by ARLnow.com March 16, 2018 at 11:00 pm 0

Arlington County Police are conducting an “active death investigation” in the Ballston area.

A man was found dead just after 7:30 p.m. in a residence on the 4100 block of 11th Place N., said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage. The scene is about a block away from Washington-Lee High School.

“Police remain on scene conducting an active death investigation,” the department said via Twitter. “There is no known threat to the community. Expect continued police presence in the area as officers conduct the investigation.”

Map via Google Maps

by Anna Merod March 6, 2018 at 3:45 pm 0

About a month ago, Girl Scouts began selling their famous — dieters might call them infamous — cookies in Arlington.

The net revenue raised from Girl Scout cookies funds the organization’s local council and troops, which in turn is used for trips or donated to community projects or causes.

This month Girl Scouts will again be posting up at Metro stations, grocery stores and other high-foot-traffic locales, offering a fix of their seemingly addictive mass-produced baked goods.

Below, after the jump, are some of the times and places places you can grab some Girl Scout cookies in March.


by ARLnow.com March 6, 2018 at 9:35 am 0

Chalk up another name-brand restaurant heading to Ballston Quarter mall.

The renovated mall, which is set to open this fall, has announced an 18-restaurant food hall with the likes of Timber Pizza and Ice Cream Jubilee, plus the entertainment-oriented bar Punch Bowl Social.

This morning, regional restaurant chain Ted’s Bulletin announced that it too would be coming to Ballston Quarter. In the announcement, below, the company — which is under new ownership — says the new location will be a “2.0 version of the beloved Ted’s Bulletin experience.”

Ted’s Bulletin today announced the addition of a new location at Ballston Quarter.  Located within this mixed-use development, near the Ballston metro stop, this expansion of Ted’s Bulletin reflects the vision under the new ownership of Salis Holdings, led by Steve Salis, Founder and CEO.

“Tapping into the unrealized potential of Ted’s Bulletin was a top priority when we acquired the company last fall. We are excited to unveil the 2.0 version of the beloved Ted’s Bulletin experience with a vibrant footprint, thoughtful product enhancements and expansion of product offerings,” said Steve Salis, Founder and CEO of Salis Holdings. “As with all Ted’s Bulletin locations, the new restaurant in Ballston Quarter will serve as both a community anchor and destination for guests in the area.”

Expected for delivery in fall 2018, the restaurant will be part of the mall development led by Forest City.

“Our focus with Ballston Quarter is to curate the most unique, beloved restaurants in the region, and we’re thrilled to have Ted’s Bulletin, an iconic D.C. favorite, join our growing lineup of incredible tenants,” said Will Voegele, Forest City’s senior vice president of development.

About Salis Holdings

Salis Holdings, based in Washington, DC, focuses on ideating and acquiring products and brands across a range of hospitality, leisure, real estate and retail businesses. Founded in late 2015, the holding company currently carries businesses and brands that serve millions of guests annually and generates in excess of $85 million in system-wide revenue.

About Ted’s Bulletin

Ted’s Bulletin is a modern American diner with a 1920s/1930s art deco vibe offering patrons multiple comfort food dishes with breakfast available all day.  Its first location opened in 2010 in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, DC, and the restaurant has expanded to six locations in DC and nearby suburbs including 14th Street (also in Washington DC); Ballston Quarter (fall 2018) Merrifield, Reston, Virginia; and, Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Photo via Facebook

by Bridget Reed Morawski March 1, 2018 at 5:45 pm 0

Updated with County statement 3/2/2018 at 11:17 a.m.:

Arlington County believes that the dispute with the Berkeley Condo Association over public courtyard access is close to being amicably resolved, and that public access will be restored to the pathway on the property. The County Board authorized the County Attorney to engage in settlement negotiations with the Berkeley Condo Association, to resolve ongoing litigation, and the parties are negotiating a proposal, which, in all likelihood, will be finalized soon. Any final settlement would be between the County Board and the Berkeley Condo Association, not their attorneys or other County officials.

The proposal requires the Berkeley Condo Association to take down the existing gates at the pathway and keep the path clear for public access from 6 a.m. to midnight, or one half-hour before opening and closing of the Ballston Metro station, whichever is later. Under the proposal, the Berkeley Condo Association would be allowed to put up security fencing off the path to prevent trespassing onto the areas adjacent to the residential units.

The Berkeley Condo Association has applied for a Site Plan amendment, and the County Board could advertise a public hearing on that proposed amendment as early as at its March meeting, if the settlement agreement is finalized in time.

An agreement over contested public courtyard access has been reached between the County Attorney and Ballston’s Berkeley Condo Association, the association’s attorney says.

The compromise would allow the Berkeley Condominiums to fence off pathways and the privately-owned patios. The patios will not be accessible at any point to the public and the pathways will only be available during hours that Metro is operational.

“We’ve come up with a win-win, I think,” said William Lawson, the building’s attorney and a Ballston resident.

According to Lawson, a site plan amendment request will go before the Arlington County Board in April to approve the compromise.

In September the Board unanimously rejected the condo association’s desire to remove a requirement — dating back to when the condominium complex was built — that it allow the public to access a courtyard on the property.

Residents cited criminal mischief, from fighting to public drunkenness to drug use, for keeping its property off-limits. A staff report, however, noted that only one police report was found regarding activity at the outdoor space.

The condo building, at 1000 N. Randolph Street, is across from A-Town Bar & Grill and IHOP and down the block from First Down Sports Bar & Grill.

File photos.

by ARLnow.com February 27, 2018 at 8:55 am 0

Spokes Etc. to Take Over Freshbikes Store — Northern Virginia bike retailer Spokes Etc. is expected to open in the former Freshbikes location in Ballston by the end of March. “[Spokes Etc. President Jim] Strang said the store will stock his main brands, which are Specialized and Trek, and he plans to pick up one or two boutique bike brands to complement them.” [Bicycle Retailer, Spokes Etc.]

Arlington Near Last for Snowfall on East Coast — Based on a chart from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Arlington and D.C. ranked 65th among 68 eastern U.S. cities for snowfall this season, with a measly 3.3 inches. Only three deep south cities recorded less snowfall than has been reported at Reagan National Airport. [Patch]

More DCA Construction Impacts — Due to construction, Metro walkway airline kiosks and bag drops for Delta and American Airlines at Reagan National Airport are being relocated to the National Hall in Terminal B/C today. [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo Lisa Novak

by Bridget Reed Morawski February 26, 2018 at 3:05 pm 0

A proposal to build a 72-unit multifamily building in Ballston that met resistance from neighbors is moving forward.

In a 4-1 vote, the Arlington County Board approved a land use variance that will allow the Ballston condo and townhouse development to move forward. The development includes a total of 84 residential units, including 12 townhouses.

Many residents who spoke during the public comments section took issue with the height of the future residential buildings, as well as the the loss of property value and quality of life from the new building blocking sunlight.

“We will have nine floors of units that currently enjoy will now be limited to fully dark most of the year — a maximum of one and a half hours during the summer solstice,” said Dana Hofferber, a resident of the nearby Westview condominium tower, citing a shadow study produced by the developer, NVR. Inc.

Another resident, Justin Heminger, noted that the community isn’t against all development, just this particular plan.

“The community is not against the development of this project, the community is against what has been proposed,” said Heminger. “And I think it boils down to: it’s too big, it’s too tall, and it’s too close.”

Many of the 26 public comments were from immediate Ballston neighbors, who wore matching t-shirts and held signs. A number of speakers noted in remarks that they purchased condominiums based on the current General Land Use Plan (GLUP), which the Board was voting to modify. Others said they were concerned about traffic, school overcrowding and the impact of the development on mass transit.

A motion by County Board member John Vihstadt to delay the amendment to the GLUP failed. Vihstadt voted against the proposal.

“We’ve talked a lot about process and substance today, but in my view we fall too short of where we need to be and too short of where we could be with more discussion,” said Vihstadt, noting “hand-wringing” among the Board members.

It took about four hours for the development to be discussed and for the Board to vote.

Other Board members cited their concern with various aspects of the plan. Board members who voted for the development said those issues could be addressed at another point in the planning process.

Katie Cristol, the County Board chair, said that this was not a matter of developers versus residents, but of balancing “resident’s interests with resident’s interests” and not pulling “the ladder up from behind us.”

“There are things that [are] reasonable to expect,” added Cristol. “We will strive to seek to balance the interests of residents, of homeowners to homeowners or renters to renters… this project, which adds new ownership housing steps from a Metro center, is an example of that.”

“The redevelopment of this site will provide much-needed ownership housing in the heart of Ballston, including affordable units, within walking distance of Metro,” Cristol said in a press release. “We heard from some in the neighborhood who have had strong differences of opinion about the development’s appropriateness, but the Board, in partnership with staff and the Planning and Transportation Commissions, believes that it is consistent with the long-held goals of the Ballston Sector Plan.”

At least one resident during the public comment period questioned whether elected officials had received any campaign contributions from developers, which several County Board members denied, including board member Christian Dorsey and Katie Cristol.

by Anna Merod February 23, 2018 at 3:20 pm 0

At a ceremony in Arlington Thursday evening, ten students graduated from La Cocina, a bilingual culinary school for the unemployed or underemployed.

The culinary job training program holds classes for 12 weeks. The students then complete a four week paid internship at different hotels and restaurants.

The majority of students, 85 percent, graduate with a job at a local restaurant or hotel. Employers of program graduates include Washington’s Sfoglina restaurant, National Harbor’s MGM Casino and supermarket chain Wegmans. La Cocina has a partnership with 30 businesses, which take on program graduates.

Current La Cocina students are all Latino immigrants from across Central and South America. The program is hoping to soon expand its student body to include refugees, military veterans, and non-Latino immigrants.

This graduation marks almost 100 program graduates over 11 graduating classes since its inception in 2014. Patricia Funegra, La Cocina’s founder and CEO, was inspired after volunteering in 2012 at DC Central Kitchen, which trains low-income people for cooking careers.

“I just fell in love with the model and how the program was transforming lives, but at the same time I thought, ‘Oh my god Latinos are already in kitchens and they are not receiving this training,” said Funegra.

The graduates receive three certificates degrees after completing the program —  in culinary arts workforce development from Northern Virginia Community College, in food safety from the National Restaurant Association, and in food allergy prevention.

Students walked into their graduation ceremony at Ballston’s Mount Olivet Methodist Church to Pharrell’s “Happy” before listening to speeches that touched on the importance of hard work and perseverance.

“It wasn’t easy for you to get here,” said Daniela Hurtado, La Cocina’s program manager. “Each of you had a goal, each of you had a vision, and you gave it your best.”

One graduate, Jose Cordova, originally from Peru, shared his experience at La Cocina during the ceremony.

“Standing up every morning and coming here was hard,” he said. “But we [did not] give excuses and we are not to give it now nor ever.”

For Cordova, who will be working at Crystal City’s Hyatt Regency hotel, the classroom became his home and the professors were like family.

Another graduate, Luisa Gil, who was born in Honduras but immigrated to the United States nine months ago, feels very connected to the other students in the program. She told ARLnow.com that she’s excited to start a new challenge as a Sfoglina chef.

“Everyday I have to learn many, many things. I have to be at the same level as my coworkers, improving my skills and learning or discovering new ingredients and techniques,” Gil said.

The ceremony concluded with a reception of American, Mexican and Peruvian food made by the 12th class in the program. Throughout the program, as food is prepared and graded, it is boxed up and donated to shelters and affordable housing units.

“It’s kind of a circle of sustainability using those resources to feed our neighbors in need,” said Funegra.

by Bridget Reed Morawski February 23, 2018 at 2:15 pm 0

(Updated at 2:40 p.m.) The County Board is set to vote this Saturday (February 24) on a contested residential development in Ballston.

The development is planned around the intersection of N. Vermont and 11th streets, about four blocks from the Ballston Metro station. Developer NVR Inc. intends to build a 72-unit multifamily building with both condos and townhouse-style units on the southern block and 12 townhouse units on the northern parcel of land.

County staff, along with the Arlington’s planning and transportation commissions, are recommending that the Board approves the development, but some neighbors have objected to it.

“Save Our Neighborhood” signs in opposition of the development have been placed around Ballston, urging residents to wear red t-shirts to the County Board meeting to show their solidarity. A Change.org petition has garnered more than 500 signatures.

The petition’s organizer, Dana Gerk, cited a swamped mass transit infrastructure, overcrowding in the schools, concerns about increased traffic, “potential physical damage… from heavy machinery,” and a deviation from the county’s current zoning for the site.

Other opponents cite the proposed height of the condo building as harmful.

“Through the process, local residents vocally opposed the design and placement of the seven story multi-family building,” one resident said in an email to ARLnow.com. “At each public hearing Westview [condo] residents whose properties were built with floor to ceiling window balconies opposed the current design, which will block access to light according to developer-provided shadow studies.

“Other buildings in the area, such as on the corner of Glebe and Fairfax, were sculpted to preserve the access to sunlight for Westview residents, and Westview residents note that, if approved, this new building takes away the views of over 100 residents so that a developer can maximize profits for many fewer.”

Approval from the board would necessitate two exceptions be granted. The lot is currently planned as “low-medium residential,” meaning that it can accommodate 16-36 units per acre, and would need to be changed to “high-medium residential mixed use” in the General Land Use Plan (GLUP).

An additional rezoning request for the 55,667 square foot site would allow developers to build multiple family dwellings and commercial district property. The current status only allows for one family and restricted two-family dwellings.

The final plans were released earlier this month for the redevelopment, which would replace the Grace Community Church building and a parking lot.

by Bridget Reed Morawski February 22, 2018 at 9:20 am 0

Updated at 3:21 p.m. with additional details.

Updated at 9:41 a.m. with additional photos: A high rise AC unit caught fire this morning (Thursday) in Ballston, shutting down the 800 block of N. Quincy Street.

The fire was reported around 8:30 a.m., prompting a large response of Arlington County firefighters as well as units from Fairfax, Alexandria, and Fort Myer. The fire was extinguished quickly after units arrived on scene, according to Capt. Ben O’Bryant, Arlington County Fire Department spokesman.

O’Bryant confirmed that the Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the cause. The fire comes a day after record-breaking February warmth.

The building, at 801 N. Quincy Street, is home to the soon-to-open restaurant Urban Tandoor, along with numerous office tenants.

by Bridget Reed Morawski February 16, 2018 at 2:45 pm 0

A new Indian restaurant, Urban Tandoor, is one step closer to opening its doors as it hangs it sign at the Ballston space.

There still isn’t a posted opening date, though construction has been ongoing since at least September 2017. The restaurant, at 801 N. Quincy Street, will replace a series of eateries, like Republic Kitchen & Bar and Leek American Bistro, which have closed in recent years.

The owner, Rajeev Mainali, told ARLnow.com in September 2017 that the food will primarily be Indian, with some subtle differences to “cater to the young crowd.” He called the expanding neighborhood an opportunity to expand the ethnic food options along the corridor. The restaurant, sitting at the intersection of N. Quincy Street and Wilson Boulevard, is directly across from a Bruegger’s Bagels, a Taylor Gourmet, and the recently opened &pizza.

“The area is growing so fast, we feel like it has been underserved as far as restaurants go,” Mainali told ARLnow.com. “We feel like there are not enough good restaurants there. There are some, but not enough to serve the growing clientele there.”

The restaurant will have 95 seats inside, and an outdoor patio will have the capacity to host another 40 guests. The windows are mainly covered in sheets of paper, but a peek through a side window that had not been taped up revealed several chandeliers and dangling, glass lighting fixtures.

by ARLnow.com February 14, 2018 at 9:25 am 0

Crystal City Could Be Big Budget Winner — Commercial real estate analysts expect Crystal City and the Dulles Toll Road corridor to be the big winners from the new spending bill that was signed into law last week, boosting domestic and military budgets. Crystal City is also among the Northern Virginia locales under consideration for Amazon’s HQ2. [Bisnow]

Park Police Chief Cancels Meeting with BeyerUpdated at 12:30 p.m. — The chief of the U.S. Park Police cancelled a scheduled meeting yesterday with Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. Beyer and Norton are seeking answers in the fatal Park Police shooting of Bijan Ghaisar, who fled from a reported crash and then from officers before being shot in Fairfax County. USPP later released a statement explaining the chief’s decision. [WUSA 9, PDF]

Ballston to Hold Puppy Party Tomorrow — “Didn’t feel the love on Valentines Day? Join the Ballston BID for a puppy pick-me-up. All dogs present available for adoption through our partner, Homeward Trails. They bring the furry friends. Earl’s will bring the food.” [Ballston BID]

Charlie Clark on Arlington and Its History — “Clark compared the local population to the cast of the NBC show ‘Parks and Recreation,’ a group of honest, do-gooders who try their best but things still go awry. They’re a body of citizens that aren’t afraid to challenge their local governance on issues, pointing in particular to the struggle put up by local citizens last year when Arlington worked to relocate Fire Station 8.” [Arlington Connection]

Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Reservations — Procrastinators rejoice, a number of Arlington restaurants were, at last check, still taking reservations for Valentine’s Day dinner tonight. [Patch]

Flickr pool photo by Tim Brown

by Anna Merod February 13, 2018 at 4:35 pm 0

OpenWater, a company that develops a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution for award ceremonies such as the TONY and James Beard awards, has move its headquarters from the District to the Ballston neighborhood.

The 35-person company signed a seven year lease at 4401 Fairfax Drive and moved in earlier this year, according to a press release by the company. OpenWater previously resided in D.C. for 8 years and was able to expand its footprint by 120 percent as a result of the move.

The company was named one of Inc’s 5000 fastest growing companies in 2017 and reported $2.5 million in revenue in 2016. On top of providing management software for awards ceremonies, their software is also compatible for other application review processes such as selecting board members, grants and scholarships.

The company also plans to open up the new space for technology forums and networking events.

OpenWater is a company that thrives on constant and consistent innovation, making them a perfect fit for the robust and fast-growing tech scene in Ballston,” said Tina Leone, CEO of the Ballston Business Improvement District, in a press release. “Ballston continues to lead the push for innovative technologies in the DC metro area because of companies like OpenWater and we are thrilled to have them in our neighborhood.”

Images via OpenWater

by ARLnow.com Sponsor February 13, 2018 at 12:45 pm 0

by Karyn Ewart, PhD., Founder & Head of School, The Sycamore School

“He used to love school,” is a common refrain I hear from parents.

Too many students are falling out of love with school after elementary school, when school transitions from hands-on learning to rote memorization, layered with a lot of homework and a culture of acceleration.

Schools are holding college preparedness workshops at the end of elementary school; middle schoolers are taking numerous high school credit courses; then, in high school, students are encouraged to take as many AP classes as possible, so that they can earn college credit.

The result of this acceleration? Students are constantly worried about how to get ahead instead of being present. How do we stop this vicious cycle of stress and help our kids learn how to learn?

Parents are afraid to ask this question. They need to understand that we can’t engineer a good life for our kids by pushing them beyond what is developmentally appropriate.

As a psychologist, I’ve seen the worry and the angst. You want your kids to discover a passion that will spark learning and lead them into adulthood, but you are afraid that if you don’t go with the flow, and buy into the system of acceleration, your kid will be left out of success later.

Imagine what would happen if your children didn’t have homework, actually enjoyed school and were able to retain what they learned.

What would happen if your children made mistakes and it wasn’t the end of the world? What if they weren’t afraid to fail? What would happen if your kids learned how to manage their time effectively and to think creatively? What would happen if you could let go, just a little, and let your child fall… and then soar?

They would fall in love with learning. Help your child rediscover their love of learning – come visit The Sycamore School; located in the heart of Arlington.

About The Sycamore School

Featuring an urban campus, the Ballston-based school is expanding to serve 5th-10th grades for the 2018-19 school year, with upper grades being added as the class ages up. The Sycamore School features:

  • Inquiry-based, self-paced learning
  • Student-centered classes
  • Hands-on experiential activities
  • Depth vs. breadth of instruction
  • Critical thinking, creative problem solving and teamwork
  • Small classes; 1:10 teacher to student ratio
  • Connecting concepts across content areas & to the real world
  • Opportunities for self-advocacy
  • Organizational & study skills
  • Weekly community activities
  • Regular mindfulness practice
  • Social & Emotional Learning folded into the curriculum
  • Movement incorporated throughout the day
  • No Homework

by ARLnow.com February 7, 2018 at 10:00 am 0

With the addition of new experience-oriented tenants, Ballston Quarter is billing itself as “one of the largest experiential and entertainment hubs in the D.C. area.”

The center is bucking its identity as a mall as construction continues on what was once the Ballston Common Mall. Set to open this fall, Ballston Quarter has already announced hip food options in its 18-restaurant food hall and a marquee entertainment tenant in the planned 25,000 square foot Punch Bowl Social.

This morning, mall owner Forest City announced a handful of new tenants, including:

  • 5 Wits — “A live-action entertainment venue that immerses visitors in realistic, hands-on experiences, similar to escape rooms…”
  • Cookology — A “recreational culinary school” that “offers professionally taught, hands-on cooking classes for adults and kids… perfect venue for families, date nights or corporate outings.”
  • Nook — “A modern indoor play and learning space for young families” that is moving from its current Lee Highway location.

Those are also in addition to the existing Regal Cinemas and Sport&Health club, which are undergoing multi-million dollar renovations.

More from a Forest City press release, after the jump.


by Anna Merod January 31, 2018 at 3:45 pm 0

After the 2016 presidential election, Tori Phillips said she felt “helpless” and thought there was a community divide in Arlington.

To address that, Phillips reached out to multiple churches in 2017 with the idea of launching a “Little Community Pantry.” The idea is similar to that of a “Little Free Library,” from which people can give and take books as they please, except with Phillips’ pantry people can donate non-perishable food items and other items such as foot and hand warmers, packaged toothbrushes and tampons.

This past August Phillips was able to establish her “Little Community Pantry” outside the Central United Methodist Church, just across the street from the Ballston metro.

Phillips said she monitors the pantry weekly with the help of family, friends and members of the church. A member of the church also painted the pantry box, she added.

Some weeks she has been pleasantly surprised to find the pantry full, but in general she said the demand is higher than the supply.

Phillips said she thinks the pantry has helped bring the community together. Multiple people have stopped and thanked Phillips when she fills up the pantry. Sometimes people donate scarves, hats and gloves though the pantry doesn’t prompt it.

In the future Phillips hopes to see more pantry boxes outside of Arlington. She has her sights set on the Del Ray neighborhood in Alexandria as the next Little Community Pantry location.

Photo by Tori Phillips


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