Arlington County’s new year-round homeless shelter will open its doors next week.
The Homeless Services Center officially opens on Oct. 1 with day programs and will start offering beds to the county’s homeless population on Friday, Oct. 2.
The new shelter has 50 year-round beds — 36 on the men’s side and 14 on the women’s side — and 25 “hypothermia prevention beds” for cold winter nights.
The center has a sitting room for people to relax or watch TV, a cafeteria serving meals around the clock and a classroom, where the shelter plans to hold job training, budgeting and art classes, said Kathy Sibert, the president and CEO of Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network.
The shelter is colorful, with a bright orange wall greeting people as they approach the front desk. The bedroom walls are painted blue on the women’s side and green on the men’s side. Even the floors are colorful, with green tiling on the women’s side and blue on the men’s side.
Macy’s will be providing sheets in blues and greens for the beds, Sibert said, making the accommodations slightly less spartan.
“Anita [Friedman], the director of Department of Human Services, and I were really intent that this wouldn’t look like an institute,” she said.
The color extends to the bathrooms, which have blue or green tiles instead of gray, said Scott Miller, senior director of development at A-SPAN.
“Color costs nothing,” he said. “Let’s make this place welcoming.”
The center will replace the emergency winter shelter two blocks away in Courthouse, which was open from 4 p.m. to 9 a.m. Other homeless services, including meals, will also be done at the new shelter.
“We’re going to have everything in one place, which is awesome,” Sibert said.
Having the shelter open 24 hours a day, seven days a week throughout the year means A-SPAN will rely on volunteers to help keep things running, in addition to the 30 A-SPAN staff members, Miller said.
“We gobble up 15,000 volunteer hours here,” he said.
The new shelter is located directly across of the police station and near some Courthouse condominiums. Neighbors had voiced security concerns about having the shelter so close to their homes.
In response, A-SPAN hired security officers to patrol inside and outside of the building and installed cameras. People at the shelter will be allowed to go out for smoke breaks, but A-SPAN will limit it to three or four people going on a break at a time.
“Here’s the thing. You’ve got to remember that they’re people, too,” Sibert said.
There may still be occasional problems that arise, admits DHS spokesman Kurt Larrick, but A-SPAN and the County are working hard to take preventative measures.
“We want to be good neighbors,” he said.
Concerned residents can call Sibert or the homeless shelter to report problems, she said. There is also a Homeless Services Center Neighborhood Advisory Committee to help keep positive communication between the county and neighbors regarding issues with the shelter.
The county has worked with the police department to train about half of its offices on crisis intervention techniques, which help officers identify people with possible mental illnesses and bring them to a hospital instead of jail.
“Many, many officers have that training and are good at working with mental illnesses,” Larrick said.
About one-third of homeless people in Arlington have a mental illness, including substance abuse or general anxiety, Sibert said, adding that the homeless shelter has therapists and doctors to help provide support.
Getting people into a stable home situation also helps people deal with mental illness, Larrick said.
“So many mental illnesses are treated by medications, but its hard to stay on medications when you are on the street,” he said.
Ultimately, the goal of the homeless shelter is to help end homelessness by helping people get off the street and into homes, Sibert said. A-SPAN does this by providing case managers who follow each person throughout the process.
“[The shelter] is really a bridge so people don’t have to live on the street,” she said.
Tucked in the northeast corner of the country’s #3 most walkable mid-sized locality is Arlington’s Courthouse neighborhood. This urban village close to bustling Washington, D.C., has a lot to offer in terms of living “green” — from transportation to dining to dwelling.
With so much of Arlington County on a Car-Free Diet, by train, bike or foot, green transportation is a breeze in Courthouse.
Take the Orange and Silver lines from the Court House Metro station or jump on an Arlington Transit Bus or the Metrobus. Grab a bike from one of the many convenient Capital Bikeshare stations and ride the bike lanes of Clarendon and Wilson Boulevards. Hop on the mesmerizing Custis Trail at North Veitch Street or cruise the Arlington Boulevard Trail from Courthouse Road.
MOM’s Organic Market offers 100% certified organic produce, locally sourced products, an extensive grocery selection, as well as a free customer recycling center. And when you are in a hurry, you can make a quick stop at Naked Lunch, MOM’s all-organic eatery featuring prepared foods and made-to-order meals.
The year-round Arlington Farmers Market is held every Saturday morning near the County Courthouse, just off of the Custis Trail. For more than 35 years, market vendors have peddled everything from fresh produce to fresh pasta grown and made within 125 miles of the Courthouse neighborhood.
At Courthouse’s new eco-conscious Verde Pointe Apartments, just off of Lee Highway at Uhle Street, living green is simple.
Not only does “Verde” mean “green” in Spanish, but each of the unique studio, convertible, one- and two-bedroom, and one-bedroom plus den units are chock-full of green features. Built to LEED Gold standards, the pet-friendly apartment homes feature ENERGY STAR appliances, high efficiency toilets and individually programmable thermostats. And with additional high-end amenities such as a rooftop pool and large balconies, combined with easy access to Capital Bikeshare and electric car charging stations, the Custis Trail and Mom’s Organic Market, it’s easy being green at Verde Pointe!
The preceding post was written and sponsored by Verde Pointe.
(Updated at 2:00 p.m.) The Boston Market store at 2046 Wilson Blvd in Courthouse has closed.
A sign on the door says the restaurant closed on Sept. 20. A reason for the closing is not listed. The sign directs customers to the Boston Market at 3233 Columbia Pike, which remains open.
The low-rise commercial building that housed Boston Market is just a block from the Courthouse Metro station and has been said to be a likely target for future redevelopment.
The restaurant business in Courthouse is no tea party: restaurant owners have been complaining that food trucks are hurting their lunch business, which is critical to their survival amid high rents.
Hat tip to Eric LeKuch
A plan to significantly transform the Courthouse neighborhood by guiding new development, turning the county’s large surface parking lot into a public square and park, and improving Metro access and pedestrian facilities, has gotten the green light.
The Arlington County Board on Monday unanimously approved what it’s hailing as a “visionary” new Courthouse Sector Plan.
“This plan pulls together some of our most successful policies to create a 21st century civic heart for Arlington,” County Board Chair Mary Hynes said in a statement. “It calls for undergrounding Courthouse Square parking to create vibrant open space, improving transit connectivity by adding a new Metro entrance on the square, and improving sustainability through district energy and stormwater management.
“The new Courthouse Square will welcome all Arlingtonians to a new, transparent County administration building, but will also preserve a couple of key historic facades and explore additional cultural amenities in the future,” Hynes added.
A county press release highlighted ten “big ideas” included in the plan:
21st Century Civic Square – the top priority replaces an existing surface parking lot to create the new Courthouse Square, a network of open spaces that can support a wide variety of existing and future programs and events. A new parking garage, below the square, will accommodate parking needs.
Central Metro access – a new, centrally-located Metro access point will provide a welcoming entrance and serve as a highly visible landmark for visitors.
Shared streets – diverse, walkable streetscapes will surround the square and help connect open spaces to the buildings and pedestrian activities in the immediate area. 15th Street North and 14th Street North are envisioned as curbless, shared streets that are uniquely designed to extend the usefulness of the square, accommodate vehicles and transit, while providing priority to pedestrians and promoting safety.
Courthouse Square promenade – a key pedestrian connection, between Wilson Boulevard and 14th Street North, will be a vibrant promenade that links the square to activities, Metro, open spaces, County facilities, local businesses and surrounding neighborhoods.
Symbolic civic building on South Square – a focal-point building will introduce County, civic, cultural and/or market uses in this prominent location. The future facility should be devoted to highly-accessible community functions or integrated with other compatible civic and cultural activities.
Verizon Plaza redevelopment – the existing Verizon Plaza has seen little use in the last several years due to its design, shadows and location. The plan realizes the site as a new development opportunity that will contribute to and further the plan’s goals.
County administration building – a key charge for the study was to examine the future location and building massing for a County administration building. The prominent location, adjacent to the promenade and 14th Street North, is on axis with the Judicial Center and provides entrances located on the square.
Enhanced pedestrian connection at North Veitch Street and 14th Street North – an improved connection from the south will ease and enrich the pedestrian experience in an area with topographical and visual barriers, and pedestrian conflicts with parking and loading access points.
Cultural and civic facilities – cultural and civic facilities have the ability to enliven and enrich the Courthouse Square experience and create a multi-purpose regional destination. A number of locations could accommodate cultural uses ranging from a museum to a performing arts venue. Through the civic engagement process, the community shared a number of potential uses that are included in the document.
Sustainability – creative and responsible sustainability solutions are integrated with recommendations throughout the plan.
The sector plan also includes language that supports maintaining affordable housing in the neighborhood, which it described as a “mixed-use, mixed income, premier location.”
The community process for the plan began in 2013. While some elements of the plan could be implemented in the next few years, many of the big goals are expected to take at least five years, if not a decade or more, to bring to reality.
(Updated at 6:20 p.m.) It’s slow going for drivers and bicyclists on the stretch of Wilson Blvd between N. Wayne and N. Adams Street in Courthouse, as two construction projects are underway.
Wilson Blvd is currently down to one lane, with cars navigating through traffic cones, due to construction on the new Hyatt Place hotel and a county project to install fiber optic cables below the street, said county spokeswoman Jessica Baxter.
Driving down the stretch of Wilson puts the cars half on the bicycle lane, while crews access underground wiring for fiber optic cable installation. The utility project is set to finish in the “early part of next week,” Baxter said.
Once the utility work is finished, the left lane and parking lane on Wilson Blvd will reopen to vehicles, she said.
However, the righthand parking lane and possibly one travel lane of Wilson Blvd between N. Wayne and N. Adams Street will remain blocked off until the end of September for hotel construction, Baxter said, and lanes may also be closed periodically after that.
“Each periodic closure will require the issuance of a right-of-way use permit from the Department of Environmental Services, and that closure will only be for the timeframe requested on such permit,” she said.
The new Hyatt Place in Courthouse, the hotel brand’s first in Arlington, is on schedule for an August 2016 opening, according to Jim Villars, a spokesman with Schupp Company, the hotel’s developer. Contrary to information from the county, Villars said the hotel construction project will not require the closure of a travel lane on Wilson Blvd.
The topping out of the eight floor structure is expected to be complete before the end of the month, Villars said. At that point, all eight floors above grade and the two floors below grade for underground parking will have been built.
After sealing the structure, crews will start constructing the hotel’s interior, he said.
Once finished, the Courthouse Hyatt Place will 161 rooms, two restaurants and a bar. The hotel will also be the first hotel with gold LEED certification in Arlington and the first Hyatt Place to receive gold LEED certification, according to Villars.
The company is currently looking for a tenant to fill one of the restaurant spaces, which is almost 1,300 square feet, he said. The hotel is replacing a low-rise commercial building that was formerly home to Wilson Tavern.
Henninger Media Services, a production company with ties to Discovery Channel, National Geographic and Oscar-winning documentaries, has found a new home in Courthouse.
The production company is responsible for “finishing” videos, whether it be a show on National Geographic or a documentary that wins an Academy Award. In finishing, or post production, specialists at the company edit the film, color and audio in order to make a show look cleaner. It’s very much a behind the scenes job — if it’s done correctly, a viewer wouldn’t realize that anything had been done.
In addition to editing, the company also does design work, such as creating the main menu on a DVD, and archive work, including helping the National Archives.
The company’s new space is tucked away at 1320 N. Courthouse Road, near the Arlington County Police Department and county government offices. It was previously located on Wilson Blvd, next to Earl’s Sandwiches. Although slightly hidden, the company’s new office on the first floor of the building is anything but small.
The company has 13 editing suites, six audio studios, three color correction suites, two quality control rooms, a voice recording studio, various administrative and design spaces and the “core,” where it hosts all the servers and technology needed to run a production company. Henninger bills itself as “the largest production/post-production company in the Mid-Atlantic.”
“It is relatively rare that one company houses all the expertise,” said Mike Weiss, vice president of Business Development.
The new move allowed Henninger Media Services to have a fresh start when it came to the technology in the office, said CEO Robert Henninger. The space now uses fiber glass cables with the capability to run videos in ultra high definition, one of the newest trends in video.
“It gave us a lot of flexibility in terms of technical capability,” Weiss said. “It modernized us.”
Innovation and embracing new technology is one of the five core values of the company, Henninger said, with the other four being quality, service, teamwork and creativity.
These five values have helped Henninger Media Services, which was founded in 1983, become the company it is today, he said.
Today, the company works with big names like Discovery Channel, National Geographic and PBS, where they put finishing touches on shows and documentaries run on the networks. It also works with corporations, such as Capital One, small businesses, colleges, such as American University, and political campaigns.
The company declined to list some of the well-known television programs it works on, citing confidentiality agreements, but one such program — verified independently by ARLnow.com — is “Gold Rush: Alaska,” one of the Discovery Channel’s top-rated series.
Henninger Media Services worked with President Barack Obama’s first campaign to help edit a 30-minute paid ad. They also worked with Sen. John McCain when he ran against George W. Bush in a presidential primary.
Political campaigns are a specialty because they have an intense workload and very quick deadline.
“You have to really be prepared to do what it takes,” Henninger said.
The company has also worked with Oscar-winner documentary “Innocente.” The company has done multiple projects with directors Sean and Andrea Fine, as well as Sean’s father, who was also a director.
“We were part of the team that won an Oscar,” Henninger said.
In addition to the many non-fiction films that company works with, Henninger said he would like to get involved with feature films.
“Doing some fiction work would be fun,” he said.
The incident happened around 3:45 p.m. Thursday, on the 2200 block of Fairfax Drive.
According to police, the man entered his brother’s bedroom while he was sleeping, locked the door and then pressed the knife against him while making threatening remarks. The brother then tried to defend himself and was stabbed three times, said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
The victim was rushed to George Washington University Hospital and is expected to survive.
The suspect remained in the apartment and was taken into custody by police.
“Pablo Rivera Pena, 21, of Arlington, VA was arrested and charged with malicious wounding and abduction,” according to the crime report. “He was held without bond.”
So far there’s no word on a motive.
A Courthouse restaurant owner is hosting a gathering to celebrate the city of New Orleans’ progress since Hurricane Katrina.
Chef David Gaus, a New Orleans native who owns the Bayou Bakery, is holding an event called “Katrina 10” to show how far the city has come in the 10 years since the hurricane’s destruction.
Katrina 10 will be held at the Bayou Bakery (1515 N. Courthouse Road) from 5-7 p.m. on Aug. 29. There will be New Orleans-style food and drinks, with music provided by Laissez Foure. The gathering will also have an open mic for anyone to share their Katrina stories.
“Chef David Guas, who is a fellow New Orleans native, has and continues to give back to his beloved home city through charities and fundraisers. After watching the waters ravage the neighborhoods in which he grew up and his parents’ home, he truly knows the real impact of the disaster all too well,” said Simone Rathlé, the PR rep for the restaurant and Guas’ wife.
The event kicks off Guas’ charity week, where he will donate $10 from each sale of his cookbook, DamSweetGood, to the Roots of Music, a nonprofit that helps provide free musical education to children in New Orleans. The charity week runs from Aug. 29 until Sept. 5.
“As a New Orleans native who has seen the devastating affects of Hurricane Katrina first hand, it is both with a heavy heart, and hopeful focus on the road ahead, that we think back to the day it struck 10 years ago,” Rathlé said in a press release. “Tragedy often gives way to hope and brings people together to rise up.”
The incident happened around 7 a.m. on the 1900 block of N. Uhle Street, which is about five blocks from the Courthouse Metro station.
“At approximately 7:00 a.m. a male subject was seen masturbating in front of a daycare,” according to this week’s Arlington County crime report. “Felipe Jones Degado, 45, of no fixed address, was arrested and charged with public masturbation. He is being held without bond.”
Arlington County Police say a 25-year-old woman was walking home from a Friday night out in Clarendon when a man began trying to talk with her. When she walked past him, the man started following her, and she tried walking faster to get away.
At the intersection of 15th Street N. and N. Scott Street, the woman was grabbed from behind and pulled into some nearby bushes. The attacker grabbed the woman’s groin area and tried tugging on her clothing, according to police, but the woman fought him off by punching, kicking and screaming.
After being kicked in the groin, the man walked away towards Clarendon Blvd. The woman lost her phone in the struggle and flagged down a passerby to call police. Officers attempted to track the attacker down, but he escaped and remains at large.
“The suspect is described as a white Hispanic male, 20-30 years of age, 5’6″-5’8″, 150-175 lbs, wearing a white tank top and dark pants,” according to a police report.
ARLnow Server Updates — For the security of our visitors, ARLnow.com is now being served exclusively via secure HTTPS. We’re still working out some kinks, so you might notice some bugs over the next week or two. For instance, despite hours of work over the weekend to try to fix it, photo galleries do not appear to be working on iOS devices like iPhones. Also, Disqus is still being served via HTTP. We appreciate your patience while we work to improve your user experience.
Hearings for Courthouse Plan — The Arlington County Board voted unanimously on Saturday to hold public hearings on a new sector plan for Courthouse. “This proposed update advances our vision for the Courthouse area, creating a people-oriented civic and cultural heart for Arlington,” County Board Chair Mary Hynes said in a statement. The hearings have been scheduled for September. [Arlington County]
New Group Champions Single-Family Neighborhoods — A new group, “Blue Ribbon Arlington,” has formed to advocate for single-family home neighborhoods. Initially, the group will focus on making Arlington a better place for seniors to “age in place.” Also, the group plans to address concerns about “edge” development around neighborhoods. [InsideNova]
Midsummer Night’s Dream Now Showing — A seasonally-appropriate production of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream is now showing at Synetic Theater in Crystal City. The performances will run through Aug. 9. [DC Metro Theater Arts]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
A new yoga studio is coming to Courthouse.
CorePower Yoga, a Denver-based yoga studio, plans to open its new studio at 1929 Clarendon Blvd on July 31. The studio will be the company’s first Arlington location and its third in Virginia — it has existing studios in Falls Church and Fairfax.
In a press release, the company erroneously said it was opening in Clarendon.
“Clarendon’s vibe goes hand-in-hand with the lifestyle of the CorePower yogi. It’s a perfect mix of city and suburb, so you get everything: culture, shopping, great restaurants and, of course, fitness,” said Tess Roering, the company’s Chief Marketing Officer. “We could not be more excited to be a part of this community’s fitness culture.”
The new studio will have two yoga rooms and will have classes for different experience levels. It will also have changing rooms, showers, locker rooms and “a full retail boutique featuring products to meet students’ yoga and lifestyle needs.”
“The beautiful, spa-like Clarendon studio has been built with green building practices in mind, using recycled products, sustainable materials and the latest technology to efficiently heat practice rooms,” the press release noted.
Studio memberships start at $115 per month, if customers sign up before the studio opens. After the opening, the memberships increase to $155 per month.
Fourth of July revelers will have another option for dining out this holiday weekend: Vietnamese eatery Pho Deluxe plans to open at 2300 Clarendon Blvd on Sunday, in the space previously vacated by Toscana Grill.
Owners Dan and Hue Nguyen announced plans to open the Courthouse location earlier this year, and now that plan is coming to fruition.
Hostess Michelle Nguyen said that the space required minor renovations, but the bulk of Pho Deluxe’s time and energy was spent redecorating. The restaurant should be ready for business as soon as it passes the fire marshall’s inspection.
Pho Deluxe currently has a sign in the window advertising positions for busboys and waiters. Nguyen says that they are in the midst of conducting interviews right now, and estimates that the new location’s staff is about 80 percent hired.
The Courthouse branch will be the third Pho Deluxe in Virginia; the restaurant also has locations in Tysons Corner and Fairfax. According to Nguyen, there are no current plans for an grand opening celebration.
This Sunday marks the second annual “Freedom Four” race, which will result in some road closures in the Rosslyn and Courthouse areas.
To accommodate the four-mile course, the Arlington County Police Department will be closing roads sections of Wilson Boulevard, Clarendon Boulevard and Route 110 on June 28 (below). All roads are expected to be open to traffic after 10:30 a.m.
Between 6:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., Wilson Boulevard will be closed from N. Courthouse Road to N. Rhodes Street.
Between 7:45 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., Wilson Boulevard will be closed from from Route 110 to N. Courthouse Road. Courthouse road will remain open. Again from 7:45 to 10:30 a.m., Route 110 Northbound will be closed from I-395 to I-66.
Parking in the area will be also be restricted during the race, and drivers should be on the lookout for temporary “No Parking” signs. According to the ACPD, illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed or towed.
The U.S. Track & Field-certified course will start and finish on Wilson Boulevard, near the restaurant Ireland’s Four Courts. The race begins promptly at 8 a.m., and participants are advised to arrive early.
Photo via Pacers Running.
A new residential tower is planned for the current site of a low-rise office building in Courthouse.
The Bush Construction building at 2000 Clarendon Blvd is slated to be redeveloped as a residential tower, with 14 floors of apartments or condos, a rooftop terrace, ground floor retail and five levels of underground parking and storage.
The developer is scheduled to present its plan to residents of the next-door Odyssey condominium building tonight at 7:30 p.m. So far no formal plans have been filed with Arlington County, according to a Dept. of Community Planning, Housing and Development spokeswoman. There’s also no word yet on when the project is expected to start.
A presentation emailed to Odyssey residents shows a tan-colored tower with outdoor patios for certain units, a rooftop terrace with an indoor lounge, and a second-floor outdoor pool and patio area.