Trendy salad purveyor Sweetgreen will be opening the doors of its new Crystal City location (2200 Crystal Drive) this Thursday, Feb. 11.
The store will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., offering organic salads and seasonal bowls. During the grand opening, Sweetgreen will be donating 100 percent of the day’s proceeds to FRESHFARM Market’s Matching Dollars program.
Another popular and growing local fast casual restaurant chain, Taylor Gourmet, is expected to open next door later this winter.
The 2016 Crystal Couture fashion show and boutique sale is underway in Crystal City.
This year, the show is taking place at the Crystal City Shops at 1750 Crystal Drive. It features models walking the runway, sporting cutting edge fashions from local designers. There’s also music from DJ Neekola, a bar with beer and wine, and pop-up shops from designers and retailers.
Above are some photos from Thursday night’s event.
Crystal Couture will be taking place Friday from 6-10 p.m., with television’s Paul Wharton hosting, and Saturday from 2-10 p.m., with 94.7 Fresh FM’s Tommy McFly hosting. Local media personality Sarah Fraser hosted on Thursday.
(Fraser will also be hosting ARLnow.com’s conversation with new County Board members Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey next week.)
Saturday’s event includes the option for indulging in a VIP experience.
Disclosure: Crystal Couture host Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
Expect Early Spring, Says Groundhogs — Updated at 9:40 a.m. — Punxsutawney Phil and Potomac Phil both did not see their shadow this morning and thus have predicted an early spring. Unfortunately, the former Phil is wrong more often than he is right. [CNN, Borderstan]
New County Manager Inks Contract — The Arlington County Board last week ratified a contract with Mark Schwartz, the county’s newly-appointed county manager. (Schwartz served as interim county manager for six months before his appointment.) Under the contract, Schwartz will earn $245,000 in his first year, which is less than the $270,000 annual salary of his predecessor and former boss, Barbara Donnellan. [InsideNova]
WeWork Now Open in Crystal City — The WeWork co-working space in Crystal City officially opened yesterday. The office space is decorated with plush couches, hardwood floors and oversized light fixtures, among other design elements. [Twitter]
Online Plan Review System Up and Running — Arlington County launched its Electronic Plan Review system yesterday, allowing plans for building permits and land use to be submitted, reviewed and approved online. The system is expected to save time and money compared to the previous, in-person submissions, though those submitting plans still have to go to the county offices to pay the permit fees in person. [Arlington County]
Praise for Texas Jack’s — A food critic finds a lot to like at Texas Jack’s, the new barbecue restaurant in the former EatBar space in Lyon Park. Writes Tim Carman: “[Chef Matt Lang’s] moist brisket is A-lister stuff, thick, succulent slices with a pink smoke ring lingering just below a dark outer bark of salt, pepper, smoke and fat, all fused together in a Southern Pride smoker set low and slow.” [Washington Post]
Photo via Twitter/Scott Kelly
(Updated at 3:58 p.m.) After four years of business, Executive Menswear at the Crystal City Shops will soon sell its last necktie. The store is at 2117 Crystal Plaza Arc, but not for much longer.
With all inventory reduced to 70 percent off and a sign thanking customers for “several years of business,” the shop is set to close its doors “very soon,” said an employee who preferred not to be identified. “It could be today, maybe tomorrow, but very soon.”
There were still plenty of jackets, sport coats, dress shirts, neckties and footwear on the racks on Thursday when an ARLNow reporter visited the shop.
A citizen’s complaint led federal prosecutors to investigate the indoor shopping concourse, which runs along Crystal Drive and connects with the Crystal City Metro station. The complaint stated that portions of the shops are inaccessible to those with disabilities, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
As a result of the agreement, Vornado will build ramps or lifts in portions of the shopping center that were previously only accessible by stairs. New signage, accessible parking spaces and accessible restroom fixtures will also be added.
The press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, after the jump.
Time to start training because for today only you can purchase tickets for the 1K Wine|Beer Walk for 50% off – that’s only $10. Select your motivational drink of choice — beer or wine — and enjoy samples from 20 unique wine or beer selections hand picked by the Washington Wine Academy at the Crystal City Wine Shop. A limited supply of beer and wine tickets for the 3 PM and 4 PM heats is available, so act fast!
Discount Code for 3 PM and 4 PM Beer tickets: ARLnowdaily1KBeer
Discount Code for 3 PM and 4 PM Wine tickets: ARLnowdaily1KWine
WHEN: Saturday, January 23, 2016 2 PM to 6 PM
WHERE: Crystal City Shops – 1750 Crystal Drive Arlington, VA 22202
WHAT: The 1k Wine|Beer Walk is a unique combination of two popular community events: the wine/beer tasting and running races. Select your beverage, choose your heat, and be sure to stretch before passing the starting line on your way to sampling 20 hand-picked wine or beer selections at various “hydration stations” along the 1k, indoor course. Be sure to dust off your favorite track suit or racing gear – those who get into the spirit may qualify for fun prizes. Tickets are normally $20 online and $25 at the door.
Additional details available at www.crystalcity.org.
The annual Crystal Couture fashion show and sale is scheduled to return the first weekend of February for its eighth consecutive event.
This year’s show will be held from Feb. 4-6, taking place from 6-10 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and from 2-10 p.m. on Saturday.
The “360 degree immersive shopping experience” will be held at the Crystal City shops at 1750 Crystal City Drive.
The event is a combined fashion show and fashion pop-up sale, bringing together upwards of 50 boutiques, designers and retailers from throughout the metro area. Shoppers will be able to purchase discounted merchandise from these vendors both off the rack and off the runway.
While admission is free all three days of the show and sale, shoppers can upgrade to the “VIP Experience” for $20 per person. The experience will last from 2-6 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 6 and will include gift bags, access to three hours of VIP shopping, an open bar and $20 of “Couture Cash” to spend at any retailer.
Crystal City Sports Pub at 529 23rd Street S. is holding a yoga night followed by a round of drinks on Wednesday, Jan. 13 at 7 p.m.
The event — dubbed “Detox & Retox” — will give guests a chance to unwind during a fitness class before reverting back to what people normally go to bars for.
The class will be vinyasa for all levels. Vinyasa is a type of yoga that focuses on connecting movements and breathing as class members transition from one pose to the next. After the class is over, participants can sip on a draft pint or glass of house wine, their choice.
The event is B.Y.O.M. — bring your own mat.
Space for the class is limited, so interested participants can register online to reserve their spot. The cost of the class is $15 and will be accepted at the door, cash only. The fee includes class participation and one after-exercise drink.
Photo via Facebook
The outage was reported around 2:45 p.m.
At least one traffic signal was reported to be without power in the area, as nearby Oakridge Elementary was preparing to dismiss students for the day. Police are on scene.
Dominion’s website is estimating a 5-9 p.m. timeframe for full restoration, although some areas have already had their electricity restored.
One resident said the timing of the outage, on one of the coldest and windiest days of the winter so far, could cause problems for some.
— M (@ReadEatWriteRun) January 4, 2016
— M (@ReadEatWriteRun) January 4, 2016
Power out at work. Thank God for generator! @ARLnowDOTcom
— Anne E (@MrsRusselllll) January 4, 2016
DoD Renews Leases on Crystal City Buildings — In a win for Arlington County’s beleaguered commercial real estate market, the GSA has renewed leases on two buildings with some 912,000 square feet of office space, in Crystal City, for the Department of Defense. [Washington Business Journal]
Church Decided to Sell After Hearing from Residents — While initially skeptical, a majority of the membership of the Arlington Presbyterian Church on Columbia Pike approved a plan to sell the church to an affordable housing developer after hearing the stories of working class residents who said they worked in Arlington but couldn’t afford to live there anymore. [Washington Post]
Fisette: Arlington Will Work to Improve Bike Rating — County Board member Jay Fisette says Arlington will work to improve its Bicycle Friendly Community rating. Arlington received a silver-level designation, but there are 29 U.S. communities that are either gold or platinum level. In order to achieve that, Arlington will need more bike lanes, bike programs for lower-income residents and bicycle-themed street events. [InsideNova]
Howell Introduces Courthouse Security Bill — State Sen. Janet Howell (D), whose sprawling district includes part of north Arlington, has introduced a bill intended to improve courthouse security. The bill would increase from $10 to $20 the maximum amount a local jurisdiction could charge a defendant convicted on traffic or criminal charges, to help fund security measures. [Richmond Sunlight]
Webb Responds to Criticism in Comments — Michael Webb, who hopes to run as a Republican against Rep. Don Beyer next year, has personally responded to criticism in the comments of the article about his campaign announcement. [ARLnow]
Flickr pool photo by TheBeltWalk
Shortest Day of the Year — Today is the shortest day of the year. The sun will be up just 9 hours and 26 minutes today, so enjoy the daylight while it lasts. Tonight is the winter solstice. [Capital Weather Gang]
Two Big Crystal City Projects on Hold — Two projects to replace aging office buildings in Crystal City are on hold due to high office vacancy in the region. Vornado was planning to replace 1851 S. Bell Street with what would have been the tallest building in Crystal City and the largest private office building in Arlington. The company was also planning to replace 223 23rd Street S. with an office and a residential tower. Those have both reportedly been shelved due to market conditions. [Washington Business Journal]
Police Play Cornhole With Bar Crawlers — Nearly 2,000 people flocked to Clarendon on Saturday for the inaugural Candy Cane Crawl, a holiday-themed bar crawl. Arlington County Police used the occasion to educate bar-goers about the dangers of drunk driving, by having people try to play cornhole while wearing “drunk goggles.” [WUSA 9]
Mary Slye Obituary — Mary Patricia Slye, who managed Robert Slye Electronics on Washington Blvd in Virginia Square, died last month of a heart attack at the age of 65. Slye was an Arlington resident and began working at the audio visual installation business in the mid-1980s. [Washington Post]
Vehicle Topples Light Pole on Washington Blvd — A vehicle struck a light pole near the intersection of Washington Blvd and N. Pershing Drive on Saturday, sending it toppling across the street. Luckily, no one was hurt. Eastbound traffic on Washington Blvd was blocked for about 15 minutes. [Twitter]
GMU Grad Hopes to Run for Arlington School Board — A newly-minted George Mason University grad has a specific and somewhat uncommon career goal for someone her age: Marlayna Bush says she wants to run for the Arlington School Board in 2018. She just received her BA in conflict analysis and resolution. [George Mason University]
A one-of-a-kind art installation is lighting up Crystal City this holiday season, paying tribute to the community’s history with a high-tech twist.
Crystal City Lights is a 25-foot wide, 10,800 LED interactive “chandelier” now being displayed at the park at 2121 Crystal Drive. The installation is audio-reactive, meaning the lights and effects change based on whichever song is played through the system.
It’s also the only 3D pixel-mapped chandelier in the world, says project creator Imaginex, using custom-built technology. It’s made of weatherproof, UV resistant LED light strips as well as custom software and hardware. Much of the display was custom fabricated with parts made from a 3D printer.
“It was originally programmed for that fist-pumping, EDM music, but we slowed it down a little bit and made it more holiday-friendly,” said Alan Curtiss, Director of Research and Development for College Park, Maryland-based Imaginex.
The installation defaults to playing and interacting with holiday music, though visitors can download an app when they’re at the park and request to play their favorite songs.
“We have a color-changing palette tool that we created with our in-house software,” Curtiss said. “We put in an algorithm that changes both the color sweep and the shadow effect, so we don’t know what’s going to happen. It randomizes every day with different shapes and patterns.”
The display is the product of the combined efforts of Imaginex and real estate developer Vornado, which has been busy remaking the image of Crystal City by bringing in innovative tenants to replace older government and military offices that have been moving out for the past decade.
Incubators 1776 and Eastern Foundry now call Crystal City home, as does DIY workshop Techshop. Co-working company WeWork expects open its new Crystal City outpost in February, and is opening one of its first “WeLive” micro-unit apartment spaces in the same building later in the year.
As technologically advanced as the display is, the idea was inspired by Crystal City’s history, dating back to 1963.
The very first building in the area was called the Crystal House Apartments. According to a press release, the building of that lobby had an elaborate crystal chandelier, which was later the inspiration for name Crystal City. As the area continued to develop, it stuck.
The special LED chandelier display pays homage to those roots while inspiring some holiday cheer. It will continue to do so between 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily through February.
The 7-Eleven store on 23rd Street in Crystal City was robbed by a knife-wielding man Sunday night, according to this week’s Arlington County crime report.
The suspect made off with cash after robbing an employee at knifepoint. From ACPD:
ARMED ROBBERY, 151214001, 400 block of S. 23rd Street. At approximately 10:44 pm on December 13, a 7-11 employee was robbed of cash at knifepoint by an unknown subject. The suspect fled on foot and is described as a Hispanic male between 6’0-3″ tall and 225 lbs. He was wearing a black jacket, dark colored jeans, black winter hat and tan boots at the time of the incident.
The rest of this week’s crime report, after the jump.
Stations for the Crystal City Potomac Yard Transitway are taking shape now that officials have overcome the unforeseen construction challenges.
“We had complications during construction that caused delays and threatened to push the project over budget,” Acting County Manager Mark Schwartz said in a statement. “But we have made changes, including scope modifications, to ensure that we finish this project within budget and get it done by next spring.”
In a presentation to the County Board earlier this week, construction managers outlined changes to the project scope and design to compensate for these issues.
The station roofs will now be made of a less expensive material that’s also easier to produce than what was originally proposed. County crews will also assume the fabrication and installation of signage and pavement markings at all the stations to cut costs.
However, the stations will all still have higher curbs for easier boarding, lighting and real-time arrival information.
The transitway is a joint project between Arlington and Alexandria to complement the Metrorail system. Arlington’s portion of the project includes seven stations, 0.75 miles of new, transit-only roadway, and 1.5 miles of dedicated transit lanes on existing streets.
The transitway runs in a loop around Crystal City, running from Crystal Drive to S. Clark Street and back to Crystal Drive.
Once open, vehicles and other traffic will be restricted from the dedicated transit lanes between 6-9 a.m. and 3:30-7 p.m., three and a half total hours less than first proposed. During these hours, vehicles cannot use the lanes to bypass traffic or to travel through an intersection and cannot obstruct the transitway buses.
Weekly construction updates will be published online throughout the winter. Transitway project managers will also work with Metro representatives to select the initial opening date.
The Arlington County Board unanimously voted to approve plans for the modernization of the Crystal Square 3 office building in Crystal City at its meeting last night.
The nearly 250,000 square foot space sits on top of the Crystal City Shops. After the redevelopment, the building will be reclassified as “Class A” office space and rebranded as 1770 Crystal Drive.
“This redevelopment is part of the ongoing public and private investments in Crystal City that will help ensure it remains one of the region’s premier urban villages,” County Board Chair Mary Hynes said in a statement.
The property’s developer, Vornado, took the opportunity to plan the upgrade after its primary tenant, the U.S. Marshals Service, announced it will be moving its 1,600 employees to another Vornado property on S. Clark Street next year.
Plans to modernize the building include reshaping it to add approximately 10,000 square feet of office and retail space and replacing its facade.
The retail space on the first floor will be reconfigured and the second floor plaza will be turned into additional office space, which could be converted to more retail space in the future. The existing concrete facade will be replaced with glass and metal panels.
The top floors will also be repurposed to create open terrace areas. On the ground level, the facade will be pushed back seven feet to create a wider sidewalk along Crystal Drive.
Finally, a new entrance to the Crystal City Shops will be moved to the north side of the building.