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by Chris Teale June 6, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

A 7-Eleven on Lee Highway in Cherrydale will close by the end of the month, and local residents are concerned for the future of other business nearby.

Multiple anonymous tipsters said they heard the 7-Eleven at 3901 Lee Highway will close. One said the new landlord is refusing to sign a new lease with the convenience store. Former landlord Kostas Kapasouris sold the properties earlier this year, and confirmed in an interview Tuesday morning that the 7-Eleven will close by the end of June.

County property records indicate that Naqibullah M. Ismail bought the shopping plaza and the stores across N. Pollard Street from it in February. The plaza sold for $3 million, according to those records. Ismail, an Arlington resident whose LinkedIn page says he is the CEO of an Afghanistan-based contractor to the Dept. of Defense, did not respond to requests for comment.

Kapasouris also owned the buildings that housed Billy’s Cheesesteaks, Bistro 29 on one side, and the former Drug Fair building, which houses Sun & Moon Yoga, Sterling Frames, Company Flowers and almost housed the NOVA Firearms gun store until its lease was cancelled in 2015. He said the other stores should “hopefully” stay open for the foreseeable future.

Jim Todd, president of the Cherrydale Citizens Association, said that while all he has heard is “second hand or rumor” around the stores’ future, he hopes any possible redevelopment plans are consistent with previous guidelines approved for the area.

“Whatever happens, we hope that any redevelopment that might be coming follows the design guidelines set out in the Cherrydale Revitalization Plan and the Cherrydale Neighborhood Conservation Plan, and promotes the vision for the future of Lee Highway set out by the Lee Highway Alliance,” Todd said. “We also want to express our support for and continue to work with Kostas and all our locally-owned Cherrydale businesses.”

7-Eleven media relations staff did not respond to requests for comment.

by ARLnow.com June 2, 2017 at 8:30 am 0

Free Donuts Today — Today, June 2, is National Donut Day. To celebrate, Dunkin’ Donuts and Duck Donuts are offering a free donut with the purchase of any beverage. Sugar Shack is offering a free donut for those who wear a Sugar Shack hat, t-shirt or other article of clothing with the company logo. [Dunkin’ Donuts, Duck Donuts, Facebook]

Stabbing on Columbia Pike — Arlington County Police are investigating a stabbing that occurred near the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Rolfe Street early this morning. The victim suffered non-life-threatening injuries. [Fox 5, WJLA, ACPD]

Owner Wants Out of Ray’s Hell Burger Lease — Michael Landrum, owner of Ray’s the Steaks and Ray’s Hell Burger, wants out of the Hell Burger lease at 1650 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. The restaurant closed and went on “hiatus” last month. Landrum’s company owes the landlord just over $300,000, according to a bankruptcy filing. [Washington Business Journal]

Why Arlington and Alexandria Couldn’t Collaborate on a Pool — Sharing the costs of an indoor aquatics center seemed like a good idea in theory, but ultimately those in Alexandria did not like the idea of using their taxpayer dollars to build a pool in Arlington. Now Arlington’s planned Long Bridge aquatics center is moving forward while Alexandria’s plans to build an indoor pool are on hold. [Washington Post]

New Tenants to the Rescue in Courthouse — “Adding Reston-based VideoBlocks to its tenant roster was a good get for the owners of Courthouse Tower, but as it turns out, the lease was part of a larger plan to avoid letting about three quarters of the building’s office space go dark.” [Washington Business Journal]

Metro ‘Prepares for Life After SafeTrack’ — We’re a day and a half into June and there have been no major Metro service disruptions so far, something the transit agency hopes is the norm. From a press release: “As the yearlong SafeTrack program winds down, Metro is preparing for a new era of less disruptive preventive maintenance and planned capital work to ensure that the rail system remains in a reliable state for years to come.” [WMATA]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

by ARLnow.com May 30, 2017 at 10:45 am 0

The Applebee’s restaurant in Ballston has closed, just under a year after it opened.

Signs on the door suggest the restaurant closed for good Saturday evening.

Applebee’s replaced a former Greene Turtle location at 900 N. Glebe Road. Both restaurants seemed to suffer from a lack of foot traffic on the western side of Glebe, combined with a cavernous space that was hard to fill with customers, particularly in an urban area where higher-end restaurants are de rigueur.

This Applebee’s also suffered from poor reviews online. No word yet on what might replace it.

Photos courtesy Phil McGeehan

by Chris Teale May 25, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

A long-time diner closed its doors today after 32 years in business.

Arlington Diner, at 2921 S. Glebe Road in the Arlington Ridge Shopping Center, will now no longer serve its all-day breakfast — nor lunch or dinner. On Thursday morning, workers were in the building removing various appliances and other fixtures and fittings.

A sign on the door of the eatery announced the closure.

To our beloved customers,

The crew of Arlington Diner wants to thank you for 32 years of friendship and great memories.

We regret to inform you that we will be closing our doors on May 25, 2017.

We will miss you but we will remember you fondly.

It has been a pleasure serving you! Thank you very much.

In an interview with the Arlington Connection earlier this year, owner Louie Alpos said he was not able to negotiate a financially feasible lease renewal with his landlord.

The diner, a fixture of a shopping plaza that also includes a Domino’s Pizza and a Giant grocery store, was open every day except Christmas Day.

Hat tips to Thomas N. and Christina R.

by ARLnow.com May 25, 2017 at 9:20 am 0

Kal Penn Spotted at A-Town — Eddie Lacy wasn’t the only famous person spotted at an Arlington bar over the past week. Actor and former Obama administration official Kal Penn was photographed hanging out at A-Town Bar and Grill in Ballston this past weekend.

NKD Pizza Closed in Ballston — The NKD Pizza restaurant on N. Quincy Street in Ballston is closed. The struggling chain’s Pentagon Row location closed a year ago. [Yelp, Twitter, Twitter]

Monday Properties Refinances Rosslyn Portfolio — “Monday Properties has completed an $888 million refinancing of its Rosslyn portfolio… resolving one of the largest chunks of expiring commercial real estate debts taken out before the recession.” Meanwhile, Monday says that Nestle moving its corporate headquarters to 1812 N. Moore Street “has prompted other prospects to consider Rosslyn that wouldn’t have in the past.”  [Washington Business Journal]

Arlington’s Bond Rating Affirmed — “For the 17th year in a row, all three credit ratings agencies have reaffirmed Arlington County’s debt ratings of Aaa/AAA/AAA — the highest rating. Arlington is one of just 45 Counties in the United States, and 9 in Virginia, to receive the highest rating from all three credit agencies for its bonds.” [Arlington County]

Nearby: Video of Fire in Falls Church — Arlington County firefighters assisted on a shed and house fire in the Falls Church section of Fairfax County last week. The blaze was caught on video by a neighbor. [Statter 911]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

by Chris Teale May 19, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

Since opening Filipino grocery store Fiesta Oriental in 1991, Fred Sunga and his family have done much more than sell food and provide other services to a bevy of loyal customers.

“When you have a Filipino business, your country people, they come to you for information,” he said. “They always call you, if they have a problem they will call you. Even if sometimes their car won’t start they will call and ask if I know a mechanic.”

But next month marks the end of an era, as the 67-year-old Sunga is set to retire on June 30 and close the Arlington Forest staple at 4815 1st Street N. That means that the area’s growing Filipino community must go elsewhere for groceries or to send money and packages to family back in the Philippines.

Sunga moved to the United States in 1978 and started working in a bank before opening Fiesta Oriental. He prides himself on staying true to his Filipino roots, right down to watching television shows from the Philippines in the store and speaking to customers in Tagalog, the country’s official language, or one of its many dialects.

And in addition to Filipinos, who come from as far away as Manassas and Maryland to shop at his store, local schoolchildren will now have to go elsewhere for their after-school snacks.

“When the school bus stops there, the kids are going to come and get their candy and soda,” Sunga said. “Just last week I told them that I’m closing up the store next month, and they said, ‘Why? Why are you doing this to me?'”

For the family, Fiesta Oriental was a major part of growing up in Arlington. Sunga’s three daughters, Audrey, Alyssa and Angelica, all worked there at least part-time from elementary school onwards and helped on Sunday when they would cook and sell homemade Filipino dishes.

The store is open every day from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., except Sundays, when it closes at 6 p.m.

Audrey Sunga, who has a 2-year-old son, Emmett, and another baby due in August, said it is a shame that the family business will close before they are old enough to appreciate it.

“We’re going to start buying rice for the first time in our lives,” she joked. “For Emmett and the baby on the way, it’s kind of sad they won’t be able to see this. We grew up with it our whole lives, so it’s sad to see it go.”

Fred Sunga, meanwhile, said he is looking forward to being a “stay-at-home grandpa,” and enjoying more time with his family. Both Audrey and Alyssa work in Arlington and graduated from VCU, while Angelica is still there studying electrical engineering.

While he is excited to start the next chapter of his life, Fred Sunga said it is hard when customers are clearly upset he is leaving.

“I’m going to miss the store that I’m doing every day,” he said. “Especially when my customers, when they come here and I’m telling them I’m retiring next month, I feel so sad when they say, ‘Oh my God, I’m going to miss you.’ Some old people, they cry when I tell them I’m retiring.”

by Chris Teale May 15, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

Around six months after it opened, a fast-casual Korean barbecue restaurant has closed in Crystal City.

KBQ Korean BBQ & Bar at 2450 Crystal Drive opened last November, next to Buffalo Wild Wings. But the eatery closed its doors earlier this month and now sits empty.

“KBQ is closed,” a sign on the door reads. “We appreciate your patronage, and hope you enjoyed it while it lasted!”

It allowed customers to build their own rice and lettuce bowls, lettuce wraps, tofu dogs and rice burgers, and offered six proteins and nearly a dozen sides. On Yelp, users lauded the service but gave middling marks to the food.

There was also a separate “bubble tea shop” offering a selection of bubble teas, including taro, chai and mango, and a bar serving cocktails, beer, wine and “bombs” — as in soju, Jager, car and cherry bombs.

Hat tip to Irina K.

by ARLnow.com May 12, 2017 at 10:05 am 0

The famousever-evolving Ray’s Hell Burger restaurant in Rosslyn, often named on lists of the best burgers in the United States, is closing.

Signs up at Ray’s Hell Burger, at 1650 Wilson Blvd, say it is going on “hiatus.” Last night an employee told ARLnow.com he did not know when it would reopen.

“Beginning Sunday, May 14 this location of Ray’s Hell-Burger will be on hiatus. The last service will be on Saturday, May 13,” the sign says. “Please continue to visit Ray’s Hell Burger at 449 K Street NW, 7 days a week. Ray’s the Steaks accepts reservations 7 days a week at 2300 Wilson Blvd (sorry, no burgers).”

Owner Michael Landrum could not immediately be reached for comment.

Hat tip to Sarah W.

by Chris Teale May 9, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

With redevelopment just around the corner, the Food Star grocery store on Columbia Pike will close as early as next week according to a sign on its entrance.

Its lease at the property is set to expire on May 25. The grocery store is expected to move to 206 W. Glebe Road in Alexandria’s Arlandria neighborhood and replace the Foodway currently there.

The sign, written in English and Spanish, reads:

Dear Food Star customers:

After 32 years of business it is with sincere regret that we inform you that Food Star supermarket will be closing permanently at this location between April 30 and May 15, 2017. It is our utmost priority to inform you of this decision as you are a very important part of the Food Star family. We appreciate your business and are thankful for your loyalty. We hope to have the opportunity to continue serving you at our new location at: 206 W. Glebe Road (formally Foodway), Alexandria, VA 22305.

We will notify you which day we will open. Thank you for your business and continued support.

The store at the corner of Columbia Pike and S. George Mason Drive is set for demolition along with several small retail businesses for the “Columbia Pike Village Center” development. More than 1,800 people who wanted to “Save Food Star” signed a petition against the plan last year.

In its place will be a new 50,000 square foot Harris Teeter grocery store, 31,530 square feet of new ground-floor retail space and a 22,150 square foot public square. The project also includes a six-story apartment building with 365 market-rate units, retail space and a three-level parking garage.

The Harris Teeter is expected to open in late 2019.

Arlington County has posted a list of other food stores in the area, the closest of which is 0.5 miles away from the Food Star, that residents can go to during construction of the new grocery store.

Of the other stores in the plaza, the Para Ti hair salon has already relocated to S. Carlin Springs Road. April was its last month in the strip mall.

by Chris Teale May 4, 2017 at 4:05 pm 0

Long-time Virginia Square outdoor retailer Casual Adventure is still open, but will close once its spring stock has sold out.

The 61-year-old store at 3451 Washington Blvd announced its closure last month. After the announcement, the retailer kicked off its “End of an Era Sale,” featuring up to 50 percent off any remaining outdoor, tactical and sporting goods in stock.

Store owner Eric Stern said Casual Adventure has received two final deliveries of spring merchandise, which is being sold at reduced prices. Once everything is sold, the store will close, he said.

“We’ve definitely got a good selection, and we’re just blowing it out at this point,” he told ARLnow.com.

Stern said there is still no firm closing date, and there is significant “wiggle room” on when it needs to vacate the premises. Stern said he is looking to host regular Andrew Towne on Memorial Day weekend for a talk on his latest attempt to summit Mount Everest, and said Casual Adventure will continue supporting various community projects.

“It’s nice as we transition out of here that we can take care of our customers,” he said.

The Washington Business Journal reported that the store’s new owner is 1404 Hancock Street Investment LLC, a company registered to local custom home builder BCN Homes. As yet, no building or demolition permit applications have been filed with the county.

Casual Adventure already has an online store set up through Amazon, and Stern said it is actively looking for a new location for its store, but that there is “no rush.”

by ARLnow.com April 24, 2017 at 9:15 am 0

New Elementary School Approved — After a years-long process that included neighborhood opposition and lots of community discussion, the Arlington County Board has approved a use permit and ground lease for a new elementary school on the Thomas Jefferson middle school and community center site. [Arlington County]

Rosslyn Farmers Market Approved — Also at its Saturday meeting, the County Board gave the go-ahead to a new FreshFarm Markets-operated farmers market that will be held at the new Central Place public plaza in Rosslyn. The market will be open on Wednesday evenings from April to November. [Arlington County]

Bebe Closing at Pentagon City Mall — The Bebe store at the Pentagon City mall will close by the end of May. It’s part of a larger restructuring for the struggling young women’s clothing retailer. [Patch]

County Board to Honor Trees — “Arlington has about 755,400 trees of at least 122 species that provide $6.89 million in environmental benefits to the County annually in pollution removal, carbon storage, energy savings and avoided stormwater runoff. The Arlington County Board will honor 10 of these trees as Notable Trees at the April 25 County Board Meeting.” [Arlington County]

Blue Virginia’s School Board Endorsement — Local Democratic blog Blue Virginia has endorsed Monique O’Grady in the race for the Democratic endorsement for Arlington School Board. The endorsement cites incumbent James Lander’s recent controversial remarks about a murder victim as a reason for not endorsing him. [Blue Virginia]

Flickr pool photo by Ameschen

by Katie Pyzyk April 7, 2017 at 9:15 am 0

Spring Break Activities — Today is the last day of school for Arlington Public Schools students before spring break. The county’s parks and recreation department has some suggested activities to keep kids of all ages occupied next week. [Arlington County]

Casual Adventure Property’s Familiar New Owners — The owners of long-time Virginia Square outdoor retailer Casual Adventure announced this week that it’s closing, and the property sale reportedly already has taken place. The new owner is 1404 Hancock Street Investment LLC, a company registered to Brian Normile of BCN Enterprises. He’s partnering with Stephen and Mark Fedorchak, who own Liberty Tavern, Lyon Hall and Northside Social. [Washington Business Journal]

CEB Acquisition Complete — IT consulting and research firm Gartner has completed its acquisition of Arlington-based technology and insights firm CEB in a $3.3 billion deal. Gartner plans to expand CEB’s consulting services into new markets and develop a line of new research and advisory products. [StamfordAdvocate]

Solid-Waste Plant Upgrade Raises Flaring Gas Concerns — Arlington County is encountering some pushback over the $100 million upgrade to the Water Pollution Control Plant. Concerns have been raised over a proposed new process that might cause flaring gas. [InsideNova]

Photo courtesy Rob Laybourn

by ARLnow.com April 6, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

John Glenn to Be Buried Today — Astronaut, U.S. senator and one-time Arlington resident John Glenn will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery this morning. Glenn died in December at the age of 95. Arlington County Police Department motor units are assisting with rolling road closures for the funeral procession. [Rare]

CivFed Rejects Tax Hike — The Arlington County Civic Federation voted “overwhelmingly” to call on the County Board to reject a proposed property tax rate hike and instead tap into reserve funds to provide needed funding boosts for Metro and Arlington Public Schools. [InsideNova]

Tears for Casual Adventure — Long-time customers, employees and owners of Casual Adventure in Virginia Square are all shedding tears as the 61-year-old store prepares to close. The outdoor retailer is holding a store closing sale to liquidate its inventory. [NBC Washington]

Lawsuit: Sexual Harassment in Arlington Apartment — A lawsuit alleges that a 72-year-old official with a small graduate school in D.C. coerced students “into sexually explicit physical examinations at his Arlington, Va., apartment, ostensibly to keep their jobs and advance their careers.” [Washington Post]

Buckingham Profiled by WaPo — Buckingham is a diverse, relatively affordable community near Ballston and the Orange Line. But its civic association president does not like the direction the neighborhood is headed — and he didn’t mind expressing that in the Washington Post’s “Where We Live” community real estate profile. “For Bernie Berne… the biggest issue is the ‘destruction of the neighborhood by affordable housing,'” the paper wrote. “Berne… said he believes the ‘increase in the density’ of the area ‘takes away open space and trees.'” [Washington Post]

by ARLnow.com April 5, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

CarPool Now Closed — A line out the door marked CarPool’s last day in business on Monday. The Ballston bar hosted a large crowd of patrons there to watch the Nationals opening day and the NCAA men’s basketball championship, and to say goodbye to the long-time watering hole. [Twitter]

Clement Opposes Tax Rate Hike — Independent Arlington County Board candidate Audrey Clement says she does not support the proposed property tax hike, which Arlington’s county manager says is necessary to fund Metro and Arlington Public Schools. [InsideNova]

Developments in School Board Race — Former congressional candidate Mike Webb has gathered the petition signatures necessary to get on this year’s Arlington School Board ballot, although he still has a couple of paperwork hurdles before he officially qualifies. Meanwhile, incumbent James Lander has received the endorsement of the Arlington Education Association as he faces two challengers in the Democratic endorsement caucus. [InsideNova, InsideNova]

Arlington’s Trees By The Numbers — “The County is proud home to some 755,400 trees of at least 122 species. If you had to put a price on all that priceless foliage, it’d be worth more than $1.4 billion.” [Arlington County]

Tour of the Trades Center — The latest “Around Arlington” video from the county gives viewers a tour of the Arlington Trandes Center near Shirlington, where school buses are housed, police cars get repaired and salt trucks get refilled. [YouTube]

Police Chief: See Something, Say Something — Although the vast majority of calls about suspicious people or circumstances turn out to be nothing, Arlington’s police chief is still encouraging residents to call the police non-emergency line at 703-558-2222 if they see something out of the ordinary. Said Chief Jay Farr: “Do not hesitate to call us about something suspicious. Some say, ‘I didn’t want to bother you,’ but I say, `Bother us.'” [Falls Church News-Press]

by ARLnow.com April 3, 2017 at 10:10 am 0

(Updated at 10:30 a.m.) Casual Adventure, the long-time Virginia Square outdoor retailer that promises to “outfit you from Great Falls to Nepal,” is closing.

The store, at 3451 Washington Blvd, made the announcement this morning. The owners “received a reasonable offer for the sale of our building” and took it, they said.

E-commerce has made the bricks-and-mortar retail business increasingly difficult. “It’s no secret that the old retail model no longer works,” said Eric Stern, whose family has owned the store for 61 years.

Casual Adventure will be closed Monday and Tuesday and will reopen Wednesday to kick of its “End of an Era Sale,” featuring up to 50 percent off any remaining outdoor, tactical and sporting goods in stock. An exact closing date has not been announced.

The business may be revived, however, in a modified form later this year.

The family “has plans to reopen elsewhere in Northern Virginia in late summer or early fall, with a focus on corporate, league, military and government sales,” Arlington Magazine reported. A company rep wouldn’t comment on that report.

“We’ll share details with our loyal customer base and the Arlington community if it becomes necessary,” said Nathan Carroll. “For now we are squarely focused on selling all of our current inventory.”

The full announcement is below.

Dear Friends:

This business, which my great-grandfather Oscar founded over six decades ago, has been a source of great pride to our family over the years. Like all businesses, we’ve had to evolve: from our beginnings as a district grocery store, to an Army-Navy surplus store, to becoming the outdoor, tactical, and sporting goods store you know us to be today.

It’s no secret that the old retail model no longer works, so when we received a reasonable offer for the sale of our building, we decided the time was ripe to again switch gears, by closing our store and focusing our future business through the internet and beyond.

But first we commence the biggest sale in our 61-year history. Our END OF AN ERA SALE features our entire stock of clothing, outerwear, footwear, camping gear, travel accessories and sporting gear, with storewide reductions up to 50% off.

We’ll be closed all day Monday and Tuesday to reduce prices and prepare. Sale starts Wednesday, April 5th at 9:00am.

So whatever your outdoor needs, whether hiking, camping, adventure travel, or otherwise, we’ve got it all and it’s all on sale. Shop early before the word is out to the general public and buy “the good stuff” at liquidation prices.

It’s been our great joy to have served our local communities for so many years: but times change and for everyone the time comes to move forward. Along with our wonderfully talented and loyal staff, we thank you for your friendship and support and look forward to helping you find the perfect outfit and gear in this final sale.

Sincerely,

Eric Stern, on behalf of the Stern family

Photo via Facebook

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