(Updated 4:35 p.m.) The first retail tenant at Marymount University’s “Newside” building is getting closer to opening.
Signs are up for the new Starbucks at the property at 1000 N. Glebe Road in Ballston, but the build-out inside still ongoing. Marymount faculty and staff started moving into the new building earlier this month ahead of the new school year.
Marymount is using six floors of the nine-story office building on the site, with the other three floors available for other companies. Next door is a 12-story, 267-apartment residential building.
No word on an exact opening date yet.
Emergency repairs to a 6-foot-deep sinkhole near the under-construction Ballston Quarter mall could cause traffic headaches today (Thursday).
The sinkhole opened suddenly yesterday near the intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Randolph Street, but was quickly covered ahead of repairs to allow cars to keep driving over it.
A contractor at the scene said the hole is about 3 feet wide and 6 feet deep.
To accommodate contractors’ vehicles and tools, the westbound right lane of Wilson Blvd and the parking lane are closed, while the eastbound left-turn lane at the intersection will be used as a westbound lane. With renovations to the former Ballston Common Mall on the other side of the street also closing lanes, it means Wilson Blvd will be down to one lane in each direction.
8/10: Emergency sinkhole repair at N Randolph St/Wilson Blvd intersection (5a-4p) barring complications. Detours will be in place #VATraffic
— Arlington DES (@ArlingtonDES) August 9, 2017
Originally, there had been plans to close one lane in each direction on N. Randolph Street too, but the contractor said that would no longer be the case.
Complicating matters in that area of Ballston will be the construction crew’s removal of a stoplight just outside the mall. The contractor on the sinkhole repairs warned that the two projects could combine to make traffic a little “hectic” in that section of Wilson Blvd.
Work on repairing the sinkhole is expected to be complete around 4 p.m.
Man Struck By Car Near Ballston Metro — A man was struck by a vehicle on Fairfax Drive near the Ballston Metro station yesterday. The incident happened between 5-5:30 p.m. Numerous witnesses immediately called 911 or rushed to the man’s aid. His injuries were reported to be not life threatening. [Twitter, Twitter]
Driverless Car Research Is Legal in Va. — Virginia law does not explicitly ban the kind of “driverless” car research conducted by Virginia Tech on the streets of Clarendon and Courthouse. While the Virginia Tech van was driven by a man in a seat costume, it is also legal to test legitimately self-driving cars in the Commonwealth. [NBC Washington]
Video: Weekend Apartment Fire — The Arlington County Fire Department has posted video of the apartment fire on Columbia Pike over the weekend. A 27-year-old man was arrested and now faces numerous charges in connection with the blaze. [Facebook]
Courthouse-Based Nonprofit Up For National Award – The Organization for Autism Research is one of 15 finalists in the country for a $50,000 prize that recognizes “innovative ideas for engaging people over 50 in improving the lives of vulnerable children and youth.” OAR, based in Courthouse, launched its Hire Autism initiative earlier this year, an online portal to connect adults with autism seeking work and potential employers. Online voting is open through August 31. [Hire Autism]
Nearby: McLean Residents Want New Potomac Span — Civic leaders in McLean are pressuring officials to expedite a new American Legion Bridge span across the Potomac River. The existing bridge is clogged with Beltway traffic, sending congestion onto local streets, residents say. There is an existing proposal to extend Beltway High Occupancy Toll lanes between the Legion bridge and the I-270 spur in Maryland. [InsideNova]
The theft happened Sunday night in Ballston, near the under-construction Ballston Quarter mall.
Police say the teens approached the driver and actually gave him money, but not enough for all three pizzas. They then took the pizzas and the bag. ACPD would not say how much they paid.
“As this is an ongoing investigation, we are not releasing the amount of money provided by the suspects,” said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage.
More from a crime report:
GRAND LARCENY, 2017-08060236, 4200 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 8:28 p.m. on August 6, police responded to the report of a robbery by force. Upon arrival it was determined that when an individual delivering pizzas arrived to make the delivery, he was approached by three unknown subjects. One subject provided the victim with cash while another forcibly grabbed the pizza. The three subjects then fled the scene on foot. The cash provided to the victim was less than the cost of the order. All three subjects are described as black males approximately 17-18 years old, slim builds, with medium complexion. One of the subjects had black, curly hair that stuck straight up. The other two suspects had short, black hair. The investigation is ongoing.
VT Says It Is Behind ‘Driverless’ Van — The “driverless” van seen driving around Clarendon over the past week was actually a Virginia Tech research project designed to record the “real world reactions” to a vehicle without a driver. However, there was a driver: a man dressed as a car seat. The mystery was solved in real time on Twitter yesterday and quickly went viral. [NBC Washington, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, Twitter]
Retired Colonel Saved By Quick-Acting EMS Crew — Firefighters and EMS personnel from Arlington and Alexandria helped to save the life of a retired U.S. Army colonel who went into cardiac arrest in his home in Crystal City. The crew used defibrillators to revive him. [Facebook, WJLA]
Located at 900 N. Glebe Road on the first floor of the the Virginia Tech Research Center and next door to the recently-opened Stageplate Bistro, the new spot occupies a large restaurant space, with seating capacity for 220 inside and 60 on the outside patio. It opened July 31.
The restaurant has a slew of Filipino staples, including soups, salads, rice and dishes with noodles and various meats. Bistro 1521 also has various grill and house specialty dishes including jumbo squid stuffed with tomatoes and onions; Cebu crab cakes and a “1521 Burger” with ground beef, longaniza (a Spanish sausage), atchara (pickle) and sweet potato fries.
Those behind the restaurant include Manny Tagle, bartender Jo-Jo Valenzuela and wife Christina Valenzuela, and general manager Solita Wakefield. Wakefield was previously a co-owner of Bistro 7107, a Filipino restaurant on 23rd Street S. in Crystal City, which recently closed. Jo-Jo Valenzuela said the dishes will be recognizable to those who love Filipino food.
“We want to be careful about calling our food authentic, because everyone’s mother cooks meals differently,” he said. “But we’re definitely traditional Filipino comfort food.”
The restaurant’s name refers to the year Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan discovered the Philippines, and the artwork on the wall includes references to the country’s flag and other part of its history.
Dinner service begins at 4 p.m. each day, with lunch and brunch services set to launch in the near future.
The newest addition to the Ballston restaurant scene is set to open Monday, August 7.
Stageplate Bistro at 900 N. Glebe Road will begin a limited lunch service that week from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., with a view to ramping up to full dinner service soon after.
The eatery had been planning to open as early as May, but after needing some additional permits and some finishing touches to the design, it is almost ready to go.
General manager Mary Marchetti said that she anticipates dinner service starting soon thereafter, once any kinks have been worked out.
“I didn’t want to put a box around it and have people be disappointed,” she said.
Marchetti operates the restaurant with her husband and executive chef Nelson Gonzalez. The pair have been involved in providing catering to bands and artists and their traveling road crews for years, and are bringing that experience to Stageplate Bistro.
The eatery on the first floor of the Virginia Tech Research Center is the successor to Backstage Bistro Cafe near Dulles International Airport, which closed last October. Backstage also hosted a catering company that specialized in events and providing food for touring entertainment acts.
“On the road, it doesn’t matter if you’re a bus driver or the talent, everyone is a VIP,” Marchetti said.
That VIP treatment at Stageplate includes the service, which is intended to be as personal as possible, and various small details, according to Marchetti. For instance, filtered still water will be offered free of charge and at various temperatures. Marchetti said that variation in temperatures leans on their experience working with singers and dancers: while the former generally want room temperature water, the latter usually want chilled.
The food at Stageplate will be American and Mediterranean-inspired with some subtle tweaks. Instead of serving pizza, Stageplate will serve Turkish pide, a street food version of pizza that can be filled with various different ingredients.
Guests can also expect pasta, sandwiches, soups and salads, all made from scratch, while the bistro’s signature cocktail is a sangria wine slush. In the evenings, the menu will have various rotating entrees depending on which in-season ingredients come in fresh that day.
On Sundays, Stageplate will host a “live-action” buffet brunch where chefs prepare food in front of customers. They also plan to have live music on those days, featuring a rotation of gospel, jazz, Motown and the hits of Frank Sinatra.
The restaurant will have around 125 seats indoors, 28 outside on the patio and nine at the bar, while the back area can be hired out for small events and functions of no more than about 50.
And after work on the restaurant that began late last year, those involved with Stageplate are excited to get open and share their food creations with the world.
“We’re going to feed the soul,” said Gonzalez.
The new fast-casual pizzeria &pizza is aiming to open in the late fall in Ballston, its first shop outside a mall or airport in Virginia.
The build-your-own-pizza restaurant will move into 3924 Wilson Blvd, next to Freshbikes near the intersection with N. Quincy Street. It will occupy more than 2,000 square feet of space in the building, facing Wilson Blvd and across the parking lot from Gold’s Gym.
Guests can expect &pizza’s signature customizable oblong pizzas with unlimited toppings using local ingredients and no artificial flavors.
“We pride ourselves in creating neighborhood shops built for the neighborhood and supporting local, like-minded brands doing big things – whether that’s in downtown D.C. or Arlington,” said Michael Lastoria, co-founder and CEO of &pizza, in a statement. “We are so grateful to have grown this quickly, and directly attribute our growth to the DMV community’s support over the last five years.”
More from an &pizza press release:
&pizza, the beloved Washington, D.C.-based pizza brand, announces a new shop opening in Virginia this fall. The anti-establishment establishment will soon be serving up its signature oblong pies in the Ballston section of Arlington at 3924 Wilson Boulevard.
Occupying 2,123 square feet, Ballston will be &pizza’s sixth shop in Virginia. Other Virginia locations include a Tysons Corner shop slated for opening in October, Springfield Mall and multiple airport locations at both Dulles and Reagan. The first standalone shop in Virginia outside of mall or airport, the Ballston location will deliver the full &pizza experience in a way suburban Virginia has never seen before.
Each of &pizza’s outposts celebrates oneness, unity, and inclusion. “We pride ourselves in creating neighborhood shops built for the neighborhood and supporting local, like-minded brands doing big things – whether that’s in downtown D.C. or Arlington,” said Michael Lastoria, co-founder and CEO of &pizza. “We are so grateful to have grown this quickly, and directly attribute our growth to the DMV community’s support over the last five years.”
&pizza has made their critically-acclaimed pies, unlimited toppings and commitment to community the new type of pizza shop. They have successful track-records in both urban and suburban communities, choosing to always focus on creative food, hyper-local design and charitabe giving. With shops in Adams Morgan, Tysons Corner and New York City’s Astor Place also slotted to open this fall, &pizza continues its trek as one of the fastest-growing pizza brands on the East Coast.
&pizza has also signed a lease at 401 Morse Street NE slated for a 2018 opening. More information to follow.
// THE MENU + THE BRAND
&pizza prides itself on serving up experiences in addition to fresh pizza. Guests have the opportunity to craft their own individual pie with unlimited ingredients or choose from eight signature pizzas with bold and unique flavor combinations such as the Maverick (meat lovers), the egg-topped Farmer’s Daughter (breakfast with a kick), and the Gnarlic (more than a white pie). The brand works with Little Giants (local producers) to create innovative menu offerings that span a variety of food and beverage categories, including craft &SODA and small batch &TEA. &pizza is all about cleaner labels – using local produce and no high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors. They also have a variety of gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan offerings.
// ABOUT &pizza:
Founded in 2012 in Washington, D.C.’s historic H Street NE corridor, &pizza set out to create a different kind of pizza shop – one where experience is the focal point, and every shop reflects the culture and people of its neighborhood. &pizza quickly became a part of the fabric of its local D.C. communities with its strong sense of social mission as a champion fighter in the battle for a living wage for its tribe, local food partnerships as a way to create a twist on classics, and in turn, with the signature ampersand tattoos that are now proudly worn by nearly 100 guests and members of its devoted Tribe of employees.
Evidence of their disruptive success can be found in the organizational culture of its employees, its rapid expansion and numerous recognitions. The brand was recently named Business Insider’s “Most Popular Pizza Chain” in Washington, D.C. and took home wins in 7 different “Best Of” categories by Washington City Paper – including “Best Pizza.” With the opening of &pizza in New York’s NoMad neighborhood in June 2017, Buzzfeed declared that “The Next Generation of Pizza Is Descending Upon New York.”
&pizza currently has 22 shops across Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York, with additional locations opening soon in Adams Morgan in D.C., Tysons Corner in Virginia, and Astor Place in New York.
A Thai restaurant in Ballston shuttered late last week.
Tara Temple at 4001 Fairfax Drive closed Friday, July 21. It offered a variety of Thai foods including noodles and curries, as well as what it called a “sizable menu” of Japanese options. The restaurant offered a carry-out option, as well as delivery after 5 p.m. on weekends.
It was located on the ground floor of the Quincy Street Station office building, next door to fellow tenant Cafe Tirolo.
As of Monday, tables and chairs had been removed from the restaurant while materials from inside the kitchen were being brought out for removal. The eatery’s patio was still intact, but with items from inside starting to pile up nearby.
Calls to the restaurant’s main phone number went unanswered.
Hat tip to Brent Murray
Trendy fast-casual pizzeria &pizza is coming to Ballston, according to permit applications filed with the county.
The build-your-own pizza restaurant looks set to move into 3924 Wilson Blvd, next to Freshbikes near the intersection with N. Quincy Street.
Freshbikes is set to expand in its current location across from Gold’s Gym, while &pizza is set to occupy the front of the building facing Wilson Blvd, according to employees at the bike store. The plaza is also home to the eyebrow threading service Perfect Eyebrows.
Applications indicate that the restaurant is looking to add outside seating. No word yet on an opening date.
As well as giving guests the option to design their own pizza with customizable toppings, dough, cheeses and spreads, &pizza also offers several fixed selections. The eatery also offers its own flavored drinks, including sodas and teas.
It already has one location in Arlington, in Terminal C of Reagan National Airport, as well as others in Northern Virginia, D.C., Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania.
Hat-tip to Chris Slatt.
(Updated at 2:10 p.m.) The county could gain control of a section of Fairfax Drive under a plan before the Arlington County Board.
The Board will vote Saturday on whether to request that the Virginia Department of Transportation and Commonwealth Transportation Board transfer control of the road between its intersections with N. Glebe Road and N. Barton Street. Both bodies would then have to approve the transfer, but VDOT has already tentatively agreed to the deal.
If Arlington gains control of the section of Fairfax Drive and 10th Street N. between Ballston and Courthouse, also known as Route 237, it would limit VDOT’s involvement in construction projects.
Currently, roads under VDOT’s control require extensive review before any construction can be done. Making the portion of the roadway a part of Arlington’s local road system would streamline such reviews and give the county more flexibility to implement multimodal improvements.
“Since many of the County’s projects on Route 237 utilize urban standards that are not typical of VDOT plans, this often requires obtaining design exceptions in order to implement the project,” said a staff report. “This cumbersome design-exception process adds time and expense to each project.”
The report recommends the Board approve the proposal, arguing that added flexibility in managing several streets that run in parallel to Interstate 66, which is being widened under the “Transform 66” project, is worth the extra expense.
The move is expected to cost the county upwards of $60,000 a year, according to a fiscal impact statement.
Unlike many other counties in Virginia, Arlington County staff performs the full range of road maintenance functions on the 1,051 lane miles of road and would accept conveyance and responsibility for the maintenance of the additional 6.61 lane miles constituting this portion of Route 237. Per Section 33.2-366 of the Virginia Code, Arlington County receives a per lane-mile payment each fiscal year for the maintenance of its secondary road system. The Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 rate, approved by the CTB on June 20, 2017, is $18,515.71 per lane-mile; the rate typically escalates each year. Maintenance responsibilities include landscaping, sidewalk repair, street sweeping, paving, plowing, signage, and pavement markings, which cost the County roughly $28,000 per lane-mile of roadway, based on the County’s most recently reported average maintenance cost per lane-mile.
… This equates to $60,000 – $70,000 in additional net tax support to the County. The precise level of service for this portion of Route 237 and associated costs would be determined during the FY 2019 budget deliberations.
The CTB would likely vote on the transfer in September if it is approved by the County Board.
(Updated 2 p.m.) Some changes are coming to several Metrobus routes through Arlington County next year, as the county prepares for the Columbia Pike “Premium Transit Network.”
At a work session with the Arlington County Board on Thursday, county staff put forward a plan that would end seven lines that run through Arlington in FY 2019, which begins on July 1, 2018, and save the county $5.8 million:
- The 4A between Seven Corners and Rosslyn
- The 16B, E and P along Columbia Pike
- The 16G, H, K along Columbia Pike
A spokesman for the county’s Department of Environmental Services said the changes along the Pike would help make way for the so-called “Premium Transit Network,” which is projected to cost $6.9 million and launch next summer after delays. The various routes would be consolidated under that network, which the spokesman said would “result in more bus service in the county, not less.”
The new bus system was put together after the Columbia Pike Streetcar project was cancelled in 2014, with Board members at the time promising a system that would be just as good, if not better.
To try and lessen the impact of the service cuts, staff proposed improving the frequency and hours of the 4B that largely overlaps the 4A, and similar efforts for the 16A on Columbia Pike. Those improvements would cost just under $850,000.
The 4B would then be discontinued as a Metrobus route in FY 2020, saving the county $1.7 million, and made an ART route.
The 16X service from Columbia Pike to Federal Triangle in D.C. via the Pentagon would have its hours improved, at a cost of $3.2 million to county coffers. The 15K and 15L routes between the East Falls Church and Rosslyn Metro stations would also be realigned.
All told, the various service reductions and increases will cost the county just over $2.6 million more in its Metrobus subsidy, bringing that figure to $40.5 million in FY 2019.
The possibility also exists that the 22A, B and C routes through Barcroft and South Fairlington could be converted into locally-run ART routes. That would save $2.4 million in the county’s Metrobus subsidy, but would require funds to be made available through ART instead.
Cuts had been planned for FY 2018 under the county’s Transit Development Plan approved last year, but were pushed off to FY 2019. The county did not cut any Metrobus routes for FY 2018, and improved the frequency of the 2A route between the Ballston and Dunn Loring Metro stations.
That came in part due to funding from the Virginia Department of Transportation’s “Transform 66” project to widen I-66 from the Dulles Connector Road to the Fairfax Drive exit in Ballston.
Metro staff will analyze the actual costs and savings from the various changes, and bring forward a proposal to the agency’s board of directors. The board would then take public comment on any proposed changes region-wide before making a decision next year.
Image via county staff presentation
Someone broke into a business on N. Glebe Road in Ballston over the weekend and stole items of value, Arlington police said in a crime report.
Police said the burglar broke into the building on the 600 block of N. Glebe Road at some point between 11 a.m. July 1 and 7 a.m. July 3. Officers have no description of the suspect.
A police spokesman declined to specify which business was robbed. The block is home to a Harris Teeter grocery store, a Mercedes-Benz car dealership and an auto repair shop.
More from this week’s Arlington County Police Department report:
BURGLARY, 2017-07030047, 600 block of N. Glebe Road. At approximately 7:26 a.m. on July 3, officers responded to the report of a burglary. Upon arrival, it was determined between 11:00 a.m. on July 1 and 7:00 a.m. on July 3, an unknown subject(s) forced entry into a building and stole items of value. There is no subject(s) description.
The rest of this 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 new startup offering free pick-ups and drop-offs in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor in its electric cars has gotten quite a bit of attention just weeks after launch.
Sprynt can be downloaded for iOS and works similarly to other ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft. Users enter their current location, destination and the number of passengers, then request a ride. They are then told their driver’s name and an estimated time of arrival.
“I came up with something that was a short, quick hop in between point A and point B,” said Alex Villanueva, the 26-year-old founder, about the company’s name.
Sprynt launched on June 21 and currently has four cars, with a fifth on the way. Within five days, the app had over 700 downloads.
“In order for the concept to work you need a special area where it’s densely populated and people all live, work and play within a couple of square miles,” Villanueva said.
“It’s a too far to walk but too close to drive little niche, where you still need perhaps Uber or Lyft, or the Metro or the bus, to get anywhere else outside of our service area, ” Villanueva said.
He explained people may want to take his service if it’s a hot, cold or rainy day, if they don’t feel like walking or if they want to drink wherever they are going. Some of Sprynt’s customers are already regulars and use the service to commute.
“It’s really meant to be this gimmick-free [service],” said Villanueva. “I’ve been telling riders, ‘When I drop you off my goal is for you to feel it’s too good to be true.'”
The business is able to provide free rides thanks to its advertisers. Villanueva said that the likes of Don Tito, Tupelo Honey Café, Ten at Clarendon and Miriam’s Kitchen have already partnered with Sprynt.
“By sponsoring the service and by advertising through our advertising platforms, these companies are able to build goodwill while at the same time still promoting the products and services they were going to anyway,” Villanueva said.
There are three different ways businesses can advertise. The first option is to promote their companies on the two 12.9-inch interactive iPads placed in the cars. A restaurant might put its menu on the i-Pad or a company might include a job posting.
The iPad option is the cheapest option because people can only see the ads if they are physically inside the cars, interacting with the devices. Villanueva said he hopes to increase activity on the iPads by creating a Photo Booth feature.
“[This is a] way to make sure that the advertising is not a distraction from the rider’s experience but rather, is a part of it,” Villanueva said.
There’s a recent addition to the site of Marymount University’s new mixed-use complex at the corner of N. Glebe Road and Fairfax Drive in Ballston.
The inscription on the sign, below, notes that there are four additional informational markers in the complex’s courtyard, made from salvaged blue panels from the former building.
Construction of the Marymount complex is expected to wrap up this summer. A Starbucks coffee shop is set to be its first retail tenant.
This site is where the distinctive “Blue Goose” building stood. While the origin of the moniker remains unknown. Arlingtonians recognized the building’s atypical form and striking use of polychromatic blue metal panels. Well-known local architect John M. Walton designed the building for M.T. Broyhill and Sons, which opened the office tower in 1963.
Marymount University welcomes you to walk through the courtyard to the right, which contains four two-sided informational markers. Visitors heading to the west will learn about the transportation history of this site including the streetcar line that followed Fairfax Drive. Visitors walking to the east will read about the history of the Blue Goose and its architect, developer, and tenants. These four markers were partially constructed with salvaged blue panels from the Blue Goose.
Photo courtesy Joel Kirzner