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by Chris Teale November 1, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

The restaurant group behind Pamplona and Bar Bao in Clarendon has opened an outdoor food stand in the Crystal City Water Park (1601 Crystal Drive).

Called The Stand, it features a rotating menu of what it describes as “the best new food trends the area has to offer, right in the comfort of your own neighborhood.” It officially opened for business today (Wednesday).

The Social Restaurant Group partnered with venture capital firm Catalyst Venture Group on the project. It opened a few months after the water park’s former concession stand was forced to close when landlord Vornado declined to renew the lease.

November’s line-up at The Stand is as follows:

  • All day, every day: Breakfast with B Doughnut and La Colombe Coffee
  • November 1-3: Cookie Dough & Co. (cookies)
  • November 6-10: Capital Chicken & Waffle (comfort food)
  • November 13-17: Donburi (Japanese)
  • November 20-22: Pinch Dumplings (traditional Chinese)
  • November 27- December 1: Timber Pizza (pizza)

The partners are also behind the upcoming Common Ground Food Hall in Rosslyn, set to open in late 2018.

“We are so excited to introduce The Stand in Crystal City,” said Zi-Heng Zhu, co-founder of Common Ground Food Hall, in a statement. “Crystal City is full of creative people with an appetite for discoverable new kinds of food. It’s the perfect canvas for our chefs to share and test ideas in a fresh outdoor setting.”

https://twitter.com/ArlingtonVaPD/status/925788938391998464

by ARLnow.com October 31, 2017 at 8:30 am 0

New Protected Bike Lane — The stretch of Army Navy Drive between S. Joyce Street and Army Navy Country Club, near Pentagon City, has a received a new, protected bike lane. “Both the protected lane and the buffered bike lane enhance bicycle safety and connectivity in the area, and also serve to narrow the relatively wide street and calm vehicle speeds,” county transportation officials said. [Arlington County]

Runner With Cerebral Palsy Training for Marathon — Arlington resident Jamie Watts, a regular at local 5K and 10K races, is now training hard for the New Jersey Marathon in April. Watts, who has cerebral palsy, runs with a cane and is being allowed to start the race early. [WUSA 9]

Rosslyn-Based Home Builder Purchased — CalAtlantic Group, a large national home builder based in Rosslyn, is being acquired by Lennar Corp. to form the nation’s largest home builder. [Associated Press]

Top 3 Developments in Crystal City — Bisnow has ranked the top three developments in Crystal City and come up with this list, from first to third: JBG’s proposed Central District development; Lowe’s planned 2351 Jefferson Davis Hwy residential tower; and the Long Bridge Park Aquatics Center, which is still in the design phase. [Bisnow]

County Seeks Design Nominations — “Arlington County’s biennial design awards program, DESIGNArlington, is now accepting submissions for great design in new construction, renovations, additions or adaptive re-use projects. Established in 2009, DESIGNArlington seeks to highlight excellence and diversity in the County’s built environment.” [Arlington County, PDF]

Flickr pool photo by Jason OX4

by ARLnow.com October 27, 2017 at 8:35 am 0

Arlington Startup to Appear on Shark Tank — SmartGurlz, an Arlington-based company that makes “a line of dolls that ride robotic scooters, controlled by an app built to teach girls to code,” is set to appear on an episode of ABC’s Shark Tank next month. At least one other Arlington startup has pitched investors on the show, successfully: Zoobean received an investment from Mark Cuban after appearing on the show in 2014. [Washington Business Journal]

Pop-Up Food Venue to Open in Crystal City — What was once an unassuming concession stand in the Crystal City Water Park on Crystal Drive has been renovated and is reopening on Wednesday, Nov. 1 as “The Stand,” featuring a “rotating lineup of pop-ups from the hottest local food vendors.” Among the vendors expected to take up temporary residence are La Columbe coffee, Cookie Dough & Co., B Doughnut, Capital Chicken & Waffle, Timber Pizza Company and Pinch Chinese dumplings. [Eater, The Stand]

Arlington Launches New Tourism Website — Arlington County has relaunched its tourism website. Per a press release: “The new website has the latest features, including responsive design… an enhanced regional events calendar integrating community events from Virginia.org and EventBrite; persistent mapping tied to local business listings; intuitive social media integration; HTML5 full-screen video and more.” [Arlington County, StayArlington]

Gutshall Endorsed by GGW — The urbanist website Greater Greater Washington has endorsed Democrat Erik Gutshall in the upcoming Arlington County Board general election. “Erik isn’t just for smart growth, he has deep experience and a strong track record from his time on Arlington’s Planning Commission and Transportation Commission,” the website wrote. “He’s a strong advocate for missing middle housing, bike infrastructure and transit-oriented development.” [Greater Greater Washington]

Clement Supports ADUs at Board Meeting — Independent County Board candidate Audrey Clement spoke in favor of loosening regulations on Accessory Dwelling Units at this past weekend’s Board meeting. “As a tenant in one of the few remaining affordable garden apartments in Westover Village, I welcome the prospect of moving to an ADU as opposed to a flat in an outlying suburb once my building is demolished,” Clement said. [Audrey Clement]

‘Breakfast With the Chief’ — Arlington County Police Chief Jay Farr will be hosting a breakfast for member of the local business community Monday morning in Rosslyn. “The event will provide information on the police department’s engagement with the business community to resolve public safety concerns, crime prevention and safety tips and a presentation by the FBI Cyber Security Task Force,” said ACPD. [Arlington County]

by Chris Teale October 26, 2017 at 9:15 am 0

(Updated 12 p.m.) As elementary school students, blind triplets Leo, Nick and Steven Cantos were bullied, had few friends and no role models.

But that changed when, at the age of 10, blind attorney and Crystal City resident Ollie Cantos became their mentor after learning about them through a friend at church. He legally adopted them two years ago, and turned their lives around.

“I didn’t have friends, my brothers were the only people, that was it,” Nick Cantos said. “I was essentially shut in for seven years, and I was a violent kid. I got into fights with people, because I was being bullied in school. It ended up getting so bad that I wanted to end [my life]. Dad really saved my life.”

A ceremony on Wednesday night marked how far they have come, having also graduated from Wakefield High School earlier this year. At The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Alexandria, the brothers became the first ever blind triplets to be honored as Eagle Scouts in the history of Boy Scouts of America.

To become Eagle Scouts, the highest honor in scouting, candidates must complete a slew of assignments, including tasks like first aid, knot-tying, leadership and orientation. It also requires community service, and six months or more spent in leadership positions at their troop.

Each also had to lead a community service project. Steven Cantos collected school supplies for low-income schoolchildren for nonprofit Aspire! Afterschool. He already volunteered with the organization, which helps children improve their reading, and had intended to collect enough supplies for 90 students.

When the supply drive was over, he had collected enough for 130 students.

“They go in and help kids read in a more advanced way, since they feel that reading is the first thing that kids need to learn, and then they learn other things if they can read better,” Steven Cantos said. “The project stemmed from the fact that I’d already volunteered a bit of time to them, so I wanted to give some more time… I decided that education is important, so let’s give them school supplies.”

Leo Cantos collected blood and blankets for INOVA Fairfax Hospital, a children’s hospital where he spent a month re-learning how to walk. He finished with 88 units of blood and 77 blankets, all donated by local people he had recruited.

“I wanted to give back to the kids, because I saw the kids there and I saw how they were not doing too well,” Leo Cantos said. “I wanted to give them a better experience, kind of like the one I had in the hospital but extended to them as well.”

And Nick Cantos collected donations of hygiene supplies for nonprofit Doorways for Women and Families, which helps people out of homelessness and away from domestic violence and sexual assault. He collected about $2,000 worth of supplies to donate to the organization.

“It took a lot of planning, it took a lot of work and papers,” Nick Cantos said. “The craziest part was seeing all my scout friends and leaders and brothers helping me to do this, and me managing this thing.”

(more…)

by Chris Teale October 25, 2017 at 4:15 pm 0

With Halloween around the corner, Arlingtonians will have several chances to celebrate the upcoming holiday.

The Ballston Halloween Market is set for tomorrow (Thursday, October 26) at Welburn Square (901 N. Taylor Street).

This week’s market, part of the neighborhood’s regular farmers market, will include a beer and wine garden with live music, as well as pumpkin decorating and face painting. The market is open from 3-7 p.m., with attendees encouraged to wear a spooky costume.

And the last of Crystal City’s Fridays at the Fountain events for the season will have a Halloween theme too, with pumpkin painting, seasonal drinks and candy available at the beer and wine garden on Friday, October 27 from 5-9 p.m. at the Crystal City Water Park (1750 Crystal Drive).

Meanwhile, Rosslyn will host its first harvest festival on Friday, October 27 from 4-10 p.m. and Saturday, October 28 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Continental Beer Garden, Central Place Plaza and Gateway Park East.

More than 20 vendors will sell various crafts and gifts, while there will be live entertainment and activities including a pie eating contest, corn hole, a pumpkin toss, costumes contests for children and pets.

by Chris Teale October 19, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

The four possible designs for the next phase of the Long Bridge Park Aquatics Center have been released.

The revamped center at 475 Long Bridge Drive will have a 50-meter pool; diving platforms from one, three and five meters up; a family pool; and health and fitness spaces. The contractor can then add extra features from a “menu” of potential options, so long as it stays within budget.

That “menu” could include advanced energy efficiency, a therapy pool, a 10-meter dive tower and more spectator seats, among other enhancements.

The project, plagued by a years-long delay caused by anticipated cost overruns has a scaled-down aquatics and fitness center from previous plans. The county will be using a design-build approach, which keeps costs down by establishing a budget at the start that the contractor must not exceed.

“We are incredibly excited about these designs,” County Manager Mark Schwartz said in a statement. “We’ve got four nationally recognized design and construction firms who are putting together their best ideas, based on their creativity and knowledge, for project options for Arlington. By using the Design-Build method, we can focus on the community’s needs while completing the project within budget.”

Links to videos showcasing the designs of the four bidders are below.

Members of the public can give feedback on the four design concepts in several ways between now and October 29:

  • Attend a public event on Thursday, October 19 from 7-10 p.m. at 2011 Crystal Drive, 11th Floor. Watch the presentations, ask the firms questions and share feedback.
  • Visit the Courthouse Plaza lobby (2100 Clarendon Blvd.) from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays (from October 19 to 29) to watch the videos of the designs, view schematic drawings and share feedback.
  • Starting today, go online to watch the videos of the designs and share feedback.

Following community feedback, the park’s Selection Advisory Committee will recommend the contract award based on written proposals, interviews, review of concepts, public feedback and negotiations.

The firm that is awarded the contract will complete its design and construction documents next year, with construction set to start as early as next July.

by Chris Teale October 17, 2017 at 11:30 am 0

A driver was transported to the hospital after colliding with a police cruiser in Crystal City this morning.

The collision happened near the intersection of 15th Street S. and Crystal Drive just after 9 a.m. A black Hyundai rear-ended the cruiser, with both vehicles suffering minor damage.

The driver of the Hyundai was transported to the hospital with a reported injury, possibly the result of the airbag in the car deploying, while the police officer driving the SUV was not hurt.

Police blocked the right lane of 15th Street S. to investigate, but traffic otherwise moved relatively freely.

by ARLnow.com October 10, 2017 at 1:00 pm 0

A man was robbed at knifepoint along the row of restaurants and shops on 23rd Street S. in Crystal City.

The robbery was reported early Monday morning, after the restaurants had closed.

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

ROBBERY, 2017-10090029, 500 block of 23rd Street S. At approximately 2:43 a.m. on October 9, police responded to the report of an armed robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that a male victim was walking in the area when he was approached by a suspect with a knife. The suspect stole the victim’s personal belongings and fled on foot. The suspect is described as a white male, approximately 6’2, 225 pounds, clean shaven, wearing a blue and white striped shirt and white shorts. The investigation is ongoing.

by ARLnow.com October 5, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

A cigarette reportedly sparked a fire that has closed the patio at Freddie’s Beach Bar in Crystal City.

The fire was reported last night around 10:30 p.m. The fire department quickly arrived on scene and extinguished the flames, which scorched parts of the patio and its awning, owner Freddie Lutz told ARLnow.com.

Patrons were evacuated during the fire and no injuries were reported.

The bar, located at 555 23rd Street S., expects to open as usual at 4 p.m. today, though the patio will remain closed indefinitely, pending repairs, Lutz said.

by Chris Teale September 27, 2017 at 9:45 am 0

A former Afghan restaurant in Crystal City is set to become a pawn shop.

A “Royal Pawn” store is coming to the former restaurant at 507 23rd Street S., according to signs and a permit application.

An existing store with the same name and logo is open at 6116-A Franconia Road in Alexandria, south of the Beltway in Fairfax County. It sells jewelry, electronics and instruments, tools and precious metals like gold, silver and platinum.

As of Tuesday, much of the restaurant’s furniture and decorations were still inside and a temporary Royal Pawn sign was covering the former “Grill Kabob” sign. Grill Kabob first opened in September 2015.

Previously, a restaurant and dance club called “Sin and Saint” was expected to replace Grill Kabob. The establishment was to have a dance floor and DJ on the second floor for Friday and Saturday nights, though those plans appear to have fallen through.

Royal Pawn will be at least the third pawn shop in Arlington. Two First Cash Pawn stores are already in the county, on Lee Highway and on N. Glebe Road in Buckingham.

by Chris Teale September 26, 2017 at 2:45 pm 0

A Pentagon City resident has launched a social media campaign against abandoned Costco shopping carts, which she says are a persistent “eyesore” for the neighborhood.

Sarah Wohl started posting from the @CartsOfPCArl Twitter account on September 20, after walking around the neighborhood with her husband and finding it “comical” to see so many. She has tweeted about two dozen photos of abandoned carts in the week since the account launched — showing carts near apartment buildings, next to parking meters and outside restaurants.

“I’ve lived in Pentagon City for a couple of years, and since I’ve moved there, there’s always been Costco shopping carts everywhere, and it is an eyesore as you walk around,” Wohl said. “They’ll be by cars, by apartment buildings and blocks away from Costco. They’re kind of everywhere.”

NBC Washington reported earlier this year on residents’ renewed efforts to improve matters, including writing to Costco and documenting the abandoned carts.

And past online petitions have urged Costco to “take responsibility” for the carts left behind by their shoppers.

“These abandoned shopping carts create safety hazards and bring the overall image of our community down,” reads one petition from four years ago. “Please assist me in making our community a better place that doesn’t have shopping carts littering parking lots, store fronts, streets and our local park.”

Wohl said things haven’t improved, and that the responsibility must be shared between Costco and those who shop there.

“I think it’s because people live around there and don’t want to drive to Costco, but you can’t really carry bags of stuff from Costco home, so it’s easier to just take a cart and bring it home and then it’s a pain to bring it back,” she said. “Or people that drive from elsewhere may just take the cart to their car, which they don’t park in the Costco parking lot because that’s always a headache and they leave it by wherever they park their car.”

So Wohl decided to shine a light on the problem in her own way, using humor to highlight the neighborhood issue.

“It started as a silly thing, just putting it on Twitter, but it’s part of a larger problem,” she said.

For residents, visitors and businesses alike, Wohl said the sight of so many abandoned carts damages the neighborhood’s character.

“I think it detracts from the community and detracts from Pentagon City and Crystal City, because it looks like an eyesore and it looks a little trashy having these carts everywhere,” Wohl said.

A Costco spokeswoman declined to comment.

Photos via Sarah Wohl (@CartsOfPCArl)

by ARLnow.com September 22, 2017 at 8:45 am 0

‘Hate Group’ Holding Conference in ArlingtonACT for America, which describes itself as the “nation’s largest non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots national security organization” — but which is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-Muslim hate group — is holding its annual conference at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Crystal City next weekend. Marriott is refusing calls to cancel the event, saying: “We are a hospitality company that provides public accommodations and function space. Acceptance of business does not indicate support or endorsement of any group or individual.” [Slate]

Private Middle School Opens in Arlington — A ribbon cutting was held earlier this week for the grand opening celebration of The Sycamore School, a new, private middle school in Arlington. “More than 80 percent of our inaugural students are coming from public school,  which tells me that our community is aching for smaller class options and more individualized learning,” said the school’s founder. [InsideNova]

Another Arcing Insulator Outside of Rosslyn — A track issue caused problems yet again between the Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom Metro stations this morning. The initial call for a possible arcing insulator went out around 5 a.m. Normal service on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines was restored around 7 a.m. [WJLA]

First Day of Fall — Grab your maple lattes, today is the autumnal equinox and the first day of astrological autumn. The equinox will happen just after 4 p.m. Eastern time. [Twitter, Capital Weather Gang]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

by ARLnow.com September 20, 2017 at 8:30 am 0

Residents Irked at App-Directed Traffic — Residents who live just west of Crystal City are upset that map apps like Waze keep directing cut-through traffic down S. Fern Street as an alternative to S. Eads Street or Route 1. A resident who spoke at Saturday’s County Board meeting said her complaints to Arlington County staff have not resulted in any action. [InsideNova]

Army Ten-Miler to Close Roads Next Month — A number of roads around Crystal City and Pentagon City will close on Sunday, Oct. 8 for the annual Army Ten-Miler race. [Arlington County]

Lions Club Scrambling to Find Xmas Tree Lot — The South Arlington Lions Club is not even sure they’ll be able to hold their annual Christmas tree sale in South Arlington this year. The club’s usual location in the parking lot of the former Food Star is under construction and the club just learned that county land is off-limits to nonprofit fundraising. [InsideNova]

Colorado Has Its Own Serial Pooper — A bizarre situation that’s drawing comparisons to Arlington’s own serial pooper of 2016 is playing out in Colorado. Residents in Colorado Springs say a female jogger has been repeatedly, unapologetically defecating in their neighborhood. [Deadspin, Washington Post]

Nauck Leaders Lauded — A pair of community stalwarts were honored by the Nauck Civic Association in a ceremony this past weekend. “Wanda Pierce was lauded for her tenure leading the Arlington Community Foundation,” while “Cleveland ‘Bubby’ James Jr., another longtime resident, was honored for his work with the youth and young adults of Nauck and the entire county.” [InsideNova]

by ARLnow.com September 19, 2017 at 8:00 am 0

Arlington Kicking Off Budget Process Early — Normally it is a conversation that starts later in the year, but for the upcoming Fiscal Year 2019 budget process Arlington County is holding “an earlier-than-ever-before series of roundtable discussions on budget priorities and challenges.” The first is scheduled to take place at Westover Library on Friday, Sept. 29. [Arlington County]

More Renovations for Crystal House — The second phase of an extensive renovation process at the massive, historic Crystal House apartment complex in Crystal City is complete: “Some of the amenities include two rooftop ‘sky decks’ with billiard tables, rooftop grilling and dining areas, and a fitness center with a yoga studio. There is also an Olympic-sized swimming pool, new lobbies with Wi-Fi, a clubroom, and a conference room.” [Curbed]

Arlington’s Little League Coach of the Year — Arlington Little League coach Larry Patent beat out 276 other coaches in the league to win the honor of Coach of the Year. “What makes Larry Patent special,” writes a reporter for TV station WUSA 9, “is that he coaches a team made up of players with mental and physical disabilities.” [WUSA 9]

County to Issue New Bonds — Arlington County is expected to sell tens of millions of dollars worth of revenue bonds next month. The bonds will fund the acquisition of the Buck property across from Washington-Lee High School, the “acquisition, design and construction of an office building at 2920 S. Glebe Road,” and “upgrades to the County’s Assessment and Collection system and Enterprise Payments System.” The bonds will also refinance older bonds and save up to $3.8 million. [Arlington County]

Jimmy Carter Can’t Help Local Office Market — Despite the protestations of a local civic activist, Arlington County officials say they cannot successfully sue the federal government over a 1970s-era executive order from President Jimmy Carter that gave D.C. and Arlington “priority in the location of federal agencies in the Washington area.” Federal offices have been moving out of Arlington for cheaper office space farther away from the District. [InsideNova]

Photo courtesy Joe Cashwell

by ARLnow.com September 18, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

County Board Approves Construction Contracts — At its meeting Saturday, the Arlington County Board approved a pair of contracts: a $2.5 million contract to build phase two of the Washington Blvd Trail project and a $6.6 million contract to remove an elevated roadway through part of Crystal City. [Arlington County]

Firefighters Save Kittens — “A passerby heard the kittens crying from a compost box and saw one of them with its neck stuck between the posts. The Good Samaritan flagged down a nearby firetruck and the firefighters were able to free the kittens. Animal Control was then called to the scene to help locate all of the kittens and bring them to safety.” [WJLA]

Lubber Run Community Center Design OKed — The County Board has given its approval to the conceptual design for the new Lubber Run Community Center and park, which will replace the original community center, built in 1956. The next steps in the $48 million project are for the design to be completed and the facility to be built. [Arlington County, InsideNova]

Arlington Company Raises $42 Million — Ballston-based Federated Wireless, which creates shared spectrum technology for the wireless industry, has raised $42 million in Series B investment. [VC News Daily]

‘Kayaktivists’ Protest Near Pentagon — A group of ‘kayaktivist’ protesters raised banners that said “Stop War on Planet” and “No Wars for Oil” in the Pentagon Lagoon, near the Pentagon and Columbia Marina, yesterday. [Facebook]

Victories for Yorktown, Wakefield — The Yorktown (3-0) and Wakefield (2-1) varsity football teams both won at home this weekend. Washington-Lee (0-3) lost and remains winless. [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Jim Webster

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