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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.

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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.

by ARLnow.com — November 4, 2016 at 10:15 am 0

Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to Rocky Run Park, apparently.

A chicken was found in the park, on N. Barton Street in the Clarendon-Courthouse area, by an animal control officer Thursday. No one seems to know how the chicken got there.

An Animal Welfare League of Arlington spokeswoman said stray chickens are actually more common in Arlington than one might think.

“We periodically pick up chickens ‘running at large,'” said Susan Sherman.

She said the chicken will be housed at the animal shelter for a couple of days before being shipped off to live out its days on a farm.

“It is being cared for at the shelter as a stray until November 6,” said Sherman. “If it is not claimed by an owner by that date, then we can adopt it to a person with a farm or transfer it to a farm sanctuary.”

“We do not send the chicken to any place where it would be eaten,” Sherman noted. “In our experience stray chickens are almost never reclaimed by owners since very few Arlington residents have the property to keep chickens legally.”

by ARLnow.com — November 2, 2016 at 1:25 pm 0

Police car (file photo)A woman was trying to enter a building near Columbia Pike Friday night when police say a man pulled her down a flight of stairs and then groped her.

The suspect also tried to steal the woman’s purse, according to police.

From this week’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:

ATTEMPTED ROBBERY/ SEXUAL BATTERY, 161028033, 1200 block of S. Thomas Street. At approximately 8:11 p.m. on October 28, officers responded to the report of an attempted robbery. Upon investigation, it was determined a female victim was attempting to enter a building when an unknown male subject obstructed her entrance. The male subject grabbed her arm and pulled the victim down a flight of stairs where he touched her inappropriately. The subject then attempted to steal the victim’s purse, but fled the scene when the victim cried out for help. The suspect is described as a Hispanic male in his thirties, approximately 5’5″ tall and 150 lbs. He was wearing a black jacket, dark pants, and had a black winter hat on.

Two other crimes of a sexual nature were included in the crime report. Both occurred last Wednesday, in the Aurora Highlands and Courthouse areas respectively.

SEXUAL BATTERY, 161025028, 2700 block of S. Fern Street. At approximately 3:15 p.m. on October 26, officers responded to the report of a sexual battery that had just occurred. Upon investigation, it was determined that an unknown male subject approached a female victim from behind and pushed his genitals against her buttocks region. Saul Diaz Hernandez, 50, of Arlington Va, was arrested and charged with sexual battery. He is being held on an unsecured bond.

EXPOSURE, 161026041, 1900 block of N. 15th Street. At approximately 7:38 p.m. on October 26, officers responded to the report of an exposure. Upon investigation, it was determined that a male subject exposed his genitals to a female victim. The suspect is described as a white male in his late twenties, approximately 5’7″ tall and weighed 155 lbs. He was wearing a grey hoodie and a dark jacket

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

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — October 19, 2016 at 1:15 pm 0

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.

by ARLnow.com — October 17, 2016 at 11:00 am 0

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.

Background

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.

by ARLnow.com — October 14, 2016 at 1:45 pm 0

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.

by ARLnow.com — October 14, 2016 at 10:15 am 0

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.

by ARLnow.com — October 13, 2016 at 3:50 pm 0

(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.

by ARLnow.com — October 13, 2016 at 11:00 am 0

Planters NUTmobile (photo courtesy Planters)Don’t be surprised if you see a giant peanut on wheels traveling the highways and byways of Arlington next week.

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.

by ARLnow.com — October 10, 2016 at 9:00 am 0

Airplane watching at Gravelly Point (Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley)

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

by ARLnow.com — October 5, 2016 at 10:00 am 0

Screenshot of Ace Hardware sign being erected in Courthouse

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.

by ARLnow.com — September 28, 2016 at 1:25 pm 0

Police car lightsA woman was walking down the street in the Pentagon City area Friday morning when some sort of liquid was poured on her head, apparently as part of a theft scheme.

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

(more…)

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