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
Wahlburgers Coming to Ballston — Wahlburgers, the burger chain founded by the show biz Wahlbergs (Mark, Donnie, Paul), is coming to Ballston next year. The eatery will be located near the intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Glebe Road. [Washington Post]
SER Expanding to Capitol Hill? — The team behind SER restaurant in Ballston — or, at least, part of the team — is opening a new restaurant on Capitol Hill in the former Sona Creamery and Wine Bar space. [Washington Business Journal]
Metro Releases Cause of Derailment — What caused a Metro train to derail near the East Falls Church station on Friday? The transit agency says it was a deteriorated section of track in which the rails became too wide. [Washington Post]
Dark Star Park Day — Yesterday Arlington County held its annual observance of Dark Star Park Day in Rosslyn. The public park, built in 1984, is designed to have its shadows line up once a year, on Aug. 1. [Storify]
County Touts Innovation Recognition — Three Arlington County programs have been recognized for innovation from the Virginia Association of Counties. [Arlington County]
Road Rage on a Bike Trail — Road rage isn’t something that only happens with motorists. Occasionally, it happens among cyclists as well, as this story from an incident on the Mt. Vernon Trail demonstrates. [Storify]
(Updated at 3:45 p.m.) Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) held a special ceremony this morning announcing the construction of equipment that would allow for new high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes on I-66.
McAuliffe hosted the event at Washington-Lee High School — which overlooks the highway — and was joined by Va. Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne and Arlington County Board chair Libby Garvey.
“Since the beginning of our administration, we made it our top transportation priority to improve Virginia’s infrastructure and unclog the bottlenecks on our most congested highways,” McAuliffe said during the ceremony. “This initiative, coupled with Virginia’s new SMARTSCALE transportation prioritization process, will unlock Northern Virginia from the traffic congestion that was strangling this region’s economic potential.”
— Terry McAuliffe (@GovernorVA) August 1, 2016
Workers will soon begin the $60 million project to install tolling equipment along the interstate from the Beltway to the Lee Highway exit in Rosslyn, according to a press release from McAuliffe’s office.
The new equipment will allow drivers to pay a toll of about $5-6 on average to bypass traffic during morning and afternoon rush hours, according to VDOT. Vehicles with two or more occupants, buses and motorcycles will be exempt from paying the toll.
Toll revenues will go toward funding alternative forms of transportation, McAuliffe said.
“The toll revenues will now fund travel options like ridesharing and enhanced commuter bus service, making those choices more attractive and much more user friendly so more people will leave their cars in the garage to get to work,” McAuliffe explained in his remarks. “We are committed to creating a carpool culture for I-66 travelers.”
Additionally, the Commonwealth Transportation Board will commit nearly $10 million toward projects such as improving commuter buses from Loudoun, Prince William County and Fairfax, local buses in Arlington and Fairfax, new carpool incentives and new bikeshare programs, according to McAuliffe’s office.
Along with the new tolling equipment, I-66 will also be partially widened. The plan calls for an extra lane to be built within the existing eastbound right-of-way from the Dulles Connector Road to the Fairfax Drive exit in Ballston.
The new HOT lanes are expected to open some time next summer.
No official opening date has been set yet, but construction and building permits are up outside the new Nando’s Peri-Peri restaurant in Ballston.
“We are getting close at Ballston,” said Jim Popkin, a representative for the company.
The restaurant is located at 4401 Wilson Blvd, the former home to Italian eatery Vapiano’s.
A Virginia ABC notice outside of the restaurant indicates that Nando’s is seeking to serve wine, beer and cocktails in a space with more than 150 seats.
The Portuguese-style chicken chain has an existing Arlington location in Pentagon City.
Update at 4:05 p.m. — The suspect has been taken into custody on the back porch of a home on the 1100 block of N. Taylor Street, according to scanner traffic.
Arlington County Police are searching for a suspect who took off on foot after a traffic stop in the Ballston area.
The car was stopped by police on Washington Blvd. The suspect ran off and officers gave chase, but they lost sight of him in the area of 9th Street N. and N. Stuart Street, near the Metro station.
Police are establishing a perimeter in order to try to find the suspect. Officers are also investigating the possibility that the car was stolen or, at minimum, was improperly registered.
A new fertility center has arrived in Ballston.
Shady Grove Fertility has a location now open at 901 N. Stuart Street in the Ballston Metro Center Office Towers, the center announced last week. Dr. Anitha S. Nair, a reproductive endocrinologist who leads the Arlington office, will treat men and women fighting infertility.
With its Ballston clinic, Shady Grove Fertility currently has 19 full-service outposts in Virginia, D.C., Maryland and Pennsylvania.
“In response to the growing demand for Shady Grove Fertility services in Northern Virginia, we’ve located our newest office in Arlington, VA, within steps of the Metro to provide additional convenience for our patients,” Shady Grove Fertility’s medical director Eric A. Widra said in a statement. “With Dr. Nair being a longtime resident of the city, we’re excited to provide the Arlington community with the experience and success we’ve achieved throughout the region.”
Photo via Shady Grove Fertility
County Looking at Fire Station Alternatives — The Arlington County Board on Saturday approved an agreement with Arlington Public Schools that would allow it to build a temporary fire station on the grounds of the new H-B Woodlawn school in Rosslyn. However, in response to parent concerns the Board directed county staff to look into potential alternative locations. [InsideNova, Arlington County]
Couple: Snow Melter Fumes Contaminated Our House — A couple who lives near Bluemont Park says diesel fumes from a snow melter that the county was using about 40 yards from their home this past winter has contaminated the home. The county paid for the couple to live in a hotel while the snow melter was running, in the wake of January’s blizzard. Now the couple wants the county to pay for a thorough cleaning of the home. [Washington Post]
Henry Gate to Reopen — The Henry Gate along Route 50 at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall will reopen to military bicyclists and pedestrians on Aug. 1. Among other expected benefits, the gate is expected to serve military users of Uber and Lyft; the ride hailing services are not available on the base. [Mobility Lab]
Police Escort Ducklings Across Road — An ACPD officers and a couple of “alert citizens” helped a mother duck and her ducklings cross N. Stafford Street on Friday. [Twitter]
More on Clarendon Drug Bust — One of the regular meetups for the alleged Clarendon drug ring was Whitlow’s on Wilson, where two of the suspects worked. “It was shocking, disappointing and frustrating to hear that any of this activity took place around our business and the neighborhood,” said Whitlow’s manager Jon Williams, noting that most other Clarendon bars were also named as areas of drug activity. [NBC Washington]
Board Approves Changes to Ballston Building — Originally proposed as an office building, the last building in the Founder’s Square project in Ballston will instead be built as a mixed use building, with a mix of retail, office and apartments. [Arlington County]
Following last year’s demolition of Marymount University’s “Blue Goose” building in Ballston, construction is underway on the building’s replacement, which now has a new name.
The mixed-use development at 1000 N. Glebe Road is now being called “Newside.” Two buildings are under construction on the site, a nine-story office building and a 12-story, 267-unit residential building.
The nine-story building will be owned by Marymount University, with the university using six floors as office and educational space. The top three floors will be leased out as office space.
Along with the two buildings, there will also be a 10,600 square foot public plaza and pedestrian passageway in between them.
The Shooshan Company, the project’s developer, is optimistic about its potential.
“You’ve got this unique blend of all these uses in one spot,” said Kevin Shooshan, the company’s director of leasing and marketing. “There is going to be constant foot traffic every day of the week,” between Marymount students and customers of the on-site retail. “It gives kind of a new life to the site which is why we view it as the new side of Ballston, the new side of Marymount University.”
Government contractors, high profile associations, IT and technology companies are among the potential tenants that Avison Young, the company in charge of leasing office and business space, imagines for the top three floors of the Marymount building.
According to Shooshan, the development’s convenient location just off I-66, between Tysons Corner and D.C., along with its potential for rooftop signage that can be seen from the highway, gives it an advantage in the marketplace.
“It is the only new construction space available in the Ballston market,” he said. “In an era when many tenants are looking to reduce things and right-size their space, doing so in new construction — it’s the only opportunity in the Ballston market and it’s coming within the next year.”
“We’ve also been seeing some good activity from some national retailers,” he added.
At the moment, the excavation and concrete portion of the underground parking garages are complete and work is currently being done of the second floors of the buildings.
Construction is expected to be completed for both buildings around the second quarter of 2017.