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
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.
— Pacers Running (@runpacers) March 10, 2017
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.”
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.
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.
POLICE ACTIVITY: Pedestrian struck in the 2400 block of N 10th Street. Pedestrian transported with serious but non-life threatening injuries
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) February 21, 2017
Image via Google Maps
The CVS Pharmacy atop the Courthouse Metro station entrance may be getting bigger.
A permit application filed Monday for the property at 2121 15th Street N. references a planned “second floor expansion” for CVS.
No other details were immediately available. The building also houses a Strayer University campus.
Hat tip to Chris Slatt
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.
“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
One of the owners behind a local burger restaurant has a new business venture that doesn’t revolve around food.
“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.
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.
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
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.
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…)
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.
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.”
— AWLA Arlington, VA (@AWLAArlington) November 3, 2016
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.