Two major development projects are underway in Courthouse, but more progress has been made on one than the other.
Carr Properties is in the process of redeveloping two sites: 2311 Wilson Blvd, which will be the new headquarters of local tech firm Opower, and 2025 Clarendon Blvd, which will be a new 12-story office building.
Construction is well underway at 2311 Wilson, with sheeting and shoring work in place. At last check the new building was expected to be ready for move-in by 2018.
(A Carr Properties representative has thus far not responded to ARLnow.com’s request for an update on the construction timeline.)
The 2025 Clarendon Blvd project, meanwhile, has only cleared the demolition phase, which saw the former Wendy’s and Wells Fargo bank torn down. The site is currently a vacant lot with little activity of note. No word on when construction might start on the new building.
The Arlington County Board has approved adding pedestrian-only streets and low-speed “shared streets” to its transportation repertoire.
The amendments to the county’s Master Transportation Plan were approved unanimously at the Board’s meeting on Saturday.
As we reported in September, the county’s long-term plan for Rosslyn includes a multi-block, pedestrian-only stretch of 18th Street to replace Rosslyn’s skywalk system. Additionally, sections of 14th and 15th streets in Courthouse are slated to become shared streets.
Before the Board’s vote on Saturday, the Master Transportation Plan did not permit either street type.
More information, from an Arlington County press release:
The Arlington County Board adopted today proposed amendments to the Master Transportation Plan Street Element, incorporating two innovative changes: a new pedestrian priority street type — a car-free street that provides pedestrians access to adjacent buildings — and “shared streets” — for pedestrians, bicyclists and low speed vehicular traffic. These amendments will accommodate street variations as envisioned in the Rosslyn and Courthouse Sector Plans and provide guidance for potential use in other parts of the County.
In the Rosslyn area, nine block-length pedestrian priority street segments are planned to replace the remaining skywalk segments, break up north-south blocks and enhance access to the Rosslyn Metro Station. Segments of 18th Street North (from North Lynn Street to North Oak Street) will accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists only, without regular motor vehicle access. Implementation of the pedestrian priority street segments are expected to occur over time as private properties on those blocks are redeveloped.
In the Courthouse Square area, segments of 14th and 15th Streets North (between North Uhle Street and Courthouse Road) will be prioritized as low-speed “shared streets,” emphasizing needs of both pedestrians and bicyclists through use of distinctive paving materials and level travel areas. These streets will be primarily intended for pedestrians, but open to slow-speed vehicle traffic.
“Arlington is a varied community that puts an emphasis on various modes of travel – be it walking, biking, taking transit or driving,” said Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey. “These street variations are very exciting and an important step in improving access and safety for the many residents, visitors and commuters that walk and bike around Arlington each and every day.”
The Board voted 5 to 0 to approve the amendments.
In July 2015, the Board adopted an update to the Rosslyn Sector Plan that called for eventual development of several new street segments. In September 2015, the Board adopted the Courthouse Square sector plan update and its proposal of creating sections of shared streets.
The idea of new street types is the result of considerable public involvement. The two new street types were initially envisioned during the development of the sector plan updates, with the names and definitions further refined in hearings by the Arlington Planning and Transportation commissions.
Now that these changes have been accepted, the new street types can be applied elsewhere in the County when approved through a community planning process and action by the County Board.
The Five Guys location at 2300 Wilson Blvd in Courthouse has been temporarily closed for at least the past week.
“Attention: This location will be temporarily closed,” says a sign on the door of the popular burger restaurant. “We apologize for this inconvenience. Please visit our other nearby locations during this time.”
Online ordering from the location is also listed as “temporarily unavailable.”
It’s unclear why the eatery is closed. Workers could be seen inside the restaurant yesterday, performing some sort of work on or in the ceiling. Thus far a phone call to a company spokeswoman has not been returned.
When ARLnow.com drove by today a group of firefighters could be seen walking up to the restaurant and then walking back, empty-handed, to their truck.
The first Five Guys opened in Arlington in 1986. The company is now headquartered in Lorton and has well over 1,000 locations nationwide.
Arlington dignitaries were on hand for a ribbon cutting and champagne ceremony at the new 168-room Hyatt Place hotel in Courthouse Thursday afternoon.
In addition to rooms with modern furnishings and comfy beds, the hotel, at 2401 Wilson Blvd, features a 24-hour gym, 24-hour meal service, free hotel-wide WiFi and a “coffee to cocktails bar.”
There’s also a curated art collection in the lobby and a newly-unveiled original sculpture — of a stylized, blue high heel shoe that doubles as a bench — outside, at the corner of Wilson and N. Adams Street.
At the ceremony, officials lauded the hotel as an economic asset for Arlington that was built with the support of local residents, thanks to a focus on public outreach by developer Schupp Companies.
(Updated at 4:25 p.m.) Blumen Cafe, a new independent coffee, tea and pastry shop in the Clarendon-Courthouse area, has opened for business in the former CD Cellar space (2607 Wilson Blvd).
The cafe has quietly opened this week — customers are discovering it by walking by — ahead of a planned grand opening event on Saturday, Oct. 29.
Blumen Cafe reflects European and Mediterranean influences. It serves Illy coffee and espresso, from Italy, and offers 27 different types of teas, imported from Germany. Half of its pastries — cakes, baklava, etc. — are homemade from scratch, we’re told.
Owner Andira Jabbari says she started the first Blumen Cafe in Germany, after graduating from a university there, before selling it and moving to Doha, Qatar, where she started a tea shop. Jabbari moved here last year and lives in Courthouse.
The cafe is a family affair — staffed by Jabbari and her daughters. Jabbari’s brother was in the cafe this afternoon, helping out.
Asked about competition from Starbucks, Jabbari brushed it off and said the quality of her offerings will stand out. The relaxed, airy atmosphere — including a large accordion-style door up front that remains open during nice weather — will also provide a welcome alternative to the green-logoed coffee giant, she said.
Blumen Cafe is currently open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday.
The 24-foot-long Planters NUTmobile will be spending the week in Arlington from Oct. 17-24. It will be in town for the 2016 National Trademark Expo in D.C. and will also be making appearances at local grocery stores.
Expect to see it parked outside a hotel in the Courthouse neighborhood, the truck’s driver, “Top Hat Trav,” tells ARLnow.com.
“Many of your readers may be seeing our massive peanut vehicle throughout the week,” Trav advised. The NUTmobile travels the country on a “nutty journey” that includes appearances at well-known destinations by the Planters mascot, Mr. Peanut.
County Offices Open for Columbus Day — Arlington County offices are open today during the Columbus Day holiday, but parking meters will not be enforced, according to the county’s holiday schedule. Courts, DMV locations and schools will be closed, while ART buses will run on a modified holiday schedule. [Arlington County]
Cyclist Cited for Eluding — There was a brief police pursuit of sorts Friday afternoon, involving a cyclist in the Courthouse neighborhood. “An officer activated his lights and sirens after witnessing the cyclist run a red light,” said Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage. ‘When the cyclist refused to stop, the officer rode beside him and attempted to make verbal contact with the cyclist. The cyclist eventually stopped and was released on two citations, one for the red light violation and one for eluding.”
Public Art Initiative Coming to Courthouse — On Saturday, Oct. 15, the “Reimagine Civic” public art initiative will bring “C_vic,” an interactive sculpture, to Courthouse Square near the county government headquarters. The sculpture has a space between the first “C” and “V” where members of the community can stand, in place of the “I,” and take a photo. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
The only major hardware store (as opposed to a ‘Hardware’ bar) in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor is getting ready to open.
The Twins Ace Hardware at 2001 Clarendon Blvd in the Courthouse area is expected to open in mid-to-late October, we’re told. The store is now hiring and recently put up a large sign on the outside of the building.
This is the second Northern Virginia hardware store for owners Jeff and Craig Smith. The brothers’ first Twins Ace Hardware store is located in Fairfax.
Parking for the 5,560 square foot store will be available, with validation, in the building’s parking garage.
Two women who were walking behind the victim at the time offered to help clean up the liquid. After the encounter, the victim walked away, only to realize that cash had been stolen from her purse.
From an Arlington County Police report:
GRAND LARCENY FROM A PERSON (significant), 160923027, 1400 block of S. Eads Street. At approximately 9:54 a.m. on September 23, officers responded to the report of a grand larceny from a person that had just occurred. When on scene, it was determined that a female victim was walking on the sidewalk when she felt an unknown liquid being poured on the back of her head. The victim turned around and two Hispanic females offered to help clean off the substance. The victim then continued to walk off and later realized an undisclosed amount of cash was missing from her purse. The first suspect is described as a Hispanic female, approximately 5’6″ tall and weighed 150 lbs. She was wearing a long sleeve blue and white dress and dark pants. The second suspect is described as a Hispanic female, approximately 5’6″ tall and 150 lbs. She was wearing a long sleeve shirt and pants.
Also in this week’s report, a man was arrested in the Courthouse area Saturday morning after he allegedly walked up to a woman on the sidewalk and grabbed her breast.
SEXUAL BATTERY, 160924027, 1800 block of N. Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 10:25 a.m. on September 24, a female victim was walking on the sidewalk when a male subject approached her and grabbed her breast. The victim screamed causing the suspect to flee the scene. Officers located and apprehended the subject shortly after. Ramy Gabry, 23, of an unknown address, was arrested and charged with sexual battery. He is being held without bond.
The Cosi restaurant in Courthouse has closed.
Lunch-goers hoping for a Cosi sandwich or salad found instead a locked door. A sign posted on the door said the restaurant is closed.
“We truly appreciate your patronage and we apologize for any inconvenience,” the sign said.
It was not immediately clear if the closure was permanent or temporary, although the restaurant’s interior appeared to be in the process of being cleared out and a number of items from the restaurant were placed in and around the dumpsters behind the building.
The Cosi is located at 2050 Wilson Blvd, just steps from the Courthouse Metro station.
Update at 5:45 p.m. — A Cosi in Reston Town Center has also closed.
Update at 4:40 on 9/28/16 — The restaurant is permanently closed and its parent company has filed for bankruptcy. “It is never an easy decision to close a restaurant,” Cosi Marketing Coordinator Devin Dourney told ARLnow.com in an email. “The decision to close this restaurant was based on its financial performance and market density. At this time, we do not have any plans to reopen this restaurant.”
Park(ing) Day 2016 is in full swing in Arlington.
Described as “an annual international event where the public collaborates to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into small parks to elicit a reconsideration of the designation of public space,” Park(ing) Day is taking place on the side of the road in five separate locations in Arlington this year.
Among them: in front of 4075 Wilson Blvd and 4245 Fairfax Drive in Ballston; 2200 Wilson Blvd and the N. Uhle Street parking lot in Courthouse; and 2847 Clarendon Blvd in Clarendon.
We stopped by two today: in Clarendon, the Lululemon store was hosting yoga lessons, demonstrations and other feats of flexibility. On Wilson Blvd in Courthouse, staff from the Arlington Community Planning, Housing and Development office were giving away free schwag and encouraging passersby to play games they had on hand.
The county tweeted photos from two of the other events:
— Plan Arlington VA (@planArlingtonVA) September 16, 2016
— brett wallace (@bretthwallace) September 16, 2016
“Events like PARK(ing) Day enrich our community life by creating an inviting streetscape and by promoting activities that allow for social exchange, fun, creativity and critical thinking,” the county said on its website. “PARK(ing) Day in particular can furthermore promote a rethinking of the usage of the public-right-of-way and may motivate the public to more actively participate in the civic processes which shape our urban environment.”
The tiny temporary parks will remain open until around 3-3:30 p.m.
A man has been charged with vandalizing the wreath placed during Arlington’s 9/11 memorial ceremony.
The incident happened in Courthouse just after 11 a.m. on Sunday, shortly after the ceremony.
Police say 51-year-old Charles Harris removed flowers from the wreath and left the petals on the sidewalk. He was charged with the crimes of Injuring a Memorial and Drunk in Public.
From an Arlington County Police crime report:
INJURING A MEMORIAL, 160911022, 1500 block of N. Courthouse Road. At approximately 11:16 a.m. on September 11, police were dispatched to the report of a subject destroying the 9/11 Memorial Wreath used during the County’s September 11 Observance. Upon arrival, officers observed the subject removing flowers from the wreath and discarding petals on the sidewalk. Charles Harris, 51, of No Fixed Address was arrested and charged with Injuring a Memorial and Drunk In Public. He was held on a $1,000 secured bond.
A brand new 168-room Hyatt Place hotel opened in Courthouse last week.
Among other features, the hotel has a curated art collection in the lobby and outside at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Adams Street, “for passersby to enjoy.”
From a Hyatt press release:
Hyatt Place Arlington/Courthouse Plaza is officially open in Arlington, Va. The hotel features the Hyatt Place brand’s intuitive design, casual atmosphere and practical amenities, such as free Wi-Fi and 24-hour food offerings. Hyatt Place Arlington Courthouse
Plaza is owned by Schupp Companies, a real estate development company, and is operated and managed by LodgeWorks Partners, L.P.
Hyatt Place Arlington/Courthouse Plaza is nearby a variety of restaurant, shopping and entertainment options. The hotel is two blocks away from the Courthouse Metro stop and close to major Washington D.C. attractions, including the White House, the Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, and Arlington Cemetery. With inviting spaces to connect, meet, socialize, eat and drink, the property is a unique place designed around today’s modern traveler.
Hyatt Place Arlington Courthouse/Plaza offers:
- 168 spacious guestrooms, all of which feature a swiveling 42-inch HDTV, the plush Hyatt Grand Bed® and Cozy Corner sectional sofa – all with separate spaces to sleep, work and play
- Free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel
- Complimentary a.m. Kitchen Skillet™, a free hot breakfast for guests available daily in the Gallery Kitchen, features hot breakfast items, fresh fruit, oatmeal, yogurt, cereal, fresh-baked pastries, premium coffee, an assortment of juices and more
- 24/7 Gallery Menu & Market serving freshly prepared meals anytime, day or night and perfectly packaged sandwiches and salads
- Coffee to Cocktails Bar featuring specialty coffees and premium beers, as well as wines and cocktails
- Odds & Ends program for forgotten items that guests can buy, borrow or enjoy for free
- 566 square feet of flexible, high-tech meeting/function space and connected to the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Conference and Event Center, accommodating up to 200 people for meetings and events
- 24-hour StayFit Gym featuring cardio equipment with LDC touchscreens and free ear buds
- Curated Art Collection with custom-designed pieces that will be featured in the lobby and cascade outside of the hotel onto the sidewalk at the corner of Wilson and Adams for passersby to enjoy
“Arlington is a vibrant community that enjoys both a warm neighborhood feel and an ever-expanding list of must-see places and experiences,” said Ray Schupp, president and owner at Schupp Companies.
“We are fortunate Hyatt Place Arlington/Courthouse Plaza is centrally located so guests are just steps away from the best of Arlington. We are confident this hotel will exceed expectations and deliver a memorable experience for all.”
Hyatt Place Arlington/Courthouse Plaza is under the leadership of General Manager Shiela Shrestha and Director of Sales Nasima Alam. In her role, Shrestha is directly responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the hotel, including overseeing the hotel’s 40 associates and ensuring guests encounter the purposeful service for which the Hyatt Place brand is known. Alam is responsible for providing sales service and support to travelers and meeting planners frequenting the Arlington, Va. area.
Photos courtesy Hyatt
An unknown male caller phoned in the bomb threat Tuesday afternoon. No explosives were found.
From an Arlington County Police Department crime report:
BOMB THREAT, 160816032, 1400 block of N. Courthouse Road. At approximately 1:20 p.m on August 16, an unknown male subject called an office within the courthouse building and made a bomb threat. A K-9 sweep of the building was conducted with negative results. There is no suspect(s) description.
On Monday night, a resident in the Radnor/Fort Myer Heights neighborhood, near Rosslyn, reported hearing a loud “pop” inside their home.
Police arrived and found that a single gunshot had been fired into the residence. From ACPD:
MISSILE INTO OCCUPIED DWELLING, 160815043, 1200 block of N. Rhode Street. At approximately 9:17 p.m. on August 15, two residents heard a loud pop inside their residence. Upon police investigation, it was determined that a single gunshot round had entered the residence causing minor damage. Police conducted checks in the area and found no similar incidents. There is no suspect(s) description and the investigation is ongoing.
The rest of the past week’s crime report highlights, after the jump.
(Updated at 12:05 p.m.) There are various lists for D.C. area football fans, telling them where they can watch their favorite NFL team. There is but one team that’s missing across all of those lists: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Even Reddit can’t figure out a decent place to go out and watch a Tampa Bay game with like-minded fans, save a couple suggestions for suburban bars that show every NFL game.
Sure, the Bucs have the worst all-time winning percentage in the league. But the NFL has some of the most fervent fans of any sports league in the country — heck, the local Browns Backers bar packs it in losing season after losing season. One would think in a melting pot city like D.C., there’d be a bar — just one bar — that a Bucs fan can call (mostly) their own.
Enter Brent Robson.
When he moved to the D.C. area three years ago, he immediately joined the alumni organization for his Florida Gators. Every Saturday in the fall, he’d head to Arlington Rooftop Bar and Grill (2424 Wilson Blvd) in Courthouse to cheer on the team.
Then, on Sunday — nada.
“I was hoping to find the same type of setup and atmosphere for my Tampa Bay Buccaneers of which I am also a big fan,” Robson told ARLnow.com. “Many other big name teams, such as the Patriots, Steelers, Cowboys, and Packers, have official designated watch party bars, yet the Bucs do not.”
This year, Robson decided to take matters into his own hands.
“I went to the owner of Arlington Rooftop Bar and Grill and pitched the idea of becoming the official D.C. Bucs bar on Sundays,” he recounted. “The owner has had such success with the Gator watch parties and is such a big supporter of the Florida sports fans, he immediately got on board with the idea.”
Arlington Rooftop’s Scott Porter said Robson’s enthusiasm, and the success of his deal with the University of Florida alumni, helped to convince him.
“The Gator fans pack this place from top to bottom!” Porter said. “Brent and his colleges were interested in getting the majority of the Gator fan base back here on Sunday to enjoy the NFL games and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. So we said yes! We are excited to be the official host bar, and if it’s anything like the Gators game on Saturdays it’s going to be a great time and season.”
Robson is now focused on getting the word out and drumming up support among other Bucs fans. If being able to watch the game with other Tampa Bay diehards wasn’t enough to get people to show up, he’s hoping some hometown flavor can seal the deal.
“[Arlington Rooftop] has agreed to offer special food and drink discounts specific for Bucs gamedays,” Robson said, “as well as imported kegs of Cigar City beer straight from Tampa.”
The Buccaneers regular season opener against Atlanta is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 11 at 1 p.m.