59°Rain

by ARLnow.com April 2, 2018 at 8:45 am 0

Favola Weighs in on Country Club Tax Bill — State Sen. Barbara Favola (D) said in an op-ed that Gov. Ralph Northam should veto a bill lowering the taxes of Arlington country clubs. She added: “If the country clubs are really interested in preserving open space, Virginia has a successful land preservation tax-credit program. It gives financial incentives to landowners who agree to keep their open space undeveloped, in perpetuity, while ensuring that the space is maintained for everyone’s benefit.” [Washington Post]

Fatal Motorcycle Crash Near Fairlington — A 34-year-old Haymarket man died after he crashed his motorcycle on King Street near Fairlington early Friday morning. Residents said on a local online group that a large group of motorcyclists was riding down King Street at the time of the crash. [Patch, WTOP]

New Ballston Restaurant Serving Nepalese Dishes — Urban Tandoor, which opened last week in Ballston, is serving Tibetan dumplings — or momos — in addition to the traditional Indian fare that makes up most of the menu. [Eater]

Dance Party on Streets of Clarendon — An impromptu group song and dance performance broke out on a Clarendon sidewalk after last call early Saturday morning. [Twitter]

Another Successful E-CARE — Arlington’s E-CARE recycling and disposal event over the weekend collected 83,208 pounds of “household hazards” over the weekend. [Twitter]

Hundreds Give Blood in Ballston — “Hundreds lined up at the Washington Capitals practice facility to donate blood for Inova Blood Donor Services. The drive, held at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, was one of several sports-themed drives that Inova holds every year, teaming up with local sports teams to promote blood donation in a fun way.” [WTOP]

Flickr pool photo by Lisa Novak

by Bridget Reed Morawski March 30, 2018 at 1:45 pm 0

Urban Tandoor opened its doors yesterday (March 29) in Ballston.

The Indian restaurant, at 801 N. Quincy Street, is the newest restaurant in the neighborhood, and is down the street from Ballston Quarter construction. Urban Tandoor replaces Republic Kitchen & Bar, which replaced the former Leek American Bistro.

A lunch buffet will run from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. every day, and an à la carte dinner menu will be available from 5:30-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 5-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday.

Most entrees on the menu run from $16-20, including an $18 lamb madras dish “cooked with coconut milk and spices.”

Happy hour pricing on certain food items runs from 3:30-6 p.m. Monday-Thursday.

There are seven dessert options, ten varieties of naan and similar breads, and a number of appetizers, vegetarian and otherwise. There’s also a small kids menu.

by Bridget Reed Morawski March 27, 2018 at 9:45 am 0

Lebanese cuisine fast-casual restaurant Badaro opened late Friday evening (March 23).

Though a worker at the location said that the shop is considering the first weeks a “soft opening” to smooth things out, the restaurant is open and ready for customers. Badaro replaces Ballston’s NKD Pizza location at 933 N. Quincy Street.

Badaro is the latest Chipotle-style, build-your-own restaurant in the county. Customers can choose between 27 different toppings and sauces, including fried cauliflower with pomegranate molasses, several hummus varieties, and pitted olives.

Seven protein options, like kefta and lamb kabob, are available, but Badaro charges one dollar less per bowl if it’s built without protein. A number of sides are available, like baba ghanoush with pita, from between $1.69 to $4.95.

There are also several fresh juice and drink options, as well as rice pudding and baklava for dessert.

With so many options to choose from, each Badaro bowl is uniquely yours!

Posted by Badaro – Lebanese on Saturday, March 24, 2018

by ARLnow.com March 27, 2018 at 8:35 am 0

Shake Shack, Philz and More Coming to Ballston — “Ballston will beef up its fast-casual restaurant offerings by the end of this year, with Shake Shack, We the Pizza, Philz Coffee and Cava all slated to lease space in the newly dubbed Ballston Exchange project. Ballston Exchange, formerly known as Stafford Place I and II, was until 2017 home to the National Science Foundation.” [Washington Business Journal]

Outdoor Lab Squeezed by Rising Enrollment — “A growing student body at the elementary-school level may soon mean there are not enough days in the school year to send the usual cadre of students to the Arlington Outdoor Lab, located in Fauquier County.” [InsideNova]

Arlington Smoker Busted in Falls Church — Falls Church police issued a summons to a 56-year-old Arlington man for smoking in a restaurant in the city. [Falls Church News-Press]

Hamlin Leaving Macedonia Baptist Church — The Rev. Dr. Leonard Hamlin Sr. is leaving Macedonia Baptist Church in Nauck for a post at the Washington National Cathedral. “To celebrate his 22-year tenure at Macedonia, more than 300 people attended a farewell gala held March 25 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City,” the Sun Gazette reported. [InsideNova]

Advocates Flock to Open Door Monday — Those seeking more funding in the county budget process flocked to yesterday’s regularly-scheduled Open Door Monday event with County Board member Libby Garvey. Among those bending Garvey’s ear were first responders, who are seeking higher pay, and Arlington Independent Media, which is fighting a proposed budget cut. [Twitter, Twitter]

Photo courtesy @jimcollierjr

by ARLnow.com March 23, 2018 at 5:55 pm 0

The family of homicide victim John Giandoni is raising money via a crowdfunding campaign.

Giandoni, who would have turned 41 on Wednesday, was found dead in his home in Ballston last weekend. Police later determined his death to have been a homicide, though few details have been revealed about the circumstances.

In a crowdfunding campaign dubbed the “Freebird Fund,” Giandoni’s family is raising money for expenses. So far, more than $4,000 has been raised by nearly 50 donors.

The page also includes a brief biography of Giandoni, a father of one who worked for Booz Allen Hamilton and was active in the Arlington-Falls Church Young Republicans.

John Alexis Giandoni, born March 21, 1977 to Guillermo and Mary Ann Giandoni, passed away Friday, March 16, 2018. John loved spending time with his young son, Jack, more than anything else in this world and was a truly dedicated father and a devout Catholic in the Knights of Columbus 3rd and 4th Degree. His desire for adventure and zest for life fueled his enjoyment for and allowed him to excel in snowboarding, soccer, rock climbing, surfing, scuba diving, and anything outdoors. He enjoyed camping, hiking, going to concerts, traveling, and spending time with his family and friends who he truly cherished, valued, and respected. John always had a bright smile on his face that could light up a room and a sincere, kind word for everyone.

John worked at Booz Allen Hamilton as a Data Analyst and he had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, leading to constant personal and professional growth. After graduating from Woodbridge Senior High School, he earned his undergraduate degree at James Madison University and later his graduate degree at Virginia Tech.

A memorial service for Giandoni is being held tonight (Friday) in Dale City, Virginia.

by Anna Merod March 23, 2018 at 4:45 pm 0

From The West Wing to The Pelican Brief, Arlington has been home to a number of film scenes over the years.

The county’s tourism promotion agency, StayArlington, listed several notable locations in a recent blog post, and ARLnow hit the pavement to find some of the more famous sites.

Few political junkies have forgotten the famous attempted assassination scene in The West Wing, which was filmed in Rosslyn’s Freedom Park.

Other memorable sites include scenes from Charlie Wilson’s War, which was filmed at Rosslyn’s The Weslie Condominiums, from The Next Karate Kid and Flags of Our Fathers, both of which shot scenes at the Marine Corps War Memorial, according to StayArlington.

The Ballston Common Mall — now Ballston Quarter — parking garage is said to have been the set for a scene in The Pelican Brief. The Russell Crowe thriller State of Play, meanwhile, included scenes at the Rosslyn Metro station and the Americana Hotel in Crystal City.

Any other famous scenes we missed on our tour? Let us know in the comments.

by ARLnow.com March 19, 2018 at 2:45 pm 0

Update at 4:25 p.m. on 3/20/18 — Police have identified the victim as 40-year-old Arlington resident John Giandoni.

Arlington County Police say Friday night’s death investigation in Ballston is now a homicide investigation.

More from an ACPD press release:

The Arlington County Police Department is investigating a homicide that occurred in the 4100 block of 11th Place N. on Friday, March 16, 2018.

At approximately 7:35 p.m. on March 16, police were dispatched to the report of a possible death. Upon arrival, it was determined that following a check on the welfare, the male victim was located deceased inside the residence. This remains an active investigation and cause of death will be determined by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact Detective R. Munizza at 703-228-4171 or [email protected] To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).

This is the first homicide in Arlington County this year.

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

Update at 2:50 p.m. on 3/19/18 — The man’s death is now being investigated as the county’s first homicide of 2018.

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.

(more…)

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.

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