Fourth High School Option Floated — Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Patrick Murphy has added a fourth option for adding additional high school seats to the three finalists announced last month. Murphy said the existing Arlington Education Center near Washington-Lee could be used to house 600 students while adding another 700 seats in an expansion of the Arlington Career Center. [InsideNova]
World of Beer Sues Local Owner — Just a week after it was first reported that the owner of the World of Beer franchises in Ballston, Reston and Fairfax was rebranding the restaurants as “Crafthouse,” comes word that the World of Beer corporate office is suing him for allegedly violating their franchise agreement. [Reston Now]
VideoBlocks Moving to Courthouse — After announcing last year that the company would be moving to Arlington, subscription stock video service VideoBlocks has settled on a location: a full floor of Courthouse Tower at 1515 N. Courthouse Road. [Washington Business Journal]
County Board To Discuss Taxi Changes – After a vote on Saturday, the Arlington County Board will hold a public hearing next month to discuss proposed changes to the county’s taxicab ordinance. The changes, recommended by the county’s Transportation Commission, would allow the removal of lights from the vehicle’s roof, modifications to cabs’ color and lettering, and use of GPS metering instead of traditional taxi meters. [Arlington County]
How Rosslyn Landed Nestlé — It was a team effort to land Nestlé as the anchor tenant of the 1812 N. Moore Street tower in Rosslyn, says the head of the Rosslyn Business Improvement Districts. In the end, Rosslyn’s urban amenities, the area’s talented millennial workforce and a handful of state and local incentives helped to “sweeten the deal.” [LinkedIn]
Flickr pool photo by Arlington VA
The old Ballston pedestrian bridge is no more.
The bridge was torn down over the weekend, closing part of Wilson Blvd in front of the under-construction Ballston Quarter mall and prompting a new location for the Taste of Arlington festival. The demolition included the use of a large crane to lower sections of the bridge.
Today, a construction crew was working to clear leftover debris, while a large section of the bridge sat largely intact, fenced off along the sidewalk.
Via Twitter, one local resident called the dismantling of the bridge and its “Ballston” sign an “end of an era.” A new pedestrian bridge will be built nearby, however, with its opening set for the fall of 2018.
— Heather Plochman (@HeatherHoya) May 20, 2017
— Marisa (@maracasting) May 20, 2017
— Kristina Ingram (@KristinaIngram) May 22, 2017
(Updated at 3 p.m.) An under-construction replacement for the former Marymount University “Blue Goose” building in Ballston is on fire.
Firefighters are on the scene of a two-alarm apartment fire on the seventh floor of 1008 N. Glebe Road, according to scanner traffic. They’re reportedly having issues with water pressure in the building, though as of 2:55 p.m. the fire is said to have been extinguished. In addition to stairs, firefighters used a ladder truck to reach the apartment that was on fire.
Police have closed the southbound lanes and one northbound lane of N. Glebe Road between 11th Street and Fairfax Drive. Drivers should expect traffic impacts in the area.
The nearly-completed building, with more than 260 apartment units, was expected to be move-in ready this summer, according to the developer’s website.
— Shooshan Company (@ShooshanCompany) May 18, 2017
Less than a year after it opened in Ballston, the Rock ‘n’ Joe Coffee Bar has rebranded.
Now known as the Republik Coffee Bar, the spot at 4401 Wilson Blvd made the switch “a few days ago,” according to an employee Wednesday morning. There are still various references to its former name — right down to the “Rock ‘n’ Joe” cup sleeves still in use and the murals still on the wall.
Republik still serves coffee, tea and food, including sandwiches and salads. The interior appears unchanged from its previous iteration.
The original plan had been for Rock ‘n’ Joe to open five stores in the D.C. metro area under franchise owner Talha Sarac, with the potential to expand beyond the region.
According to paperwork filed with the Virginia State Corporation Commission, the new coffee bar is registered under Sarac’s name. Rock ‘n’ Joe no longer lists the Ballston location on its website; only its locations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Sarac did not respond to requests for comment, but a spokeswoman for the county’s department of community, planning, housing and development confirmed an application was submitted last month for a change of tenant for the business.
Hat-tip to Richie F.
Target will be opening a new 41,500-square-foot store in Ballston, at the intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Glebe Road, the company announced this afternoon.
The new store will be located on the first floor of the 12-story mixed-use development at 750 N. Glebe Road being constructed by Saul Centers, Inc. The development is three blocks from the Ballston Metro station, on the site of a former Mazda dealership.
Customers will be able to buy groceries, clothing and accessories, technology, beauty and home products, and toys and baby care items. There will also be a CVS Pharmacy inside the store.
The new Target will allow guests to order online and pick up products within one hour. It is projected to open in 2021.
“Target’s small-format store near Saul Centers’ mixed-use project at Wilson and Glebe will offer a convenient, one-stop shop for the surrounding neighborhoods,” said Mark Schindele, senior vice president of properties at Target, in a statement. “Local guests as well as visitors to the community will enjoy an easy and inspiring experience, featuring a grocery assortment, exclusive apparel brands, a location to pick up online orders and the convenience of 40 dedicated parking spaces.”
Target officials said small-format stores, geared to dense urban and suburban neighborhoods and college campuses, are a priority. The retailer plans to operate more than 130 small-format stores by the end of 2019; it has an existing small-format store in Rosslyn, which opened in 2015.
“I’m delighted to welcome Target’s expansion into the Ballston area of Arlington,” said Del. Patrick Hope (D) in a statement. “Target has broken the mold with its retail stores specifically tailored to the uniqueness of the neighborhood. The addition of more grocery options and a quick pick-up services is the right fit for the Ballston neighborhood and I can’t wait for their grand opening.”
Image via Target
World of Beer Gets Rebranded — The Ballston location of World of Beer is no longer part of the chain and has instead been rebranded as “Crafthouse.” The restaurant — along with former WoB locations in Fairfax and Reston — is now offering a full menu of American craft fare and a drink menu that includes local beers, bourbons, whiskey, wine and other spirits. [Reston Now]
County’s Stance on Rising Homeless Population — Via an Arlington County press release: “We believe that the increase in Arlington’s numbers this year do not reflect the long-term trend in our County,” said Arlington County Board Vice Chair Katie Cristol. “Since 2008, when we launched the 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness, Arlington has cut its number of homeless persons by more than half. We’ve made great strides in housing veterans and chronically homeless individuals and families.” [Arlington County]
Metro Changes Next Month — Starting June 25, Metrorail’s operating hours are being shortened while rail and bus fares are increasing, rush hour rail frequency is decreasing and some bus routes are being discontinued. [WMATA]
Freddie’s Named Top Brunch Spot — Freddie’s Beach Bar and Restaurant, a gay bar in Crystal City that hosts a Broadway brunch on Saturdays and a Champagne brunch on Sundays, has been named one of the 100 best brunch spots in America by OpenTable. [OpenTable]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Next Friday, thousands of area commuters will celebrate Bike to Work Day, including at sites across Arlington.
The free event is open to all area commuters, who are encouraged to meet up with neighbors and co-workers at one of 85 pit stops across the region and ride bicycles to work in a commuter convoy.
In Arlington, seven sites will provide food and drink, as well as nearby Capital Bikeshare stations for the easy docking of bikes. In the mornings, the pit stops will be open from 6:30-9 a.m., while those open in the afternoons will last from 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Rosslyn’s morning pit stop will be hosted at Gateway Park (1300 Lee Highway), while in the afternoon it will be at the Heavy Seas Alehouse (1501 Wilson Blvd). Shirlington will also hold pit stops in the morning at the Shirlington Library (4200 Campbell Ave) and in the afternoon at New District Brewing (2709 S. Oakland Street).
Pit stops can also be found in the mornings at FreshBikes Bike Shop (3924 Wilson Blvd) in Ballston, Penrose Square at 2503 Columbia Pike, the East Falls Church Metro station (2001 N. Sycamore Street) and the Crystal City Water Park (1750 Crystal Drive).
Registration is required for the pit stops, which enters attendees into local and regional raffles and guarantees a free Bike To Work Day T-shirt.
The regional event is organized by Commuter Connections, a program of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments that promotes bicycling to work, ridesharing and other alternatives to driving. More than 17,500 bicyclists are expected to register across the D.C. area.
“Each year, Bike to Work Day attracts commuters who choose to bike to work for the very first time, and after the event, 10 percent of them continue to bike to work an average of 1.4 days per week,” said Nicholas Ramfos, director of Commuter Connections, in a statement. “That’s an impressive conversion rate and it’s why we are committed to making every Bike to Work Day bigger and better than the one before it.”
Those in charge at Stageplate Bistro in Ballston say the new restaurant’s opening is just days away, now all its required permits are approved.
The eatery at 900 N. Glebe Road, on the first floor of the Virginia Tech Research Center, is the successor to Backstage Bistro Cafe near Dulles International Airport that closed last October. Backstage also hosted a catering company that specialized in events and providing food for touring entertainment acts.
With its certificates of occupancy finalized and having hosted some small functions for investors to give its food a test-run, general manager Mary Marchetti said a full opening is just days away.
The menu will feature mostly American cuisine, with some subtle differences. Instead of serving pizza, Stageplate will serve Turkish pide, a street food version of pizza that can be filled with various different ingredients.
“Pide is one of those things that you can do really fun ingredients, like fill it up with fun and interesting things,” Marchetti said. “It’s almost like a cross between a Stromboli and an artisanal pizza. You can do roasted butternut squash, red onion, delicious cheeses and stuff like that.”
In addition, Marchetti said guests can expect pasta, sandwiches, soups and salads. In the evenings, she said the menu will likely have other rotating options in its bistro entrees.
The restaurant will have around 125 seats indoors, 28 outside on the patio and nine at the bar, while a back room can be hired out for small events and functions of no more than about 50.
Stageplate joins a crowded area of Ballston, with an Applebee’s nearby as well as World of Beer and P.F. Chang’s. Marchetti said the newcomer has put some thought into how it will fit in with the rest of its neighbors.
“We’re so lucky to be in the middle of all these great restaurants,” she said. “With everybody that’s on the street, we tried to say, ‘Okay, what can we do that will complement and help hopefully bring more people to the area?’ We were really cognizant of the beers we put on tap, the wines we’re going to serve and the food we’re going to serve.”
The demolition of the pedestrian bridge over Wilson Blvd in Ballston is now expected to begin next weekend.
A spokeswoman for Forest City, which is carrying out the revamp of the Ballston Common Mall, said residents will start to see work being done on the bridge on Saturday, May 13.
That day, she said, crews will remove various trees and strip the bridge down to its barebones. On May 14, the spokeswoman said, a crane will be erected to remove the bridge structure. Then on May 20, final remaining bridge components will be demolished, including its columns and footings.
The bridge between Ballston Common Mall and 4201 Wilson Blvd — which houses the soon-to-be-relocated National Science Foundation — closed last year as part of the mall’s renovation.
Wilson Blvd will be shut for construction between N. Stuart Street and N. Randolph Street, with no cars or pedestrians allowed between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. The parking garage at Stafford Place II will remain accessible, as will the pedestrian entrance to CVS from N. Randolph Street.
“Please note that should an unforeseen unsafe condition be encountered that necessitates the operation to extend beyond these hours, we will require the closure to remain in place until such time that the road and sidewalk can be opened to allow for safe passage,” the spokeswoman said in an email.
The bridge is set to reopen with the revamped and rebranded Ballston Quarter mall in fall 2018.
Construction has begun on new, more aesthetically-pleasing road medians in Ballston.
Work kicked off yesterday on the medians along Fairfax Drive, from N. Quincy Street to Glebe Road. The improvements include a decorative fence, solar-powered “gateway signage” and “more plantings of annuals and perennials while maintaining the stately Bald Cypress trees.”
The Ballston Business Improvement District is spearheading the initiative as part of its placemaking efforts.
More from the BID:
A new pedestrian fence inspired by Ballston’s distinctive brand will increase pedestrian safety, solar-powered gateway signs will welcome all to the neighborhood, and an artistic design will be created on the median noses using the iconic Ballston-orange.
Initial work will include some demolition, repair and replacement of existing medians. The pedestrian fence installation will commence mid-May, and the final stages of work including painting, signage and plantings will follow in early June. Work will take place after morning rush and before evening rush hours with a vehicle lane closure on each side of the medians from Glebe Road to Fairfax Drive.
First image via Ballston BID. Second image via Google Maps.
Park Upgrades Approved — At its meeting last night, the Arlington County Board approved contracts that will “upgrade the playgrounds and picnic shelter at Oakgrove Park and add a restroom/picnic pavilion and futsal court at Tyrol Hills Park.” The contracts total around $1.7 million. [Arlington County]
TJ Construction to Take Away Theater Parking — Construction of a new elementary school next to the Thomas Jefferson community center and middle school will mean a loss of parking for the community theater used by a number of local performing arts troupes. Those troupes, including The Arlington Players and Ballet Nova, will now have to decide whether to relocate to another community theater or stay and deal with the lack of parking. [InsideNova]
New Location for Children’s School Approved — Last night the Arlington County Board unanimously approved a site plan amendment allowing the Children’s School, a co-op child care center for Arlington Public School employees, to occupy two floors of a Ballston office building. The center is moving from an APS-owned building in Westover to make way for what’s expected to be a new elementary school. Some Ballston condominium residents expressed concerns about the child care center, primarily related to traffic; County Board member Christian Dorsey pointed out that the space it’s moving into was formerly used by a for-profit college. [Arlington County]
Ballston Profiled by WaPo — “With an array of amenities, it’s easy to see why Ballston is one of the area’s hottest markets,” says a real estate-focused profile of the neighborhood. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
The long-planned demolition of the pedestrian bridge over Wilson Blvd in Ballston should begin soon, according to a spokeswoman for the developer.
An anonymous tipster reported seeing bricks being removed at the base of the bridge’s pillars where it connects to the mall, and wondered if demolition was beginning.
But a spokeswoman for developer Forest City, which is carrying out the mall’s revamp, said last week it is not doing any work on the bridge at this time. She added that demolition is scheduled to start soon.
“We are not doing any construction on the structural components that would affect the bridge,” the spokeswoman said. “The demolition should begin within the next 30 days, but we will notify the public once we have a solid date.”
The bridge is still on track to be reconstructed and reopened in time for the revamped mall’s opening in fall 2018.
This morning just before 4 a.m., police responded to a burglar alarm at the property and found that two men had entered the store. The suspects fled shortly after police arrived.
Although police do not release the names of affected businesses, Macy’s is the only remaining department store on that block while the Ballston mall undergoes renovation.
It doesn’t appear that the suspects took any items. More from the ACPD crime report:
UNLAWFUL ENTRY, 2017-04190032, 700 block of N. Glebe Road. At approximately 3:47 a.m. on April 19, officers responded to an audible burglary alarm. Upon arrival, it was determined two unknown male subjects entered a business. The subjects then fled the scene on foot shortly after. No items appear to be missing. The first subject is described as a black male, with a slim to medium build and was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt. The second subject is described as a black male, with a slim to medium build and was wearing a dark shirt. The investigation is ongoing.
More highlights from this week’s relatively thin crime report, including some that we’ve already reported, after the jump.
On Friday, police will set up at the corner of Fairfax Drive and N. Kenmore Street from 3-5 p.m. to enforce traffic laws. They’ll ticket any driver, cyclist or pedestrian who commits a violation. On May 2, they’ll do the same at the corner of Columbia Pike and S. Oakland Street from noon to 2 p.m.
ACPD will conduct the enforcement events as part of a larger D.C.-area safety campaign to reduce injuries and deaths by changing pedestrian, cyclist and driver behaviors. That campaign started yesterday and runs through mid-May.
Police note that cyclists and pedestrians make up nearly a quarter of the region’s traffic fatalities each year. They encourage everyone to safely share the roads and pay attention to one another.
(Updated at 10:45 a.m. on 4/19/17) CarPool only has been closed for two weeks, but we’re now getting a closer look at the building that will replace the long-time Ballston establishment.
Developer Jefferson Apartment Group has released new renderings and information about the structure that will occupy 4000 Fairfax Drive.
The 22-story luxury high rise will have up to 330 residential units and 264 underground parking spaces, along with a rooftop swimming pool and sundeck. The ground level will house 8,260 square feet of retail. Plans for the surrounding outdoor area include a landscaped plaza with seating.
Penzance originally had been the developer for this project when the County Board approved it in 2015, but it sold the site to Jefferson Apartment Group, who has partnered with Mitsui Fudosan America.
The property will be built and maintained to LEED Gold standards. The developers expect to break ground late this year.