After years of construction, work on Courthouse Plaza is finally coming to a conclusion.
Tomorrow, a party is planned for the plaza’s reopening. The metal fencing, barricades and orange-vested workmen that have been plaguing the open area will be gone at last — leaving behind an attractive gathering space for shoppers and pedestrians.
It has been a long time in the making. We first reported that the project was behind schedule in 2011. In January, we reported that “all work is expected to be completed by this April.” Despite the delays, the project is delivering on its other promises.
The plaza now boasts an updated entryway. Trees planted along the brick walkway are surrounded by chairs, tables and wood planters that double as benches. There are potted plants, trees and metal tables. New brick pavers keep the area looking clean and organized.
With renovations to two parking garages and to the AMC movie theater, some of the nearby amenities were also improved during the long plaza project.
To celebrate, Arlington County, Courthouse Plaza owner Vornado and the Clarendon-Courthouse Civic Association are sponsoring a “Party on the Plaza.” The event is taking place this Thursday, July 21, from 5-7 p.m.
The event will feature music, games, free food and giveaways.
The driver of a car ran into the garage door to the Woodbury Heights condo building in Courthouse this morning.
The crash happened around 11 a.m., on 13th Street N. just a block from Arlington County Police headquarters. No significant injuries were reported.
The car that crashed into the garage door, an Infiniti, suffered front end damage.
A man in his mid-30s was helping an older man out of the back of the car when an ARLnow.com intern arrived on scene. “Photos are over,” the man said before walking back into the building.
This coming Tuesday, the National Geographic channel will air an episode of its “No Man Left Behind” series featuring the heroic story of a Courthouse resident and former Army special forces soldier.
The story, as reported in this Washington Post article, takes place in Afghanistan’s infamous Shok Valley, as a group of Green Berets are lured into a trap and ambushed by enemy fighters.
“In 2008, while on a daring raid in Afghanistan, US Green Beret Sergeant First Class, Dillon Behr suffered two gunshot wounds, one to his right bicep and one to his right pelvis/hip, as well as severe abdominal injuries,” said show notes sent by a Nat Geo PR rep. “In No Man Left Behind, he shares the unbelievable story of survival, recalling how his team managed to hold off the enemy for seven hours, despite several of them being injured, until they finally evacuated the wounded and returned to safety.”
Behr and his fellow Green Berets recount their experience during the hour-long show.
“I felt this strange calm and I remember thinking this is it, this is the moment I’m going to die,” he said.
Per the show notes: “Behr was treated for his injuries at Walter Reed Medical Center, and has been living in the D.C. metro area ever since. He received a Master’s Degree from Georgetown University and currently works for a cyber security firm. Up until a few months ago, he also ran a non-profit cross-fit gym for injured soldiers at Walter Reed.”
The episode will air Tuesday, July 12 at 9 p.m. on the National Geographic Channel.
Updated at 7:10 p.m. — There were 10 passengers in the stalled elevator, we’re told. They were freed after about 40 minutes on the elevator.
@ARLnowDOTcom I was on the elevator with 9 other people!! Stuck for about 40 mins with off and on light smoke
— Liza Parrish (@lizaparrish) June 28, 2016
Earlier: A large number of fire department vehicles have responded to the Courthouse Metro station for a possible elevator issue.
Initial, unconfirmed reports suggest a number of people are stuck on an elevator that’s filling with smoke due to an electrical or mechanical malfunction. There’s also a report of light smoke in an elevator service room.
Firefighters and Metro elevator technicians are working to safely get the elevator to ground level, where the passengers can be evaluated by paramedics, according to scanner traffic.
There is thus far no indication that Metrorail service has been affected.
— Alli Henry (@GenY4Transit) June 28, 2016
#ACFD on scene of a stalled elevator w/ several occupants at Courthouse Metro. Removal of people underway.
— ACFD Firefighters (@IAFF2800) June 28, 2016
The incident happened last night, just after 11:10 p.m., on the 1900 block of Wilson Blvd in the Courthouse area.
“As a female victim was walking on the north side of Wilson Boulevard, an unknown male subject approached a victim with his genitals exposed and placed them on her,” said an Arlington County Police Department crime report. “The victim fought back, creating distance and causing the suspect to flee.”
“The victim described the suspect as a short, dark-skinned male wearing a black hoodie,” said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “The suspect fled on foot eastbound on Wilson towards N. Rhodes Street. Officers canvassed the area with negative results. A K-9 track could not be conducted due to heavy rainfall.”
Courthouse, Columbia Pike Developments Approved — At its Saturday meeting, the Arlington County Board approved a 90-unit condominium building at 2000 Clarendon Blvd in Courthouse. The Board voted 4-1, with John Vihstadt voting against, after hearing objections from residents of the nearby Odyssey condo tower. Also on Saturday, the Board unanimously approved a 105-unit condo building on the Rappahannock Coffee site on Columbia Pike. [Arlington County, Arlington County]
Plans Filed for New Affordable Complex in Rosslyn — The Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing has filed preliminary plans to redevelop the 39-unit Queens Court apartment complex into a new, 12-story, 250-unit affordable apartment building, with underground parking and a 9,000 square foot public park and playground. The redevelopment was included in 2015’s Western Rosslyn Area Plan, or WRAP. [Washington Business Journal]
Woodlawn Park Renovations Approved — The Arlington County Board has approved a $616,000 contract for improvements to Woodlawn Park in the Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood. The improvements to the 3.2 acre park includes “replacing the playground equipment, updating the trails and better protecting Lubber Run stream.” [Arlington County]
Couple Gets Engaged at Local Event — A San Antonio, Texas couple got engaged at Friday night’s Wine in the Waterpark event in Crystal City. [Twitter]
Stream Restoration Project OKed — The Arlington County Board has unanimously approved a $3.5 million contract to restore the lower portion of the Four Mile Run stream. Work on the project, which has been in the works since 2000, is expected to begin later this summer and may result in some trail detours over the course of a year. [Arlington County]
First Day of Summer Today — Today is the first day of astronomical summer, the summer solstice and the longest day of the year. [Capital Weather Gang]
Leadership Arlington to Run Volunteer Arlington — The nonprofit group Leadership Arlington will be taking over the administration of Volunteer Arlington from Arlington County. Leadership Arlington won the contract in a competitive bidding process. Volunteer Arlington is “the County’s clearinghouse for volunteerism, matching volunteers with non-profits and government programs that rely on volunteers in carrying out their work.” [Arlington County]
Last night, dozens gathered in Courthouse Plaza to wear orange for National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
The rally was organized by Moms Demand Action. Among those attending were family members of gun violence victims and a number of elected officials.
Arlington School Board member Barbara Kanninen issued the following statement about the event.
On January 21st, 2013, Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old high school student from the south side of Chicago, marched in President Obama’s 2nd inaugural parade. One week later, just after taking final exams, Hadiya was shot and killed in a Chicago park.
First Lady Michelle Obama attended Hadiya’s funeral and three weeks later, President Obama talked about Hadiya in his State of The Union address. He talked about how she loved Fig Newtons and that she was a majorette.
Later that year, on Hadiya’s birthday, June 2nd, Hadiya’s friends began the Wear Orange Campaign. They chose orange because it was Hadiya’s favorite color. It’s also what hunters wear in the woods to protect themselves and others.
On average, 48 children and teens are shot and 7 die from their injuries each day in the United States.
What started in a south side Chicago high school to celebrate Hadiaya has turned into a nationwide movement to honor all lives cut short by gun violence. Wear Orange is also a celebration of life – and a call to action to help save lives from gunfire.
Wear Orange is sponsored by the National PTA, National Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychological Association, American Public Health Association, Safe Routes to School National Partnership, YWCA and Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, among many other groups and organizations.
Today, on Gun Violence Awareness Day, we remember Hadiya, the students of Sandy Hook Elementary School, the students of Virginia Tech, and the many, many students in elementary school, middle school, high school, and college, who have been injured or killed by guns. This includes students who attended school right here in Arlington and have died far too young, due to suicide.
Thank you for supporting Wear Orange, for raising awareness, and for remembering all those affected by gun violence, especially the children.
Video by Omar DeBrew
A new hardware store that’s coming to Courthouse is hoping to open its doors by the end of the summer.
Twins Ace Hardware will be located at the corner of Clarendon Blvd and N. Troy Street, on the ground floor of the 2001 Clarendon Blvd apartment building. At nearly 6,000 square feet, the store will carry “a wide variety of products” while offering “the same outstanding service you’ve enjoyed” at the company’s existing Fairfax store.
“We’re excited to be a part of the neighborhood,” co-owner Jeff Smith said. “[My twin brother] Craig and I have always loved Courthouse, but never found the right site for our store until now. [The building] has great amenities and convenient parking for our customers to load purchases large and small.”
“We’re working on construction and getting our permits and hope to open late summer this year,” Smith added, in response to an inquiry from ARLnow.com.
All 30,000 square feet of retail space in 2001 Clarendon Blvd is now leased, according to a press release. Another of the newer businesses to lease a space there, fitness studio Xtend Barre, has set a June 10 opening date.
Photos by Jackie Friedman
Here are some words we do not have an opportunity to write often: a construction project in Arlington is running ahead of schedule.
Construction on the new eight-story, 161-room Hyatt Place hotel in Courthouse is entering the home stretch.
Groundbreaking for the hotel, at 2401 Wilson Blvd, took place on a chilly January day last year. Developer Ray Schupp says construction is expected to wrap up mid-summer.
“We are ahead of schedule and now anticipate moving up our opening to mid-August,” Schupp tells ARLnow.com. The opening was previously planned for mid-September.
Also in the works: an unveiling for a new Vivian Beer sculpture, commissioned as part of the development and to be located at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Adams Street. A date for the unveiling has not yet been set.
Schupp says grand opening festivities are also being planned for the hotel and the local community will be invited. He thanked neighbors for their patience during construction.
“Our neighbors in Lyon Village and the surrounding communities have lived through this process while being positive (and sometimes forgiving),” he said. “We want to thank them in our opening.”
Photos by Jackie Friedman
Firings at Peter Chang After Receipt Incident — Three employees have reportedly been fired and the chef’s own daughter is also on the chopping block at Peter Chang restaurant along Lee Highway. The firings come after a server included the insults “i have a small penis” and “im a plad [sic] a**hole” on a customer receipt. Chang has promised to improve service at his restaurant. [Washington Post]
Arlington Restaurants on Cheap Eats List — More than a dozen Arlington eateries have been included in Washingtonian magazine’s list of the top 100 inexpensive restaurants in the D.C. area. Among them: Bayou Bakery, Cheesetique, Pupatella, Ray’s Hell Burger, Yona and Peter Chang. [Washingtonian]
Video of Track Issue at Court House Station — A video taken inside the Court House Metro station shows sparks and smoldering from the track area. The video comes after a number of well-publicized electrical issues at Metro. “It was kind of weird watching infrastructure fail before my very eyes,” said the man who took the video. [Washington Post]
Tech Company Saves the Day for Theft Victims — Course Hero, a Silicon Valley-based company that provides study materials, has paid for a scholarship for the Penn State student whose mom left her purse, with $10,000 in tuition money inside, in an
Arlington Falls Church Dunkin Donuts. Police still have not found the woman who stole the purse. [NBC Washington]
Most of Crystal City Could Change Hands — Vornado, the property owner that owns more than half of the square footage in Crystal City, is considering spinning off its D.C. properties from those it owns in New York. [Washington Post]
D.C. Complaining About DCA Flights — D.C.’s attorney general has sent an email to the FAA asking that flights to and from Reagan National Airport be shifted away from the District. In 2015 the FAA received 8,670 noise complaints from those in the District, 6,500 of them from the same person. [Washington Post]
The former Wendy’s restaurant in Courthouse is no more.
A construction crew demolished the restaurant yesterday, reducing it to a pile of rubble. As of last night, only a couple of newspaper boxes and small brick wall that was in front of the restaurant’s drive-thru lane still stood.
Wendy’s closed in December, as did its next-door neighbor, the Wells Fargo bank. The bank is next in line for demolition.
The site is set to be redeveloped into a 12-story office building that will feature Wells Fargo as its marquee ground floor retail tenant.
There are now three remaining Wendy’s restaurants in Arlington: at 5066 Lee Highway, 3431 Columbia Pike and 5050 S. Chesterfield Road, which is just off of Route 7 on the Fairfax County border.
A peeping tom in Rosslyn apparently took a photo of a woman through her window and then ran off.
The incident happened around 1 a.m. Saturday at the River Place condos in Rosslyn. From an Arlington County Police Department crime report:
PEEPING TOM, 160430004, 1000 block of N. Arlington Boulevard. At approximately 1:00 a.m. on April 30, a female victim noticed a flash come through her window and a male subject fleeing from the area. The suspect is described as a male, wearing a dark jacket, dark pants, and a baseball hat.
Another peeping tom was reported early Sunday morning not too far away, in the Courthouse area.
PEEPING TOM, 160501006, 1200 block of N. Troy Street. At approximately 1:10 a.m. on May 1, a woman observed a male suspect looking into a neighbors window. The suspect is described as a Hispanic male, approximately 5’4″ – 5’8″ tall and weighed 150 lbs. He was wearing dark clothing, a dark hat, and had a book bag.
Police are investigating both incidents. So far no arrests have been announced.
Working with the Metropolitan Police Department, Arlington County Police say there were able to locate the vehicle in D.C. and take the suspect into custody.
From an ACPD crime report:
GRAND THEFT AUTO, 160428031, 1400 block of N. Uhle Street. At approximately 1:10 p.m. on April 28, a pizza delivery vehicle was stolen while the driver was on a delivery. Officers were able to locate the vehicle in Washington D.C. With the assistance of the Metropolitan Police Department, the suspect was taken into custody without incident. Warrants were obtained for grand larceny auto for James Lee Thomas III, 38, of Washington D.C.
Fairfax-based Twins Ace Hardware will open an Arlington location on the ground floor of the 2001 Clarendon apartment building late this summer, according to a company announcement
The store will sell a “wide variety” of products and span 5,560 square feet, the announcement reads.
A building permit application for the new business was filed on Monday.
Hat tip to Chris Slatt
A slick new burger restaurant and bar has opened in Courthouse.
Basic Burger pairs a relatively straightforward menu — burgers, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, fries, salads, shakes — with a clean, modern interior and a bar offering beer, cider and wine.
It’s a bit Shake Shack-esque, with some unique touches, including sweet potato fries, onion rings, fried pickles and fizzy beverages from “craft soda” brand Stubborn Soda.
Located at 2024 Wilson Blvd, just down from the now-closed Wendy’s and up from Ray’s Hell Burger, Basic Burger opened for business on Monday. Its hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.