audrey Clement, are set to participate in the forum, which will be moderated by ARLnow.com editor Scott Brodbeck. Tickets are $10. [Arlington Chamber of Commerce]
Photo via Arlington County
(Updated at 1:20 p.m.) A technical rescue team from the Arlington County Fire Department freed a child who got his head trapped between a railing and a wall this morning.
The incident happened around 11:15 a.m. on the third floor of a building on the 4200 block of Fairfax Drive in Ballston.
According to a photographer on the scene, the victim was a four-year-old boy at the Kinhaven School, a preschool. Firefighters dismantled the railing to free the child, we’re told. He was reportedly evaluated by medics and transported to the hospital as a precaution.
A fire marshall was called to the scene to help investigate what happened.
An ACFD spokesman could not be reached for additional information.
Photos (above) courtesy Andrew Pang
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) May 5, 2016
The bar and grill at 4100 Fairfax Dr. will host parties before and after Justin Bieber takes the stage at the Verizon Center that night.
“Join us for happy hour to pregame for the show or come back after as we’ll be rocking to Bieber beats and asking what you mean both times,” reads a Facebook page for the event. “We’ll be kicking things off at 5:00pm for happy hour. Hope to see all our fellow Beliebers before or after the concert!”
Steer clear of A-Town Friday April 29 to avoid Beliebers https://t.co/O8cRAam4LP
— Clarendon Nights (@clarendonnights) April 21, 2016
More than 75 Bieber fans have already RSVPed for the event.
Photo via Twitter / Justin Bieber
Celebrity chef Mike Isabella will host a Greek Orthodox Easter festival at Kapnos Taverna (4000 Wilson Blvd.) this weekend.
Patrons will celebrate the holiday with “spit-roasted meats, homemade spreads and flatbread, live Greek music, [and] Greek wine,” according to an event listing.
“Easter is one of the most important events on the Greek Orthodox calendar, and this year Kapnos Taverna is hosting our first annual Greek festival in honor of the holiday on Sunday, May 1,” the listing reads.
The festival starts on the Kapnos patio at noon. Tickets cost $70.
This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!
Question: I saw last week’s Washingtonian article that Ballston is a top 5 hottest neighborhood in the D.C. metro area with median price growth of 10%. Is the Ballston market really that hot?
There’s no doubt that Ballston has become a much more desirable place to live over the last few years and will continue that trend with the upcoming Ballston Quarter redevelopment of the Ballston Common (Mall), but the Washingtonian article is a good example of why it’s so difficult to produce really good data analysis on a local level, without being intimately familiar with the area. Some quick notes on the data they used:
- They consider Ballston the 22203 zip code, which covers a lot of area most people wouldn’t consider Ballston and does not include areas north of the metro that are in Ballston, including many condo buildings like the Eastview, Westview, and The Berkeley.
- They include sales from The Jefferson at 900 Taylor St, which is an anomaly in market research because it’s a senior living community, with a much different cost structure (sold prices are significantly lower). As a matter of fact, when I removed The Jefferson sales, the YoY median price growth in 22203 increased from the reported 10% to 18.4%.
So is this real growth? Are buyers that excited about the Mike Isabella restaurants and upcoming Ballston Quarter? Should owners in 22203 cash in immediately? Here’s where the growth came from:
- Ballston Row Townhomes: Ballston Row is a community of new, high-end townhomes that sell from the high 700s to just over $1M. In 2014, these homes represented only 2.5% of recorded sales (7 of 281) versus 8% (23 of 289) in 2015, with an average sold price nearly $45k higher in 2015 to boot. This flood of high-end sales, averaging over $300,000 more than the rest of the 22203 market, had a significant impact on YoY median price growth.
- Single Family/Detached Homes: Another area of growth was for single family/detached homes. Within the SFH sub-market there was YoY growth of 5.7%, which I believe is driven in large part from older homes being bought by developers for renovations or re-builds to meet the high demand for high-end homes in North Arlington.
- (Not) Condos: As I mentioned earlier, the 22203 zip code leaves out a large number of key Ballston condo buildings, so this isn’t a good time to measure the YoY growth of Ballston condos, but within 22203, there was only .1% YoY growth within the condo market. I believe that a newer building like the Residences at Liberty Center will do quite well once Ballston Quarter is complete.
The answer to the question is “yes” Ballston is a hot market and there’s high demand in the luxury, high-end pricing market that has pushed the median sold price up, but the majority of home owners in 22203 shouldn’t expect to see double digit increases in their property value like the Washingtonian article suggests.
For buyers, this is a good reason to consider Ballston because most property values haven’t jumped too much and there’s large-scale development on the horizon that promises to boost the entire market once it’s established.
Do you think Ballston is the hottest market in Arlington? What about other neighborhoods like the eastern section of Columbia Pike, Rosslyn, and Crystal City?
Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.
Watch Caps Practice in Ballston Today for Free — The Washington Capitals will be preparing for their playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins this morning at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston. The Caps’ practice starts at 10:30 a.m. and it’s free to attend and watch. The Iceplex, the Caps’ administrative and training home base, is owned by Arlington County and leased to the Capitals. [Arlington County]
Garvey Turns 65 — Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey celebrated her 65th birthday yesterday. Garvey’s reelection campaign wasted little time in using the occasion to ask for donations of $65 as “a special birthday gift.” [Reelect Libby]
Yorktown’s Efforts to Narrow Achievement Gap — Yorktown High School has been working with the Minority Student Achievement Network, a project of the University of Wisconsin, to help it narrow the school’s achievement gaps. The program at Yorktown specifically focuses on minority boys, a relatively small group at the school. [University of Wisconsin]
The incident started around 6:45 a.m., when a resident on the 700 block of N. Tazewell Street started filming the driver and called police with a noise complaint, all as part of “an ongoing dispute [regarding] the time of deliveries.”
A verbal dispute between the resident and the driver ensued, leading the driver to punch the resident in the face, according to Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage.
When police arrived, the driver was confrontational and struck at least one officer, Savage said. From and ACPD crime report:
ASSAULT ON POLICE, 160423017, 700 block of N. Tazewell Street. At approximately 6:48 a.m. on April 23, officers were dispatched to a noise complaint regarding an ongoing dispute between the time of deliveries. The victim was recording the incident when they were struck in the face by the subject. The subject became combative when officers arrived on scene but subsequently was taken into custody. Roderick Watt, 41, of Wilkes Barre Pa, was charged with assault on police (2 counts), obstruction of justice, and assault and battery. He was held on a secured bond.
A second incident of an assault on police happened later that night, in the Nauck neighborhood, according to the crime report.
ASSAULT ON POLICE, 160423049, 2400 block of S. 24th Road. At approximately 10:42 p.m. on April 23, officers conducted a traffic stop in regards to a suspended license. During the stop, the passenger became combative, pushed an officer to the ground, and fled on foot. Officers were able to apprehend Justin Murray, 31, of Alexandria VA. He was charged with assault on police, obstruction of justice, possession of marijuana(second offense), and failure to identify to law enforcement. He is being held without bond.
Also Saturday night, according to police, two drunk men were arrested after they both grabbed the buttocks of a woman and then started fighting. The incident started as all three were leaving an establishment near the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Four Mile Run Drive.
The men were both charged with sexual battery and being drunk in public, according to the crime report.
SEXUAL BATTERY, 160423043, 4800 block of S. Columbia Pike. At approximately 9:40 p.m. on April 23, officers responded to the area for reports of two males fighting. When officers arrived on scene a female advised that her buttocks was grabbed by both suspects. . Carlos Rivas Martinez, 22, of Arlington VA, was charged with sexual battery and drunk in public. He was held on an unsecured bond. Lorenzo Rivas Martinez, 20, of Arlington VA, was charged with sexual battery and drunk in public. He was held on a secured bond.
Valor Awards Recount Harrowing Moments — Saving a suicidal woman who was about to jump from the seventh floor of a parking garage. Saving the life of a man who had just been run over by an SUV twice. Smashing a car window in order to resuscitate the victim of a major crash on I-395. Those are a few of the acts of valor recognized at the Arlington Chamber of Commerce’s Valor Awards this week. [InsideNova, Arlington Chamber]
WaPo Questions Crystal City-Brooklyn Comparison — The Washington Post isn’t letting the New York Times get away with a quote that compared Crystal City to Brooklyn. The area’s hometown paper instead quoted a number of Twitter critics, one of whom called Crystal City a “Ballardian hellscape.” The Times story suggests that Crystal City — with its new restaurants, emerging tech scene, transportation improvements and community events — is experiencing something of a mini renaissance. [Washington Post]
Nauck Town Square Designs — Arlington County is seeking feedback on the draft design of the forthcoming Nauck Town Square park. The design includes a large sculpture of the word “FREED.” [Arlington County]
County Gets Adorable Letters — Arlington County gets adorable letters from children, who ask about things like raising backyard chickens and saving worms that might have gotten swept up as yard waste. [Arlington County]
(Updated at 10 a.m.) A teen was struck by a car in Ballston around 8:15 Wednesday night.
The victim appeared to be crossing at a marked crosswalk, at the intersection of Washington Blvd and N. Utah Street, when she was struck, according to witnesses.
One resident who was in her house at the time of the collision described hearing a “thud” followed by screaming. The victim was bloodied and remained lying in the middle of the street while passersby attended to her, we’re told.
The teen was conscious and breathing when paramedics arrived, said fire department spokesman Lt. Jason Hart. She was transported via ambulance to a local hospital and is being evaluated for a potentially serious head injury.
One local resident who emailed ARLnow.com said the intersection is a major pedestrian crossing that serves Cherrydale and Waverly Hills residents walking from the Ballston Metro station.
“Pitch dark at night,” the emailer said of the intersection. “Been trying for years to get county to put in pedestrian signals. Being studied forever…”
Photos courtesy Katie Pyzyk
Times Lauds Crystal City’s ‘Reboot’ — Arlington’s Crystal City community is “is quietly and persistently reinventing itself,” with tech startups and co-working spaces moving in and taking advantage of office space left vacant by departed federal and military tenants. Crystal City stakeholders are positioning it as a less expensive but still amenity-filled alternative to the District. “Think Brooklyn and Manhattan,” said Mitchell Schear, president of property owner Vornado/Charles E. Smith. [New York Times]
Ballston Named One of the Area’s ‘Hottest Neighborhoods’ — Ballston is among the top 5 “hottest neighborhoods in Washington,” according to Washingtonian. The magazine notes that Ballston’s median home price rose by nearby 10 percent last year, and that the forthcoming renovation of Ballston Common Mall will convert it into “an airy, downtown-like destination, akin to Fairfax’s Mosaic district.” The other four hot neighborhoods are Mount Pleasant, Trinidad, Shaw and Hyattsville. [Washingtonian]
Archaeological Dig Unearths History — An Arlington County-supervised archaeological dig at Dawson Terrace, near Rosslyn, has unearthed “243 ceramic objects, 1,603 glass objects, 74 metal objects and 13 others.” Most of the objects are believed to be from the 18th and 19th centuries. Dawson Terrace is Arlington’s oldest stone house, dating back to around the Revolutionary War. [Falls Church News-Press]
County Recognizes ‘Notable Trees’ — At yesterday’s Arlington County Board meeting, the county recognized this year’s batch of “notable trees.” Among the record 23 trees bestowed the honor for “their importance to our community, our environment and our sense of identity” was a Southern magnolia in Clarendon, planted in 1965 in honor of a fallen firefighter. [Arlington County, InsideNova]
Four Mile Run Initiative Advances — The County Board yesterday appointed a working group, charged with “providing advice, guidance and feedback to the Board and County staff on developing a comprehensive vision for Four Mile Run Valley.” The 95 acre area between Shirlington and Nauck, also known as Shirlington Crescent, is currently home to various light industrial businesses but may be ripe for redevelopment. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by TheBeltWalk
Rosenthal Arlington Mazda, at 750 N. Glebe Road in Ballston, is holding a store closing sale.
That’s according to an email sent by the dealership to customers, announcing its “last sales event,” which ends after the end of the month.
“A few of us will be around to wind down the accounting operations for a few more days,” he said.
“The applicant proposes to… redevelop the Rosenthal Mazda dealership and adjacent parcels with a 12-story building consisting of 483 dwelling units and 68,185 square feet of retail including a new grocery store and a car rental business,” notes Arlington County’s page on the project. “Building heights will range from 155 feet at Wilson Boulevard and N. Glebe Road, tapering to the south and west to 53 feet along N. Tazewell Street.”
Mary Beth Avedesian, a senior vice president for developer B.F. Saul Company, said that so far no lease has been signed for the grocery store space.
“We have not yet signed a lease with an anchor tenant, but there are a number of prospects who are very interested in our project,” she said.
The county’s Site Plan Review Committee is scheduled to discuss the project on Monday. It’s tentatively scheduled to be considered by the County Board in June.
An employee told ARLnow.com that the brewpub’s last day will be Sunday, May 8 — Mother’s Day. The restaurant’s corporate office could not be reached for official confirmation.
Rock Bottom is located in Ballston Common Mall, which will soon undergo two years of renovations before reopening as Ballston Quarter. A spokesman for mall owner Forest City declined comment, referring us to Rock Bottom.
Lest there be any doubt that our tipsters were right about what’s replacing the now-closed Greene Turtle in Ballston, signs are now up announcing a new Applebee’s location.
The signs, on the ground floor of 900 N. Glebe Road, say the restaurant is “coming soon,” after renovations. The tipsters say to expect an opening date this summer.
Meanwhile, interior work on the new Cheesetique next door at 800 N. Glebe Road is proceeding. Demolition started Friday, according to the restaurant’s Facebook page.
Signs are up in the windows of the former pizza restaurant, announcing Cheesetique to passersby with cheesy witticisms like “it’s all Gouda” and “where would I Brie without you?”