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Arlington County courthouse on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023 (staff photo by James Jarvis)

Costs are creeping up for a courtroom makeover in Arlington.

County Board members approved an extra $200,000 this past Saturday to complete renovations in Courtroom 10B, a project ambitiously dubbed the “courtroom of the future.”

The Board had initially approved a $1.9 million budget for the project, encompassing not only tech enhancements and layout modifications but also administrative costs and a $755,000 fee for Michigan-based contractor Sorensen Gross Company. A $135,000 contingency for unexpected construction hiccups was set aside, bringing the contract’s total value to $890,000.

The contingency is nearly gone, county staff said, prompting County Board action. Damaged stonework, deteriorating fabric wall panels and worn-out carpeting all brought unexpected costs and, as a result, additional funding was sought as the project enters its final phase.

Once completed, the oft-used courtroom will feature new capabilities, such as enabling police to upload and display body-camera and smartphone footage, simplified equipment mobility, and compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

Arlington courtrooms have not had a major renovation since 1994, per a 2022 county report.

While construction was initially slated for completion in July, ARLnow saw signs of ongoing work during a recent courthouse visit, including plastic tarp over doors and covered windows.

A county spokeswoman said construction is now expected to wrap up in November.


A forthcoming apartment building in Courthouse already has a lineup of restaurants and fitness studios slated to move in. 

A franchise location of Rumble Boxing and a Japanese restaurant and bar called Gingerfish are among those getting in on the ground level of The Commodore, a nearly completed apartment building at 2055 15th Street N.

Over the last two years, developer Greystar has been at work building a 20-story, 423-unit building on what is dubbed the “Landmark Block.” This block, at the corner of Clarendon Blvd and N. Courthouse Road, was once home to a collection of restaurants, including Summers.

When photographed today, the building appeared nearly complete from the outside, though separate transportation upgrades — which include pavement, sidewalk, curb and gutter improvements to public streets — are ongoing

Work appears to be wrapping up on the building, as social media posts — playing up the apartment’s pet-friendliness — note the building is “coming soon.” Other signs of completion include the retailers that are already listed as forthcoming tenants.  

Gingerfish is “by a local restaurant group with various other concepts in the Arlington market,” according to CBRE leasing agent Jared Meier. 

“[Regarding] other tenants for the space, we are not at liberty to announce who they are, but I am excited to note that we are close to finalizing leases with an açai bowl operator, a yoga studio, and a taqueria,” he said.

A leasing map indicates a letter of intent has been or is being put forward for the one space, leaving just one listed as available.  

The project broke ground almost two years ago, projecting a fall 2023 completion date at the time. It appears developer Greystar remains largely on schedule.

“We are anticipating first move ins for The Commodore in early October,” said Allison Rynak, the director of marketing communications for Greystar.

Meier also expects retail tenants could move in next month. The new restaurants and fitness gyms could be open for business next spring or summer, he said. 

Meanwhile, work continues on another Greystar project a few blocks away. What was once a Wendy’s will become an apartment tower, ground-floor retail and a plaza at 2025 Clarendon Blvd. The two projects realize a significant part of the county’s vision for the neighborhood.


A new delivery-only restaurant specializing in “loaded fries” has opened in a parking lot near Clarendon.

For Your Fries Only is serving up fries slathered in sauce and topped with a protein of choice from a trailer in the vacant Courthouse West parking lot across from Whole Foods.

It joins a handful of other food trailers selling everything from fried chicken sandwiches to Asian street food to asada fries via third-party delivery apps.

The owner told ARLnow the business had officially launched last week. It operates from one of the three trailers owned by REEF Technology, a company specializing in transforming underutilized urban parking lots into hubs for food and logistics. The food service arm of Reef is called NBRHD Kitchens.

Like other “ghost kitchens,” For Your Fries Only operates exclusively through third-party delivery platforms such as Uber Eats and DoorDash.

The concept has attracted a lot of media buzz and investors in recent years, especially during the pandemic when many people were getting food delivered more frequently. Based on its popularity, the Arlington County Board amended its zoning ordinance in June to streamline delivery for small businesses.

For Your Fries Only initially started with two locations in Ohio and has since expanded to Baltimore, Maryland and Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, according to its website.

The eatery offers toppings ranging from chicken and steak to shrimp and pepperoni, as well as various sauces. The menu also features chicken wings, available in sets of 10, 20, or 30, and customers can have them tossed in a choice of two sauces.

Photos via For Your Fries Only/Instagram


File photo

A 47-year-old Richmond man is facing charges after police say he robbed a store and then threw a fake gun at responding officers.

The incident happened Friday afternoon after 3 p.m., in the Courthouse area.

More, below, from today’s Arlington County Police Department crime report.

ASSAULT ON POLICE, 2023-09080157, 2000 block of Clarendon Boulevard. At approximately 3:19 p.m. on September 8, police were dispatched to the report of a brandishing. Upon arrival, it was determined the male suspect entered the business and allegedly concealed merchandise before attempting to exit the store without payment. A store employee confronted the suspect during which he lifted his shirt exposing what appeared to be a firearm before fleeing the scene on foot. Responding officers canvassed the area, located the suspect and gave him commands to stop. The suspect disregarded their commands and continued to walk away before stopping, lifting his shirt and throwing the firearm in the direction of the officers. The officers then took the suspect into custody and recovered the firearm which was determined to be a replica. [The suspect], 47, of Richmond Va. was arrested and charged with Robbery and Assault on Police (x2).

Also in today’s crime report were a number of weekend incidents involving guns, including a shots fired call in Glencarlyn, a gun brandishing in Clarendon, and an armed robbery of jewelry along Columbia Pike.

From ACPD:

SHOTS FIRED, 2023-09100027, 300 block of S. Harrison Street. At approximately 1:44 a.m. on September 10, police were dispatched to the report of shots heard. Upon arrival, officers recovered evidence confirming several shots had been fired. Witnesses reported observing several unknown individuals running from the area after the shots were discharged. No victims or property damage were located. There is no suspect description(s). The investigation is ongoing.

BRANDISHING, 2023-09100028, 3100 block of Clarendon Boulevard. At approximately 1:49 a.m. on September 10, the victim approached an officer to report disorderly conduct. The preliminary investigation indicates that following a dispute earlier in the evening where the suspect was allegedly acting disorderly inside a business, he approached an employee of the business and lifted his shirt to display a firearm. The suspect then fled the scene on foot. Officers canvassed the area for the suspect yielding negative results.

ROBBERY, 2023-09090226, 1800 block of Columbia Pike. At approximately 8:10 p.m. on September 9, police were dispatched to the report of an armed robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined the male victim met with the suspect, an acquittance, for the prearranged sale of jewelry. During the incident, the suspect grabbed the jewelry and ran to his vehicle. The victim ran after him and upon arriving at the suspect’s vehicle, observed the passenger brandishing a firearm. The suspects then fled the scene in the vehicle with the stolen jewelry. The investigation is ongoing.


(Updated at 12:10 p.m.) The first thing you notice when walking into the rebuilt Ireland’s Four Courts — which is officially reopening today, at long last — is that it’s both familiar and new at the same time.

The interior is a bit brighter and more open — the crash that smashed and torched the long-time Courthouse watering hole last summer revealed to the owners that the columns near the front were decorative, not structural.

The predominant color scheme is now teal instead of red. The mugs that used to hang behind the bar are gone — the heat from the fire melted them, leaving just handles hanging from the peg board. Additionally, the back room is now more inviting for patrons and private events, with a library and an upgraded second bar.

On the other hand, the general layout is the same. And you’ll notice touches that were salvaged from the old Four Courts: the handmade-in-Ireland tables have a fresh coat of paint and varnish, the soccer jersey that miraculously survived the flames, the antique Irish fireplace that needed 30 hours or restoration work, the Men of Aran sculpture, and a few other items.

Four Courts would have probably needed an interior refresh at some point this decade, but this was not the way managing partner Dave Cahill and other owners wanted it to happen.

When the rideshare driver who was suffering an apparent medical emergency slammed into the pub on Aug. 12, 2022, a group of coworkers were marking an occasion together near the front. They never saw the car barrelling toward them.

The 14 people who were injured, including the three critically hurt from that group — who spent an extended period of time in the hospital — were honored during a private event at the pub Wednesday evening.

The Arlington first responders who rushed to the scene and — along with fellow patrons — helped to pull the injured out of the building just as the inferno started spreading were also honored at the event. Without them, according to Cahill, multiple people would have died and Four Courts would never have reopened.

That everyone survived is its own miracle. The force of the impact was such that a patron sitting at the bar, well away from where the car came to rest, with the dazed driver and rideshare passenger inside, was blown off of his barstool.

After eight months of a complete interior demolition and reconstruction — and despite some work left to be done with the exterior facade — Four Courts will reopen to the public at 4 p.m.

There will be live music today, Friday and Saturday. And as before, those hoping to catch some sports from across the pond can expect a 9 a.m. opening time on Saturday.

For Cahill and others who witnessed the crash and its aftermath, memories of the horror of that day are still fresh. But for now he’s focusing on the reopening, which is also a homecoming for Four Courts’ legion of displaced regulars.

“I am feeling a huge relief to be at the finish line and a great of excitement to open the doors and see all the familiar face again,” Cahill told ARLnow. “Four Courts is a home and away from home for so many of our customers and we are excited to welcome them back. It’s like having my birthday, St. Patrick’s Day and Christmas Day all at once. We can not wait!”

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Police car at night (file photo courtesy Kevin Wolf)

A carjacking attempt in the Ballston area Monday morning was foiled by the vehicle’s stick shift, police say.

The incident happened around 5:45 a.m. on Labor Day at the Harris Teeter parking lot on the 600 block of N. Glebe Road.

Three men carjacked a victim who was driving a Kia Soul, but did not get far as they apparently did not know how to operate the vehicle’s manual transmission, according to police and scanner traffic.

The Fairfax County police helicopter was called in to help search for the suspects but they were not found and remain at large.

More, below, from today’s Arlington County police crime report.

ATTEMPTED CARJACKING, 2023-09040047, 600 block of N. Glebe Road. At approximately 5:44 a.m. on September 4, police were dispatched to the report of a stolen vehicle. Upon arrival, it was determined the victim was exiting his parked vehicle when he was approached by three male suspects. The suspects instructed the victim to place his car keys on the hood of his car. The victim complied and walked away from the vehicle. The suspects fled the scene on foot after allegedly determining the vehicle was a manual transmission. Officers canvassed the area for the suspects yielding negative results. The suspects are described as white or Hispanic males, approximately 18-26 years old, wearing all black clothing. The investigation is ongoing.

Earlier Monday morning, police responded to an alleged incident involving an intoxicated suspect threatening a victim with a machete near Courthouse and Rocky Run Park.

From ACPD:

ATTEMPTED MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2023-09040035, 2300 block of 11th Street N. At approximately 3:16 a.m. on September 4, police responded to the report of a possible mental health call for service. The preliminary investigation determined the male victim was outside a residential building when he observed the male suspect walk by holding a machete. A short time later, the suspect returned and initiated a conversation with the victim, during which he allegedly brandished the machete. The victim ran and the suspect chased after him while making threatening statements. The victim was able to get to a safe location and no injuries were reported. Responding officers located the suspect in the area with the machete and took him into custody without incident. [The suspect], 33, of Arlington, Va. was arrested and charged with Attempted Malicious Wounding, Brandishing and Public Intoxication. He was held without bond.

Also in today’s crime report, police said the gunfire near the Ballston Metro station over the weekend stemmed from a dispute between two people.

SHOT FIRED, 2023-09010239, N. Stuart Street at Fairfax Drive. At approximately 8:21 p.m. on September 1, police were dispatched to the report of a possible assault with a weapon. Upon arrival, it was determined the male victim and suspect became involved in a verbal dispute during which the suspect brandished and discharged a firearm. No injuries or property damage were reported.


Just over a year after a car plowed into Ireland’s Four Courts, seriously injuring several people and sparking a devastating fire, the pub is set to reopen.

Four Courts is planning to reopen to the public this coming Thursday, managing partner Dave Cahill tells ARLnow. Some private reopening events are likely to take place between now and then, in part to make sure staff get up to speed.

Photos posted by Four Courts to its Instagram account over the past week or so show construction wrapping up, with a new bar, a new mural, and a new library room stocked with books.

The crash that closed the beloved Courthouse watering hole, located at 2051 Wilson Blvd, happened on Aug. 12, 2022.

The driver of the rideshare vehicle that slammed into the building and caught fire was not charged. Police say he suffered a medical emergency prior to the crash.

In all, 14 people were injured, including eight who were taken to local hospitals. All three pub-goers who suffered serious, potentially life-threatening injuries were released from the hospital by the next month.

A number of first responders who responded to the chaotic scene were recently recognized for their heroism.


Before and after photos of concrete sculpture Compassion by Una Hanbury, which has sat between Wilson and Clarendon Blvd since 1969 (via Arlington County and courtesy anonymous)

A concrete sculpture of an adult embracing a child has been moved from its home of nearly six decades, a planted median in Courthouse, and possibly damaged in the process.

This week, the statue — missing a chunk of concrete — could be seen on a pedestal of soil and flowers on a nearby sidewalk, surrounded by construction work.

A gift to Arlington County in 1969, the sculpture was decommissioned due to its age and significant damage it sustained from the elements, according to Arlington Cultural Affairs. The 54-year-old sculpture was moved as part of the decommissioning process and is set to be destroyed and replaced with a bronze replica.

“Over its nearly 55 years in the public realm, time and weather took their toll, eroding the surface and rendering the sculpture unrecognizable,” Arlington Cultural Affairs spokesman Jim Byers told ARLnow. “Due to the condition of the original sculpture, two independent conservators agreed that the sculpture could not be repaired.”

Una Hanbury, an England native, made the work — entitled Compassion — to pay tribute to Arlington’s values. It was one of several works she completed in the Mid-Atlantic, including large-scale commissions for the Medical Examiners Building in Baltimore and St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Springfield, Virginia.

During discussions about what to do with the aging sculpture, Hanbury’s grandson, Colin Poole, recommended recreating Compassion in bronze to match its original likeness, says Byers.

Fittingly, Poole is set to take on the replica, as he is a professional artist who apprenticed under his grandmother.

When it was still in one piece, Poole had “digitally scanned the weathered concrete sculpture, milled a replica in foam, and enveloped it in clay,” Byers said.

“Using his grandmother’s sculpting tools and referencing other sculptures she had crafted during that era, Poole skillfully reproduced the surface textures, and the renewed form was cast in bronze for longevity,” he continued.

Some of the material of the original sculpture will be incorporated within the base of the new piece, but the rest will be destroyed. Byers said this is the industry standard when a work of art is decommissioned due to severe deterioration.

The recreated bronze statue is set to be installed later this fall, somewhere “close to its original location,” Byers said. He added that he expects the piece to be incorporated into the county’s Public Art collection — adding to the roughly 70 permanent public art projects in Arlington.

“A dedication event is being planned for some time after the installation of the artwork,” he said.

The recasting is being funded by Greystar, the developer overseeing two new apartment buildings and transportation upgrades to the neighborhood.


Break-in and sexual assault suspect (photos courtesy ACPD, photo composition by ARLnow)

A 34-year-old D.C. man was arrested last month in a high-profile Arlington sexual assault case.

Police say they suspect Geremy Bridgeforth is the man who broke into a woman’s apartment in Virginia Square on April 2 and sexually assaulted her. That attack was followed by a subsequent early-morning apartment break-in on April 12, in Courthouse, in which the victim was touched inappropriately.

Blurry surveillance photos of the suspect were released by police a few days later.

In an update in the case Thursday afternoon, Arlington County police announced additional charges against Bridgeforth, who according to court records was arrested on July 14.

Following a comprehensive criminal investigation, the Arlington County Police Department’s Special Victims Unit is announcing charges have been obtained in the April 2 incident in the Ballston-Virginia Square neighborhood. Geremy Bridgeforth, 34, of Washington D.C. is charged with Burglary with Intent to Commit Murder/Rape/Robbery and Object Sexual Penetration. During the course of the investigation, detectives determined that between April 1 and April 2, the suspect entered additional residences in the 3900 block of Fairfax Drive and stole property. He was charged with Burglary (x2), Credit Card Theft (x2), Credit Card Fraud (x2) and Petit Larceny related to those offenses. Additionally, Mr. Bridgeforth was charged with Burglary with Intent to Commit Murder/Rape/Robbery and Aggravated Sexual Battery in the April 12 incident in the Clarendon-Courthouse neighborhood. He is being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility.

Bridgeforth has a number of prior arrests and convictions in Arlington dating between 2015-2021, according to court records, for crimes including fare evasion, trespassing and indecent exposure. Most recently he served a net two months in jail on the 2021 indecent exposure charges, court records suggest.

Multiple residents told ARLnow at the time that the Courthouse break-ins followed the installation of new smart locks, which some claimed would leave apartment doors open even when an app said it was locked.

A cavernous space inside the recently-refurbished county headquarters in Courthouse could one day be filled with public art.

Arlington County has commissioned acclaimed artist Kipp Kobayashi, known for his art displays in hospitals, airports and government buildings, to suspend a public art project in the lobby of the Bozman Government Center at 2100 Clarendon Blvd.

Kobayashi is turning to Arlington residents for inspiration before he gets started. He is seeking public input via a survey to learn about the different routes residents take to get to some of their favorite places in Arlington.

“Please tell us your stories, memories, and experiences of Arlington County by sharing a special route that you currently take or have taken through Arlington County,” the survey says. “The route should be to a place that you find especially meaningful. Examples are a park, place of worship, restaurant, friend’s house, bike trail, bench, etc.”

Feedback received through Sept. 30 will help inform his designs, according to the county.

“With a background in urban design, Kobayashi’s public art method involves extensive field observation and personal interactions to identify the individual elements that together form the identity of a place,” a press release said.

Kobayashi and county staff will also be at the Arlington County Fair this week during indoor hours for people to share their experiences in Arlington directly with the artist.

In April, the county unveiled the interior renovations to its headquarters. The project began in September 2021 and cost approximately $4.8 million.

The artwork’s design, fabrication, and installation have a set budget of $200,000, county spokesman Ryan Hudson said.

The funding comes from the county’s Public Art Trust & Agency account, which is earmarked exclusively for the Courthouse area, Hudson added. The trust relies on contributions from developers rather than resident tax dollars.

According to his website, Kobayashi’s art stems from his experiences growing up as an Asian American, “leading to a lifelong interest in deconstructing preconceived notions of who and what we are to understand better unique patterns that present a more nuanced interpretation of identity and cultural belonging.”

Some of Kobayashi’s recent displays include hundreds of hand-folded paper planes, called “Collective Transitions,” at Meacham Airport in Fort Worth, Texas, and “hundreds of custom-made fishing flies swirling together in a central grouping,” called “Emergence,” in Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington.

Kobayashi was selected by a committee that met several times over the course of a year to define goals for the project, review artist submissions and select an artist.

The committee will also recommend the final artwork design.


One year and three days ago, a rideshare vehicle plowed into Ireland’s Four Courts, seriously injuring several patrons and sparking a devastating fire.

Six months after the crash, the pub began to rebuild and has since targeted reopening in August. With construction still in progress as of mid-August, managing partner Dave Cahill tells ARLnow he aims to throw open the doors in early September.

Cahill says the interior is getting its final finishes. Photos he shared show a cozy interior with a large stone fireplace, dark wood paneling and brass light fixtures. A large wood fireplace and some stained glass survived the fire and are prominently featured as well.

A greenish-blue and gold exterior will replace the old red-and-black façade. Inside, the layout of the pub will be more or less the same, though there will be some new features, including a new draft beer system.

The pub marked the anniversary of the crash in a Facebook post on Saturday.

Today is the one-year anniversary of the accident which closed the pub. In that time the level of support that we have received from our local community in Arlington and our friends across the country has been heartwarming.

We want to thank all of you. We look forward to welcoming everyone back to the pub soon. Please continue to follow our social media pages for updates on our reopening date.

The driver, who was reportedly suffering a medical emergency, was not charged. All three pub-goers who suffered serious, potentially life-threatening injuries in the August crash were released from the hospital by the next month.

A number of first responders who responded to the chaotic scene were recently recognized for their heroism.


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