55°Rain

by Chris Teale — April 12, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

Ground has been broken at the site of two new residential buildings and a rebuilt substance-abuse recovery facility in Courthouse.

Approved in 2015 by the County Board, Gables Pointe 14 at 1307 N. Rolfe Street by developer Gables Residential will have 370 apartments in two buildings, underground parking and an 8,000-square-foot shared park.

As of Tuesday, crews were in the early stages of clearing ground for the new development. A pick-up point for school buses is located close to the construction zone, which is fenced off to the public. Cars are still able to park on both sides of N. Rolfe Street, with dump trucks and other construction vehicles also using it as an access road.

The buildings will be six and 12 stories in height, respectively, and include studio as well as one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. Thirty-nine of the units will be committed affordable housing and the developer also has the option to install a $75,000 work of public art on the site or donate to the county’s public art fund as a community benefit.

“The Rosslyn-Ballston corridor is a highly desirable area,” Gables Residential regional vice president Jorgen Punda said in a prepared statement distributed to multiple outlets. “Our site involved the assemblage of thirteen lots, owned by both private individuals and Arlington County. It was a successful collaboration and we believe it is a great opportunity to deliver a ‘best in class’ apartment home community, with unparalleled amenities within walking distance to the Courthouse and Rosslyn Metro stations and a variety of dining and entertainment options.”

Also on the 2.7-acre site will be a new building for Independence House, a transitional living facility for those recovering from substance abuse.

The Independence House would be rebuilt, but not expanded, because more residents might limit the program’s effectiveness. The new building will have 14 single-occupant units.

The project is set to be completed in winter 2020.

by Katie Pyzyk — April 11, 2017 at 11:30 am 0

(Updated at 12:40 p.m.) A group of people riding dirt bikes and ATVs drew resident and police attention two separate times this weekend.

This is the third consecutive year the riders have caused a stir. Past incidents sometimes have included more than 100 riders.

The first incident took place around midnight on Saturday. A witness reported in a tweet that more than a dozen riders drove the wrong way on the Key Bridge on their way into Arlington, and police followed.

Arlington County police say they were notified of the approaching group by Metropolitan Police around midnight Saturday. The riders traveled through Rosslyn onto westbound Route 50, worked their way south to Army Navy Drive, then turned back north on I-395 and re-entered the District at 12:12 a.m., according to ACPD.

The second incident happened around 7 p.m. on Sunday when an Arlington police officer patrolling the 1200 block of N. Courthouse Road spotted a group of about 75 dirt bikes and ATVs driving on Arlington Blvd. They traveled to Route 1 and south into Alexandria.

Police say that during both occurrences they monitored the group of riders and maintained a rolling roadblock to keep pedestrians and motorists safe.

State law prohibits the operation of ATVs on public highways. An ACPD spokesperson says the drivers in question operate the vehicles without considering the care and safety of others; they have been seen locally traveling at high rates of speed, veering into oncoming traffic and driving on sidewalks. Police are investigating the incidents to identify those involved.

Several law enforcement authorities in the region report that they’re aggressively working together on a solution. Last April, they held a joint press conference regarding ATV operation on area roadways. Metropolitan Police offer a reward of $250 for information leading to the identification of suspects in these incidents.

Anyone who sees ATVs operating in Arlington County — or who knows the identity of someone riding the vehicles on county roads — is encouraged to call the police non-emergency number at 703-558-2222. Information can also be provided anonymously to Arlington County Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS.

File screen shot via PoPville

by ARLnow.com — March 21, 2017 at 9:45 am 0

Puddle at Columbia Pike and S. Glebe Road (Flickr pool photo by Bekah Richards)

Big Changes Coming to DCA — The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority has revealed updated designs of the coming changes at Reagan National Airport. Among the changes are a new commuter terminal, replacing the outdoor commuter gate 35X, and a new structure to house security checkpoints, which will be positioned before travelers enter the airport’s main terminal B/C hallway. [WTOP, WTOP]

Ethiopian Restaurant Coming to Courthouse — Chercher Ethiopian restaurant is expanding from the District to a new location at 2000 14th Street N. in Courthouse. It will be the first Virginia outpost for the acclaimed Ethiopian restaurant. Its owner says he chose Courthouse because the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor lacks Ethiopian dining options. [Washington Business Journal]

Tornado Drill Today — Yesterday was the first day of spring and today, at 9:45 a.m., Virginia is holding its annual statewide tornado drill. The drill is “a yearly opportunity to prepare Virginians for tornado emergencies and to test public warning systems.” [Virginia Dept. of Emergency Management]

Va. Pols Speaking at Arlington Dems Dinner — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Perriello and state Attorney General Mark Herring will be the headline speakers at the Arlington Democrats’ annual “Blue Victory Dinner,” formerly known as the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, on April 8. The other Democratic candidate for governor, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, “had a conflict and will not be able to make it.” [InsideNova]

School 5K to Close Streets — Roads will be closed in Arlington’s Williamsburg neighborhood Saturday morning for the second annual Discovery/Nottingham Friendship 5K. [Arlington County, Discovery Elementary School]

Flickr pool photo by Bekah Richards

by Chris Teale — March 10, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

Four-Courts-Four-Miler-2017If you’re out and about in Courthouse and Rosslyn tomorrow morning, be prepared for some road closures and restricted parking.

Pacers is hosting its annual Four Courts Four Miler on Saturday. The race takes runners from the start at Ireland’s Four Courts along Wilson Boulevard and Jefferson Davis Highway before returning to the finish line outside the pub.

The starting gun will sound at 9 a.m.

Arlington police said they will close Wilson Boulevard from Courthouse Road to N. Rhodes Street from 6:30 to 11 a.m.

Wilson Boulevard also will be closed from Route 110 to N. Courthouse Road from 8:45 to 11 a.m., while Route 110 will be closed between Interstate 395 to Interstate 66 at the same time.

Police said street parking will be restricted, and vehicles parked illegally where there are temporary “No Parking” signs could be ticketed or towed.

The Safeway at 1525 Wilson Boulevard can be still be accessed at N. Nash Street or N. Oak Street, while southbound Route 110 will stay open. Metrobuses will detour from N. Moore Street west onto Wilson Boulevard and north on N. Nash Street from their regularly scheduled routes.

by ARLnow.com — March 7, 2017 at 9:30 am 0

Demolition work in the former Mad Rose Tavern and future Bao Bar space

Resident Helps ACPD Arrest Break-in Suspects — On Saturday an Arlington resident spotted a group of people breaking into car and immediately called 911, leading to the arrest of three juvenile suspects. Police say such cooperation from the community can help them fight crime. Over the weekend more than 30 vehicles were “entered and rummaged through” in Arlington. [Facebook]

Alexandria Schools Closed Wednesday — Alexandria City Public Schools will be closed on Wednesday after more than 300 staff members requested leave. That coincides with Wednesday’s “Day Without Women” protest. Arlington Public Schools will remain open, a spokesman said, although Wednesday is an early release day for elementary schools. [Twitter, InsideNova]

Orange Line’s Abysmal On-Time Rate — Last year trains on Metro’s Orange Line were only on time 56 percent of the time. [Twitter]

Spotlight on Uyghur Cuisine — Crystal City’s Queen Amannisa is one of three restaurants serving Uyghur cuisine — with its mix of Chinese, Central Asian and Middle Eastern influences — in the D.C. area. Uyghur “is going to be the next big thing in the United States,” said a partner in the restaurant. [Washington Post]

Chick-fil-A Coming to DCA — A new Chick-fil-A restaurant is coming to Terminal C at Reagan National Airport, in the former Cosi space. [PoPville]

Grand Opening for Xfinity Store — On Saturday Comcast celebrated the grand opening of its new 6,700 square foot Xfinity store in Courthouse. The store replaces the former Comcast Service Center in Clarendon. The store “features a comfortable seating area and informational, interactive displays where customers can learn more about Comcast’s products and services, including Comcast Business services, the X1 Entertainment Operating System, Xfinity Home automation and security offerings and Comcast’s suite of mobile apps.”

by ARLnow.com — February 24, 2017 at 1:25 pm 0

Courthouse Plaza at 2100 Clarendon Blvd

The Arlington County Board on Saturday is set to consider a lease renewal for county government headquarters at 2100 Clarendon Blvd in Courthouse.

Under the proposed agreement with property owner Vornado, according to a staff report, rent on the 235,000 square foot facility would actually go down, at least initially, though it would then rise 2.5 percent per year through the end of the lease in October 2033.

Starting in 2033, the county would have the option of renewing in five-year increments through 2062. Arlington, however, is also considering building its own headquarters nearby, to open before the end of the 15-year lease term.

More from the staff report:

The rent under the proposed lease Amendment will be substantially below the rent under the existing terms of the Lease. The current total rent under the existing Lease is approximately $11.2 million per year ($47.71 per square foot). In October, 2018 (immediately before the Amendment’s rent schedule takes effect), staff estimates that the total rent under the Lease will be approximately $11,500,000 per year ($48.95 per square foot) (charges for common-area maintenance and taxes must be estimated because they vary). Significantly, once the new rent takes effect in November, 2018, the total rent under the Amendment will start, and be reduced to, $9,867,354 per year ($42 per square foot), a savings of over $1.6 million per year.

The 15-year term of the Amendment is sufficient to give the County time to plan for and build a new administrative building at Courthouse Plaza if the County decides to do so. Based on the length of the term extension, staff believes it is now necessary to refurbish the County’s leased premises. The refurbishment would be paid for, in part, by the tenant improvement allowance provided by Landlord, the free rent, and the commission rebate (total = approximately $35.9 million). The scope and cost of any refurbishment will be determined by the County after a space utilization study.

In addition to a multi-million dollar office refurbishment, paid for by landlord and leasing agent concessions, under the lease renewal Arlington would gain the right to add a daycare facility to the building and to place an emergency generator on top of 2300 Clarendon Blvd, to serve the county’s Emergency Communications Center there.

County Manager Mark Schwartz is recommending the Board approve the lease renewal, given what the staff report describes as “fair and reasonable terms” offered by Vornado.

by ARLnow.com — February 20, 2017 at 11:55 pm 0

Scene of Presidents Day pedestrian crash (via Google Maps)Arlington County Police investigated a serious pedestrian accident Monday night in the Clarendon-Courthouse area.

A person was struck by a car near the intersection of 10th Street N. and N. Barton Street, just before 9 p.m.

The victim was transported to the hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries, according to ACPD.

Police remained on scene for several hours to investigate the collision.

Image via Google Maps

by Tim Regan — February 7, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

Festival BeCause stage at Clarendon Day(Updated at 3:59 p.m.) A new festival could bring music, food and thousands of people to Courthouse this spring.

If all goes according to plan, “Festival BeCause” would bring around 40 bands and other performers to the Courthouse Square area (1425 N Courthouse Road) on May 26-29. The event would include four music stages, a beer and wine pavilion, food trucks, interactive community art walls and a “future tech exhibit,” according to its website.

The purpose of the festival is to raise awareness and money for good causes, said Festival BeCause co-organizer Anders Thueson. A large portion of the square would be dedicated to a “Village of Causes,” an area where attendees can learn about local charities and other nonprofits.

Planned festival map via Festival BeCause“People are going to come out to see their favorite band, but ultimately, they’re going to learn about the causes,” Thueson said. “Something’s going to strike them that day, whether it’s a veteran’s cause or a puppy rescue cause.”

If such a large undertaking sounds expensive, that’s because it is. Thueson estimates that, after booking bands and securing the space, the festival could end up costing as much as $250,000. So far, organizers have secured a pledge of $150,000 from a generous local underwriter, he said.

The festival also has the backing of Clarendon Alliance, the group that organizes Clarendon Day. Clarendon Alliance will help secure permits and sell tickets for the event.

“If we’re able to do this event and walk away giving some money to causes and artists and have very little left over to do it again, we would consider this a success,” Thueson said.

Many of the festival’s details will be finalized in the coming days and weeks. Those interested in keeping up with the event can register to get email updates on the Festival BeCause website.

Images courtesy of Festival BeCause

by Tim Regan — January 27, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

One of the owners behind a local burger restaurant has a new business venture that doesn’t revolve around food.

Basic Play, a new recreational venue, opened at 2024 Wilson Blvd on Monday. The indoor playground is located next door to its sister business, Basic Burger.

“One of the owners of Basic Burger has two little ones,” said Basic Play director Ana Castillo, who did not give the owner’s name. “Through his personal life, he’s realized there’s a limited number of businesses in northern Arlington that are dedicated to younger children.”

The play area, which is designed for kids under 40 inches tall, features soft BPA-free surfaces that are cleaned with non-toxic disinfectants after every play session.

“We strive to make sure our place is as welcoming and open to as many people as possible,” Castillo added.

Basic Play offers “open play” periods that last 50 minutes and cost $10 per session. The business also hosts birthday parties and special events.

by ARLnow.com — December 27, 2016 at 1:15 pm 0

The Comcast Service Center in Clarendon is moving to Courthouse.

A sign in the service center, at 2707 Wilson Blvd, says it will close effective Saturday, Jan. 7. Local cable customers will instead be able to go to a new “Xfinity store” at 1515 N. Courthouse Road for payments, equipment exchange and other service.

Comcast recently reached a new franchise agreement with Arlington County. Under the agreement, Arlington Independent Media will be able to keep its studios in the rear of the Comcast building in Clarendon, but will begin paying rent on Jan. 1, 2018.

It’s unclear what the existing service center space will be used for after the move.

Photos by Samantha Moore. Hat tip to Eric LeKuch.

by ARLnow.com — December 9, 2016 at 11:25 am 0

Shawafel, a fast-casual restaurant near Courthouse, quietly closed earlier this fall after about a year in business.

The eatery opened at 1910 Wilson Blvd in September 2015, offering “an ‘Americanized’ twist to traditional Lebanese cuisine.”

According to Yelp users, it closed in October.

There was no announcement on the restaurant’s Facebook page; its phone number has since been disconnected. The original Shawafel on H Street NE in D.C. appears to still be open.

Though such restaurants often appeal to a lunchtime crowd, the Arlington Shawafel was located on a big hill between the employment centers of Rosslyn and Courthouse.

Hat tip to Christopher Cahill

by ARLnow.com — November 23, 2016 at 11:00 am 0

Arlington police carAn 18-year-old Arlington man has been arrested and charged with stealing packages from an apartment mailroom in the Courthouse area.

The thefts were reported Monday afternoon.

From an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

BURGLARY, 2016-11210172, 2200 block of Fairfax Drive. At approximately 2:39 p.m. on November 21, officers responded to the report of a late burglary. A male suspect gained access to a mailroom inside of a secure building and opened several packages. Through the course of the investigation, officers were able to identify and arrest the suspect. Brayant Alberto Colin, 18, of Arlington VA, was charged with burglary and petit larceny.

The rest of the past week’s crime report highlights, including some that we’ve already reported, after the jump.

(more…)

by Katie Pyzyk — November 15, 2016 at 2:30 pm 0

The following is the fifth and final article in a weekly series about a “day in the life” of companies at the MakeOffices coworking space in Clarendon. The series is sponsored by MakeOffices.

Although coffee is readily available at the office when Local News Now Founder Scott Brodbeck arrives, he typically brings his own. He knows that he’ll need the earlier jump start before leaping right in at the office and turning on the police scanner while sifting through readers’ news tips.

While the business aspects of Local News Now and much of the daily writing for local news website ARLnow.com are done at the MakeOffices Clarendon home base, covering news means being ready to go out on assignment at any given time.

“For us, the location is great. Being able to walk to so many things has been huge,” says Brodbeck.

Obviously, there’s far more to Arlington than just Clarendon, but being based at such a central location in the county makes for easy transportation to story locations. Staff usually walk, run or drive to stories, although Brodbeck explains that they have not yet delved into a very Arlington-esque mode of transportation while on the clock.

“We haven’t biked to any stories yet, but it’s something we’re considering,” he says with a laugh.

On one particularly busy news day last month, Brodbeck took the short walk from his office to a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly opened Hyatt Place Hotel in Courthouse. He snaps photos and listens to speeches from corporate and county leaders as dozens sip champagne to celebrate the new development at the space previously occupied by Wilson Tavern, and Kitty O’Shea’s before it.

(Brodbeck refrained from imbibing the bubbly on the job, but isn’t opposed to an after-working-hours beer from one of MakeOffices’ kegerators.)

Along the way to the event, Brodbeck does what reporters do: He keeps an eye out for other potential stories. That means taking photos of progress at two nearby construction sites, investigating a “temporarily closed” sign at Five Guys (it has since reopened) and making a note to stop at the just-opened Blumen Cafe after the ribbon-cutting event.

Business does not come to a halt at Local News Now headquarters when Brodbeck and other reporters are out in the field. Back at the office, Director of Sales and Business Engagement Meghan McMahon gears up to meet with advertising clients. For her, location is also key for conducting work tasks.

“I work with a lot of local Arlington businesses. Being able to run in and out of the office to meet people… is very convenient,” she says.

McMahon’s life recently changed with the birth of her daughter and now another important aspect comes into play daily: balancing work life with being a mom.

Returning to a coworking space after maternity leave at first seemed overwhelming for McMahon, who suddenly had to factor breastfeeding into her daily routine. “When I first came in I saw that everything’s glass, everything’s open. I wondered where my privacy would be,” she says. “I was a little stressed about how to be in a working office environment and also be able to pump and do the things I have to do to be a new mom.”

But it turns out that MakeOffices Clarendon has an amenity McMahon wasn’t aware of at first. There are small, completely private, secure rooms called “wellness centers” that she now takes advantage of twice each work day.

“That was a sense of relief for me,” she says. “I can take a few minutes out of my day and go relax in the wellness rooms… It gives me 20 minutes of alone time so that I can get ‘mom stuff’ done.” (more…)

by ARLnow.com — November 7, 2016 at 6:15 pm 0

A driver struck and seriously injured a bicyclist this afternoon near Courthouse.

The crash happened shortly before 4 p.m. at the intersection of Fairfax Drive and N. Queen Street, in the Radnor/Fort Myer Heights neighborhood.

A woman in a Nissan sedan struck the adult male cyclist near the entrance to Route 50. The car’s windshield shattered from the force of the impact on the passenger side of the vehicle. Damage was also visible on the side and hood of the car.

The cyclist was transported via ambulance to the trauma center at George Washington University Hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries. Officers remained on scene to investigate the crash, said Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

The driver remained on scene. No word yet on whether any charges will be filed.

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