54°Rain

by ARLnow.com — March 22, 2016 at 1:35 pm 0

Arlington County has released seven potential design concepts for a new pedestrian bridge across Wilson Blvd in Ballston.

The renderings, from architecture firm studioTECHNE|architects, include a number of exotic and modern-looking designs.

“The concepts were shaped by community input received at the first public meeting and through online polling,” the county notes. “While the following images appear formal and complete, they are conceptual illustrations intended to capture the spirit of the guiding principles.”

The existing pedestrian bridge is slated to be torn down and a new one built as part of the redevelopment of Ballston Common Mall.

The county has set up a stand-alone website for the pedestrian bridge project. The site includes a description of each concept design.

by ARLnow.com — March 21, 2016 at 11:45 am 0

Philip Pierce (photo courtesy ACPD)(Updated at 4:35 p.m.) A driver who works for an Arlington towing firm was arrested Sunday morning and is now facing numerous theft and drug-related charges.

Philip Pierce, a 35-year-old Arlington resident, was pulled over by police around 5 a.m. Sunday, on the 4000 block of Wilson Blvd in Ballston, after he was observed conducting an illegal tow by an officer, police said. Around the same time, the owner of the tow company informed police of suspicions that Pierce was stealing items from vehicles.

Police say they found “numerous stolen items” inside Pierce’s vehicle. It’s unclear whether any of the items came from cars that were being towed. Police located one of the the owners of the stolen items, whose car was broken into but not towed, said Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

Police also performed a field sobriety test on Pierce and found marijuana in the vehicle, said Savage.

Pierce faces numerous charges, including three counts of grand larceny, one count of grand theft auto and one count of driving while intoxicated, along with possession of burglary tools, possession of a controlled substance and a civil violation for failing to inform police before performing a tow.

John O’Neill, owner of Ballston-based Advanced Towing, confirmed to ARLnow.com Monday afternoon that Pierce had been working for his company.

“I was alerted to suspicious activity and immediately contacted the police who were able to investigate and make an arrest within just a few minutes of my call,” O’Neill said. “For accuracy it is important to point out it is not accurate to say the suspect was performing an ‘illegal tow’ as noted in your article but was apprehended in the process of apparently stealing a car by using a tow truck. The vehicle being stolen and tampered with by the suspect… was not a vehicle subject to being towed pursuant to enforcement of parking restrictions hence it was not a legal or illegal tow.”

“The vehicle was apparently a randomly chosen by the suspect for a vehicle theft,” O’Neill added. Pierce no longer works for Advanced, he said.

Pierce has had other recent run-ins with the law in Arlington. In 2008 he was charged with possession of marijuana and an unlawful vehicle window tint. Last year he was also charged with DWI, although in January he was found guilty on an amended misdemeanor charge of reckless driving. In February he was charged with a traffic infraction for improper towing.

Police are not releasing the name of the tow company Pierce worked for, citing a policy against identifying the employers of those who are are arrested.

by ARLnow.com — March 15, 2016 at 9:45 am 0

Dress rehearsal for the St. Peter's Players production of Godspell (Flickr pool photo by Eric)

Vida Fitness Coming to Ballston? — D.C.-based Vida Fitness is reportedly planning a 30,000 square foot gym in Ballston. The plan depends on County Board approval of a site plan amendment for the as-yet-unbuilt final building in the Liberty Center development. Given the high office vacancy rate, local developer Shooshan Co. is proposing to reconfigure what would have been a 20-story office building into a 22-story building that mixes residential, office and retail space. [Washington Business Journal]

‘WeLive’ Close to Opening in Crystal City — WeWork recently opened its new coworking space at 2221 S. Clark Street in Crystal City. Now, the company is nearing an opening for “WeLive,” a communal living space in the same building. WeLive is opening “very soon” and the company is now giving tours to prospective tenants, we hear. A second WeLive location, in Manhattan, recently opened for “beta testing.” [Fast Company]

Rail Was Once Planned for Columbia Pike — In the 1950s planners envisioned Columbia Pike as a rail corridor. That plan was scrapped when Metro was built and the Blue and Yellow lines ran south instead of west. In 2014, of course, a planned streetcar system for the Pike was also nixed. [InsideNova]

County Board Campaign Gets Underway — County Board Chair Libby Garvey and her Democratic primary challenger, Erik Gutshall, both held campaign events on Columbia Pike over the weekend. Garvey said getting out the vote will be the key to victory in the June 14 primary. [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Eric

by ARLnow.com — March 9, 2016 at 11:50 am 0

Coatroom, a new nail and waxing salon in Ballston, says it expects to open this spring.

The salon is located at 850 N. Randolph Street, in the former FroZenYo space. It aims to make nail and waxing services an invigorating experience.

“Your beauty maintenance should be a highlight, not a chore,” says the business’ website. “We are creating an enjoyable escape from your daily grind. Our lively atmosphere and friendly team make you smile the second you walk through our doors and feel refreshed when you leave.”

by ARLnow.com — March 9, 2016 at 10:15 am 0

It’s much diminished from its post-blizzard glory, but the big snow pile next to the Ballston mall parking garage is still hanging on despite temperatures well into the 70s.

The snow pile was melting steadily when we visited it yesterday afternoon. The ground around it was gray, from the dirt deposited as the glacier-like pile recedes.

The pile was created by local snow crews, which dumped the snow they were removing from roads there and in a number of other locations around Arlington.

With a high of 80 predicted today and tomorrow, the snow pile may not be long for this world. Which means it won’t match the longevity of its snow pile cousin — which survived until April in the same location six years ago.

by ARLnow.com — March 8, 2016 at 4:35 pm 0

Republic Kitchen & Bar (801 N. Quincy Street) has been shuttered for the past several days and may be closed for good.

The Ballston eatery has a sign in the window that reads “We close [sic] to make some changes today, sorry for your inconvenience.” Its phone number, meanwhile, has been disconnected, as has its website. The restaurant’s Facebook page was last updated Jan. 16.

Another sign in the window — this one handwritten — states that the local backgammon club has moved its meeting to Carpool, at least temporarily.

Republic opened in 2014, replacing the former Leek American Bistro, which replaced the former Thai Terrace.

Republic served “modern comfort food” and took on something of a lounge atmosphere at night. After it opened, Republic’s owner bragged that the food was so fresh the microwave in the kitchen wasn’t even plugged in and was being used for storage.

by ARLnow.com — March 8, 2016 at 3:55 pm 0

Future location of Nando's Peri-Peri in Ballston

Nando’s Peri-Peri will be bringing its Portuguese-style chicken to Ballston this fall.

The chicken chain is planning to open in the former Vapiano space at the NRECA building (4401 Wilson Blvd), according to a recently-filed construction permit application.

A tipster tells us that Nando’s is eying a November opening. The company did not respond to a request for comment from ARLnow.com last month.

Nando’s has an existing Arlington location on Pentagon Row, which opened in 2012.

Hat tip to Chris Slatt

by ARLnow.com — March 7, 2016 at 4:30 pm 0

The Tennis Factory, a long-time tennis specialty store at 3865 Wilson Blvd in Ballston, recently closed its doors.

Signs in the window say the store closed Feb. 21 after losing its lease.

Tennis Factory was noted for its local business eccentricities. Run by a brother-and-sister team, the store had enough merchandise strewn about to have one tipster joke affectionately about it being a “fire hazard.” The store conducted especially thorough shoe fittings — which could turn shoe shopping into an hour-long affair even with few other customers inside.

On its website, the Tennis Factory says it’s hoping to reopen in a new location and revamp its website.

The Tennis Factory is Under Reconstruction

After 40 years of doing business in Arlington, VA, serving tennis enthusiasts in the Metropolitan Washington, DC area and from around the world, the Tennis Factory is undergoing a makeover.

Look for our new location and brand new website including a new online store.

The Tennis Factory has been providing the best in sales, services and products since 1976. We thank our longtime customers as well as those who have just discovered our store for your patronage. We will continue to provide your favorite brands along with the exceptional service you have come to expect.

If you would like to follow our progress or receive information on our grand re-opening, please send your name and contract information to: [email protected]

by ARLnow.com — March 2, 2016 at 2:00 pm 0

Charity hockey game (Photo via @CanEmbUSA)The feds will face off against some local Canucks in a friendly international competition in Ballston this weekend.

The 12th annual charity hockey game between the FBI and the Embassy of Canada Hockey Team will take place on Saturday, from 7-9 p.m., at Kettler Capitals Iceplex (627 N. Glebe Road).

The event is open to the public. Tickets are $5 at the door and raffle tickets will also be sold at the game.

All proceeds will go to the Soldier On fund, which helps Canadian military members and veterans “overcome their physical or mental health illness or injury through physical activity and sport.”

Photo via @CanEmbUSA

by ARLnow.com — March 2, 2016 at 12:05 pm 0

Taste of Arlington will feature a mammoth “street pub” this year.

The 400-foot long portable bar travels the country, offering draft beer from Oregon-based Deschutes Brewery at various large events. Proceeds from the beer sales will be donated to charity, said a rep for the Ballston BID, which organizes the annual event.

Taste of Arlington 2014 crowds“This partnership will not only take the beer garden to a whole new level, but will greatly increase Taste’s fundraising clout,” said Mollie Wagoner.” As a signature event of the Ballston BID’s new charitable arm, BallstonGives, they hope to outdo all past fundraising. The BID has already guaranteed a minimum $25,000 donation to Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) with a goal of raising much more.”

The event, held along Wilson Blvd in Ballston, features food from more than 50 restaurants and attracts some 40,000 people each year. The beer and wine sales area is consistently one of the most crowded sections of the festival.

This year’s Taste of Arlington is scheduled for May 15 from noon to 6 p.m.

by ARLnow.com — March 1, 2016 at 5:15 pm 0

An architect has been chosen to design a new pedestrian bridge over Wilson Blvd in Ballston.

The existing bridge, which connects Ballston Common Mall with the Ballston Metro station, is set to be torn down as part of the redevelopment of the mall. Demolition work on the mall is expected to begin in June. The rebranded “Ballston Quarter” open-air shopping plaza and mall is slated to open in 2018.

Mall owner Forest City formally announced today that Cleveland-based studioTECHNE has been selected as the design architect of a new pedestrian bridge, which will replace the old one. The firm has recently completed two other pedestrian bridges, including one at Case Western Reserve University.

The bridge project is being paid for by Forest City, as part of a public-private partnership on the redevelopment project. In addition to the mall, Forest City is also building a new 22-story, 406-unit residential tower.

The bridge design process includes extensive public outreach as well as collaboration with Arlington County public art and urban design staff. A blog has been created to document the process.

“We are very excited to begin the conceptual design process with so much wonderful public input” said Marco Ciccarelli of studioTECHNE. “Our aim is to blend this input into creating a significant piece of functional public art which will perform for the Ballston community in a high profile manner for many years to come.”

“It is our hope and intention that this replacement pedestrian bridge project will be a civic landmark in the Ballston community,” said Kris Krider, planning supervisor for Urban Design & Research at Arlington’s Dept. of Community Planning, Housing and Development. “We feel we have the right mix of creative talent and demonstrated skill involved to act upon the community input and tight timeframe for this component of the redevelopment of Ballston Common.”

Angela Adams, Arlington’s public art administrator, also weighed in.

“We are confident that this civic design exercise will result in an iconic structure and welcome addition to Arlington’s growing inventory of thoughtfully designed infrastructure,” Adams said.

The proposed new bridge design is expected to be presented to Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz for approval in June.

by ARLnow.com — February 24, 2016 at 8:55 am 0

Rainy February commute (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

Cheesetique to Open in Ballston — Cheese-and-wine shop Cheesetique has signed a lease for the former Pizza Vinoteca space at 800 N. Glebe Road in Ballston. It’s Alexandria-based Cheesetique’s third location and its second in Arlington. Cheesetique opened in Shirlington in 2011. [Washington Business Journal]

Snow Forum Tonight — Amid a driving rainstorm, Arlington County will hold a public forum to gather feedback on its post-blizzard snow removal efforts. The forum is taking place starting at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria of Key Elementary (2300 Key Blvd). Arlington received more than 3,000 responses to an online questionnaire about snow removal, most from the 22207 ZIP code and 46 percent saying they were dissatisfied. [Arlington County]

More on Snow Feedback — At the County Board meeting Tuesday afternoon, County Manager Mark Schwartz said many residents expected to see a plow on their neighborhood street within a day or two of the historic storm. “There seems to be a disconnect between people’s expectations and our resources,” he said. “We simply don’t have the resources to do that.”

Palette 22 Up and Running in Shirlington — Art-themed street food restaurant Palette 22 opened its doors on Monday. Defying those dubious about its theme and small plate offerings, Palette 22 was busy when ARLnow.com walked by Monday night. (The other two busy Shirlington restaurants Monday: Busboys and Poets and Guapo’s.) At 6,000 square feet, Palette 22 will have to keep packing them in even after the opening hype dies down. [Washington Post]

Hillary Clinton Event in Courthouse Tonight — Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign will be holding an event in Courthouse tonight with women’s health advocate Cecile Richards, the president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “Richards will talk about what’s at stake for women in this election and highlight Hillary Clinton’s proven record of standing up for women’s access to affordable reproductive health care regardless of income, race, or ZIP code,” said a press release. The event is taking place at Arlington Rooftop Bar & Grill (2424 Wilson Blvd) starting at 7 p.m.

Changes to Library Fines Proposed — Under a proposed change, Arlington Public Library’s daily fine structure for overdue materials would change — from 20 cents for children’s materials, 30 cents for adult written books and $1 for DVDs — to a flat 30 cents per day for everything. The flat rate structure would be similar to that of Fairfax County’s libraries and is expected to be a wash financially. [InsideNova]

Baseball Teams Joust at Barcroft Field — During a rain delay yesterday at Barcroft Field, the George Washington University baseball team and their opponents from Delaware State had a bit of a jousting duel, video of which was posted online. [WJLA]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

by ARLnow.com — February 22, 2016 at 10:30 am 0

New seats at Ballston's Regal Cinema (Image courtesy Regal Entertainment Group)The movie theater at Ballston Common Mall is getting a big upgrade.

The Regal Ballston Common Stadium 12 is replacing all of its existing seating with new “king size” plush recliners with footrests. The company is replacing the seating one auditorium at a time and expects the entire cinema to be outfitted by the end of March.

“Our guests will soon be able to stretch out, relax and recline while watching the movie,” said Regal exec Rob Del Moro, in a statement. “Regal constantly listens to our guests and looks for ways to improve. With this new concept, these luxurious recliners have scored extremely well. Moviegoers are eager to return for another visit.”

The Ballston theater has garnered poor reviews online for its dated decor, the occasional rodent sighting and various maintenance issues. Del Moro’s statement aside, the new seats seem to be getting a mostly positive reception.

The movie theater is expected to remain open during the upcoming major renovations at the mall over the next two years.

Image courtesy Regal Entertainment Group

by Andrew Ramonas — February 9, 2016 at 2:15 pm 0

Walkway to Ballston Common Mall (photo by m01229)

Plans for a revamped pedestrian walkway over Wilson Boulevard in Ballston are up for discussion tonight.

Arlington County is scheduled to host a community meeting on the redesign of the pedestrian bridge at Ballston Common Mall (4328 Wilson Blvd) from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The gathering is slated to happen in the mall’s second floor retail area across from the Payless shoe store.

Attendees will have the opportunity to meet the walkway’s designer and give feedback on the project.

A new bridge is part of a $317 million plan to redevelop the mall, which is being rebranded as Ballston Quarter. The walkway provides an elevated, indoor pathway to the Ballston Metro station.

Final plans for bridge are expected to go to the county manager for consideration in late June.

Flickr photo by m01229

by ARLnow.com — February 2, 2016 at 1:55 pm 0

(Updated at 3:20 p.m.) A long-time convenience store and deli has closed in Ballston.

Richmond Market & Deli, on 9th Street N. between N. Randolph and Stafford Streets, apparently shut down last month. A sign in the window says “business closed down… enquiries welcome.”

It’s unclear why the store closed nor what will replace it.

Photos courtesy Bill Colton

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