Members of the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association were given an early look at two new developments planned for the community over the next few years.
The 40-year-old church, which is used by Grace for meetings but not for Sunday services, would be replaced by a seven-story condo building and a block of four-story townhouses. A series of townhomes and a private driveway is planned for the parking lot.
The developers described the project as “a relatively modest in-fill development” that’s in keeping with the “urban townhouse” neighborhood that surrounds it. The development, like the neighborhood, tapers from the towers of central Ballston to the south to the lower-density townhomes and condos to the north.
Officials from NVR said the plans are preliminary and have not yet been filed with the county.
Also at Monday’s civic association meeting, local developer Eleventh Street Development presented early plans for a new apartment building in Virginia Square.
The proposed six-story, 220-unit rental complex, at the intersection of Kirkwood Road and Washington Blvd, would replace the closed Sport & Health gym, the Slye Electronics building and an automotive business.
Developer Garrett Erdle, who previously helped to develop Penrose Square on Columbia Pike, told residents that the building is at least three years away, following “a structured and lengthy” regulatory process.
Before a site plan process for the building can start, the county and its Long Range Planning Committee is expected to discuss land use planning for the parcel and the area as a whole. The special General Land Use Plan study that the development will first go through is expected to take about a year.
Residents at the meeting expressed concerns about the height of the building, parking along their already-crowded streets and a potential lack of public green space in front of the building. The developer responded that the proposal for the building is in the very early stages and that they will take public feedback into account throughout the process.
When Olivia Davison opened Ballston Therapeutic Massage in 2012 in Ballston, she had just five tables for her clients and considerable competition from better-funded national massage chains.
Flash-forward to today: Ballston Therapeutic Massage has 10 tables, a dedicated roster of certified masseuses, and a loyal clientele that could not care less about the big massage chain locations that surround Olivia’s business.
There are several reasons for that. One, their type of massage is perhaps unique in Arlington, and for another, Olivia herself.
“Most of my therapists are from China and Korea,” Olivia said, “so we practice Eastern Massage; they learned Eastern Massage in their home countries.”
And when those therapists go on vacation, they are continuing to learn and practice.
“We encourage continuous education focusing on new techniques, not just here but when they return home to China and Korea for visits,” she said.
Of course, Swedish massage is also offered for those who enjoy the familiar method. They also do “deep tissue surrender,” reflexology, pre- and post-natal massage, hot stone massage, cupping and other therapies.
The emphasis is on the “therapy.” Her regular clients enjoy the benefits of targeted massage that is proven to decrease pain, increase range of motion, relieve stress, lessen depression, relieve migraine pain and boost the immune system, among other life-changing benefits.
“We focus on therapeutic,” she said. “Other places have showers, saunas — what do we do? Just massage. That’s our specialty.”
Olivia has made a point to become involved in the Arlington community, offering massage services at public events such as marathons and school events, and volunteering to work with those with disabilities.
“We love Arlington,” Olivia said. “And we love helping people.”
The preceding was a local business profile written by Buzz McClain and sponsored by Ballston Therapeutic Massage
(Updated at 4:57 p.m.) A new plan to build a mixed-use building in Ballston could mean uncovering some human remains in the process.
Ballston Station Housing Corporation, a nonprofit established by the Central United Methodist Church, seeks to redevelop the church at 4201 Fairfax Drive into an eight-story development that would contain a new house of worship, 132 residential units with affordable housing, a daycare and preschool facility and charitable facilities.
But there’s a snag: The site they want to build on was once the Robert Ball Graveyard, the final resting place of some members of the family behind the Ballston name. Today, several white headstones can be seen scattered across the church grounds.
In order to excavate the old graveyard, the developers need to get a permit from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. They also need to hold a public meeting to notify surrounding community members and possible descendants of the Ball family.
Still, the developer behind the project isn’t so sure there are even any human remains left to uncover.
“Nobody actually really knows,” said Tad Lunger, legal representative for the developer. Lunger added that he thinks workers digging utility trenches and tunnels for the nearby Ballston Metro station may have uncovered any leftover remains years ago.
Boyd Sipe, an archaeologist hired by the developers to survey the site, isn’t sure there’s anyone buried there, either. Sipe recently conducted a ground-penetrating radar survey of the graveyard that turned up “inconclusive.”
“The GPR survey identified several anomalies that had potential to be graves but could be other subsurface features,” Sipe said. “There’s really no evidence that there are graves on the site, but we want to be ready with the state permit in case graves are found.”
In the event the project does uncover any bone fragments or relics, Sipe said they’ll be turned over to a skeletal biologist who will work to analyze and identify them.
But the county says take a closer look.
“There are six marked graves. There could be an additional three,” said Rebeccah Ballo, historic planner with Arlington County. “There is no evidence written or otherwise that shows those graves have ever been exhumed or moved.”
Ballo said she’s heard from some locals who are worried about digging up the graveyard.
“People have contacted my office concerned about it,” Ballo said. “It is a very old graveyard. It’s been a fixture of the neighborhood for a very long time.”
“This is not something that has happened in Arlington County in recent memory,” Ballo added.
The developers will hold a public meeting regarding the site at the Central United Methodist Church on Oct. 6.
Park(ing) Day 2016 is in full swing in Arlington.
Described as “an annual international event where the public collaborates to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into small parks to elicit a reconsideration of the designation of public space,” Park(ing) Day is taking place on the side of the road in five separate locations in Arlington this year.
Among them: in front of 4075 Wilson Blvd and 4245 Fairfax Drive in Ballston; 2200 Wilson Blvd and the N. Uhle Street parking lot in Courthouse; and 2847 Clarendon Blvd in Clarendon.
We stopped by two today: in Clarendon, the Lululemon store was hosting yoga lessons, demonstrations and other feats of flexibility. On Wilson Blvd in Courthouse, staff from the Arlington Community Planning, Housing and Development office were giving away free schwag and encouraging passersby to play games they had on hand.
The county tweeted photos from two of the other events:
— Plan Arlington VA (@planArlingtonVA) September 16, 2016
— brett wallace (@bretthwallace) September 16, 2016
“Events like PARK(ing) Day enrich our community life by creating an inviting streetscape and by promoting activities that allow for social exchange, fun, creativity and critical thinking,” the county said on its website. “PARK(ing) Day in particular can furthermore promote a rethinking of the usage of the public-right-of-way and may motivate the public to more actively participate in the civic processes which shape our urban environment.”
The tiny temporary parks will remain open until around 3-3:30 p.m.
The new Nando’s Peri-Peri in Ballston will hold its grand opening celebration this coming Saturday, Sept. 17.
The restaurant, in the former Vapiano’s space at 4401 Wilson Blvd, is celebrating its opening with appearances by Washington Capitals players, media personalities and the Caps’ Red Rockers squad.
The new Nando’s will be open from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday and all opening day sales will be donated to the Capitals’ official charity, the Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation, according to a press release. The guest appearances will take place between noon and 7 p.m.
Among those expected to help flip chicken on the grills during the opening event, are:
- Radio personality Elliot Segal from “Elliot in the Morning”
- Left winger Andre Burakovsky
- Center Lars Eller
- Right winger Stanislav Galiev
- Defenseman Nate Schmidt
- Right winger Tom Wilson
- Capitals alumnus Paul Mulvey
- Red Rockers squad
- Caps announcer Wes Johnson
- CSN Mid-Atlantic’s Capitals analyst and Caps alumnus Craig Laughlin
- Capitals contributor Courtney Laughlin
“Nando’s is thrilled to partner with the Caps to Rock the Red in Ballston and support Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation,” said Nando’s U.S. CEO Burton Heiss. The Capitals practice facility, Kettler Capitals Iceplex, is located in Ballston.
From the press release:
Nando’s has built an intensely loyal following by providing fresh food in a relaxed atmosphere with friendly service. Nando’s is known worldwide for its succulent PERi-PERi chicken, marinated for 24 hours, flame-grilled to perfection, and basted to the customer’s preferred flavor and spice.
Every Nando’s is painstakingly designed and completely unique, with earthy textures and bright colors that reflect its sunny African-Portuguese heritage. With thousands of pieces of original works of art that are a constant reminder of where the restaurant came from, Nando’s has become the largest collector of South African contemporary art in the world. In the United States alone, there are more than 600 pieces of original African art in Nando’s restaurants.
Popular Ballston bar Carpool has been sold to developer Penzance and is set to be replaced by a 22-story-apartment building.
The sale closed on Friday, said co-owner Mark Handwerger. The good news? Carpool is expected to remain open for a few more months.
“CarPool has leased back the property for a period of time, and the bar will remain open through at least the end of November,” Handwerger.
In August, groups that used Carpool as a gathering spot for things like football games and other regularly-scheduled social events were told that Carpool was likely to close within a few weeks.
As it turns out, Il Forno was ill fated.
The upscale Italian restaurant at 900 N. Glebe Road in Ballston closed last week after about three and a half years in business.
Paper now covers the restaurant’s windows, which is usually an indication that construction is taking place inside and another business is on the way. However, no construction permit applications have been filed, based on a check of the county’s permit system Tuesday afternoon.
In April, ARLnow.com reported that Il Forno was listed for sale on a business broker website. The listing noted that the restaurant was “investor owned” but in need of an “operator-owner.”
Il Forno was located next to the recently-opened Applebee’s.
A busy street in Ballston has been closed due to a strong odor of natural gas coming from a manhole.
N. Randolph Street is closed between N. Glebe Road and Wilson Blvd, near the Ballston Common Mall demolition site. Several businesses on the Glebe Road side of Randolph have been evacuated.
Washington Gas crews are en route to try to stop the leak.
(Updated at 2:50 p.m.) Heavy demolition is underway at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Randolph Street, as portions of the old Ballston Common Mall are demolished to make way for the renovated Ballston Quarter shopping center and apartment tower.
Demolition crews from Celtic Demolition are at work tearing down the corner of the building that contained one of the mall’s main entrances and the former Macy’s furniture store. Crews are hosing down the debris with water to reduce dust.
One tipster who works across the street from the mall, at the National Science Foundation, said yesterday — after demolition started — that the close proximity of the demolition to moving traffic was concerning.
“You have to see the way they are demolishing the Ballston Mall,” the tipster said. “It is such a recipe for disaster. The debris is falling onto [the street] as cars and buses are driving by.”
The extensive renovation project is expected to wrap up in 2018.
A woman in brand new Mercedes-Benz SUV somehow managed to run into several parked cars and flip the SUV just seconds into a test drive.
The incident happened just before 11:30 a.m., at the Mercedes dealership on N. Glebe Road in Ballston.
We’re told that the driver was just beginning a test drive, in the dealership parking lot, and might have mistaken the gas pedal for the brake. She crashed into four vehicles before the SUV rolled onto its side.
Four people who were in the SUV at the time managed to get out before police and firefighters arrived, we’re told. One dealership worker was evaluated by medics for a possible back injury. No one was seriously hurt.
Olympic medalist and former figure skating world champion Michelle Kwan is slated to attend three Clinton campaign events in Northern Virginia, two of which will be in Arlington, according to a press release.
Kwan will make stops at a phone bank in Arlington’s Dominion Hills neighborhood and at a Thai restaurant in Ballston “to discuss Clinton’s agenda for tax fairness and help launch ‘Asian American and Pacific Islander Virginians for Hillary.'”
Kwan’s full schedule of appearances is below:
Small Business Retail Walk
WHEN: Thursday, August 18th at 12:00 PM
WHERE: Eden Center, 6751 Wilson Blvd., Falls Church, VA
Arlington Phone Bank
WHEN: Thursday, August 18th at 4:30 PM
WHERE: 6035 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA
AAPI Virginians for Hillary Launch Happy Hour
WHEN: Thursday, August 18th at 6:00 PM
WHERE: Tara Temple Thai Restaurant, 4001 N. Fairfax Dr., Arlington, VA
Photo via Twitter / Hillary for Virginia
Tech Firm Staying in Arlington, Expanding — Applied Predictive Technologies, which was acquired by MasterCard last year, has decided to stay in Arlington after being courted by other jurisdictions. The company plans to move to a new office in Ballston and hire 368 employees. It was offered $6 million in conditional incentives by the state and the county. [Washington Post]
Archaeological Excavation Underway — The Arlington Historical Society is conducting an archeological dig at the historic Ball-Sellers House, hoping to learn more about a section of the property that was torn down a century ago. [InsideNova]
It’s National Farmers Market Week — This week is National Farmers Market Week and the Arlington Farmers Market in Courthouse will be celebrating with a raffle and a cooking demonstration by celebrity chef David Guas of Bayou Bakery. Arlington has eight official farmers markets countywide. [ARLnow Events]
Flickr pool photo by Eric
More on Randolph Principal Controversy — Some Randolph Elementary parents are still upset that the school’s well-liked principal has been removed with little explanation and demoted to assistant principal at Abingdon Elementary. [Washington Post]
Aerial View of Arlington — Arlington County has created a video of aerial footage of Arlington, shot during a recent ride on the U.S. Park Police Eagle 1 helicopter. [Facebook]
‘Dog Days of Summer’ Donations — Rosslyn eatery Bistro 360 is donating 25 percent of sales from a special “Dog Days of Summer” menu to the Animal Welfare League of Arlington and Homeward Trails Animal Rescue. [Facebook]
Late Civic Activist Celebrated — The Nauck community will hold a special celebration of the life of the late civic activist John Robinson this coming Saturday. Robinson, who died in 2010, fought against racism, against injustice and for education, and was the publisher of the Green Valley News for more than 40 years. [InsideNova]
Suspicious Package at Ballston Metro — Updated at 9:15 a.m. — Metro Transit Police investigated a suspicious package at an elevator entrance to the Ballston Metro station this morning. The entrance was blocked off with police tape for a period of time.
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
The bar has been informing groups that it will be closing within the next few weeks. We’re told that it is likely to close in early-to-mid September.
Carpool’s owners are seeking a new location for the bar, but a final decision on that has not been made, we hear.
Developer Penzance is planning to build a 22-story apartment building on the Carpool site. That development was approved unanimously by the Arlington County Board in December.
So far, no demolition permit applications have been filed for the address (4000 Fairfax Drive). A Penzance representative said he did not have an update on a timeline for the development.
Carpool has a second location, in Herndon.
Update at 5:45 p.m. — A closing date for Carpool has not been set, says co-owner Mark Handwerger.
“The property has been under contract with Penzance for quite some time,” Handwerger said. “There is no definitive timeline for the sale of the property and subsequent closing of the business at this time. With the sales contract in place, however, we have indeed been looking around for an appropriate location nearby, but as of yet have been unable to identify one.”
Photo via Facebook
The renovation of the Ballston Common Mall have forced the closure of a sidewalk near the building, disrupting the flow of pedestrian traffic there.
As part of the construction, a fence now blocks off the sidewalk around the former entrance on Wilson Blvd and N. Randolph Street, forcing pedestrians to either walk on the street or cross to the other side — the latter being the safer, recommended course of action, but many pedestrians seem to be choosing the former.
When an ARLnow.com reporter visited the construction site yesterday, numerous pedestrians were spotted walking along Wilson Boulevard in front of the mall, within a few feet of moving vehicles.
Along with the sidewalk closure, Arlington Transit has had to move one of its bus stops 100-150 feet south of its usual location.
So far, the sidewalk closure has ruffled a few feathers. A tweet from a concerned resident says the ongoing work puts pedestrians in danger and calls for the construction of a temporary walkway.
— Gerard Barile (@GerardBarile) August 3, 2016