Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

Fire on Columbia Pike Sunday — Arlington County firefighters extinguished a kitchen fire in an apartment building on the 1900 block of Columbia Pike Sunday afternoon. One resident was displaced by the blaze. [Twitter/@ArlingtonVaFD]

Ballston Launches ‘Gnome’ Promotion — “Starting December 16th through December 20th, look for the Ballston Holiday Gnome spreading cheer all around the neighborhood. Find our holiday helper, and you’ll win gifts from some of our favorite Ballston restaurants and stores.” [Facebook]

Skylight Replacement at Arlington National — “After 30 years, the skylight in the @ArlingtonNatl Welcome Center is being repaired under the watchful eye of our Engineering team. As always, the cemetery remains open while we improve your experience.” [Twitter/@KDurhamAguilera]

Amazon Opening Smaller Office in NYC Post-HQ2 — “The giant online retailer said it has signed a new lease for 335,000 square feet on Manhattan’s west side in the new Hudson Yards neighborhood, where it will have more than 1,500 employees. The new lease represents Amazon’s largest expansion in New York since the company stunned the city by abandoning plans to locate its second headquarters in the Queens neighborhood of Long Island City.” [Wall Street Journal, Crain’s New York BusinessTwitter/@ProfGalloway]

Nearby: Shoppers Closing in Potomac Yard — “Shoppers is closing in Potomac Yard, its parent company announced today. The supermarket, at 3801 Richmond Highway, is expected to close by the end of January. Other Shoppers stores in Manassas, Baltimore and Severn (Maryland) are also closing, and the company is selling 13 other locations.” [ALXnow]

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Metro has released the results of a pivotal study of options for increasing capacity of the Metrorail system, and the preliminary conceptual designs suggest big transit changes might eventually be coming to Arlington.

Among the ideas floated by the transit agency are a second Rosslyn Metro station, a new tunnel under the Potomac, and an new stretch of the Silver Line to either run down Columbia Pike or through North Arlington.

Metro says its “Blue/Orange/Silver Capacity & Reliability Study” is necessary because the existing Rosslyn tunnel is a bottleneck for all three lines, producing delays and crowding that will only get worse — particularly in Arlington — due to expected population and job growth.

The study is intended to “identify the best and most cost-effective solutions to address future ridership, service, and reliability needs on these Metrorail lines,” Metro said. “The approval of dedicated funding from Metro’s jurisdictional partners provides funding to bring the existing system into a state of good repair and keep it well maintained going forward; however, there are future transportation needs that we must begin addressing now.”

Among the changes being considered are:

  • A second Rosslyn Metro station, with a pedestrian connection to the current station.
  • A second tunnel across the Potomac.
  • A Blue Line extension to run from Rosslyn through Georgetown and upper Northwest D.C., and into Montgomery County.
  • A Blue Line extension to run from Rosslyn through Georgetown and mid-city D.C., and into Prince George’s County.
  • A new urban core loop “connecting Pentagon, Rosslyn, Georgetown, the Dupont and Shaw neighborhoods, and the Navy Yard/Waterfront area.”
  • New “NoVa Circulator” option that will route some trains from the Pentagon, around Rosslyn and down the Orange/Silver line toward Courthouse.
  • A Silver Line extension down Columbia Pike and up Route 7, connecting with the West Falls Church Station.
  • A Silver Line extension north of I-66, through North Arlington and McLean.

Major capital projects like a Metro line extension would take several decades and the cost is only described as “high.”

The idea of running Metro down Columbia Pike was discussed while debate raged over the since-canceled Columbia Pike streetcar project, and might find some public support, but the concept of Metro running through mostly residential North Arlington seems much more politically infeasible. Wherever a new Metro line runs, big changes, development and a rise in property values can be expected, as happened with the original construction of the Metrorail system in Arlington.

A number of comparatively minor changes are also proposed, like pocket tracks, crossovers and turnarounds to better mitigate delays and incidents, reconfiguring train seats to provide more space, and adding new station entrances.

Metro says it is now embarking on a public engagement process, with a goal of selecting a set of “locally-preferred” options, both long- and short-term, by next fall.

A public open house is planned in Arlington next week, to be held Monday from 4:30-7:30 p.m. at George Mason University’s Van Metre Hall (3351 Fairfax Drive) in Virginia Square.

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First Lee Highway, then the world.

That’s the plan for Bob and Edith’s Diner, which just announced its intention to grow from a small regional chain to a nationwide — and perhaps international — juggernaut via franchising.

Calling the 24-hour, family-run greasy spoon “iconic” and “a favorite among celebrities, athletes, politicians and secret service officials,” Alexandria-based franchising company Fransmart says the humble B&E’s brand is “perfectly positioned for rapid growth.”

“It’s small, does high volume, and they love conversions, which keeps their opening costs down,” a retail strategist is quoted as saying, in a press release (below). “On top of that, this is a brand that should get tenant improvement allowances from landlords. It is an iconic brand that just hit four locations and is the same size as Five Guys Burgers & Fries when they started to expand.”

Five Guys, of course, started as a single location on Columbia Pike in Arlington, before expanding to more than 1,500 locations worldwide. Bob and Edith’s also started on Columbia Pike, celebrating its 50th anniversary on the Pike this year.

Before it conquers the rest of the U.S., Bob and Edith’s plans to open its new Lee Highway location this spring. It has existing locations on the Pike and in Crystal City, Springfield and Huntington.

More from the press release:

Bob & Edith’s Diner, an iconic Washington, D.C., eatery beloved by celebrities and locals alike, today announced it is now franchising with the help of Fransmart, the industry-leading franchise development company. Bob & Edith’s Diner is working with Fransmart to find experienced franchisees who will drive the concept’s next phase of growth, and introduce its beloved comfort food to new markets across North America – starting with Washington, D.C., Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina.

“With its stellar reputation and iconic status, this concept is going to go fast,” said Dan Rowe, CEO of Fransmart. “There is very little competition – and therefore huge potential – in the diner space, and Bob & Edith’s format is perfectly positioned for rapid growth.”

Famously open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Bob & Edith’s Diner has been a D.C.-area favorite since 1969, when Robert and Edith Bolton opened the doors of their first location. Originally a 10-stool counter, the diner expanded over the years in response to overwhelming consumer demand and now operates four locations throughout Arlington, Crystal City, Alexandria, and Springfield, Virginia. A fifth location is opening in Arlington in 2020. The family-run business is now owned by their son, Greg Bolton, and managed by their grandchildren, Tammy and Chris Bolton.

“We want to make sure that each customer feels welcomed – that’s why we have so many regulars who have been coming here since 1970. And who doesn’t want breakfast all day?” said Bob & Edith’s Diner Owner Gregory Bolton. “Building on a strong, 50-year reputation, we believe Bob & Edith’s can be successful anywhere in the world. We are confident that Fransmart will be a strategic partner in helping us find highly motivated franchisees who share our passion for good food, and will help us expand into new markets.”

No stranger to high-profile guests walking through its doors, Bob & Edith’s Diner is also a favorite among celebrities, athletes, politicians and secret service officials. The concept has already grabbed the interest of brokerages, including Retail Strategist Lee Engle at CBRE.

“This is the perfect tenant right now – it’s small, does high volume, and they love conversions, which keeps their opening costs down,” Engle said. “On top of that, this is a brand that should get tenant improvement allowances from landlords. It is an iconic brand that just hit four locations and is the same size as Five Guys Burgers & Fries when they started to expand.”

To learn more about Bob & Edith’s Diner franchising opportunities, please visit fransmart.com/Bob&EdithsInquiry.

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With the Thanksgiving holiday over, the Christmas season now begins. And for Arlington residents in search of a Christmas tree, there are a number of options around the county for finding the perfect pine.

The Optimist Club of Arlington began its annual sale Friday in Wells Fargo Bank lot along Lee Highway (2213 N. Glebe Road). All workers are volunteers from around Arlington, including members of youth athletic teams, high school honors societies, and Optimist Club members. The lot will be open every day until December 23, with the following hours:

  • Monday through Thursday: 2-8 p.m.
  • Friday: 12-8 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday: 9 a.m.-8 p.m.

The Clarendon United Methodist Church, meanwhile, is selling trees and wreaths to support a variety of the church’s mission projects. The volunteer-run lot — at the intersection of 7th Street N. and N. Irving Street  — will be open until December 21, or until supplies sell out. The schedule is:

  • Sunday: 12-6 p.m.
  • Monday through Friday: 6-8 p.m.
  • Saturday: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

The Arlington South Lions Club is hosting its annual Christmas tree sale at the corner of S. Four Mile Run Drive and Columbia Pike. The sale continues until December 22, or until the club run out of trees. The lot is open:

  • Weekdays: 12-7 p.m.
  • Weekends: 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

The Knights of Columbus kicked off its 25th annual Christmas Tree Sale on Saturday at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Center near Crystal City, at the corner of 23rd Street S. and S. Hayes Street. The Knights are selling most trees for between $35-90, though some larger and more expensive trees are available. The lot hours are:

  • Weekdays: 6-9 p.m.
  • Weekends: 9 a.m.-9 p.m.

“As usual, we feature fresh cut Fraser and Douglas Fir trees in varying sizes up to 9 feet,” the Knights said in a press release, noting the sale will end on Dec. 22 or when the supply of trees runs out. “We will also have wreaths in 3 sizes (10″, 16″, and 24″ measured from the inside wire), white pine roping available by the foot, and tree stands. Come early to get the best trees!”

Additional Christmas tree sales to check out include a fundraiser for Mount Olivet United Methodist Church (1500 N. Glebe Road) and its boys and girls scout troops. The sale will be held this weekend, beginning on Friday, December 6 from 4-9 p.m.

At St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (400 Lorcom Lane), two hundred Christmas trees have been delivered, with sales continuing this weekend. On Saturday, the trees will be available from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and then on Sunday the lot will be open from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Photo courtesy of Peter Golkin 

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Morning Notes

Pedestrian Struck on Columbia Pike — A pedestrian was struck by a vehicle on Columbia Pike near S. Highland Street around noon on Friday. Passersby rushed to help the victim, who remained on the ground after being struck. The crash appeared to happen prior the crosswalk in the westbound lanes of the Pike. The pedestrian reportedly suffered non-life-threatening injuries. [Twitter/@ARLnowDOTcom]

ACPD Ramping Up Seat Belt Enforcement — “During the Thanksgiving holiday, Arlington County Police Department is teaming up with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on a high-visibility Click It or Ticket enforcement campaign to work toward reducing the number of fatalities that occur when drivers and passengers fail to buckle up. The campaign runs from November 25 – December 6, 2019.” [Arlington County]

Veteran Suicide Run Ends in Arlington — “Two Massachusetts men finished a 500-mile run from Cape Cod to Arlington National Cemetery on Friday to raise awareness of veteran suicides. Joshua Milich, 29, of Somerset, and Brian Tjersland, 52, of Dartmouth, started off on their journey from Massachusetts National Cemetery on Veterans Day.” [Cape Cod Times, NBC 4]

Hope ‘Doesn’t Know What to Expect’ with Majority — “Like his three colleagues also comprising the Arlington delegation to the House of Delegates, Patrick Hope has never served in the majority. That changes on Jan. 8, when Democrats take control of a body that has been under authority of Republicans for more than two decades – and when, for much of that time, Democrats were as much an afterthought as the groom at a wedding reception.” [InsideNova]

YHS Football Advances to Regional Final — “On Friday night, the Patriots shut the [Madison] Warhawks down, scoring a 25-10 win in the Class 6 Region D semifinals for their second victory of the postseason. The Patriots, who went on the road and never trailed, secured that third playoff game; they will face Westfield, another traditional power, in next week’s region final.” [Washington Post, InsideNova]

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With Thanksgiving just around the corner, Arlington’s Acme Pie Co. has earned kudos from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals for its vegan blackberry pie.

The animal rights group announced in a press release yesterday (Wednesday) its list of “Top 10 Vegan Pies (and 2 Honorable Mentions) for Thanksgiving.”

“Acme Pie Co.’s Blackberry Pie is as delicious as it is kind to animals, and it’s the perfect way to end a Thanksgiving meal,” said PETA President Ingrid Newkirk.

The Blackberry with a Hint of Lime pie is made of fresh blackberries, lime, and clove, criss-crossed with a lattice crust. Instead of using butter or cream, the bakery uses tapioca in the filling.

After five years of selling pies out of a basement kitchen, Acme Pie opened a retail store at 2803 Columbia Pike earlier this year.

In June, Acme Pie founder Sol Schott told ARLnow they’re churning out around 20,000 pies a year. The blackberry pie — which Schott’s favorite — is inspired by going blackberry picking and making the pies with his mother as a child.

The bakery, which is typically only open from 3-9 p.m. most days, will be open from 1-9 p.m. on the three days before Thanksgiving (November 25-27).

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Morning Notes

Water Taxi Coming to Arlington? — The Potomac Riverboat Company, which operates a water taxi between the Wharf, Georgetown, Alexandria and National Harbor, is reportedly considering new commuter-oriented routes, includings a stop at the Pentagon. [ALXnow]

Dems Want to Boost State Affordable Housing Funds — “Virginia Democrats are salivating at what they might be able to achieve now that they’ve finally won unified control of state government, particularly when it comes to affordable housing… new money from the state could be ‘rocket fuel’ for efforts in Arlington if developers can pair that cash with existing funding.” [Washington Business Journal]

Pentagon City Mall to Host New Holiday Display — “Residents and visitors are invited to Fashion Centre at Pentagon City’s inaugural Festival of the Trees! From November 23 through December 24, a variety of Christmas trees decorated by local nonprofits, including Arlington Food Assistance Center, Animal Welfare League of Arlington, Doorways for Women and Families,” etc. [Fashion Centre at Pentagon City]

Zone 4 Leaf Collection Starts Today — Arlington County’s vacuum leaf collection effort is continuing, with crews starting to roam “Zone 4” neighborhoods including East Falls Church, Arlington Forest and Arlington Ridge today. [Arlington County]

Congregation Returns After Redevelopment — “On Sunday, November 17, Arlington Presbyterian Church (APC) celebrated their homecoming. APC returned to their former site opening a new worship, office and multi-use space on the ground-floor of Gilliam Place, a 173-unit affordable housing community developed by the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) along Columbia Pike.” [Press Release]

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Tonight the Arlington County Board is expected to vote on advertising a review of the live entertainment permit of a Columbia Pike nightlife venue.

A staff report recommends moving up the review of Purple Ethiopian Restaurant and Lounge (3111 Columbia Pike) from January 2021 to next month, due to a series of violent incidents as well as alleged noise and alcohol violations. The restaurant opened in 2016.

“The Arlington County Police Department has noted ongoing issues and violations at this establishment that have created a public disturbance and violate the conditions of the live entertainment use permit,” the report says.

Notably, one person was shot outside the lounge early on a Thursday morning in September, resulting in a non-life-threatening injury and an arrest.

A memo from the police department, attached to the report, details some of the other violations and concerns. Most of the police dispatches to the restaurant have been after — sometimes well after — 2 a.m., when the restaurant should not be serving alcohol.

More from the ACPD memo:

On February 25, 2019 at 2:06am and 3:20am, an ACPD OCS confidential informant purchased and consumed alcohol at The Purple Lounge located at 3111 Columbia Pike. The VA ABC violation is captured in report # 2019-02250152. The calls for service reflect an apparent disregard for the conditions of their County live entertainment permit, their responsibility to comply with the law as a VA ABC alcohol licensee, and they are contributing to alcohol-related harm effecting [sic] public safety. Regular alcohol service past 2am has resulted in fights, disorderly conduct, intoxicated patrons, and destruction of property well into the early morning hours.

On May 22, 2019, ABC Agent Jacobs advised VA ABC filed an administrative violation and hearing for the after-hours service violation on February 25, 2019. On September 27, 2019, VA ABC Agent Jacobs advised a verdict from the VA ABC hearing held on August 2, 2019 imposed a $4,000 fine and a suspension of Purple Lounge’s VA ABC license for six (6) days. This finding will be effective after a thirty-day appeal period. Despite the above, according to Purple Lounge’s Yelp reviews, guests that stay after 2am are invited to an “After Hours Party”. After hours alcohol service was mentioned by guests on April 5, 2019, July 10, 2019 and September 18, 2019.

Additionally, there have been two (2) incidents of security using pepper spray on patrons. The first occurred on December 10, 2018 at 5:39am, when a patron who was being escorted out attempted to re-gain entry. After being sprayed, the patron retrieved a gun and smashed the front window of the business. On May 18, 2019 at 4:19am, a security guard sprayed a patron that had just been assaulted by another member of security causing injury. After being injured, the patron returned to the front entrance and was sprayed with pepper spray.

Should the live entertainment permit be revoked, the restaurant will no longer be able to host music and dancing.

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Morning Notes

Residents Want Second Pentagon City Metro Entrance — “Some longtime residents have spent years agitating for just such a study of their roads and public transit options, seeing a need long before HQ2 was a twinkle in Jeff Bezos’ eye. They’re eager to see an evaluation of how much new density the area can bear, and what solutions could make it easier for Pentagon City residents to get around — perhaps most notably, they’re pressing to see a second entrance for the neighborhood’s Metro station.” [Washington Business Journal]

Pentagon City Mall Seeking Sidewalk Cafe Upgrades — Simon, owner of the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall, is seeking to make some additions to the sidewalk cafes in front of the mall on S. Hayes Street. Proposed upgrades, to be considered by the Arlington County Board this weekend, include: “light poles, light strings and fencing with tray tops.” [Arlington County]

No, Crystal City Is Not Named for a Chandelier — “According to Robert P. Kogod, the former co-CEO of the Charles E. Smith Companies — which developed Crystal City — the name for the neighborhood’s first building, Crystal House, came first, and the chandelier came afterward.” [Washingtonian]

County Board to Consider Incentives to Keep PBS HQ — “Arlington County Board is considering offering up to $500,000 to retain the Public Broadcasting Service, nearly a year after PBS already committed to doing just that. The Arlington County Board is expected to consider the Economic Development Incentive grant at its meeting Saturday, along with a $450,000 grant to the Incentive Technology Group, which is also staying in Crystal City under a new lease.” [Washington Business Journal]

New Pike Affordable Housing Building Opens — “A ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the opening of Gilliam Place, a former church, and its 173 affordable housing units in Arlington Thursday morning. The complex is aimed at helping lower income and special needs families, and… it’s already home for a nonverbal woman living with autism.” [NBC 4, WJLA]

New Scooter Corral in Rosslyn — “Yee-haw!! New ‘Shared Mobility Device’ corral for Rosslyn’s North Moore Street.” [Twitter/@ArlingtonDES]

Live Action ‘Clue’ Planned in Arlington — “Time to solve a murder mystery while taking part in an incredible game and Scavenger Hunt as we bring the game of CLUE® – without a board – to our own backyard!” [Facebook]

Reminder: I-395 HOV Becoming Express Lanes — “The time has come for big change for local commuters: after two years of work, the I-395 HOV lanes inside the Beltway are becoming express toll lanes… The switch over is slated to take place on Sunday, Nov. 17.” [ARLnow]

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A veterinary clinic is hoping to open soon along Columbia Pike.

Clarendon Animal Care is expanding and opening a second location in the newly-opened Centro Arlington development at 940 S. George Mason Drive. The clinic is anticipated to open at some point this spring, according to co-owner Kayleen Gloor, joining nearby Harris Teeter grocery store and Orangetheory Fitness exercise studio.

“[Our new location] will allow us to expand our ability to serve our existing clients and patients but also bring the Clarendon Animal Care culture and level of service to South Arlington and nearby locales,” said Gloor.

The County Board is set to consider a use permit for the 2,500 square-foot space at its meeting this Saturday, November 16. Per a staff report to the Arlington County Board, the new Clarendon Animal Care will have three to four exam rooms and employ two full-time veterinarians, along with a team of six to eight support staff.

The original Clarendon Animal Care is located at 3000 10th Street N., where it provides a wide range of veterinary services from emergency care to vaccinations.

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A woman was robbed by two people on Columbia Pike near the Pentagon on Monday evening.

The robbery happened just before 5:30 p.m. on Veterans Day, at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Joyce Street. Police say a patrol officer was flagged down by the victim, who reported being robbed by a pair of suspects, one of whom was armed with a gun.

“The victim was walking in the area when she was approached her from behind by two suspects,” according to an ACPD crime report. “The female suspect demanded her belongings and cell phone, while the male suspect brandished a firearm. The suspects fled the area with the victim’s belongings prior to police arrival and the victim ran to seek assistance. The victim was not injured.”

“Suspect One is described as a white female, with a skinny build, brown hair, wearing a pink shirt, a dark colored vest and dark pants,” the crime report continues. “Suspect Two is described as a heavy set white male, wearing a black vest, white shirt, white hat and jeans. The investigation is ongoing.”

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