Arlington, VA

Arlington County has a plan to lure in fitness-lovering tourists with retro sports ads.

The County Board is considering accepting $10,000 in state funds for a marketing campaign designed to attract exercise enthusiasts to Arlington, as the state celebrates the 50th anniversary of the “Virginia Is for Lovers” slogan.

staff report to the Board said the Arlington Convention and Visitors Service (ACVS) will use the money to promote sports tourism in the county:

The goal is to attract travelers from at least 50 miles away to stay in Arlington hotels on vacation. Centered on the fall race season and major Arlington-based events like the Army Ten-Miler and Marine Corps Marathon, ACVS’s initiative will appeal to fitness-focused leisure travelers through retro, 1969-style visuals and sports accessories, along with creative storytelling via blogs, videos and national social-media influencers.

The item is included in the Board’s agenda for its meeting this Saturday.

If approved, the county would accept $10,000 from the Virginia Tourism Corporation and apply the funds to the Arlington’s Economic Development Commission.

“This fall, ACVS will use the grant funds to collaborate with local fitness and neighborhood organizations to fuse Virginia’s ’50 Years of Love’ campaign with the idea that ‘Arlington is for Fitness Lovers,'” said the report.

The report also noted the county’s 2018 ranking as the fittest American “city” — a title it won again this week.

Photo via Arlington Sports Hall of Fame

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Arlington County is ranked the fittest “city” in America, according to a new report by the American College of Sports Medicine.

“Arlington, VA’s balance of both healthy behaviors and community infrastructure earned them the #1 overall rank,” reads the 29-page American Fitness Index report released today (Tuesday)

The American Fitness Index scored the nearby District of Columbia at No. 6.

Arlington ranked as high as it did in part because 92.6 percent of adults reported exercising in the last 30 days. By comparison, 75.7 adults in D.C. reported exercising in the last 30 days.

Arlingtonians also ranked the highest in terms of health, with 71.4 percent of people recorded as being of “excellent” or very good health.

Other specific data helped improve Arlington’s ranking, including the low number of smokers (6.5 percent), and a low pedestrian fatality rate of less than one fatality per 100,000 people.

Pedestrian fatalities is a new variable for the study, which this year also added criteria to the ranking based on bicycling, air quality, and street infrastructure.

The study was funded by a grant from the Anthem Foundation.

Flickr pool photo by Chris Rief

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A vacant storefront under the Penrose Square Apartments on Columbia Pike (2501 9th Road S.) is currently bulking up for a transformation into an F45 gym.

F45 is a gym franchise that started in Australia and has been expanding throughout the D.C. region, with recently-opened locations in Ballston and Tysons. The new gym is underneath the Giant grocery store on the second floor of the complex, sandwiched between a barber shop and a dry cleaner.

Trip O’Connell is the very enthusiastic managing partner of the Penrose F45. He also manages the U Street F45, which opened a little over a year ago.

“We were the first location in D.C.,” O’Connell said. “It’s been going great. We have a lot of people in the area who liked the vibe and wanted more.”

O’Connell said he turned his attention across the Potomac, where there were already successful F45 gyms like the one at Pentagon Row.

“Finding locations is tough,” O’Connell said. “There’s a lot of new builds going on in Maryland and D.C. and Virginia, but those locations always jack rents up.”

O’Connell said that he was lucky to find the space in Penrose that had previously been occupied by 9round Fitness, a boxing-oriented gym. Currently, O’Connell and his partner are in California getting final approvals from the F45 HQ, but if things go smoothly he hopes to start a pre-marketing campaign on May 15.

“We’re hoping to start running people through test classes,” said O’Connell. “If that goes smoothly, we’re looking at an opening mid-June.”

The plan is to offer first-time visitors a two-week free trial on which they can take as many classes as they want. After that, membership is $55 per week for unlimited access to the gym or $45 for those purchasing membership for those signing up to the gym early on.

It can sound like a steep price, especially with the $10 per month Planet Fitness moving in nearby at Pentagon Row, but O’Connell said the program offers a specialized workout routine.

“The F45 program speaks for itself,” said O’Connell. “Everyone’s heard about high-intensity interval training. F45 breaks new ground on how that applies to a workout. You’re coming to a new gym every day and it’s the same room, but a different set-up.”

O’Connell said the free trial gives people a chance to experience the program first-hand and get hooked.

“We want people to come in and try it,” said O’Connell. “You can’t describe the feeling of doing it with 36 other people — getting through the pain of the workout, and then it’s over. Unless you get people in the door to experience that, it can’t be described.”

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Nationwide gym franchise Planet Fitness says it will be opening a new location at 1301 S. Joyce Street in the Pentagon Row shopping center.

“We’re eager to expand our ‘Judgment Free Zone’ to the Northern Virginia community,” Mike Campagnolo, CEO of Planet Fitness, said in a press release. “Planet Fitness will provide local residents a convenient, high quality, judgment-free fitness experience at an extremely affordable cost of $10 per month.”

The Pentagon Row location is one of five newly announced locations in Northern Virginia. Gyms are also planned for Manassas, Springfield, Fairfax and Alexandria.

Planet Fitness isn’t the only gym in Pentagon City. Australia-based F45 has a location at 1101 S. Joyce Street, also at Pentagon Row.

So far there’s now word yet on when Planet Fitness plans to open.

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Potomac River Running is now open for business in the Ballston Quarter development.

The running apparel-focused shop is welcoming customers once more on the first floor of the revamped Ballston Common mall. The shop is located behind the CVS, in the outdoor section of the development.

Potomac River Running didn’t have to go far to move to Ballston Quarter — the chain moved into a space near the corner of N. Fairfax Drive and N. Glebe Road in 2013 before making the switch over to the development.

The shop also has locations in D.C., Fairfax, Burke, Leesburg, Ashburn, Reston and Vienna.

Potomac River Running is the latest in a series of stores to begin opening to customers in the development, which has experienced a series of delays over the past few months.

The mall’s newly revamped food court is also set to open soon.

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A new Solidcore Pilates studio looks to be on the way for a Courthouse office building.

The company announced plans to expand to the neighborhood earlier this month. A recent Facebook post promises that the new location, Solidcore’s second in Arlington, will be open by April.

However, the company has so far been tight-lipped on where the studio will be located in Courthouse. The company’s website does not list an address for the new location, and a spokesperson did not respond to questions about the company’s plans.

But an eagle-eyed ARLnow reader recently spotted plans in the base of an office building at 2311 Wilson Blvd suggesting that the studio is bound for a ground-floor space there.

Though there are no signs up for the studio at the space just yet, county permit records do show a good bit of recent construction activity there.

The eight-story building set to welcome Solidcore replaced the hookah lounge and bar Adam’s Corner several years ago. A new Wells Fargo bank branch is bound for one ground-floor spot in the building, as is The Merit School, a daycare center.

Solidcore is based in D.C. and operates another studio in Ballston (with a new one on the way in Reston as well).

Each studio offers small group classes with core-focused workouts designed to “work your muscles to failure,” according to the company’s website.

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The EvolveAll fitness studio is returning to Columbia Pike, with plans to move back to South Arlington sometime this spring.

The gym’s staff announced plans to move into a space at 1058 S. Walter Reed Drive, just off the Pike, last week. Owner and founder Emerson Doyle said in a video laying out his plans that he’s aiming to have the studio open by “the end of May.”

The gym is currently located in a shopping center near Bailey’s Crossroads, but it has a long history in Arlington.

Doyle and the rest of his EvolveAll instructors first started teaching classes at the Walter Reed Community Center and Thomas Jefferson Fitness Center more than a decade ago, according to a release from the studio.

The gym opened its first physical location at 2526 Columbia Pike, next to the Celtic House Irish Pub. It then moved to the Food Star shopping center, but was forced to relocate when the redevelopment process to transform the space into “Centro Arlington” got rolling.

This new space will be just down the street from its original home on the Pike. It was once home to True Health and Wholeness gym, which closed back in June 2017, and EvolveAll staff say the new space will be about 2,900 square feet larger than the gym’s current location.

That will open space for additional classes, and locker rooms with showers for both men and women.

EvolveAll currently offers classes in martial arts, yoga and massage therapy.

Photo via @EvolveAll

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Bash Boxing has gained Washington Capitals player Tom Wilson as an investor.

The Capitals right winger isn’t shy about throwing a punch on the ice. But it’s not only the boxing that drew Wilson to invest in the studio, which is open in Rosslyn and coming soon to Ballston. As Wilson found while giving Bash a try, the non-contact boxing-oriented workouts are intense, fun and always leave you feeling reinvigorated.

Bash offers two of today’s hottest workouts — boxing and high-intensity interval training. Taught by the area’s best fitness experts, participants learn boxing basics at the beginning of each class. The 45-minute workouts combine boxing moves, water-filled training bags, weights and other interval training along with concert-style music to hit to.

While Bash teaches you how to throw a punch, it’s the “good feeling” and confidence you build by the end of each workout that co-owner Alex Trakas wanted to spread — and that drew in Tom Wilson and his investment.

Though Wilson wasn’t actively looking for business opportunities, he decided now was a good time to put down some roots and get involved in local businesses.

Want to see what Bash is all about. Visit its website, check out its Instagram or go ahead and book a bag now.

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A Courthouse fitness and massage center is relocating into a larger space not far from its old home.

Arctic Integrative Health and Wellness Center is moving into a vacant office space at 1401 N. Adams Street, near the neighborhood’s Residence Inn and Fire Works Pizza, according to signs posted at the location.

The company, which offers personal training and other coaching services, was previously based at 2055 N. 15th Street, near the Courthouse Metro station.

The new space represents a bit of an expansion compared to the old location, and Arctic made the switch final on Sunday (Feb. 3), according to the company’s website.

The location was previously home to My Thrive Pilates, which closed after the company shuttered all of its locations, including studios in Falls Church and Shirlington, last spring.

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SoulCycle is officially opening a new studio in Clarendon, meaning that Arlington will soon be the home of the popular company’s first expansion into Virginia.

The company recently posted signs saying a new location is on the way for a space 2700 Clarendon Blvd, in “The Loop” section of the Market Common Clarendon development. The studio will sit next to the Apple store and the “Origins” cosmetics store.

Permit applications last month initially indicated that SoulCycle was mulling an expansion to Clarendon, but the company previously declined to discuss its plans for the area.

Now that things have firmed up a bit, however, a SoulCycle spokesperson told ARLnow that the company is “aiming for late May, early June” to open the new studio. County permit records show that the studio will occupy both the first and second floors of the building.

The owner of the Market Common property, Regency Centers, previously used the storefront set to welcome SoulCycle to display information about the impending redevelopment of its other properties across Clarendon Blvd. Construction work on that effort kicked off last week.

Regency announced that a “luxury fitness” company would become the first tenant in that space, and a source familiar with the matter told ARLnow that the building will soon become home to an Equinox gym.

That confirms a Washington Business Journal report from July 2017 that the health club was coming to the Market Common development, though it was initially unclear where it would be located. Equinox owns a majority stake in SoulCycle, and the companies often open locations near one another.

SoulCycle currently operates four locations in D.C., according to its website.

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Work is now set to kick off on a major redevelopment project in Clarendon, with a “luxury fitness club” set to become the first tenant to move into the new, Whole Foods-adjacent building.

The developers controlling the Market Common Clarendon properties, located along the 2700 and 2800 blocks of Clarendon Blvd, announced yesterday (Wednesday) that they’re ready to start construction on an at-times controversial project transforming the old Clarendon Education Center into new office and retail space.

Eventually, Regency Centers plans to add a fourth floor and outdoor terrace to the current building at 2801 Clarendon Blvd, expanding it over an adjacent structure and adding more space in the process. The company is dubbing the building the “Loft Office at Market Common,” with plans to lease out about 145,000 square feet of space in the coming years.

The new development, located across Clarendon Blvd from Market Common’s other property known as “The Loop,” has attracted plenty of criticism over the years.

The building set to be revamped was once home to the popular live music venue the IOTA Club, and many people around the county’s arts scene have lamented the club’s closure as a result of this redevelopment effort, which was approved by the County Board last January.

But the project’s backers are marketing the work as a potentially transformative effort for the entire neighborhood.

“Our team is transforming an obsolete office building into a cutting-edge, mixed use destination by combining best-in-class retail and dining options on the street level, the nation’s premier luxury fitness club on the second level, and two levels of loft-style office space across from the only Whole Foods in the corridor,” Jason Yanushonis, Regency Center’s manager of investments, said in a statement. “Repositioning this building is a critical component to our overall investment strategy at Market Common. We feel like we are hitting the market at the right time with this truly unique space offering.”

The company said in a release that the aforementioned “luxury fitness” company will lease 5,000 square feet of space on the building’s first floor, and the entire, 26,000-square-foot second floor. However, Regency Centers is staying mum on which fitness studio, exactly, is on the way.

“We can’t say specifically just yet, but we are very much looking forward to being able to share that in the future,” spokesman Eric Davidson told ARLnow.

Permit applications from late last year appear to show cycling studio SoulCycle targeting the development for its first Virginia expansion, though those seemed to indicate it would be located in the Market Common retail space across the street from the new building —  Davidson would not address whether SoulCycle is the tenant in question for the new space.

As for the rest of the building, the company says there’s another 23,000 square feet of retail space available on its first floor and “86,000 square feet of creative office space available on the lower level, third and fourth floors.”

The company “primarily” hopes to attract “tech firms, IT firms and government contractors” for that space, the release said.

Regency Centers hasn’t settled on a firm opening date just yet, but is currently targeting the second quarter of 2020 to finish work on the project.

Just last month, the Baja Fresh restaurant adjacent to the soon-to-be redeveloped building abruptly shut down. However, it’s unclear if that was connected to this project or not.

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