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New District Brewing in Green Valley (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Arlington’s only production brewery is set to close in late spring, but its owners remain hopeful about moving to a new location.

New District Brewing Co. in Green Valley is closing at the end of May, co-owner Mike Katrivanos confirmed to ARLnow. Memorial Day weekend is currently scheduled to be the brewery’s last days of operation at 2709 S. Oakland Street.

“Arlington’s first production brewery in one hundred years” was unable to renew its lease due to a rent increase and the landlord wanting them to lease the whole building, a large industrial space near Four Mile Run and the Shirlington Dog Park.

“It would have been more than two and a half times the current rent that we pay,” said Katrivanos. “Plus, an all-new build-out for the unrenovated portion of the building that we didn’t have when we initially moved in.”

Despite the brewery being profitable, those extra expenses are not tenable for New District, Katrivanos said.

“We are being priced out,” he said.

Even during rough times, New District — which opened in early 2016 — has had a consistent community presence in Arlington. That includes a beer garden at the county fair, a stand at the Columbia Pike Blues Festival, and organizing the Valley Fest, an arts and music festival in Green Valley.

The community stepped up for the brewery last year, helping it to purchase its own canning line. But then last month, an indoor dog park and bar announced it was coming to 2709 S. Oakland Street with an opening planned for August 2023. This led to some confusion since that was the same address as the well-known, local brewery, which had not yet announced its own closure.

Katrivanos clarified that this was simply a gap in communication and timing, noting that new tenant locked down its own lease before New District was informed about what was happening.

Now, with a few weeks to digest the news, the brewery is looking to the future and remains hopeful that this simply will result in a move as opposed to full-on closure.

Katrivanos said he no longer wants to rent and is looking to buy a commercial property in Arlington, where he spent much of his childhood. It’s something he’s “made no secret” about wanting to do since the brewery first opened seven years ago.

A number of years ago, New District put in an offer to buy the old WETA building on 27th Street S., not far from the brewery’s current location. But that building and land ended up being sold to the county and demolished for the expansion of Jennie Dean Park.

More recently, there was an offer to buy a building on Columbia Pike, Katrivanos said, taking advantage of code changes approved last year allowing breweries to move in. But that also didn’t pan out.

Nonetheless, Katrivanos is still optimistic they’ll find a new home for New District in Arlington and is seeking a 4,000 to 6,000-square-foot commercial property priced around $1.5 million.

If a new home isn’t secured by end of the May, a tough decision may be on tap for New District.

“Either, we’re going to have to relocate out of Arlington or, something even worse, like probably shut down,” Katrivanos said.

For the moment, though, the brewery is focused on celebrating its seventh anniversary on Thursday, January 12. There are going to be limited bottle releases, half-price growler fills, and music throughout the weekend.

With the end of May in the not-too-distant future, Katrivanos is focused on finding a way to keep New District in Arlington.

“We’ll see how the fortunes of fate treat us,” he said.

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The former owner of Atilla’s on Columbia Pike has combined forces with his brother for a new restaurant.

Back in May, the well-loved Turkish restaurant Atilla’s and its next-door grocery store closed on Columbia Pike after nearly five decades of operation due to the building’s impending demolition. At the time, Atilla’s management told ARLnow that they were looking for another close-by space where they could open a new business that would focus on carry-out and retail.

But those plans appear to have changed somewhat.

Instead, Atilla’s owner Zulkuf Gezgic is now working with his brother at a relatively new restaurant on S. Glebe Road called Akivva Grill.

That restaurant opened at 2921 S. Glebe Road in the fall of 2021, but it was about two months ago when Gezgic “combined” his business with his brother’s.

Akivva, located about two miles away from Atilla’s former home, is a “different concept” than his previous eatery, Gezgic told ARLnow, but the Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine is similar to Atilla’s.

At the moment, he’s “unsure” if he’ll open another Atilla’s. Gezgic said he decided to not open an altogether new restaurant but, rather, work with his brother on an already existing one because Akivva was already an “established brand.”

The former location of Atilla’s is still standing, though it’s expected to be torn down soon to make way for a new residential development. Currently, there’s a sign on the door directing people to the new location.

Sign on the door of the former location of Atilla’s Restaurant on Columbia Pike (photo courtesy of Gabe Paal)

The restaurant’s original owner, Atilla Kan, opened the restaurant on Columbia Pike in the mid-1970s.

In 1998, he sold it to Gezgic but Kan stayed on making bread, hummus, and other items for the majority of the next two decades. Because of that, the menu didn’t change that much from when it first opened nearly 50 years ago.

But what did change was the neighborhood, with impending development up and down Columbia Pike prompting several other businesses like Atilla’s to close. Next door, The Salsa Room moved to Tysons in 2020. Last year, both the Columbia Pike Partnership and the Black Heritage Museum closed and relocated down the street.

In May, the Atilla’s long-time manager Sarah Engi told ARLnow that it felt like many of Arlington’s older, small businesses were being pushed out.

“I’m sad. We are losing family,” Engi said. “Big companies are moving in and smaller businesses are leaving. Things are changing. It’s really sad.”

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Arlington Independent Media staff at work (via Arlington County)

Clarendon-based Arlington Independent Media (AIM) is expanding to a second location in Green Valley.

The community media organization will be taking over three underused audio-visual production studios at the Arlington Arts’ 3700 S. Four Mile Run Drive location, according to a county press release.

AIM, which has a 40-year history in Arlington, produces video, audio, web and digital content for locals and operates the radio station WERA 96.7 FM.

On Saturday, the Arlington County Board unanimously approved a lease agreement for AIM to occupy the studio, office and storage space at 3700 S. Four Mile Run Drive. This space was constructed as a Pepsi-Cola bottling plant in the mid-1940s and later served as WETA’s radio broadcast facility, per the press release.

For the next five years, with the option to extend the lease for another 25 years, AIM will occupy up to roughly 1,071 square feet, comprised of three vacant offices, two storage spaces and three studio spaces, according to the county. AIM will maintain its primary broadcast functions in Clarendon at 2701 Wilson Blvd.

Arlington acquired the facility in the early 2000s to house the Theatre on the Run black box venue, rehearsal spaces, dance studios, offices and gallery space. The studios AIM will now occupy were since used for both county and independent projects, such as the recording of a solo album by local bluegrass fiddler Roy “Speedy” Tolliver (1918-2017).

According to a county report, the new satellite location will increase collaboration between the county’s Cultural Affairs Division and AIM on audio-visual production and broadcasting projects.

“I am extremely proud and humbled to lead AIM as we expand into secondary space in South Arlington. As a longtime resident of Arlington, I respect and appreciate the rich history of the County, specifically Green Valley,” says AIM CEO Whytni Kernodle. “Team AIM is excited to bring community media to South Arlington, we look forward to connecting with the local community, meeting residents and business owners, and more.”

During the Saturday County Board meeting, Board Chair Katie Cristol said the expansion is “a long time in coming” for the “powerhouse” in media education and training, and independent art, news and entertainment.

“This unique collaboration will expand arts education and access to the wider Arlington community and provide the opportunity to share knowledge and resources,” Cristol later said in a statement. “The partnership also further the goals and vision for a thriving ‘arts and industry’ in the Four Mile Run Valley Area Plan by bringing community broadcast services as well as audio visual educational programming to the area.”

Arlington began using the “Four Mile Run Valley” name interchangeably with Green Valley — to the chagrin of some residents, who say it erases the historically Black community — in connection with a planning study that proposed an “arts and industry district” in the area.

The county is taking other steps to infuse the area with more arts programming and community facilities. Last year, Arlington acquired the former location of Inner Ear Recording Studios, once the epicenter of D.C.’s punk scene, and has plans to demolish the famed recording studio in a bid, it says, to make arts more accessible in south Arlington.

It now has ideas for a temporary outdoor arts space where the recording studio once stood (2700 S. Nelson Street). Locals can now share feedback on the future creative open space through Monday, Nov. 21.

The county says that AIM’s satellite location will “help to advance the County’s equity goals by offering the opportunity for community broadcast services and education in south Arlington and aligning with AIM’s mission to increase diverse and inclusive access to established and emerging public media for all members of our community.”

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Four Mile Run near Shirlington (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

We now know the likely culprit that killed nearly 100 fish in Four Mile Run last week: pool water.

“Investigators say flawed seasonal pool care involving chlorine and overflow led to last week’s fish kill in Four Mile Run,” Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokesman Peter Golkin tells ARLnow. “Recent rains have now cleared the stream. Reminder: No filters on our storm drains. Please be careful.”

Golkin said overflow from the pool at a “multi-family property swimming pool” — in other words, an apartment or condo complex — “got into the storm drain” and made its way to the stream, between S. Walter Reed Drive and S. Taylor Street.

Pool water, it turns out, is deadly.

“Swimming pool and spa water can have devastating effects on the health of our streams if not disposed of properly,” the county’s website says. “The chlorine, bromine, algaecides, cleaning chemicals and low oxygen levels can kill fish and other aquatic life in streams.”

“Only freshwater that is dechlorinated, pH neutral, chemical-free and clean may be slowly discharged into the storm drain system,” says the website. Otherwise, pool water must go into the sewer system.

Golkin noted that the county’s rules around swimming pool drainage are “especially timely as this is prime season for closing out pools for the year.”

It is illegal to drain untreated pool water directly or indirectly into storm drains, though it’s not clear whether anyone will face any fines or other consequences in this case.

“It was not a malicious act,” Golkin said. “It was a multi-family property swimming pool. The owners and their service people have been very cooperative with the investigation and in making follow-up improvements so such an incident isn’t repeated.”

Another pool-related drainage issue that comes up around this time each year: pool drainage that flows into neighboring properties, flooding yards, killing grass and sparking neighborhood disputes. The county considers such disputes to be out of its regulatory control.

More from the county website:

Chapter 26-7 makes it unlawful for any person to discharge directly or indirectly into the storm sewer system or state waters, any substance likely, in the opinion of the County Manager, to have an adverse effect on the storm sewer system or state waters. Failure to comply with code requirements may result in enforcement action, including the issuance of civil penalties as outlined in Chapter 26-10 of the Arlington County Code. Enforcement action may also be taken by state and federal authorities in the event of a fish kill. Please share this information with pool service companies. You may be held responsible for the results of their actions.

If pool or spa water is to be released over-land, the release should be:

  • At least 10 feet from the property line
  • Monitored and controlled to prevent flooding or erosion of neighboring properties

Conflicts between neighbors that arise due to the release of pool or spa water are considered civil in nature. The Property Drainage webpage contains further information about residential drainage concerns and the potential conflicts that can arise.

For more information on swimming pools and how to properly manage pool water discharge, call 703-228-4488.

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Morning Notes

Parkour in Gateway Park in Rosslyn before the rain (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Beyer Wins 8th District NominationUpdated at 9:50 a.m. — “Rep. Don Beyer, a Democrat, has fended off a primary challenge from Victoria Virasingh in the 8th Congressional District. Beyer will face Republican Karina Lipsman, who won a Republican convention last month… With 177 precincts of 182 reporting, Beyer leads, 77.82% to 22.18%.” [WTOP, Fox 5]

Statement from Beyer — “I am grateful to voters in Northern Virginia for again making me their Democratic nominee to represent Virginia’s 8th District… This is a challenging moment for the Democratic Party, and I look forward to throwing myself into that fight and making the case for equality, shared prosperity, and progress.” [Twitter]

Singing Challenger’s Praises — From Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti: “Thank you to @Victoria4VA for running and raising important issues in our community. It’s never easy to step into the arena and, win or lose, we should all be grateful to those who do. I am sure we have not heard the last of Victoria!” [Twitter]

Man Drowns in Four Mile Run — “No foul play is suspected in the drowning death of a 52-year-old man in Four Mile Run, according to Alexandria Police. Police were called around 2 p.m. on Monday, June 20. Rescuers found the man in the stream near the 3900 block of Richmond Highway.” [ALXnow]

Neighbors Want Public Garage — “County, regional and state officials descended on Shirlington Road on June 15, ceremonially kicking off construction of a much-awaited and oft-debated maintenance facility for the Arlington Transit (ART) bus fleet… But the proposal still calls for using a parking garage on the parcel exclusively for staff use. ‘Given local parking challenges, a little creative thinking would open sections of the garage for public use, too,’ Stombler said.” [Sun Gazette]

Acquisition for Arlington Company — “Leonardo DRS Inc., the Arlington subsidiary of Italian defense and space contractor Leonardo SpA, said Tuesday it has agreed to merge with Israel’s Rada Electronic Industries Ltd. in an all-stock deal that will create a new public company.” [Washington Business Journal]

Storms Possible Today — From the Capital Weather Gang: “Heads-up for Wednesday afternoon + evening: HEAVY RAIN threat for parts of region and possibility of flooding. * Storms — possibly numerous — between 3 and 10p * It won’t rain the whole time but some areas could see multiple bouts of heavy rain — evening may be busiest.” [Twitter]

It’s Wednesday — Rain and storms in the evening and overnight. High of 86 and low of 69. Sunrise at 5:45 am and sunset at 8:39 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Four Mile Run in Shirlington (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Stay out of Four Mile Run from the Bon Air rose garden to the Potomac River for at least the next day or two.

That’s the message from Arlington County following the release of sewage into the local stream.

“People and pets should avoid entering Four Mile Run from the Bon Air Memorial Rose Garden near Wilson Boulevard downstream to the Potomac for at least 48 hours due to a sewage release,” the county said late Sunday afternoon.

Later that evening, the county said the sewage came from a clogged sewer line, which had since been fixed.

“A clog has been cleared from the sanitary sewer line and the stream is being flushed,” the county said. “Continue to avoid contact with Four Mile Run downstream over roughly the next 48 hours.”

Even after the sewage gets flushed out of the stream, the county recommends against pets playing in Four Mile Run.

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Chess boards, interactive sculptures, ping pong tables and hammocks are just a few of the design elements residents can weigh in on for an outdoor arts space in Green Valley.

Arlington is collecting community feedback as part of the design process for the 2700 S. Nelson Street site, which formerly housed Inner Ear Recording Studios but could become a future outdoor “arts and maker space.”

The county’s second pop-up engagement event is set for tonight (Thursday) at New District Brewing, 2709 S. Oakland Street, from 6-8 p.m. to gather public input to “build a framework” for future uses of the site, according to the project website.

Residents can also take an online survey that is set to close at the end of Tuesday (May 31).

Arlington Cultural Affairs and Graham Projects, a public art and placemaking company, are overseeing the project at 2700 S. Nelson Street and its neighbor 2701 S. Nelson Street. After the end of the public consultation period, a plan for the site is set to be created this summer, while the original buildings are set to be demolished this fall.

The new site is expected to open in the summer of 2023, according to the project website.

Ideas the public can provide feedback on fall under several categories: rest, play, grow, color, design and programming. Some of the questions have a series of photos of design elements, and ask users to choose the top three that they like in the category. The survey also asks open-ended questions on programming and how the design could “celebrate the arts and industrial culture and history of the community.”

Funding for creating a new space is yet to be determined. Jessica Baxter, spokesperson for the county, said “the funding amount is dependent on future programming activities” and the money is set to come from the operating budget of Arlington Cultural Affairs and “other potential funding sources.”

An aerial view of the 2700 South Nelson Project site and the surrounding county-owned properties (via Arlington County)
An aerial view of the 2700 S. Nelson Project site and the surrounding county-owned properties (via Arlington County)

Arlington County acquired the two parcels of land last year for $3.4 million. The outdoor space would be next to the county-owned Theatre on the Run venue and tie into a larger arts and industry district along Four Mile Run. This new district will run from west of S. Nelson Street to Walter Reed Drive, according to a vision outline published by the county’s Arts District Committee in 2017.

Local organizations such as the Green Valley Civic Association have criticized the county’s decision to tear down the recording studios. GVCA’s Vice President Robin Stombler said “losing a small, yet significant, arts-related business is antithetical to this vision” of an arts and industry district, in a letter to the county last June.

This proposed space will be near the recently renovated Jennie Dean Park and the Shirlington Dog Park, according to the 2018 Four Mile Run Valley Area Plan adopted by the county. That plan also called for “fostering the growth of arts uses in the future.”

The report by the Arts District Committee suggested that the new arts and industrial district should keep the “industrial tone” of the area, offer “a mix of entities,” such as galleries, woodworking and live music, along with creative street furniture and lighting to unify the area. It also suggested establishing a nonprofit to manage the district’s finances.

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Morning Notes

A pedestrian crosses Wilson Blvd. near a protected bike lane with artificial sunflowers (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Fish Kill in Four Mile Run Last Week — “Anyone visiting lower Four Mile Run in the last several days should have noticed many dead fish, large and small, along the streambank and floating out in the water, the result of a pollution incident that occurred some time Thursday, May 12.” [Four Mile Run Conservatory Foundation]

Rumor: Board Members May Not Run Again — “My spies in the Arlington Democratic infrastructure say odds favor neither County Board member up for election in 2023 actually running for a third term. And if Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey do skedaddle (and just as they’d start earning some bigger bucks …), the field would seem to be wide open.” [Sun Gazette]

More Big Changes at DCA — “Reagan National Airport is about to go through a massive rebranding. Because of recent expansions, the airport will be split into Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. Terminal 1 will be the original airport building housing the A gates. Terminal 2 will house the newly named B, C, D and E gates. More than 1,000 signs in and around the airport will be changed starting June 4.” [NBC 4]

Arlington Apartment Buildings Bought — “Cortland, one of the largest apartment owners in the U.S., is making a huge entrance to Greater Washington, acquiring four Arlington multifamily properties in an expected $1B investment. The Atlanta-based investment firm acquired a newly developed 23-story, 331-unit apartment building in Rosslyn and a 534-unit building in Pentagon City, Cortland announced Wednesday.” [Bisnow, Washington Business Journal]

County Honors Trees, Volunteers — “Mother Nature is smiling! Arlington County recognized five individuals who volunteer at Bon Air Park as recipients of the 2021 Bill Thomas Park Volunteer Award and highlighted its 2022 Notable Trees — both which honor the people and natural resources that preserve Arlington’s green spaces — during the Arlington County Board’s recessed meeting on May 17.” [Arlington County]

Wawa Coming to Falls Church — “Philadelphia-area convenience store chain Wawa is under contract to ground-lease the shuttered Stratford Motor Lodge site in the city of Falls Church, which it will replace with a roughly 6,000-square-foot store — but no gas pumps… The motor lodge closed last fall, the Falls Church News Press reported.” [Washington Business Journal]

Four Mile Run Dredging Approaching — “Alexandria and Arlington will start clearing debris and dredging Four Mile Run in September, and the project will close sections of [an Alexandria] park from the public for four to six months. The City and County maintain a shared flood-control channel in the lower portion of the nine-mile-long stream, and have partnered to dredge Four Mile Run since 1974.” [ALXnow]

It’s Thursday — Rain early in the morning, then clearing later in the day. High of 82 and low of 61. Sunrise at 5:54 am and sunset at 8:19 pm. [Weather.gov]

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A project scheduled to begin this summer will tunnel under the Four Mile Run near the Route 1 bridge to move overhead power lines underground.

As part of the project, Dominion Energy will rebuild its Glebe Substation next year, modernizing the facility that was built in the 1970s and is reaching the end of its service life. The substation serves parts of Arlington and Alexandria.

“Everything will look a lot cleaner, a lot of the equipment will be a lot smaller,” said Ann Gordon Mickel, Dominion Energy’s communication and community lead for the project.

A virtual community meeting will be held tonight (Wednesday) at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the status of the project and what to expect during and after construction.

When work begins, a 250-foot by 250-foot area will be fenced off in the Potomac Yard shopping center parking lot in Alexandria to allow for a 40- to 50-foot deep pit for tunneling.

In Arlington, a pit will be constructed at the substation and there may be temporary intermittent closures on S. Eads Street, as well as on nearby sidewalks and pedestrian paths. Electric service will not be affected.

The underground line will run between the substation and the Potomac Yard Transition Station, which will be decommissioned at the end of the project. The rebuilt Glebe Substation will incorporate new technology, requiring less maintenance and making it more reliable, the power company said.

“Any time you address aging infrastructure and replace it with new technology the reliability always enhances,” said Greg Mathey, a manager of electric transmission communications for Dominion Energy. “The transmission system feeds the distribution system, so the more reliable and hardened we can make the transmission system, the better the distribution system can perform.”

The construction to convert to underground lines is scheduled to continue through 2024. The whole project should be completed by late 2025.

A chart outlining the timeline of the Glebe Electric Transmission Project (via Dominion Energy)

The entire project is expected to cost about $122.8 million. The State Corporation Commission, which regulates utilities in Virginia, approved the project in 2019. It was originally scheduled to be up and running by this month, but due to the nature of the construction, the timeline was pushed back.

Using a trenchless microtunneling method will increase costs by about $16 million — but it shortens the construction timeline, according to project documents.

This type of tunneling will also reduce construction-related impacts to the Potomac Yard shopping center, as it won’t require as much space for pipes above ground.

The overhead lines that can be seen over Four Mile Run will be removed at the end of the project.

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A helicopter flying at a low altitude over the Arlington-Alexandria border is nothing to worry about, according to Arlington County.

“The Arlington County Emergency Communications Center has received many calls regarding a low flying helicopter along Four Mile Run Creek,” the county said in an Arlington Alert this morning. “The FAA is aware and has given permission for a contractor to conduct this flight.”

Concern about the mysterious chopper has also been registered on the Alexandria side of the border.

The helicopter belongs to a Utah company called TXPX Aircraft Solutions, according to the FAA. A 2020 post from a New Jersey locality’s website suggests that it’s used for inspecting power transmission lines.

“The helicopter will be flying at a speed of about 35-40 mph above or alongside the lines and may circle around for a closer inspection,” that post said. “The helicopter is black with red [lettering and] tail number N500LK.”

As seen in the photos and video above, there are power transmission lines that indeed run along Four Mile Run and the W&OD Trail.

James Cullum contributed to this report

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W. Glebe Road Bridge, with a weight limit (Image via Google Maps)

The West Glebe Road Bridge connecting Arlington and Alexandria is dropping down to one lane in each direction after an inspection found deterioration under the bridge’s sidewalk.

According to a press release from Arlington County, one northbound lane and one southbound lane will be open, with one northbound lane being converted into a pedestrian and bicycle path after the closure of the west sidewalk.

“A recent inspection revealed additional deterioration under the west sidewalk and the temporary walking path, which necessitated the sidewalk being closed in this area,” the County said.

Lane closures planned for West Glebe Road Bridge (photo via Arlington County)

In April, the County Board approved a $9.89 million contract — funded jointly by Alexandria and Arlington — for a bridge replacement. The bridge is still in the design process, with construction expected to start next summer. The County said the closures will remain in place until the bridge replacement is completed.

The County noted that this isn’t the first time travel capacity on the bridge has been reduced.

“The routine inspection of the bridge in fall 2018 uncovered deterioration that prompted a vehicle weight restriction of 5 tons and closure of the sidewalks in both directions,” the County said. “The southbound lane across the bridge was converted for the exclusive use of people walking and biking.”

Photo (1) via Google Maps, photo (2) via Arlington County

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