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by ARLnow.com — December 7, 2016 at 10:00 am 0

Demolition has started on a century-old home along Washington Blvd in the Ballston area.

Known as the “flag house,” for the giant American flag that was often draped across it, the home was said to be in disrepair and was reportedly lacking in historic significance, following multiple additions and exterior changes.

“It is literally just an old house,” Arlington county Preservation Planner Rebeccah Ballo told us last year. “Nothing particularly noteworthy about it.”

The redevelopment plan, which was first proposed in 2013, calls for the house to be replaced by a fancy, four-story duplex. Homebuilder Wormald Homes says the new residences, at 4210 and 4214 Washington Blvd, will feature:

  • Four bedrooms, four full baths and one powder room
  • About 2,860 finished square feet of space
  • Two car garage with two additional parking spaces
  • Rear deck
  • Covered front entry
  • “Loft level terrace with sweeping views”
  • “Classic urban design”

No word yet on when demolition is expected to wrap up or when the new building is expected to be built.

by ARLnow.com — November 28, 2016 at 2:25 pm 0

Stageplate Bistro logo (photo via Facebook)A restaurant and bar called “Stageplate Bistro” is coming to Ballston.

According to web listings and an ABC permit application, the restaurant will be opening at 900 N. Glebe Road, which currently houses a new Applebee’s and the former Il Forno restaurant.

The new eatery will serve American cuisine at moderate prices and will feature a sidewalk cafe, according to the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington website. It will seat more than 150 and serve wine, beer and cocktails, according to the ABC permit application.

Stageplate Bistro is the successor to Backstage Bistro Cafe, a small restaurant near Dulles International Airport that also was the home base of a catering company that specialized in catering for events and touring entertainment acts.

Backstage Bistro closed in October and posted the following message to customers on its website.

We would like to sincerely thank all of our amazing cafe guests at Backstage Bistro Cafe Dulles for their kind support of our little cafe and catering company in Dulles, VA. Most of our guests knew we were incubating our first restaurant out of our retail little cafe which sits in front of our Dulles catering kitchen. We are so happy the cafe was so well received and greatly appreciate all of your feedback on our menu, style and concept! We are now very excited and proud to announce that our little café, Backstage Bistro Café Dulles, is all grown up and will now proudly be a full-service restaurant in Arlington, Virginia!

Our new full-service restaurant and bar will be located at 900 N. Glebe Road, Arlington, VA 22203 and is slated to open in December 2016. We hope to see you there!

There was no answer this afternoon at a phone number listed for the restaurant.

Despite hopes of opening next month, based on past restaurant opening precedent — owing in part to over-optimistic owners and a persnickety Arlington County permitting office — we would expect Stageplate Bistro to open no sooner than early 2017.

Logo (top) via Facebook

by ARLnow.com — November 22, 2016 at 9:00 am 0

Rosslyn in the fall (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

Dogs Die in Seven Corners Fire — Two dogs perished in a Sunday morning house fire in the Seven Corners area, although three dogs and four people were able to make it out of the burning home okay. Arlington County firefighters responded to the scene, assisting Fairfax County units in battling the blaze. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

Water Main Break in Fairlington — Parts of north Fairlington had low or no water pressure for most of the day Monday due to a water main break. [Twitter]

Remembering Obama’s Local Bookstore Visit — Even four years later, not a day goes by when One More Page Books owner Eileen McGervey doesn’t hear from someone about the time in 2012 when President Obama visited her store on Small Business Saturday. She recounted how it happened recently on a local public radio show. [WAMU]

Carpool Still Hanging On — Once believed to be closing this fall to make way for a redevelopment, popular Ballston bar Carpool is now likely to remain open through March 2017, co-owner Mark Handwerger tells ARLnow.com. The Washington Business Journal reported last month that the redevelopment has hit a bit of a snag.

Yorktown Senior Joins Chamber — Mark Yates, Jr., a senior at Yorktown High School and the founder of a lawn care business, has joined the Arlington Chamber of Commerce as a member after participating in the Chamber’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy. [Arlington Chamber]

Jonathan Kinney Honored — Prominent local attorney Jonathan Kinney was honored by the Arlington Community Foundation earlier this month, in front of a record luncheon crowd of nearly 400. Despite his low-key demeanor, Kinney, a land use and estate planning attorney, was described as “Arlington’s most indispensable citizen.” [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

by ARLnow.com — November 14, 2016 at 12:00 pm 0

The Sweetgreen at 4075 Wilson Blvd in Ballston is closed for renovations.

New equipment was being brought into the restaurant Friday night when ARLnow.com stopped by. A sign on the door of the trendy salad shop directed customers to nearby locations in Clarendon and elsewhere.

“We’re refreshing our Ballston location so we can’t do our thing for a few weeks,” the sign said.

by ARLnow.com — November 7, 2016 at 4:35 pm 0

Ballston pedestrian bridge closing sign (courtesy photo)The pedestrian bridge over Wilson Blvd in Ballston will be closing to the public on Wednesday, according to a sign at the bridge’s entrance.

The bridge, which connects Ballston Common Mall with the Ballston Metro station, is set for demolition as part of the mall’s ongoing renovation project.

There’s no word yet on a specific date for the demolition.

“No final date has been determined, but they are targeting the end of November or early December,” county spokesman Andrew Pribulka told ARLnow.com.

The bridge will be reconstructed with a new, modern design. The new bridge is expected to open by the fall of 2018.

Courtesy photo

by ARLnow.com — November 7, 2016 at 9:05 am 0

Medical helicopter lands near Arlington Traditional School, transporting a patient to Virginia Hospital Center

W-L Defeats Yorktown, Heads to Playoffs — The Washington-Lee Generals defeated cross-county rival Yorktown Friday night to advance to the football playoffs. W-L was trailing when senior quarterback Ricardo Mestre passed for a touchdown with just seconds remaining to clinch the win. [Washington Post]

Board Advertises Ballston Historic District — The Arlington County Board voted unanimously Saturday to advertise hearings on designating a small family graveyard in Ballston a local historic district, ahead of a planned redevelopment by the Central United Methodist Church. “The Board on Saturday received assurances from the church that it will not seek to remove any remains from the graveyard before the County has an opportunity to consider its historic designation,” according to a press release. [Arlington County]

Students: Adults Should Tone Down Boundary Rhetoric — Some adults have taken their rhetoric over the current Arlington Public Schools high school boundary refinement process too far, according to a pair of high school students who spoke at Thursday’s School Board meeting. “We honestly consider some of the comments made thus far to be an embarrassment,” said a Yorktown student. [InsideNova, InsideNova]

Arlington Smartphone App Updated — Arlington County has made a number of new upgrades to its My Arlington App for smartphones. The changes include a new home screen design, transit alerts and, just in time for Election Day, polling locations and a map of voter precincts. [Arlington County]

Cyclebar Now Open on the Pike — Cyclebar, a new indoor cycling studio, has officially opened along Columbia Pike. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Nov. 1. [Cyclebar]

Library Director: Vote on Nov. 8 — From Arlington Public Library Director Diane Kresh’s blog: “Every election is important and every vote counts. And it’s a privilege that for people in many parts of the world is not enjoyed. On Tuesday, vote as if your life depends on it; it does.” [Arlington Public Library]

Free Home Buying Seminar TonightSponsored — The Orange Line Living Team is hosting a Free Home Buying Seminar with a local lender and all attendees will receive two guarantees just for attending: 1) Buyer satisfaction — if you don’t love your new home they will buy it back or sell it for free for 12 months, and 2) $1,500 home purchase credit. See website for details and conditions. The event is being at 1600 Wilson Blvd #101 in Arlington, from 6-8 p.m. tonight, Nov. 7. [Orange Line Living]

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — November 4, 2016 at 3:45 pm 0

This is a rare chance to tour a luxury model home to be built in Lyon Village and Ballston.

Tour the model at 2513 11th Street N. in Arlington on Sunday, November 6 from 2-4 p.m.

You can also tour available plots in Ballston at 608 N. Vermont Street and in Lyon Village at 1728 N. Barton Street. For more information visit the website of real estate agent Keri Shull or call 703-436-2191.

Here are more details about the plots:

Lyon Village

1728 BARTON STREET
ARLINGTON, VA 22201

New construction home on a corner lot in the heart of Lyon Village. This craftsman inspired home offers nearly 5,000 square feet on 4 expansive levels. All finishes, fixtures and features are completely customizable to your desired selection. The master bedroom suite has a private balcony, luxurious bathroom and two large walk in closets. The home features gleaming hardwood floors throughout, 10 ft. ceilings throughout the main level, a gourmet kitchen with butler pantry and a private office. The exterior features a covered porch & two car garage. Start customizing your home now to move in Spring or Summer 2017.

Ballston

616 VERMONT STREET
ARLINGTON, VA 22203

608 VERMONT STREET
ARLINGTON, VA 22203

Rare enclave of three (one just went under contract) new construction homes available in the highly desirable location of Ballston. Just a short walk to the new Ballston Urban Center and Metro. These homes will be over 5,000 square feet on 3 expansive levels with luxury finishes & fixtures. The master bedroom suite has a private balcony, luxurious bathroom and two large walk in closets. The home features gleaming hardwood floors throughout, 10 ft. ceilings throughout the main level, a gourmet kitchen with butler pantry and a private office. There is the option to build a loft and options for a loft over the detached garage. Start customizing your home now to move in Spring or Summer 2017.

The preceding post was written and sponsored by Orange Line Living

by ARLnow.com — November 3, 2016 at 11:10 am 0

Robert Ball graveyard in Ballston

Members of the Ball family, for which Ballston is named, would like to see their small family graveyard along Fairfax Drive preserved and not moved for a redevelopment.

An attorney representing four descendants of Robert Ball Sr. sent a letter (below) stating the family members’ position to the Arlington County Board earlier this week.

The family members “fully support” an item on this Saturday’s County Board agenda that would be a first step to designating the graveyard a local historic district, according to the letter .

The attorney, Alexander Berger, said family members do not want to prevent the planned redevelopment of the church, but they do want the church to honor its century-old commitment — made after the family granted the church the land on which it sits — to preserve the graveyard.

“This is a situation where everyone involved can certainly find agreement,” Berger said. The family members have “no desire to stand in the way of the church and the development, provided they honor the history of the county and the family.”

The church, meanwhile, is pursuing two different methods of trying to get approval to move the graveyard. First, it has applied for a permit with the Virginia Dept. of Historic Resources. Additionally, it has filed suit against members of the Ball family in Arlington Circuit Court in order to have the graveyard declared abandoned, which would then allow it to be moved.

“It is not a lawsuit in the sense anybody is suing anybody,” explained Tad Lunger, the attorney for the church.  “There are basically two ways to allow for the relocation of human remains in Virginia, the first being through the DHR permit process, and the second being to get a court order to allow the relocations to occur.”

“The DHR permit is more of a passive notice process, whereas for the court process we cast a wider net and actually have to do genealogical research to locate any potential descendants and proactively go out and notify them,” Lunger continued. “Because we wanted as much opportunity for descendants to know we might find human remains at this site, and we wanted to know directly from them what they felt was most appropriate to do with any remains if they were found, we decided to do both processes to get as much involvement as possible.”

Berger, who was hired by family members after they were served with the lawsuit, said that the church “didn’t go about this in the right way.”

Berger said he believes the church is working on a plan for building the new development around the graveyard, which family members would likely support, but those plans have not yet been shared with him or the family.

by ARLnow.com — October 31, 2016 at 1:30 pm 0

Police car (file photo)A woman who went to check on a man who was sleeping on a bench in Ballston was pushed to the ground and dragged by the hair by the man, according to police.

The incident happened over the weekend, around 2:20 a.m., on the 4100 block of Fairfax Drive.

The man — a 32-year-old Arlington resident — also assaulted two women who tried to intervene, according to an Arlington County Police Department crime report.

ABDUCTION, 161030006, 4100 block of N. Fairfax Drive. At approximately 2:19 a.m., officers responded to the report of an assault that had just occurred. Earlier in the evening a male subject was asked to leave a restaurant. Later in the evening as the restaurant was letting out a female victim recognized the male subject asleep on a bench and attempted to check on his welfare. The male subject became angered, pulled the victim to the ground, and dragged her by her hair. When witnesses intervened, the subject struck two additional female victims. Sean Patrick Mulcahy, 32, of Arlington Va, was arrested and charged with abduction and assault & battery.

by ARLnow.com — October 31, 2016 at 9:10 am 0

Dog dressed as a pumpkin (Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber)

Arlington Residents Place in MCM — A pair of athletes from Arlington placed at the 41st Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday. Desta Morkama, an Ethiopian who’s living and training in Arlington while seeking asylum, was the second-place male finisher, bested only by Army Medic Spc. Samuel Kosgei. Nicole Irving, a 24-year-old Arlington placed third among the women. Perry Shoemaker of Vienna placed first while Army Capt. Meghan Curran captured second. [Stars and Stripes, Run Washington, Run Washington]

Investor Bets Big on Ballston Real Estate — Perseus Realty has purchased the Ballston Metro Center building, betting that “the planned remake of the Ballston Common Mall, among other projects, bodes well for the neighborhood.” [Washington Business Journal]

Metro Budget Would Slash Jobs, Increase Waits — Metro is considering a new budget that would plug a $300 million budget gap by slashing 1,000 jobs, increasing wait times between Metrorail trains and raising fares. [NBC Washington]

Write-In Candidates in Virginia — Sixteen write-in presidential candidates have filed the proper paperwork with the state to have their votes tallied. Note: InsideNova’s desktop site now shows two auto-play video ads simultaneously upon loading an article. Those with slower computers may wish to avoid the site. [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber

by ARLnow.com — October 27, 2016 at 9:00 am 0

Fall leaves

Murder Victim Feared for Her Safety — A friend of murder victim Bonnie Delgado Black said in court that she “was concerned if she would wake up in the morning” because of her estranged husband. A defense attorney for David Black, however, emphasized at trial that there’s a lack of physical evidence linking him to his wife’s murder. [Washington Post]

Rush Hour Offloading Peeves Riders — Metro riders were “furious” yesterday after a crowded train offloaded at the Rosslyn station during the morning rush hour due to a door problem. [Patch]

Pets Banned at Arlington Nat’l Cemetery — In addition to most bikes, the Army has also banned all pets at Arlington National Cemetery. Only service animals or working military dogs will be permitted onto the cemetery grounds. [Washington Post]

Bra Collection at Ballston Market — Ballston’s weekly farmers market will be Halloween-themed this afternoon. The market will also be collecting new and gently used bras, to be donated to those in need. [Twitter]

Westover Neighborhood Profiled — One of the main attractions of living in the Westover neighborhood is the collection of stores and restaurants at Westover Village, residents say. [Washington Post]

by ARLnow.com — October 26, 2016 at 1:45 pm 0

A new non-Starbucks coffee shop has opened in Ballston.

Rock ‘N’ Joe Coffee Bar held a ribbon-cutting ceremony this morning at 4401 Wilson Blvd, Ste. 103, its first Arlington location and the first of six planned for the D.C. area.

Nearly two dozen people were at the opening, taking advantage of a mug giveaway for the first 250 customers and free coffee all day today (Wednesday). In keeping with the cafe’s rock ‘n’ roll theme, there was also live music.

Prices range from $1.95 to $3.75 for coffee, $3.50 to 4.95 for a latte and are as high as $5.50 for “artisan” drinks like a Raspberry Cookie Crumble coffee. Tea, sandwiches, wraps, breakfast foods, salads and pastries are also offered.

More about Rock ‘N’ Joe and its opening, from a press release:

After the New Jersey-based Rock ‘N’ Joe Coffee Bar franchise was bought by Pittsburgh-based franchisor Ablak Holdings last year, the ‘third-wave’ coffee bar which boasts award-winning coffee and artisan coffee drinks in a relaxed, hip environment, will mark its national expansion Wednesday in Ballston’s busy Wilson Boulevard strip. Five more stores are to open in the D.C. metro area within the next few years.

“People’s desire for that perfect cup of coffee, shot of espresso, or specialty drink isn’t slowing down. What’s been missing is the third-wave coffee-making experience, where baristas showcase the art form of artisan beverage-making,” said Varol Ablak, president and CEO of Ablak Holdings. “Rock ‘N’ Joe’s provides entrepreneurship opportunities for baristas who want to do what they love – work with one of the best roasters in the world, and achieve the financial success that is the hallmark of all of our franchisees.”

From bean to roast and brew, Rock ‘N’ Joe Coffee Bar offers signature blends of coffee with smooth taste, providing an alternative to specialty chains known for the powerful, burnt taste of their brews. This quality has earned Rock ‘N’ Joe accolades from customers and recognition from industry experts including the Specialty Coffee Association of America “Golden Cup” Award, and New Jersey Monthly Magazine’s “Best Coffeehouses North.” The roaster, Dillanos, has received accolades including “Best Roaster in North America,” Roast Magazine.

Franchise owner Talha Sarac, the CEO of Ideal Development, invested in a multi-unit agreement to open five stores in the D.C. metro area, with potential to expand beyond that in the market. The first stores, to be managed by Operating Partner Alex Andrade, will be developed within the next two or three years.

“I’m a coffee snob,” Sarac said. “The coffee is really the best I’ve tasted. And I like the concept of a high-quality coffee shop that offers people a decent alternative to the other big coffee shop companies. Rock ‘N’ Joe is different and there’s a huge demand for such an alternative in this market. I see what people are looking for and I know the neighborhood coffee shop atmosphere with really good coffee will appeal to them.”

Rock ‘N’ Joe’s award-winning, Seattle-based roaster sources coffees from East Africa, Central and South America, and the South Pacific. Dillanos has established strong relationships with partners at origin to ensure the consistency of its supply chain. The “cupping” team spends countless hours verifying quality and profile to ensure that each cup meets a rigorous standard. A “marriage” of age-old roasting techniques combines with modern drum roasters to fully develop each bean.

“Much like the art form of the music playing in the backdrop of each Rock ‘N’ Joe Coffee Bar, the craft of beverage-making is an art form performed by every barista,” said Sarac.

ABOUT ROCK ‘N’ JOE:
Rock ‘N’ Joe Coffee Bar is all about creative excellence. Taste the award-winning and proprietary coffee masterfully blended by one of North America’s premier coffee roasters. Savor the chef-select tastes of our pastries and food while enjoying rock ‘n’ roll music. For people with a passion for great proprietary coffee blends, food, specialty drinks and rock ‘n’ roll music, Rock ‘N’ Joe Coffee Bar is the hippest hangout in town.

Photos by Samantha Moore

by Samantha Moore — October 21, 2016 at 12:00 pm 0

Total Wine and More opened in Ballston this morning, a day later than first anticipated.

An “occupancy permit issue” prevented the store from opening on Thursday, as scheduled.

About 15-20 customers were already perusing the aisles of wine, beer, food and accessories shortly after Total Wine opened the doors Friday morning.

Located at 800 N. Glebe Road, the store includes special features like a cigar humidor, a growler fill station, a classroom and meeting space and free Wifi.

The store’s hours are 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m.-8 p.m. on Sunday.

by ARLnow.com — October 21, 2016 at 11:00 am 0

Arlington’s Historic Affairs and Landmark Review Board has recommended designating a tiny Ballston graveyard a local historic district, potentially disrupting a church’s redevelopment plans.

The HALRB voted 8-2-2 Wednesday night for a local historic district designation of the Robert Ball Sr. Family Burial Ground, after hearing from 37 speakers both for and against the designation.

The County Board will now decide, as early as next month, whether to authorize an advertisement of public hearings before the Planning Commission and the Board. Following the hearings, the County Board could vote on the historic district as early as December.

The graveyard is located next to Ballston’s Central United Methodist Church, which has filed a site plan application to redevelop its property at 4201 Fairfax Drive into an eight-story building with a new house of worship, 132 apartments (55 would be committed as affordable units), a daycare and preschool facility and charitable facilities.

The 150-year-old, 325-square foot burial ground includes headstones for members of the Ball family, for which Ballston is named. Nobody knows for sure whether there are human remains buried in the graveyard or whether the remains were relocated elsewhere decades ago during any number of construction projects.

Historic preservation activists have pushed for a historic designation, which could scuttle or at least significantly alter the redevelopment plans.

The church and its members, on the other hand, want the development to proceed.

“This project… is excellent for the community as it will provide much needed affordable housing in Ballston, maintain a sacred space of a church in Ballston proper, continue a strong outreach by providing meals to those in need on Fridays, and provide expanded daycare and preschool options in Ballston conveniently located near the Metro for commuting parents,” said Kathy Sibert, a congregant who’s also the president and CEO of the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network.

“[The graveyard] was deeded to the church from the Ball Family in the 1920s,” said Sibert. “It is NOT an active grave site and the entire site has been heavily excavated for construction by the church and the County since that time so that virtually the entire site has been disturbed.

Sibert said the county officials have stopped processing its site plan application, “despite their prior commitment to us to hold our March 2017 tax credit application deadline.”

Update at 3:30 p.m. — The church’s pastor, Rev. Sarah Harrison-McQueen, tells ARLnow via email: “The local historic district boundaries recommended by county staff to the HALRB would have made our project infeasible. The HALRB voted to designate a smaller section of land than the staff proposed boundaries so we’ve asked our design team and engineers to evaluate the impact of this smaller section. I anticipate that we will have a better understanding of the potential ramifications sometime next week.”

She added: “Our current sanctuary is built within the boundaries of the former Ball family graveyard. The grave-markers do not appear to be in their original location. The church is seeking permission from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources to investigate this further.”

by ARLnow.com — October 20, 2016 at 11:10 am 0

Update at 3:15 p.m. — Power has been restored to all but a handful of Dominion customers in Arlington. Asked about the outages last night and today, a Dominion spokesman told ARLnow.com: “We experienced equipment failure resulting in a failed connector and wire falling into another line. 5,054 customers were restored in increments up to 2 hours and 23 minutes. The remaining 1,680 customers were restored after 6 hours and 44 minutes.”

Update at 11:10 a.m. — Another power outage has been reported near Crystal City. In all, about 500 Dominion customers are currently without power, according to the utility company’s website.

Police are helping with traffic control at several intersections in the Ballston area due to a power outage.

The outage was first reported just before 9 a.m. and follows last night’s widespread outage along the Lee Highway corridor.

More than 200 customers are affected by this morning’s outage, according to Dominion’s power outage map. Washington-Lee High School is just outside the area marked as without power.

Among the affected traffic signals are those at the busy intersection of Washington Blvd and Glebe Road, according to scanner traffic.

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