Busy Weekend for ACFD — The Arlington County Fire Department responded to a couple of big fires over the weekend. Two firefighters were injured while battling an apartment fire on the 5500 block of Columbia Pike; a resident tells ARLnow.com that the fire started when a resident fell asleep while cooking. Also on Saturday, Arlington firefighters assisted on a mutual aid call to battle a raging inferno at a McLean mansion owned by the United Arab Emirates. [WUSA 9, Connection Newspapers]
Carpool Bartender Profiled — “In an era where craft cocktails, celebrity chefs and ‘artisanal’ everything dominate the D.C. dining scene, it’s hard to find a watering hole where comfort comes in the form of a bottle of Bud, a basket of onion rings and a bartender who knows your name. But at Carpool in Arlington, Virginia, that is exactly what’s on the menu — at least for a few more weeks.” [WTOP]
County Board Pay Raise Proposed — The Arlington County Board this weekend will consider a proposal to raise its own pay by 3.5 percent. That would bring the salary for the County Board chairman to $56,628 and the salary for County Board members to $51,480. [Arlington County]
School Board Pay Raise Bill — The Virginia General Assembly has approved a bill that would lift the state-imposed $25,000 salary cap on Arlington School Board members. If Gov. Terry McAuliffe signs the legislation, School Board members will be able to raise their pay in 2021. [InsideNova]
Police Impound Lot Changes — The Arlington County Police Department has updated its procedures for people retrieving vehicles from the impound lot in Shirlington. [Arlington County]
Remembering Steve Buttry — Journalist Steve Buttry has lost his battle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 62. As Director of Community Engagement for TBD.com in 2010, Buttry had an outsized influence on ARLnow.com in its early days. He was a champion of local news and a tireless “advocate for and teacher of digital journalism and media innovation.” [The Buttry Diary]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
(Updated at 3:49 p.m.) Arlington County Police are on the lookout for a man suspected of robbing a bank in Ballston.
A man entered the Navy Federal Credit Union, on the 800 block of N. Randolph Street, and passed a note to a teller around 11:40 a.m., police said. He then ran off with an “undisclosed amount of money.”
Arlington County police set up a perimeter to try to search for the man but thus far no arrests have been reported. During the search nearby Washington-Lee High School was placed in “secure the school” mode as a precaution, according to scanner traffic.
The suspected robber is described as a white male who was wearing a brown jacket, a brown and cream colored winter hat and sunglasses.
This is not the first robbery at the Navy Federal in Ballston. The bank was the scene of an armed robbery in 2012. Separately, another man in a winter coat and sunglasses robbed a Navy Federal in Potomac Yard and then dumped some of the loot on S. Glebe Road in Arlington on Monday.
Despite the similar suspect descriptions, a police spokeswoman said it’s too early to determine whether the robberies are linked.
More from an ACPD press release:
The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying a bank robbery suspect captured on surveillance footage.
On Friday, February 10, 2017, at approximately 11:40 a.m., a male subject entered the Navy Federal Credit Union located at 875 N. Randolph Street in Arlington, Virginia and passed the teller a note, demanding money. The suspect fled the scene on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash. The suspect did not imply or display a weapon.
The suspect is described as a white male, approximately 5’8″ tall. He was wearing a brown north face jacket, a brown and cream colored winter hat and sunglasses at the time of the incident.
The Arlington County Police Department requests that anyone with information regarding this incident contact Detective R. Munizza at 703.228.4171 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).
Police Search for Missing Boy — Updated — Arlington County Police were looking for a missing 13-year-old boy who may have run away from home yesterday evening. The boy took his bike and possibly camping gear, according to police and to scanner traffic. Police say the boy has since been “located in good health.” [Arlington County]
Carpool to Close, Move — The end is near for Carpool, the popular Ballston bar has kept on ticking despite originally being slated to close this past summer to make way for a redevelopment. Management reportedly plans to move Carpool to the Fair Lakes area of Fairfax County this summer. [Washington Business Journal]
Rep. Beyer’s Hat Get Noticed — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) wore a red “Keep the EPA Great” hat to a Congressional hearing about the agency on Tuesday, and the internet loved it. [Gizmodo]
Kudos for Ashlawn Crossing Guard — Ashlawn Elementary School crossing guard Ana Hernandez has been recognized as one of Virginia’s “Most Outstanding Crossing Guards.” Hernandez works “patiently but firmly to ensure the safety of students,” according to a press release. [Arlington Public Schools]
Optimism for N. Va. Economy — “The Northern Virginia region could see job employment grow from anywhere between 4 to 14.4 percent from 2014 to 2025,” according to forecasts from George Mason University’s Stephen Fuller. [Loudoun Times-Mirror]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
As the minutes tick down to the start of the Super Bowl, more than 3,100 Dominion customers are currently without power in Arlington.
Dominion’s website says the cause of the widespread outage, centered around the Ballston and Bluemont neighborhoods, is “pending investigation.” Restoration of power is estimated between 7-9 p.m.
As the lights and traffic signals went out around Ballston, the fire department was called to investigate a possible fire at the under-renovation Ballston Common Mall. In the end it was determined to be a false alarm, possibly prompted by smoke from the mall’s rooftop generators as they kicked in.
Photo courtesy Katie Pyzyk
A two-vehicle crash resulted in an SUV flipping on its roof this morning at the intersection of Carlin Springs Road and N. Park Drive, near Ballston.
The accident happened around 11 a.m.
The driver of the Toyota SUV was able to get out of the overturned vehicle before rescuers arrived on scene. No serious injuries were reported.
A second vehicle, a Volkswagen, suffered front end damage.
Police assisted with traffic control while a tow driver used a winch to flip over the SUV and get it on a flatbed. Park Drive was blocked for just over an hour following the wreck.
(Updated at 4:10 p.m.) Arlington County is adjusting its plan to upgrade and renovate Mosaic Park, the green space situated along N. Quincy Street in Ballston.
Though the county was slated to potentially break ground on the project last year — adding a public plaza, interactive water feature, multipurpose court, tree plantings and walkways — the plan hit a snag after its estimated construction costs overran its budget.
“The bids we received were higher than our budget, so staff is looking for ways to adjust the project in a manner that supports both our budget and our design,” said Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish. “We will be rebidding construction later this year.”
The overhaul’s timeline for construction is currently listed as “TBA” on the county website.
More on the project’s original design from Arlington County:
The Mosaic Park Design includes the following work as approved by Arlington County based on the approved 2009 master plan:
Development of a large flexible urban plaza, centrally located casual plaza, an interactive water feature, children’s play area, multi-purpose court, flexible use lawn area, half-court basketball area, rain garden, walkways and sidewalks, site furnishings, and landscaping, lighting for main pedestrian paths throughout, fencing, associated storm water management, drainage and grading for site improvements in compliance with the erosion and sediment control/storm water management ordinances as well as the Chesapeake Bay Ordinance.
A major feature of the park design will be to incorporate sustainable practices and features including use of solar power as well as innovative stormwater management techniques.
The incident happened Wednesday afternoon on the 700 block of N. Glebe Road.
While the name of the store was not revealed by police, that’s the same block as the Macy’s at Ballston Common Mall.
More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:
MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2017-01250175, 700 block of N. Glebe Road. At approximately 1:19 p.m. on January 25, officers responded to the report of a shoplifter. A store employee attempted to stop a male suspect who was shoplifting, when a struggle ensued and the suspect bit the employee. The suspect then fled the scene without the merchandise. The suspect is described as a black male in his late twenties, approximately 5’8″-6’2″ tall and weighed 160-200 lbs. He was wearing blue jeans and a collared shirt at the time of the incident. The victim suffered non-life threatening injuries and was treated on scene by medics. The investigation is ongoing.
The rest of the past week’s crime report highlights, including some that we’ve already reported, after the jump.
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.
A startup based in Ballston is growing fast thanks in part to the rising success of mobile news companies.
The startup, Mobile Posse, licenses content from a variety of websites like ESPN, the Associated Press and Mashable and packages it into an “aggregated content feed.”
Users can download the company’s app and configure their preferences to see the kind of stories they like. A typical user might sign up to see new sports scores, news, horoscopes, trivia, weather and other conent on their phone’s home screen.
“It is literally on the home screen of my device when I unlock it in the morning,” explained Mobile Posse CEO and founder Jon Jackson. “You can schedule pieces and components of it to be proactively delivered to you.”
The company plugs into ad networks and uses ad exchanges to monetize the service. Millions of people currently get updates from Mobile Posse, meaning lots of potential revenue, Jackson said.
Last year, Mobile Posse expanded its total revenue by about 77 percent, Jackson said. It’s also hiring at a quickening pace. Though the company only moved into its Ballston offices less than two years ago, it’s already looking for a newer, bigger space to hold all of its new employees.
And, if all goes according to plan, Mobile Posse will continue to grow rapidly in the year ahead.
“Twitter and Facebook and Google are really focusing on mobile. That helps a business like ours,” Jackson explained. “It really brings buyers. The amount of time spent on a phone has really taken off. We’re really a function of that. It’s where people’s eyeballs are.”
(Updated at 4:17 p.m.) A historic graveyard could get a new lease on life thanks to newly updated plans to redevelop a Ballston church.
The graveyard is located next to Ballston’s Central United Methodist Church, which has filed a site plan application to redevelop its property at 4201 Fairfax Drive into an eight-story building with a new house of worship, 119 apartments (48 would be affordable units), a daycare and preschool facility and charitable facilities.
The site the developer wants to build on includes the Robert Ball Graveyard, the final resting place of some members of the family behind the Ballston name. The 150-year-old, 325-square foot burial ground includes several white headstones originally for members of the Ball family and may even contain some of their remains, though no one knows for sure whether the remains are still there or have been moved.
The plan to move the graveyard has ruffled some feathers. Residents urged the developer behind the project not to move the graveyard last October. The Arlington County Board has also considered granting the graveyard a special historic designation.
Members of the Ball family said that, although they do not want to prevent the redevelopment of the church, they do want the church to honor its century-old commitment to preserve the graveyard. In a Dec. 15 letter to the chair of Arlington’s Site Plan Review Committee, Ball family attorney Alexander Berger wrote that “further design evolution is required to preserve the historical integrity of the cemetery.”
The cemetery merits more “breathing room,” green space and separation from the building, Berger wrote.
Now, it looks as though the family might get their wish. Fairly recent renderings show the graveyard would be preserved next to the church inside a larger, fenced-in grassy area.
The petition decries what it describes as a “high rise” development; a seven-story condo building and four story townhomes are proposed for the current Grace Community Church site at the 11th and N. Vermont streets.
The development, the petition says, will exacerbate traffic and school crowding issues. Supporters’ reasons for signing the petition also include “too much dense, high-rise development in Arlington already,” “harming the property values and diminishing the quality of life of those who already live here,” and “Arlington has become unaffordable.”
From the petition:
We request that you DENY the proposal for special use exception to change the zoning on 11th Street North and North Vermont Street from Low-Medium Residential to High-Medium Residential Mixed-Use to prevent several negative consequences to the immediately surrounding Ballston area and the broader Arlington communities.
Specifically, we ask that the zoning committee and county board not approve a deviation from the current zoning designations to a much higher density of development and instead maintain the current, well thought-out zoning plan to avoid:
- increasing the traffic problems in the already highly congested Ballston area (Glebe & Fairfax and proximate streets and main thorough fares),
- exacerbating the overcrowding in the Arlington Public Schools (Washington-Lee HS, etc.),
- clearly deviating from and frustrating the existing plan and layout of a graduated reduction in heights and density in transitioning from the metro rail stations, a detrimental precedent to establish for existing neighborhoods and residents, and
- introducing significant more disruption, potential physical damage, and nuisance to the closely surrounding residents that comes from heavy machinery, pile driving and heavy construction compared with the lighter construction associated with the current zoning.
Reston-based developer NVR describes the project as “a relatively modest in-fill development” that’s in keeping with the “urban townhouse” neighborhood that surrounds it.
The Arlington Planning Commission and County Board are expected to consider a site plan for the project later this year.
Punch Bowl Social says it will be opening a 25,000 square foot space at the mall in June 2018.
“Already a hit in other cities and a proven millennial magnet, Punch Bowl Social Ballston will include eight bowling lanes, one bocce court, three private karaoke rooms, a custom built 360 degree bar and various lounging and gathering spots — for groups both large and small — housed in an eclectic space melding mountain lodge, Victorian and modern industrial design themes,” the company said in a press release.
The full press release is below.
Punch Bowl Social, the leader in the “eatertainment” movement, announced today that it will open a 25,000 square-foot restaurant, bar and entertainment concept in Arlington’s Ballston Quarter in June 2018. Punch Bowl Social pairs a Hugh Acheson designed, scratch-made menu and craft beverage program with “old-school” social activities like vintage video games, shuffleboard, private karaoke rooms, bowling, Ping-Pong, bocce and skee-ball.
Already a hit in other cities and a proven millennial magnet, Punch Bowl Social Ballston will include eight bowling lanes, one bocce court, three private karaoke rooms, a custom built 360 degree bar and various lounging and gathering spots – for groups both large and small – housed in an eclectic space melding mountain lodge, Victorian and modern industrial design themes.
Punch Bowl Social founder & CEO Robert Thompson noted that Ballston Quarter is exactly the type of development where Punch Bowl Social flourishes. “The Ballston Quarter is poised to become the urban village for Arlington and the surrounding metro area,” he said. “The team behind the project is curating a unique, elevated experience that emphasizes attention to detail and quality offerings. These are the same considerations that drive Punch Bowl Social.”
The elevated experiences that Thompson references are what have ensured Punch Bowl Social’s singular position atop the “eatertainment” industry’s leadership roster. As noted in a multi-page spread in Inc. Magazine’s December/January issue, Punch Bowl Social has “broken from the pack.” The article pays homage to the brand and to Thompson’s uncanny – one could argue unparalleled – ability to market to the often elusive millennial, now the country’s largest demographic and a group sure to descend upon Ballston Quarter.
Joe Boehm, Executive Vice President, Real Estate at Forest City Realty Trust, the development company behind the Ballson Quarter, notes that it was these very factors that drew Forest City to Punch Bowl Social. “The Ballston Quarter will offer an experience that is purposeful, thoughtful and uncommon,” Boehm said. “We support this goal by partnering with anchor tenants capable of delivering on this promise. Punch Bowl Social is an industry leader with a proven track record. But more importantly, it offers an authentic experience that resonates across demographic groupings, literally offering something for everyone.”
Punch Bowl Social has made a name for itself with its remarkably balanced execution of the eat, drink, play concept. The brand prides itself on its food-forward approach, with an inspired menu created by the company’s culinary partner, celebrity chef Hugh Acheson. Acheson, a restauranteur, cookbook author, Top Chef judge and James Beard award winner, leads the ongoing culinary direction of the growing restaurant concept while underscoring its commitment to a seasonally inspired, scratch kitchen.
Punch Bowl Social Ballston marks the company’s first east coast location. Other cities include, among others, Detroit; Cleveland; Portland, Ore; Austin; and Denver, Colorado, where Punch Bowl Social originated.
PUNCH BOWL SOCIAL
Punch Bowl Social brings classic entertainment and real culinary chops together under the same roof, in an environment that is playful and surprisingly intimate. Punch Bowl Social’s scratch kitchen serves weekend brunch, lunch, dinner and late-night snacks while the in-house mixologists focus on serving up craft beverages. For more information, visit www.punchbowlsocial.com
A FedEx tractor trailer pulled down some low-hanging power lines in the Ballston area Thursday evening, trapping the driver in the cab of the truck.
The accident happened just before 3:30 p.m., near the intersection of 13th Street N. and N. Stuart Street.
The top of the truck clipped some power lines as it was driving down the street, pulling them down and draping them across the semi-trailer. The lines were reported to be sparking on the road immediately afterward.
Though the driver was not physically trapped, he remained in the cab of the truck for fear of electrocution.
Arlington County police and firefighters responded to the scene, closing down roads and sidewalks while they waited for Dominion to shut off the power.
The driver was still in the cab when an ARLnow photographer left the scene, around 4 p.m.
Dominion reports that seven customers in the neighborhood are without power. Their electricity is expected to be restored between 7-11 p.m., according to Dominion’s website.
Demolition has started on a century-old home along Washington Blvd in the Ballston area.
Known as the “flag house,” for the giant American flag that was often draped across it, the home was said to be in disrepair and was reportedly lacking in historic significance, following multiple additions and exterior changes.
“It is literally just an old house,” Arlington county Preservation Planner Rebeccah Ballo told us last year. “Nothing particularly noteworthy about it.”
The redevelopment plan, which was first proposed in 2013, calls for the house to be replaced by a fancy, four-story duplex. Homebuilder Wormald Homes says the new residences, at 4210 and 4214 Washington Blvd, will feature:
- Four bedrooms, four full baths and one powder room
- About 2,860 finished square feet of space
- Two car garage with two additional parking spaces
- Rear deck
- Covered front entry
- “Loft level terrace with sweeping views”
- “Classic urban design”
No word yet on when demolition is expected to wrap up or when the new building is expected to be built.
The new eatery will serve American cuisine at moderate prices and will feature a sidewalk cafe, according to the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington website. It will seat more than 150 and serve wine, beer and cocktails, according to the ABC permit application.
Stageplate Bistro is the successor to Backstage Bistro Cafe, a small restaurant near Dulles International Airport that also was the home base of a catering company that specialized in catering for events and touring entertainment acts.
Backstage Bistro closed in October and posted the following message to customers on its website.
We would like to sincerely thank all of our amazing cafe guests at Backstage Bistro Cafe Dulles for their kind support of our little cafe and catering company in Dulles, VA. Most of our guests knew we were incubating our first restaurant out of our retail little cafe which sits in front of our Dulles catering kitchen. We are so happy the cafe was so well received and greatly appreciate all of your feedback on our menu, style and concept! We are now very excited and proud to announce that our little café, Backstage Bistro Café Dulles, is all grown up and will now proudly be a full-service restaurant in Arlington, Virginia!
Our new full-service restaurant and bar will be located at 900 N. Glebe Road, Arlington, VA 22203 and is slated to open in December 2016. We hope to see you there!
There was no answer this afternoon at a phone number listed for the restaurant.
Despite hopes of opening next month, based on past restaurant opening precedent — owing in part to over-optimistic owners and a persnickety Arlington County permitting office — we would expect Stageplate Bistro to open no sooner than early 2017.
Logo (top) via Facebook
Dogs Die in Seven Corners Fire — Two dogs perished in a Sunday morning house fire in the Seven Corners area, although three dogs and four people were able to make it out of the burning home okay. Arlington County firefighters responded to the scene, assisting Fairfax County units in battling the blaze. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]
Water Main Break in Fairlington — Parts of north Fairlington had low or no water pressure for most of the day Monday due to a water main break. [Twitter]
Remembering Obama’s Local Bookstore Visit — Even four years later, not a day goes by when One More Page Books owner Eileen McGervey doesn’t hear from someone about the time in 2012 when President Obama visited her store on Small Business Saturday. She recounted how it happened recently on a local public radio show. [WAMU]
Carpool Still Hanging On — Once believed to be closing this fall to make way for a redevelopment, popular Ballston bar Carpool is now likely to remain open through March 2017, co-owner Mark Handwerger tells ARLnow.com. The Washington Business Journal reported last month that the redevelopment has hit a bit of a snag.
Yorktown Senior Joins Chamber — Mark Yates, Jr., a senior at Yorktown High School and the founder of a lawn care business, has joined the Arlington Chamber of Commerce as a member after participating in the Chamber’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy. [Arlington Chamber]
Jonathan Kinney Honored — Prominent local attorney Jonathan Kinney was honored by the Arlington Community Foundation earlier this month, in front of a record luncheon crowd of nearly 400. Despite his low-key demeanor, Kinney, a land use and estate planning attorney, was described as “Arlington’s most indispensable citizen.” [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf