Arlington, VA

Takeshi Sushi and Ramen in Courthouse has only been in its “soft opening” phase for a week, but at lunch today (Thursday) it was nearly full with locals checking out Arlington’s newest Japanese restaurant.

The small but sunny eatery at 2424 Wilson Blvd is sandwiched next to Delhi Dhaba Indian Restaurant and underneath Arlington Rooftop Bar & Grill. It is open daily from 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

The restaurant offers a range of sushi platters, ramen soups, and rice books for between $11-$15 (one eel on rice dish, Unaju, being the outlier at $18). Vegetarian and vegan options — like a soft tofu ramen and a mango/avocado-based fruit “sushi” — are also available.

Owner and chef Wu Lin said there are a few more dishes on the way when the restaurant has its full grand opening sometime next month.

Lin said he trained at the Tokyo Sushi Academy and showed top-ranked certificates from the school.

While the restaurant is still using napkins from Papa John’s next door and has a rather sparse, hole-in-the-wall interior, the staff showed careful precision as they assembled meals. One chef slicing lemons for a boxed meal discarded two pieces after he decided they were sliced slightly too thin.

“This area is new for us, but we’re confident,” said one of the staff.

Lin said that while the restaurant offers sushi and ramen, the ramen has by far been the more popular choice so far.

A second location for the restaurant in the Fairfax Circle Shopping Center is also now open, according to Lin.

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(Updated at 3:20 p.m.) A reported wrong-way crash prompted the closure of Wilson Blvd at N. Rhodes Street, between Rosslyn and Courthouse.

A witness told ARLnow the driver of a blue SUV was driving in reverse down the street and struck several parked vehicles. A Metrobus was also struck.

Northbound N. Rhodes Street was also closed at Clarendon Blvd shortly after the crash. Rhodes and one lane of Wilson have since reopened as of 2:30 p.m.

Police placed the driver of the SUV in handcuffs after conducting a breathalyzer test. Open cans of beer could be seen inside the vehicle following the crash.

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Daniel T. Lopez was ceremonially sworn in last Friday (May 17) as a General District Court judge, becoming the first Latino to serve as a judge in Arlington County.

“I’m very proud to represent my community,” Lopez told ARLnow.

Michael F. Devine, a circuit court judge for the 19th Circuit in Fairfax County, administered the investiture ceremony.

Lopez and his family were joined by members of the Arlington County Bar Association, as well as Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-49th) and Del. Patrick Hope (D-47th), who helped shepherd his nomination through the General Assembly.

“I was honored to be on hand with Delegate Hope to present the Commission at the Investiture of Daniel Lopez as a Judge of the General District Court for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit,” said Del. Lopez, who shares a last name with but is not related to the new judge. “Judge Lopez is immensely qualified and a truly wonderful person. If his work over the years as a substitute judge is any indication, he will be an exceptional judge for our community for years to come.”

A 22-year Arlington resident, Judge Lopez had previously served as a substitute judge in the Circuit Court and the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts. He said he was delighted to become a full-time judge.

“It’s something that I’ve been looking forward to for years,” he said.

Lopez was also pleased to be the first Latino to serve as a judge in Arlington. Judges should reflect the community they serve in, he said, and having a Latino on the bench in such a diverse county was a sign of great progress.

Friday’s investiture ceremony was not Lopez’s official swearing in. That will take place 3o days prior to July 1, when he signs the oath of office and begins his six-year term on the General District Court bench. Lopez will succeed Judge Richard McCue, who is retiring.

“My job is to uphold the Constitution and to be fair and impartial, and make sure everyone is welcomed and respected in the courtroom,” he said.

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Morning Notes

Metro Removes 3000-Series from Service — “Metro overnight temporarily removed all 3000-series cars from service after we received a report of a door malfunction for which we need to identify the cause. This voluntary safety action reduces the number of available rail cars by ~15%” [Twitter, Twitter]

Courthouse Hotel May Become Apartments — “The owner of an Arlington hotel is now hoping to flip the building into residential space instead. The Arlington Court Suites Hotel in Courthouse could soon become a 180-unit apartment building dubbed ‘Park Arlington at Courthouse,’ according to plans filed with the county this week.” [Washington Business Journal]

More HQ2 Jobs Listed — There are now 18 open HQ2 jobs listed on Amazon’s website, with roles ranging from HR to sales to software engineer. Some of the jobs were reportedly first listed as working out of Amazon’s existing Ballston office, the long-term prospects for which are now in question. [Amazon, Washington Business Journal]

NPS’ Massive GW Parkway Backlog — “ABC7 asked the National Park Service how big the [GW Parkway’s] maintenance problem is. The… Parkway has a maintenance backlog of $717-million, but that includes 25 sites, such as Arlington House and Great Falls Park. $649-million of that amount is for paved roads. 33 million vehicles drive on the GW Parkway every year.” [WJLA, Twitter]

Va. Reps Call for Telework Option During ‘Summer Shutdown’ — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and other Northern Virginia representatives have written a letter to the director of the Office of Personnel Management, calling for federal employees to be given expanded telework options during the May 25-Sept. 8 “Summer Shutdown” of Metro stations in Alexandria. [House of Representatives]

Yellow Line Extension Starting This Weekend — “Metro today announced it will begin running all Yellow Line trains to Greenbelt more than a month earlier than expected – starting Saturday, May 25 – when the Platform Improvement Project begins at six Yellow and Blue line stations south of Reagan National Airport.” [PoPville]

Photo courtesy Peter Golkin

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Morning Notes

Police Memorial Service in Courthouse — “N. Courthouse Road will be closed between 14th Street N. and 15th Street N. from approximately 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. on May 10 to accommodate the Observance of Peace Officers Memorial Day.” [Twitter]

New CPRO Director Sets Vision for Pike — “‘My greatest fear is we are going to be completely gentrified,’ [new Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization director Kim Klingler] said. ‘The market will drive [redevelopment], but at the same time, we want to be able to control what we’re able to control.'” [InsideNova]

Another N. Arlington Power Outage — “More than 1,000 Dominion customers without power in parts of North Arlington [Wednesday] morning, per outage map. Marymount U. Is within the outage area. Power restoration expected this afternoon.” [Twitter]

Arlington Offers Larger Apartments — The median income for renters in Arlington affords an apartment nearly twice the size as the equivalent in D.C. [CNBC]

Column in Va. Paper Bashes J-D Highway Renaming — “In response to Arlington County, Virginia’s proposal to rename its Jefferson Davis Highway, local man Max Perrine has written a very questionable column for Virginia newspaper The Roanoke Times.” [The Week]

Mr. Knick Knack Facing Child Porn Charges — Children’s performer “Mr. Knick Knack,” a 58-year-old Reston resident named Steven Rossi, is facing 10 felony counts of possession of child pornography. Rossi performed a number of shows in Arlington over the past few years. [Reston Now]

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A developer wants to knock down the single-family home near the Colonial Village Apartments complex in order to build several townhouses.

The new Colonial Village Townhouses project aims to to build seven, four-story townhouses on a 15,920-square-foot “sliver” of land located between N. Veitch Street and 18th Street N., according to newly filed preliminary site development plans.

The plans say the townhomes will all have terraces and range in size from 1,468 square-feet to 1,938 square-feet.

“The seven townhouses are designed in a classic urban, Georgetown style, harmonizing with the existing Colonial Village apartments,” said the filing, which was submitted on behalf of the developer on May 6. The developer is listed as 1731 N Veitch Street LLC, which is a subsidiary of Bethesda-based BeaconCrest Homes.

BeaconCrest Homes Managing Partner Robert Malm declined to comment on the project when reached by ARLnow, but he did clarify that the single-family home on the property is “under contract” with BeaconCrest and slated for demolition.

The plans call for several exemptions to the zoning rules of the lot, including:

  • A 2-foot exception to the 40-foot height limit zoned for the area, noting that the architectural plans call for the houses to be 41.98 feet high due “to the slope of the property.”
  • Each unit is slated to contain a two-car garage and a driveway with space for two more cars for a total of four vehicles per townhouse. The plan notes this exceeds the parking regulations zoned for the area and requests an exemption.

A December county staff report noted that existing the zoning ordinance “does not specify that the County Board can modify building height for townhouse developing” in this kind of lot so that “further analysis” will need to be done on the requested height exemption.

As part of the community benefits requirement of the development, BeaconCrest says in a letter attached to the site plan that it will negotiate with the county to provide some nearby improvements, including:

  1. Sidewalk, curb, and gutter improvements
  2. Streetscape improvements
  3. Affordable housing contribution
  4. Contribution to utility fund

The winter staff report also asked the developer to create a detailed tree planting scheme to meet county canopy requirements considering some existing trees on the property may have to be felled. (BeaconCrest Homes faced outcry from some neighbors in years past due to tree removal.)

Mariska noted in the newly filed plans that the development will “provide new residential units with high-quality architecture and within easy walking distance to the Courthouse Metro Station and surrounding amenities.”

The architect listed for the plans is Fairfax-based Pinnacle Design & Consulting Inc. The engineer and landscape architect tapped for the construction is Falls Church-based Walter L. Phillips, Inc.

Preliminary site plan submissions are “the earliest stages of the site plan process,” notes Arlington County’s website. “During this stage, staff review draft applications to ensure that they meet technical filing requirements.”

Later stages in the site plan process typically involve a review from the Arlington Planning Commission followed later by a vote of the County Board.

Photo (2) via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Big Trees Fall on Cars — In two separate incidents during Saturday’s windy weather, trees fell on cars near Pentagon City mall and near the corner of Lee Highway and N. Harrison Street. No serious injuries were reported. [Twitter, Twitter]

Coworking Space Coming to Courthouse — Courthouse is getting its first coworking space. Industrious, which recently opened a new coworking space in Ballston, is planning on opening a 25,000 square foot space at a recently-built office building at 2311 Wilson Blvd. [Bisnow]

New Arlington Election Director — “Electoral Board members announced April 24 they had selected Gretchen Reinemeyer, currently deputy to Director of Elections Linda Lindberg, to succeed Lindberg starting July 1. Lindberg had announced earlier in the year she planned on retiring from the post she had held since 2003.” [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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The Arlington County Board this week unanimously approved an outdoor dining area at Burger District in Courthouse, as well as a new outdoor bar in Ballston.

Burger District requested Board members amend zoning rules to allow the Courthouse eatery to seat patrons in four feet of space on the sidewalk outside of its 2024 Wilson Blvd location.

That would leave six feet for pedestrians on the 10-foot-wide sidewalk, which requires County Board approval, according to a staff report.

In return, the eatery agreed to:

  • Only operate the outdoor section from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m.
  • Keep the rest of the sidewalk (6 feet) clear
  • Not exceed more than 24 seats
  • Hold “no live entertainment or dancing”

“Permitting an outdoor cafe along Wilson Boulevard will help achieve the vision of the Rosslyn to Courthouse Urban Design Study where there are ‘vibrant and people-friendly streets and plazas… full of life’ and ‘small businesses prosper,'” county staff wrote.

The Courthouse restaurant opened in August and serves burgers, shakes, hotdogs, and wings.

Last night the Board also approved a new “fixed” outdoor bar in Ballston, at upcoming restaurant The Salt Line, which is planning to open next spring.

Images 1 and 2 via staff reports 1 and 2.

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(Updated 9 a.m.) A new gym called The Conditioning Room is planning to open on June 1 at the former Cosi space (2050 Wilson Blvd) in Courthouse.

The gym will start with two programs, a strength conditioning program called TCR Strong and a full-body conditioning program called TCR 360.

Owner Mike Savitch said the gym will offer an unlimited access for a $205 monthly membership fee, though some pre-sale discounts are planned.

Savitch is a bobsledder who represented the Virgin Islands in the 2002 Winter Olympics. He is also a former owner of Verve Health and Fitness in Rosslyn and the now-closed Crossfit Praxis in D.C. Savitch said he wasn’t planning to open another gym, but was left without one that fit his needs when Potomac Crossfit closed.

“The only gym with barbell strength abruptly closed down so after that I got a lot of interest in me and my wife opening up our own place,” Savitch said. “My wife was working there and I rented a space there. I was initially interested in doing a pop-up… but it’s turned into a six-month project.”

Savitch says one of the partners in the project is former Army Green Beret Dillon Behr, who was awarded a Purple Heart and Silver Star in the Battle of Shok Valley in Afghanistan. Savitch says Behr is a former owner of Crossfit Walter Reed and uses functional fitness to recover from his severe injuries.

Though there are no “coming soon” signs up yet, Savitch says he’s heard buzz in the community about the project and is optimistic about his prospects for attracting a sizable customer base.

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Takeshi Sushi — a new Japanese restaurant at 2424 Wilson Blvd — is planning an opening sometime in May.

Owner Wu Lin said the restaurant is planning to offer sushi, ramen, and other Japanese food in a quick-service style eatery.

The new restaurant is located next to Delhi Dhaba Indian Restaurant and under Arlington Rooftop Bar and Grill. Takeshi Sushi is replacing a Subway that closed in November.

Lin said the restaurant is his first location, but they are planning to simultaneously open another Takeshi Sushi in the Fairfax Circle Shopping Center, in the Fairlee neighborhood of Fairfax.

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(Updated 2:15 p.m.) A crash involving a motorcycle and a subsequent fire prompted the temporary closure of the westbound lanes of Arlington Blvd near Courthouse around noon today.

Firefighters were called to the scene around 11:55 a.m. for a crash between a motorcycle and an SUV. First responders reported that the motorcycle was on fire as they arrived on scene.

ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage said all lanes re-opened at 1 p.m. and that the motorcycle rider was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

“The driver of the vehicle did not sustain any injuries, remained on scene and was cited with unsafe lane changes,” added Savage.

Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Ben O’Bryant told ARLnow that firefighters had doused the flames “quickly.”

At 12:45 p.m. two lanes were still shut down under the 10th Street bridge and firefighters were again hosing down the motorcycle, which had by that point been placed on the bed of a tow truck.

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