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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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]
(Updated at 10:20 a.m.) The new Dunkin’ store at 3300 Wilson Blvd, near Clarendon, is now open.
The standalone Dunkin’, which features its own parking lot and a drive-thru window, officially opened on Tuesday, a company spokesman said. The coffee and donut purveyor was open this morning, serving a trickle of customers who notice the “now open” sign.
The building — which was previously a Dunkin’ Donuts, before it closed and was succeeded Peruvian chicken restaurant Pio Pio, Indian-Pakistani-Bangladeshi restaurant Naan Kabob, and, briefly, Red Hook Lobster Pound — was completely renovated over the past few months.
The new interior includes a steel “Arlington Runs on Dunkin'” sign and “next generation” Dunkin’ features like a front-facing bakery case and tap-based iced coffee, nitro cold brew, and iced tea pours.
The new store, which is about halfway between the Virginia Square and Clarendon Metro stations, takes the place of the previous, more central Dunkin’ location at 3009 Clarendon Blvd in Clarendon, which closed earlier this month.
A company spokesman says Dunkin’ is planning “a two-part grand opening celebration for the end of the month.”
“On [Thursday], Sept. 30 and Saturday, Oct. 2, we’ll be hosting a Free Medium Hot or Iced Coffee offer from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.,” the spokesman said. “We’ll also be offering guests Dunkin’ swag from the Dunkin’ Prize Wheel, photos with Dunkin’ mascot Cuppy and more.”
The grand opening will also include the presentation of a $2,500 donation to the Capital Area Food Bank from Dunkin’ franchisee DDC Management LLC, we’re told.
Given Arlington County’s propensity for encouraging more pedestrian-oriented and less car-oriented facilities — including county staff push-back on a proposed second drive-thru lane for a busy McDonald’s along Langston Blvd — the new Dunkin’ drive-thru is something of a curiosity. According to Transportation Commission Chair Chris Slatt, the use of the drive-thru window was grandfathered in, given that the building previously featured one.
Got confirmaton from the County that it's being grandfather as an existing drive-thru. "There was a determination done in March of 2020 that stated the drive thru window is a legally nonconforming use and permitted to continue without obtaining a special exception use permit."
— Chris Slatt (@alongthepike) September 8, 2021
ARLnow observed the drive-thru already in use this morning, as an Arlington police cruiser was seen making a U-turn on Wilson Blvd and then pulling up to the order lane, apparently after the driver saw the “now open” sign.
The new Long Bridge Aquatics & Fitness Center “should open later in this month,” a county spokeswoman tells ARLnow.
The long-planned, $60 million center near Crystal City is preparing to make its debut as a destination for lap swimmers, casual pool users and fitness buffs alike. A formal announcement of its impending opening is imminent, we’re told.
“We will be announcing its opening date [this] week,” said Arlington County Dept. of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish. “Beginning in September, all of the County’s swim classes will be held at Long Bridge Aquatics & Fitness Center.”
“While the pandemic may have impacted the timeline slightly (much like most construction projects over the past 18 months), the fact that this was a Design/Build agreement assured us that costs remained the same and did not escalate,” Kalish said of the slight delay in the opening — at one point it seemed possible it might open in July. The project was approved in 2017.
Kalish said a ribbon cutting ceremony will be held on Friday, Sept. 24, followed by an open house on Saturday, Sept. 25.
“To celebrate… we are coordinating a community-wide Opening Celebration,” she wrote. “More details on this event will be available in the next two weeks.”
A new website for the aquatics center was recently launched, inviting interested patrons to sign up for an email list.
“Long Bridge Aquatics & Fitness Center is a 92,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art aquatics and fitness facility that serves the needs of health-conscious, fun-seeking and active individuals and families,” the website says. “The center is committed to the promise of fitness and fun for all who live, work and visit Arlington County.”
Those who work at HQ2 have a new ABC store from which to procure their booze.
The new Virginia ABC store at 1301 S. Joyce Street is set to open next Tuesday, April 6, the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority announced today. The space previously housed a Mike Bloomberg for President campaign office.
The CEO of Virginia ABC said the store, at the Westpost (previously Pentagon Row) shopping center, is opening in response to local demand. The 4,200 square foot retail location in Pentagon City will offer more than 2,700 items, including over 400 types of bourbon.
“Store hours are noon to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. on Sunday,” noted a press release, adding that “the new Pentagon Row store will provide curbside service.”
The full press release is below.
Arlington County residents in the Pentagon City area will have a new retail outlet for purchasing distilled spirits, mixers and Virginia wine. On April 6, the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) will open a new store at 1301 S. Joyce St., Suite D12, in the Pentagon Row shopping center.
“Today, approximately 93% of Virginians live within a 20-minute drive of an ABC store. But even with this reach, we heard there was a need to provide a higher level of convenience to the 190,000 people 21 or older who live in Arlington County,” said Virginia ABC Chief Executive Officer Travis Hill. “This new store is proof that we’re listening.”
This will be the ninth ABC store in Arlington County. The new store measures more than 4,200 square feet. The store’s product selection spans over 2,700 items, including 434 bourbons, 381 vodkas, 244 rums, 240 cordials and 217 tequilas.
“Arlington County has more than 250 businesses licensed to serve mixed beverages,” said Hill. “These businesses are also our customers. We are committed to providing them with excellent service.”
The store employs five sales associates, two lead sales associates, one assistant store manager and one store manager who are eager to help customers find what they are looking for and discover new products. Store hours are noon to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. on Sunday.
Like most of ABC’s stores across the commonwealth, the new Pentagon Row store will provide curbside service. After placing an online order at www.abc.virginia.gov, customers can opt for contactless pickup of spirits, Virginia wines and mixers the same day the order is placed, as long as the selected products are available in the store.
Throughout the pandemic, Virginia ABC has implemented safety measures in all of its 393 stores using retailer guidance provided by the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to include:
- Face mask requirement for customers and store employees. ABC will make every attempt to provide a face mask to customers who arrive without one.
- Plexiglas shields at registers
- Floor markers to ensure customers stand at least six feet apart from one another
- Daily cleaning and sanitizing with particular attention to most frequented areas including checkout counters and high-touch surfaces such as door handles and knobs
- Hand sanitizer at registers for customer and employee use
Customers are encouraged to visit Virginia ABC’s website at www.abc.virginia.gov to search for stores, determine the availability of products at any retail location and order spirits online for in-store or curbside pickup, or home delivery in select areas.
Per Virginia law, ABC’s profits from in-store and online retail sales are remitted each year to the commonwealth for designated state programs and services. For fiscal year 2020, ABC contributed a total of $545.3 million ($212.1 million from retail sales) to the commonwealth.
Frederick-to-Arlington Transit Proposal — “Proposed transit service connecting Arlington to Frederick (Md.) and points in between remains on the table, but barely, after scoring low in a recent cost-benefit analysis conducted by the Virginia and Maryland state governments… As envisioned, the transit route would start at Frederick six times each workday morning and terminate an hour later at the Pentagon, with intermediate stops at Monocacy, Urbana, Germantown, Gaithersburg, Montgomery Mall and Rosslyn.” [InsideNova]
Women Groped in Aurora Highlands — “At approximately 7:18 p.m. on November 3, police were dispatched to the late report of an assault. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 6:30 p.m., the victim was running in the area when the suspect approached her from behind and grabbed her buttocks. The victim yelled, and the suspect fled on foot, then entered the passenger side of a vehicle and left the area.” [ACPD]
Data Breach Affecting Hospital — “Virginia Hospital Center (VHC), a community-based hospital providing medical services to the Washington, DC metropolitan area for 75 years, has recently learned of an information security incident experienced by one of its vendors… [an] unauthorized party may have acquired a backup of the database that compromises certain limited elements of VHC’s donor and fundraising information, as may be the case with other nonprofits affected by this incident worldwide.” [Press Release]
Grand Opening for New Business — Paint Nail Bar (1520 Clarendon Blvd) is holding its grand opening celebration this weekend, from 5-8 p.m. on Saturday. “Champagne and light bites will be served and all attendees will receive a goody bag,” the business says. [Facebook]
Tea Returns to the Ritz — “The Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City is now offering Afternoon Tea, bringing a time-honored tradition at an affordable price – all with safety and the health of guests in mind. Offered in their fyve restaurant, featuring globally inspired dishes, the hotel’s Afternoon Tea service is available at three price points, perfect for adults and children celebrating a special occasion or looking for a weekend respite from the day-to-day.” [Press Release]
More Nice Weather on Tap — “Quite a stretch of tranquil weather ahead of us as high pressure dominates into early next week, resulting in dry conditions and temperatures running 5 to 10 degrees above normal for early November.” [@NWS_BaltWash/Twitter, Capital Weather Gang]