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by Chris Teale — April 28, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

Columbia Pike’s first beer garden is preparing to its open doors next month as crews put the finishing touches on the building.

BrickHaus at 2900 Columbia Pike has been under construction for almost a year. It now has all of its outside signs up and furniture on its outdoor patio.

In an interview with the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization, owner Tony Wagner — who also owns Twisted Vines across the street — said he expects BrickHaus to open in May. Wagner did not respond to requests for further comment.

The inside brick on the walls is nearly finished, while the outdoor fire pit has been successfully tested.

BrickHaus will be a beer garden on the first floor, with some 20 beers on tap and an approximately 30-seat outdoor patio. The second floor mezzanine will have upstairs dining with a menu including steaks, German food and other entrees.

It will offer mostly regional brews from Virginia, D.C. and Maryland, in addition to perhaps a couple of German beers. Wagner said draft wine will also be available.

The aging building has received an extensive renovation after being vacant for years following the departure of Blanca’s Restaurant.

by Chris Teale — April 26, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

As it prepares to begin showing first-run and art-house movies, the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse announced a price hike and a series of other upgrades.

The iconic local business at 2903 Columbia Pike is about to shift to playing movies on a first-run basis, meaning it has quicker access to films. Owner Greg Godbout has said previously that showing mainstream movies several months after the initial release has hurt business given the rise of video on-demand services.

But to show first-run films, the Drafthouse will need to increase its ticket prices to meet the requirements of its film distributors. In an email sent to customers Tuesday, Godbout said tickets will now cost $8 for matinee screenings, and for students and other discounted groups like children and seniors, and $10 for screenings after 6 p.m.

The Drafthouse will also no longer offer $2 discount films on Mondays and Tuesdays. Instead, Mondays will be a “discount day,” with $8 evening showings, while Tuesdays will be the full $10 price.

“While this is a low price considering the average ticket prices in our area ($12 – $16), it is still a significant increase for our customers,” Godbout wrote. “By agreeing to the studio’s terms on pricing we will get access to films earlier than normal. We are doing this because the ‘Second Run; market has vanished — and we are struggling to compete with streaming at home released, before we get access to films.”

But the cinema will also receive several upgrades. The outside marquee will be revamped at some point in the future, while “The Green Room” — adjacent to the cinema entrance — has been closed to make way for a soon-to-be-announced new tenant. A new food menu will also be introduced, as well as some new furniture over time.

In the email, Godbout also criticized the Kennedy Center for establishing itself as a “commercial entertainment entity and local competitor” that now has stand-up comics. He said the center’s “unfair advantage” of being underwritten by federal taxes will cost the Drafthouse at least $150,000 in revenue this year.

More from Godbout on competition with the Kennedy Center, after the jump.

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by ARLnow.com — April 24, 2017 at 6:40 pm 0

(Updated at 9:30 p.m.) A large swath of South Arlington is experiencing low or no water pressure due to “several” water main breaks.

One major break happened on S. Dinwiddie Street, near the Arlington Mill Community Center, Monday evening.

As of 7 p.m., water was gushing from a buckle in the road, sending a torrent of water through an apartment parking lot and down to S. Arlington Mill Road below, where it was pooling, just above Four Mile Run. Tow crews, meanwhile, were moving cars from the side of Dinwiddie Street to give water crews room to work.

Police have closed a portion of Dinwiddie Street between Columbia Pike and 8th Road S. The community center closed just after 7:20 p.m. due to the water main break.

Residents of the Fairlington, Barcroft, Nauck and Columbia Forest neighborhoods have all been reporting widespread water pressure issues.

Officials say there are several water main breaks along the Columbia Pike corridor being attended to by county crews. An Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services sent ARLnow.com the following statement just after 7:30 p.m.

We learned within the past hour of several water main breaks in the Columbia Pike corridor and we’re receiving reports of low water pressure in portions of South Arlington. Crews have been dispatched and are working to fix the issue. Due to high call volume, our 24-hour emergency line, 703-228-6555, is down. At this time, I don’t have an estimated completion time or the number of impacted residents.

As of 8:30 p.m., water pressure had returned to near-normal in at least some areas.

by Katie Pyzyk — April 18, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

Police are ready to hand out more tickets as a way to boost awareness of pedestrian and bicyclist safety.

On Friday, police will set up at the corner of Fairfax Drive and N. Kenmore Street from 3-5 p.m. to enforce traffic laws. They’ll ticket any driver, cyclist or pedestrian who commits a violation. On May 2, they’ll do the same at the corner of Columbia Pike and S. Oakland Street from noon to 2 p.m.

ACPD will conduct the enforcement events as part of a larger D.C.-area safety campaign to reduce injuries and deaths by changing pedestrian, cyclist and driver behaviors. That campaign started yesterday and runs through mid-May.

Police note that cyclists and pedestrians make up nearly a quarter of the region’s traffic fatalities each year. They encourage everyone to safely share the roads and pay attention to one another.

by Katie Pyzyk — April 17, 2017 at 9:30 am 0

Candidates Largely Favor Land Swap — During a debate, Democratic County Board candidates generally indicated they want the county to move forward with a land swap agreement with Virginia Hospital Center. VHC has offered the county various pieces of land in exchange for a 5-acre parcel of county-owned land on N. Edison Street, just north of the VHC property. [InsideNova]

Impact of Pike Streetcar Cancellation — There’s speculation that the county’s 2014 cancellation of the Columbia Pike streetcar plan may have contributed to stalling revitalization efforts in the Bailey’s Crossroads area of Fairfax County. [Washington Post]

New Assistant County Manager — Arlington County has named Samia Byrd as a new assistant county manager. Byrd has more than 20 years of planning experience and will serve as a senior adviser to County Manager Mark Schwartz. [Arlington County]

Historic District Proposal — Next month the County Board will consider a proposal to designate “The Hermitage,” a home at 4025 N. Randolph Street, as a local historic district. [InsideNova]

by Katie Pyzyk — April 14, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

Food trucks are a common weekday sight on Arlington’s Orange Line corridor, but they’re heading south for the weekend.

The West Columbia Pike Food Truck Party takes place tomorrow (April 15) at the intersection of Columbia Pike and Four Mile Run Drive. Vendors will serve food from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Food trucks taking part in the event include Peruvian Brothers, KaftaMania, Fava Pot, Pacific Twist and Little Miss Whoopie.

The Columbia Forest Civic Association is hosting the food truck event, which is the first of four planned for this year.

by Katie Pyzyk — April 13, 2017 at 11:20 am 0

A store on Columbia Pike was robbed by armed suspects just before midnight last night, and police believe there may be a connection to a similar robbery over the weekend.

Police responded after two masked men — one with a gun — robbed a store on the 4900 block of Columbia Pike, which is across the street from the Arlington Mill Community Center. Police did not specify which business was robbed, but that spot is home to a 7-Eleven.

The suspects fled the scene in a car that had been parked nearby. They got away with an undisclosed amount of cash and valuables.

Police say the circumstances of this armed robbery are similar to Saturday’s store robbery in Virginia Square. “Due to the many similarities we are not only actively investigating each robbery individually, but also from the prospective likelihood that they are related,” says Deputy Chief Daniel Murray.

Although police do not name affected businesses, they confirm both incidents involved the same type of commercial establishment. The suspects’ descriptions, included below in an ACPD crime report, also bear a resemblance to the Virginia Square robbery.

ARMED ROBBERY, 2017-04120301, 4900 block of Columbia Pike. At approximately 11:53 p.m. on April 12, officers responded to the report of an armed robbery that had just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined two masked male suspects, one brandishing a firearm, entered a store and demanded cash and items of value. The suspects then fled the scene in a nearby parked vehicle with an undisclosed amount of cash and items of value. The first suspect is described as a black male, approximately 6’0″ tall. He was wearing dark jeans, a black hoodie, a black mask, and white gloves. The second suspect is described as a black male, approximately 5’5″-5’8″ tall. He was wearing olive green pants, a black hoodie, a black mask, and white gloves. The investigation is ongoing.

by Chris Teale — April 11, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

Expect additional traffic headaches through the fall on Columbia Pike, now that a project to relocate an underground gas main is underway there.

Crews with Washington Gas started the construction Monday between the Fairfax County line and Four Mile Run, ahead of several streetscape improvements the county has planned for the future.

At least one lane of Columbia Pike in each direction will remain open at all times during construction, and work could be possible on nights and weekends.

Washington Gas crews will store equipment and other materials at four locations along the Pike during construction. Although nearby properties still can be accessed, adjacent bus stops could be temporarily moved or closed.

This is the latest phase of a project approved in 2014 by the County Board that included new bike boulevards on 9th and 12th Streets S., as an alternative route to Columbia Pike, which runs parallel. Once the gas main work is complete, county workers will install wider sidewalks, new street lights, upgraded traffic signals, trees and bus shelters. A piece of public art will also be added at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Jefferson Street.

by Chris Teale — April 5, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

This year’s Columbia Pike Blues Festival will be headlined by three-time Grammy nominee Bettye LaVette, part of a lineup of blues, R&B and funk performers.

The 22nd annual festival is set for Saturday, June 17, from 1-8:30 p.m. at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Walter Reed Drive.

Jonny Grave kicks off the festival at 1 p.m., followed by Sol Roots with Carly Harvey at 2 p.m. The Full Power Blues Band follows at 3:30 p.m., before Rufus Roundtree and Da B-more Brass Factory at 5 p.m. and LaVette at 6:45 p.m.

LaVette has been touring and performing since the birth of soul music in the 1960s. She performed at the “We Are One” concert before President Obama’s first inauguration in 2008, as well as the Kennedy Center honors for The Who that same year.

Also at the festival, presented by the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization, will be food and drink, arts and crafts vendors and activities for children.

Photo via The Kurkland Agency

by ARLnow.com — March 30, 2017 at 11:45 am 0

It’s the end of the road for P. Brennan’s Irish Pub and Restaurant at 2910 Columbia Pike.

The cavernous local pub will shutter after closing on Friday. Owner Brian Dolphin, who also owned the ill-fated McGinty’s near Potomac Yard, says P. Brennan’s “did pretty well” by staying in business for seven years, but never made much money.

“It never kicked off to the extent we thought it would,” Dolphin told ARLnow.com Thursday morning. He said P. Brennan’s liquor license expires after March 31 and he chose not to renew it.

Also contributing to the bar’s demise: its large size — “too big,” Dolphin said, in retrospect — and the cancellation of the Columbia Pike streetcar, which seemed to deflate some of the excitement and prospects for change along the Pike.

“Things went south on us a bit and never picked up,” said Dolphin regarding the aftermath of the cancellation.

Nothing out of the ordinary is planned for P. Brennan’s last day tomorrow, but Dolphin said he expects that many long-time patrons will be there enjoying a pint or two.

by ARLnow.com — March 30, 2017 at 8:45 am 0

Senators Tour Proposed Cemetery Expansion — The Army gave a group of U.S. senators a tour of a proposed expansion area for Arlington National Cemetery yesterday. The expansion, around the Air Force Memorial, would create space for 40,000 to 60,000 gravesites while requiring a realignment of Columbia Pike. Military officials are hoping to open the expansion by 2023 but a land swap with Arlington County and Virginia has still not been completed. [Stars and Stripes]

Arlington Man Killed in D.C. — An Arlington resident, 31-year-old Antwan Jones, was shot to death Tuesday afternoon while sitting in an BMW in Southeast D.C. A second man was injured in the shooting. [Washington Post]

History of Fairlington — Eighteen years ago yesterday Fairlington was added to the National Register of Historic Places. George Washington once owned land in the neighborhood, in the southwest corner of Arlington. It was also home to Civil War fortifications and a horse farm before being cleared to make way for 3,449 units of government housing for defense workers during World War II. [Facebook]

Midwestern Gothic Trailer — Signature Theater has released a cinematic trailer for its new “world premiere thriller with a musical twist,” Midwestern Gothic. The production runs through April 30. [YouTube]

HireEd Conference Coming to GMU — Sponsored — Graham Holdings Chair Donald Graham will be the keynote speaker at an event that will bring together entrepreneurs, business leaders, educators and nonprofits to discuss strategies to place students and graduates in jobs at all levels and solutions for businesses recruiting talent. It’s taking place Wednesday, April 5, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. at George Mason University Founders Hall, 3351 Fairfax Drive. Registration is free for students and $25 for general admission. [Arlington Economic Development]

Photo courtesy Fred Cochard

by Chris Teale — March 27, 2017 at 1:45 pm 0

A new cafe appears to be arriving at the Columbia Place condo complex near Columbia Pike

Building permit applications have been filed with the county for a “new cafe and lounge in an existing mixed used building” at 1107 S. Walter Reed Drive.

Currently, the 14-unit building also hosts the Pureluxe Nails and Spa nail salon on its first floor. It is across the street from a branch of the BB&T Bank and the Avalon apartment building (formerly the Halstead), and is a block from Columbia Pike.

But there appears to be plenty of work to be done ahead of the new cafe’s opening.

The county’s online permitting system notes that permit applications in building, mechanical, plumbing and zoning categories have been rejected since the initial paperwork was filed March 8.

There are two potential cafe competitors nearby: Starbucks and Rappahannock Coffee, which is slated for redevelopment.

A spokeswoman for the county’s planning department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hat tip to Chris Slatt

by Chris Teale — March 23, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

(Updated 8:50 p.m.) Columbia Pike’s first beer garden appears to be almost ready for its first customers.

Work has been underway at BrickHaus at 2900 Columbia Pike for almost a year, and now seems to be approaching the closing stages.

A Facebook post last month said construction is finishing soon and that the opening is “getting closer,” while another earlier this month said there are “only weeks to go until opening.”

In an email, owner Tony Wagner said the joint across the street from the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse should be open “by the end of April.”

The outdoor patio and fire pit facing the street now appear to be mostly complete, while photos posted on Facebook show the 24-tap draught beer tower has been delivered.

Construction crews found the original marble tile from the building’s former life as a bank earlier this year, and light fixtures are hanging from the original rafters.

BrickHaus will be a beer garden on the first floor, with some 20 beers on tap and an approximately 30-seat outdoor patio. The second floor mezzanine will be a sit-down steakhouse. Previous plans for rooftop seating fell through.

It will offer mostly regional brews from Virginia, D.C. and Maryland, in addition to perhaps a couple of German beers. Wagner said draft wine will also be available.

The aging building has received an extensive renovation after being vacant for years following the departure of Blanca’s Restaurant.

by ARLnow.com — March 23, 2017 at 9:45 am 0

Rosslyn tunnel (Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman)

Pike Booster ‘Disappointed’ By Transit Delay — Cecilia Cassidy, executive director of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization, said the group is “very disappointed” by the latest delay in bringing enhanced transit service to the Pike. Cassidy said the cancellation of the streetcar cancelled much of the planned development along the Pike and that the delays in providing a viable transit alternative have put other development into a holding pattern. [WAMU]

More on DCA Plans — The airports authority has released more details about “Project Journey,” its $1 billion plan for upgrading Reagan National Airport. “Scheduled to mobilize in summer 2017, Project Journey includes construction of two new security checkpoints that fully connect the concourse level of Terminal B/C to airline gate areas, buildout of an enclosed commuter concourse to replace the 14 outdoor gates currently serviced by buses from gate 35X and future improvements to roadway and parking configurations.” [Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority]

Good News, Bad News About Tech in Arlington — Arlington has risen in the rankings of the best places in the U.S. for women in tech, from No. 34 to No. 22 this year. However, women in tech in Arlington still earn less than men, there are significantly more men than women employed in tech in Arlington and overall tech job growth in Arlington over the past four years is flat. D.C., meanwhile, ranked No. 1 on the list. [DCInno]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

by ARLnow.com — March 20, 2017 at 10:15 am 0

Slide from Dept. of Environmental Services budget presentation

(Updated at 11:50 a.m.) Those who live and work along Columbia Pike will have to wait another year for the implementation of a “Premium Transit Network” along the corridor.

ARLnow.com has learned that the plan for enhanced bus service along the Pike has been pushed back from 2018 to 2019 due to “WMATA’s focus on SafeTrack and core operations.”

Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services issued the following statement on the delay.

Originally proposed for summer 2018, implementation of the Columbia Pike Premium Transit Network is now planned for summer 2019. Much of the new service for this network depends on Metrobus, but Metrobus service improvements have been hampered by Metro’s SafeTrack program and the need for Metrobus to focus efforts on moving passengers around rail disruptions. The County is still working to improve local ART service on the original schedule, and we’ve started the purchase process for new buses needed for future service improvements.

Arlington’s Transit Bureau is working with WMATA and Fairfax County to develop an implementation plan for Columbia Pike service improvements. Metrobus has executed a contract to begin the planning and combine improvements included in both Arlington and Fairfax County’s Transit Development Plans.

The Premium Transit Network was criticized as not ambitious enough when it was approved last year, especially compared to the Columbia Pike streetcar plan it essentially replaced. County staff was directed to consider other enhancements to transit along the corridor to supplement it.

The streetcar project was cancelled in 2014. At the time, Arlington County Board member and streetcar critic Libby Garvey promised a transit replacement that “will do everything the streetcar could and more.”

The transit network is intended be “fast, frequent, reliable and easy to use, with features including simplified routes, increased weekday and weekend service, and a new one-seat bus ride from Skyline to Pentagon City-Crystal City,” according to a county press release last year. “In addition to new service, the Premium Transit Network includes new transit stations along Columbia Pike that will provide near-level boarding, longer platforms, real-time bus arrival information and off-vehicle fare collection.”

Although the transit network implementation has been delayed, Arlington County and WMATA have already implemented a number of planned enhancements to bus service along Columbia Pike and elsewhere in Arlington, according to slides from a Dept. of Environmental Services budget presentation that were posted online.

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