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Rumble Boxing Gym will open a new location in Courthouse in a few months.

The gym, which offers fast-paced boxing classes, will be located on the ground-floor level of The Commodore, a recently completed apartment building at 2055 15th Street N.

Rumble expects the new location to open in “late spring.” It will be joined by a Japanese restaurant and bar called Gingerfish and a handful of other still unannounced businesses.

The New York City-based fitness chain has some 17 locations, including local outposts in Ashburn and D.C., as well as one that’s opening imminently in Falls Church.

Maria Grenke, who co-owns the local locations, told ARLnow that the Arlington expansion is an attempt to “connect the Rumble community and offer members more options in terms of staying on track of their fitness journey.”

Grenke met her husband and future business partner, Brad, in a fitness-based martial arts class and began training together.

“After successful careers in finance and technology, we were looking for our next chapter and Rumble was the perfect fit,” Maria Grenke said. “We were part of an inclusive community, developed fighting skills (in and out of the ring), and always put in the work. Sounds just like Rumble, right?”

After opening another Rumble in Philadelphia, the newest location in Arlington marks a return to the D.C. area for the couple, who were both raised here.

“[It is] definitely a full circle moment for us,” she said. “We [are] excited to bring the good vibes and killer workout to one of the fastest growing areas in the country.”

To celebrate the opening, Rumble is planning a free “Love Yourself” open-house event on Sunday, Feb. 11, at the gym at 2001 M St NW in D.C. There will be giveaways, samples from wellness lifestyle partners, and a chance to meet the owners.

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Latin American restaurant Maizal plans to open at Pentagon City mall November 2023 (staff photo by James Jarvis)

The Pentagon City mall is adding a dash of South American flavor to its dining options.

Maizal, situated on the mall’s exterior along S. Hayes Street adjacent to Macy’s, is gearing up to open next week, according to a company spokesperson.

The Pentagon City location will be the chain’s second outpost in Arlington. Maizal made its debut in Ballston Quarter’s food hall in 2019. Today, the chain also operates two locations in D.C. and opened a location in Reston yesterday (Monday).

Menu items include “green, grain or mixed bowls, assorted arepas, and specialty items such as south American hot dogs, empanadas, street corn, plantains, yucca, churros and cookie sandwiches,” per a press release.

Details regarding the new restaurant’s hours of operation have yet to be released, but other Maizal locations are open from 11 a.m. to 9 or 10 p.m., according to the company’s website.

Maizal joins a list of fast-casual eateries moving into the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, including Mezeh Mediterranean Grill. The restaurant, similar to Cava and Roti, announced its upcoming opening with a “Coming Soon” banner in August.

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(Updated at 5:32 p.m.) Greenheart Juice Shop is slated to hold a grand opening for its newest location in Ballston on Saturday.

The celebration at 4121 Wilson Blvd will include wellness shots, and attendees can enter a raffle for a chance to win gift cards or class packs to local gyms.

This location, which previously housed Philz Coffee, will be Greenheart’s first in Arlington and its fourth in Northern Virginia. A second Arlington location is set to open in Courthouse “sometime this fall,” a spokesperson for the juice shop told ARLnow.

The juice chain began as one location in 2010 in the village of Aldie in Loudoun County, selling health foods such as cold-pressed juices, açai bowls and salads. Since then, the company has expanded its reach across Northern Virginia, adding storefronts in Leesburg and Vienna.

Late last year, Arlington-based hospitality group Wooden Nickel Bar Co., which also operates local restaurants Copperwood Tavern and Brass Rabbit Public House, acquired the shop. Greenheart then set its sights on expanding into Arlington.

“We’ve expanded into Ballston because [owner Reese Gardner]… saw an opportunity to be involved in a community that is very centered on health and fitness,” the spokesperson said, noting that Arlington has been named the “fittest city” for six years in a row.

The new juice shop will compete with another homegrown juice-and-smoothie chain, South Block, which has been open across the street since March 2019.

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Following the lead of drummers with the Alexandria City High School marching band, an audience filed into a new auditorium Amazon built in Pentagon City.

Members of the Arlington County Board, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) and Amazon corporate employees filled the first few rows of seats.

When the band stopped playing, and applause petered out, Amazon’s Vice President of Economic Development Holly Sullivan took the stage. She introduced a cast of dignitaries, all here for a long-anticipated reason: to cut the ribbon for the first phase of Amazon’s second global headquarters, dubbed Metropolitan Park, or Met Park.

Approved in 2019, work started on the first phase in early 2020 and continued despite the pandemic. It is composed of two towers — named Merlin and Jasper — which span 2.1 million square feet at the corner of S. Eads Street and 15th Streets S.

At their base are a host of shops, restaurants, a preschool, and a publicly accessible park with a dog run (which already had dogs running around), a sculpture garden and water feature.

In his remarks, Youngkin listed these and more features, joking the second campus “should be HQ1” — instead of its first headquarters in Seattle. He applauded Amazon for its commitment to Arlington.

“We celebrate this partnership as it is building a better and brighter future right here in Virginia,” he said. “The Amazon team is truly engaged fully, not just in their business, but in Virginia. So thank you.”

Of Arlington, the governor said the county “is in a critical drive of not just economic development, but future development for our nation and our world.”

Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey emphasized the ways Amazon offset its arrival — and the predicted housing crunch it would cause — through millions of dollars invested in affordable housing. This increased Arlington’s stock of affordable units by about 20%.

“Amazon found what it needed here in Arlington. But Arlington was also looking for someone. We looked to Amazon to look to our community and its values and embrace them as their own,” Dorsey said.

Another value was sustainability, according to Lee DeLong, Clark Construction Capitol Group CEO. The building is carbon neutral and draws energy from a solar farm the tech company helped to fund in southwestern Virginia.

“This building features embedded carbon dioxide, removing it from the environment to reduce construction waste,” he said. “Over 82% of the debris was recycled and therefore diverted from landfills.”

The mood today celebrated everything achieved until this point — but there is still work to do.

For starters, some construction is ongoing and employees are still moving in, according to Sullivan.

“We’re continuing construction on our upper floors right now,” she told ARLnow after the event. “We’re soon going to bring teams in — team by team — to work out any kinks within their space. By the fall we will have all 8,000 employees moved into Met Park.”

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Three years after opening its doors in Ballston in the middle of a global pandemic, VIDA Fitness is holding a grand opening this Saturday.

“It sounds odd, off the cuff, close to three years after the grand opening to do a party, but this was the first time in the timeline to do it,” VIDA Fitness Director of Operations Aaron Moore tells ARLnow.

The D.C.-native fitness club was waiting for nice weather and a strong enough membership base to throw a party people would attend at 4040 Wilson Blvd. The event is scheduled for May 6 from 3-6 p.m.

Moore credits its fastest-growing program, nutritional counseling, for growing its roster of members. Launched in 2019, it aims to address the health issues Americans are facing — and represents another claim staked on a booming wellness industry some project will be worth $7 billion in 2025.

“The biggest trending term is ‘wellness,’ and that’s a function of being cooped up during the pandemic and leading a sedentary lifestyle,” Moore said. “The average life expectancy has gone down for the first time in decades.”

While the program predates Covid, interest in nutritional counseling jumped after the lockdowns and as people began thinking about health less in silos like “working out” and “eating right” and started viewing these as components of overall wellness. The in-person and virtual 12-week workshop, with group and individual sessions, also demonstrates how better nutrition improves exercise results, work productivity and sleep habits.

“It’s pretty comprehensive and we’ve seen some amazing health outcomes,” he said, even for an area “where people are more in tune with their bodies and taking care of themselves.”

And the benefit sweetening the deal? It is free through many types of health insurance as preventative care, he says. VIDA offers the program directly to individuals and to businesses that want to purchase the benefit for their employees.

Initially, the fitness center focused on generating buzz about the gym’s Covid-era health and safety protocols. Moore said that helped coax customers who were already the 10-15% of people who habitually go to the gym, despite Covid, along with others who were more safety-conscious and planned to return when the pandemic was “over, over.”

“That’s where the communication plan was helpful and productive to talk about our cleaning protocols, our air changeover rate, our check-in and contact tracing system, all that good stuff,” he said.

VIDA Fitness cultivated “the credibility of doing what we said we were going to do” while, at the same time, people got more comfortable living with Covid, Moore continued. Membership rates turned a corner in 2022 because people liked the variety of amenities, services and distinct workout environments provided there.

“That’s when it really started to take off,” Moore said. “We’re thriving now.”

Buoyed by “a great first quarter” and more members, the Ballston location completed a large-scale renovation that included the addition of more strength and squat racks and three Peloton bikes.

“We are now a fixture in the Ballston neighborhood and the Arlington community,” Moore said. “We’ve got a great relationship with the Ballston Business Improvement District, which is an amazing resource, and the Chamber of Commerce is a great partner to us.”

Saturday’s celebration will include tours, opportunities to mingle with trainers and neighbors and free giveaways, per an event page. Food and drinks will be provided by Rosslyn taqueria Taco Rock, Ballston-based True Food Kitchen, Clarendon restaurant Buena Vida, D.C.-area chain Nando’s and Northern Virginia winery Fabbioli Cellars.

Meanwhile, the gym is already building its seventh location, in Reston, which is set to open in the summer of 2024. A would-be Rosslyn location was scrapped last year, the Washington Business Journal reported.

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A church featuring a 500-person capacity auditorium is about to open at Ballston Quarter mall.

Grace Community Church, which had previously been holding services at Arlington’s Thomas Jefferson Middle School, is planning a grand opening at Ballston Quarter this coming Sunday, March 19.

The new space is located on the second floor of the mall, near Macy’s, and will also soon include a childcare center, the church said in a press release.

Grace’s Pastor John Slye, Jr. called the new space — which ARLnow first reported on last January — “a safe place to explore faith and to ask questions.”

“We have been able to design a space that is unique and fits perfectly with the unique calling that God gave us,” Slye said in a video message.

As of this (Friday) morning, work was still underway on the church’s expansive, window-lined lobby. The overall space, across from WHINO restaurant, is 23,280 square feet.

More, below, from the church’s press release.

Grace Community Church has moved from Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Arlington, VA to Ballston Quarter. A newly customized space on the second level near Macy’s contains an auditorium that seats 500 people and a children’s ministry for ages 0-6th grade. Grace also has youth groups for middle and high school students and space for community classes.

Grace Community Church has been serving the Arlington community for over 20 years. This move brings Grace right to the heart of the city. Grace has a strong focus on compassion and justice initiatives, creating an engaging Sunday environment that is welcoming to all, and providing opportunities to connect and engage with others. The new space will also become home to a childcare center and many concerts, events and service opportunities for the community.

Services are held on Sundays at 9:00, 10:15 and 11:30am. Grace is celebrating its grand opening on Sunday, March 19 by giving away Ted’s Tarts from Ted’s Bulletin.

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The newly-constructed Azure Dream Day Spa in Ballston is set to hold a grand opening celebration next Friday, Aug. 12.

The spa is located at 901 N. Quincy Street, a short walk away from the Ballston Metro station, in an extensively renovated, stand-alone building that used to house Sichuan Wok.

The Chinese restaurant closed in 2018.

The grand opening is scheduled to be held between 5-9 p.m. next Friday. The event is set to include tours of the facility, as well as live music, raffles, food and drinks, and discounts on services, according to an event listing.

A flyer listing special deals for Azure’s grand opening (via Azure Dream Day Spa)

The spa was founded in 2010 by Arash Hosseinzadeh and Leila Espari, a certified electrologist, according to its website. It was previously located in the Courthouse area but moved to its present location in Ballston in May this year, co-owner Leila Espari tells ARLnow.

The spa provides a range of services, including facials, hair removal, massage and nail care. It is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and until 5 p.m. on weekends.

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The interior of Meda Coffee & Kitchen (courtesy of Meda Coffee & Kitchen)

Ethiopian cafe Meda Coffee & Kitchen has opened on Columbia Pike.

Visitors to the new restaurant, at 5037 Columbia Pike, can dine on traditional Ethiopian fare during its grand opening weekend, set to begin this Friday (July 15).

The cafe, which opened late last month, is open every day at 9 a.m., serving coffee, tea and espresso drinks, in addition to specialty food and baked goods.

A ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for Saturday at 1:30 p.m., during which several guests are set to speak. The cafe plans to play music and serve the traditional Ethiopian dish kitfo, a signature offering of the cafe that is made with beef, chili powder and sometimes with cottage cheese and collard green. It will also serve a vegetarian option.

During the event, owner Yohannes Getachew said he plans to serve the dish in a cone made of banana leaves, a way of serving typically for holidays like Meskel, a Christian holiday that is usually celebrated in late September in Ethiopia.

A flyer advertising the grand opening (courtesy of Meda Coffee & Kitchen)

The Columbia Pike Partnership helped set up the ribbon cutting ceremony, invite guest speakers and promote the event, Getachew said.

The cafe is the second Ethiopian restaurant Getachew has run. He used to co-own a similar restaurant in Alexandria, ZeMeda Market and Restaurant.

He chose Arlington as the new location for his cafe because of his familiarity with the place.

“I know Arlington, I used to work here,” Getachew said, adding he loves the environment and the people in the county.

The Pike has several new restaurants and gathering spots on the way, including a new empanada restaurant and “Nightbird Restaurant and Lounge” in the former P. Brennan’s Irish Pub space.

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After nearly two decades and plenty of delays, the John Robinson, Jr. Town Square in Green Valley is finally ready for its grand opening next weekend.

The event to unveil the $5 million town square is set to take place on Saturday, May 7 at 2400 S. Shirlington Road. It will include a proclamation, remarks, and live entertainment, county spokesperson Ryan Hudson tells ARLnow.

The event will include a proclamation from the Arlington County Board, remarks from Green Valley residents and clergy from nearby places of worship, spoken word by local resident Velator, and ribbon cutting. Additionally, the day will feature live entertainment from DC Face and soloist Pat Brawley, food trucks (including BBQ At Its Best and Kona Ice), a make-and-take art project for kids, lawn games, and more.

The grand opening will also pay tribute to the town square’s namesake, John Robinson, Jr. A long-time organizer and civic leader, Robinson was known as the “Mayor of Green Valley.” He was also the publisher of a free neighborhood newspaper that circulated for 40 years.

“During his lifetime, John Robinson was the heart of the town square. He headquartered his activities to help the community — children, families and senior citizens — right in this spot,” Green Valley Civic Association president Portia Clark tells ARLnow. “It is only fitting that the opening ceremony celebrates John and what he meant to Green Valley.”

The public space was originally set to be named Nauck Town Square, but in 2020, the county approved the renaming in remembrance of Robinson, who died in 2012.

The square was designed by Walter Hood and will feature a plaza, open space, an outdoor stage, diagonal sidewalks, seating, tables, historical markers, and a work of public art.

The FREED sculpture is a 30-foot golden beacon that incorporates the name of a Green Valley subdivision and a Ghanaian Adinkra symbol.

The work of art “pays homage to the notion of freedom, whether experienced as a historical or contemporary and personal or collective condition,” according to the county website.

The town square’s layout and design was the topic of much discussion in the community. It was first approved way back in 2004.

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Morning Notes

Grand Opening for Big Rosslyn Development — “Real estate developer Penzance welcomed Arlington County officials to the grand opening of The Highlands, a mixed-use project in Rosslyn at the top of the hill on Wilson Boulevard. The Highlands, a 1.2-million-square-foot development, consists of three high-rise residences — named Pierce, Aubrey and Evo — with views of the D.C. area and several amenities. ‘We’re proud to be here today welcoming these 890 new residences, exciting retailers, Fire Station 10 and the beautiful Rosslyn Highlands Park.'” [Patch]

Reward Boosted in Ballston Murder Case — “The Ratigan family is announcing an increase in their reward fund from $25,000 to $50,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction of the suspect(s) responsible for Scott Ratigan’s homicide on January 17, 2020. Detectives continue to follow-up on any and all investigative leads in this case and remind the public that any information, regardless of how small it may seem, could be the tip that leads to justice on behalf of Scott and the Ratigan family.” [ACPD]

Retired Police K-9 Dies — “With great sadness, ACPD announces the passing of retired K9 Drago, a 14 year-old old German Shepard, Belgian Malinois mix. He loyally served Arlington from 2008 to 2019 as a patrol and narcotics detection K9. We kindly ask that you keep him and his handler in your thoughts.” [Twitter]

APS Getting Ready for Kid Vax Approval — “APS continues to work with the County on plans for rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine to students ages 5-11 once it is approved, which we anticipate very soon. Once approved, we will inform the community about the availability of doses and how to schedule appointments. Arlington County Public Health anticipates holding clinics and scheduling vaccinations by appointment, hopefully by mid-November. We will keep families informed as new information is received.” [Arlington Public Schools]

Man Seen Stealing GOP Signs — “We’ve received reports of stolen yard signs, and — while we appreciate your updates — almost none of those are actionable because the tipsters don’t provide us any physical/visual evidence. But kudos to one resourceful sleuth, who provided us with these fairly clear photos of a guy taking down Youngkin signs in Arlington last night.” [Arlington GOP, Twitter]

In Defense of Audrey’s Age Answer — “Apparently what happened is that the paper wanted candidates to fill out online questionnaires, and the computerized program didn’t allow respondents to skip the ‘age’ question. So Clement wrote in a younger figure as something of a protest in requiring candidates to answer a question she feels is inappropriate. From this, the Post tried to make a big deal. Turns out the Posties, as is often the case, missed the context. Clement wasn’t lying to them, as they contend. She was f*cking with them. A big difference.” [Sun Gazette]

Arlington Artist Performs on NPR — From National Public Radio: “The Tiny Desk is back… sort of. The first concert recorded at Bob Boilen’s desk since March 2020 is 2021 Tiny Desk Contest winner Neffy!” [Twitter]

It’s Thursday — Today will be partly sunny, with a high near 65, getting progressively cloudier throughout the day. Sunrise at 7:31 a.m. and sunset at 6:11 p.m. Tomorrow (Friday) will be rainy and windy, with storms and flooding possible. Expect a high near 63.

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Morning Notes

Charges Dropped Against TikToker — Charges of violating an emergency protective order were dropped earlier this week against Coco Briscoe, the local TikTok personality whose accusations against a pair of local bars and their employees went viral on the video app. A judge previously ended the order, which Briscoe was accused of violating, citing a lack of physical threats. In the comments of one of her videos this week, Briscoe threatened to sue ARLnow for defamation for our coverage of her case. [Twitter, TikTok]

Buyer for Ballston Health Tech Company? — “Evolent Health Inc. saw its share price shoot up Wednesday after Bloomberg reported Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., the Illinois holding company that owns pharmacy chain Walgreens, is considering a purchase of the Arlington health system consultancy.” [Washington Business Journal]

Grand Opening for Fire Station No. 10 — “This morning we held our grand opening ceremony for new fire station 10 in @RosslynVA. This fire station provides modern accommodations for our firefighters and allows us to serve our community for decades to come. We are grateful to all who came out to share in this special day.” [Twitter, Patch]

Grant for Local Senior Program — “The Arlington Neighborhood Villages program has received a $30,000 grant from the Community Care Corps to support its mission to help older adults in Arlington age in place while staying connected with the community. The funding will assist the social-safety-net organization in partnering with Culpepper Garden and the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing to bring services to residents of their apartment communities.” [Sun Gazette]

How Local Nonprofits Faced the Pandemic — “The new report, Safety Net Arlington: rising together to meet historic needs for our community, is told through the voices of the 21 nonprofit leaders in Safety Net Arlington and through the lens of how they worked collaboratively with each other and the County to face unprecedented levels of need through the first 18 months of the pandemic and the economic and racial justice crises.” [Arlington Community Foundation]

New Gym Open in Bailey’s Xroads — “Gold’s Gym is now open at 5718 Columbia Pike in Bailey’s Crossroads. There will be a grand opening on Oct. 9, noon-1 p.m., with a ribbon-cutting, food, membership deals, free classes, and prizes for members, including those who sign up on that day. The gym has relocated from its former location on Carlin Springs Road to the former HHGregg store.” [Annandale Blog]

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