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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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Demolition could start on the former Inner Ear Studios building next year.

On Saturday, the Arlington County Board is set to review a contract to demolish the nearly 70-year-old warehouse and building at 2700 S. Nelson and 2701 S. Oakland streets in Green Valley, near Shirlington. The demolition will make way for a flexible open space for arts programming.

“The building is in a deteriorated condition, has exceeded its service life, and is cost prohibitive to repurpose, repair and maintain,” according to a county report. “Therefore, demolition was recommended.”

Work could take about 180 days and construction could be completed by the summer, per the report. Electrical outlets and hydrants would be installed as part of the project.

Arlington County plans to outfit the lot with a large event space, a small performance area, a temporary public arts space, a makerspace and seating. It will incorporate objects saved from the former epicenter of the D.C. punk scene.

“Several items of significance were salvaged from the Inner Ear Studio that occupied the warehouse prior to the County,” the report says. “Arlington County Cultural Affairs and Public Art are involving the community in shaping the future use of the site and incorporating the salvaged items for a flexible, open space that will be established after demolition.”

Arlington acquired the property in late 2021 in a bid to create an arts and industry district in Green Valley and make the arts more accessible in south Arlington.

The building is adjacent to the Arlington Food Assistance Center and the Arlington Cultural Affairs building, where an outpost of Arlington Independent Media is now located, and across from Jennie Dean Park.

Inner Ear Studios has remained active since moving out of its long-time home, with recording space now located in the basement of owner Don Zientara’s Arlington house.

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Rendering of new indoor dog park and bar, Snouts & Stouts (image via @snouts_stouts/Instagram)

A new “indoor dog park & bar” says it’s coming to the Green Valley neighborhood, apparently moving into the current home of New District Brewing.

Snouts & Stouts announced late last week via social media and an email blast that it was set to open in August 2023 while advertising that it will be the “only indoor dog park & bar in Northern Virginia.”

It appears to be moving into an 11,000-square-foot building at 2709 S. Oakland Street, within barking distance of the outdoor Shirlington Dog Park.

However, that is also the same address as New District Brewing.

It remains unclear what exactly is happening to the well-known, local brewery. The building has been publicly posted for lease. Snouts and Stouts and New District Brewing are not owned by the same people, we’re told.

New District ownership informed ARLnow that they are “not ready to comment yet” but hope to be able to provide more information in a few days.

ARLnow has reached out to both the contact information listed on the lease advertisement and Snouts & Stouts but has yet to hear back as of publication.

In an Instagram post on Friday, the new canine-centric business posted a video rendering of what the space could look like when it opens.

There was also a message along with the video that alludes to “obstacles” that had to be overcome that “impacted our location and opening date announcement.” Additionally, the message noted that the business will be occupying the whole building in “late spring” with construction set to begin then.

Admittance for dogs Snouts & Stouts will be membership-based, per the website. While dogs require a membership, “humans always enter for free.” There will be also doggy daycare, boarding, bar, and private events.

Perhaps answering the question as to why opening an indoor dog park essentially next to the county’s biggest outdoor dog park, the website notes the reliability of staying indoors:

As dog owners who frequent the dog park, the biggest concern is always the weather. Rain? No dog park. Intense heat? No dog park. Intense cold? No dog park. Even if the weather is fine, our dogs always come home dirty and need a bath.

Well at Snouts & Stouts weather and dirt is never a concern! Our massive indoor dog park, with specialized K9 turf, means that no matter the weather, your dog will be able to play and not need a bath afterward.

As for the claim to be the region’s first indoor dog park and bar, that might be a bit dubious with Backhaus in Alexandria opening two years ago. The business recently has had some issues with neighbors complaining about the “inescapable barking” coming from the facility.

As for New District, earlier this year the brewery purchased a new canning line and again set up a beer garden at the Arlington County Fair in August. When it opened in 2016, New District was “Arlington’s first production brewery in one hundred years.”

The brewery is set to celebrate its sixth anniversary early next month.

Rendering of the interior of Snouts & Stouts (image via @snouts_stouts/Instagram)
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Construction on an upsized home on N. Dinwiddie Street in Halls Hill (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

In Green Valley, resident Portia Clark says she and her neighbors are bombarded with calls and letters from realtors and potential investors about buying their homes.

“We were once a very stable community of homeowners who bought our homes to live here and pay them off,” she said. That increasingly seems to be changing.

There, as in Halls Hill — also known as High View Park — homes are being changing hands as the older generation passes away and their inheritors decide to sell. Some want to buy in more affordable areas, while others cannot afford to make necessary repairs or take over the mortgages, she said.

“At one time, we were the last affordable neighborhood in Arlington to buy a house in,” said Clark, president of the Green Valley Civic Association. “Investors are buying affordable homes, to tear them down and rebuild or have been building townhomes, condos or homes they are renting out.”

Green Valley and Halls Hill — both historically Black communities — are among a handful of Arlington neighborhoods with higher investment rates, according to a home ownership report published by the county in October. The report analyzed home-ownership market trends and barriers to buying.

The county report looked at the number of home loans for investors versus the total loans lent out for every census tract in Arlington. Pentagon City and Aurora Highlands, Radnor-Fort Myer Heights and Halls Hill had investment rates exceeding 12.5%. Investor purchases made up between 10% and 12.5% of financed purchases in Green Valley and Lyon Park, while other neighborhoods had lower rates of investor interest.

Loans issued to investors in 2021 by neighborhood in Arlington (via Arlington County)

Neighborhoods like Clark’s are have lower owner-occupancy rates and higher rates of property purchased for investment purposes, but overall 86% of Arlingtonians in single-family homes are owners, according to Erika Moore, a spokeswoman for the Dept. of Community Planning, Housing and Development.

Reasons for higher investment rates vary by neighborhood, per the report. The county attributes investment in Pentagon City and Aurora Highlands to Amazon’s HQ2, and investment in Radnor-Fort Myer Heights to interest in the River Place co-op, where an expiring ground lease makes properties more attractive to investors than to individual homebuyers.

When asked if staff had any guesses as to why Halls Hill, Green Valley and Lyon Park attracted more investors, Moore said the data staff collected was unclear.

Realtor Eli Tucker says these neighborhoods all have “pockets” of less expensive properties, typically multifamily homes, and many of the investors in Arlington are builders. That tracks with Arlington’s consistent rate of homes torn down, rebuilt and sold at a premium.

Tear-down and rebuild trends since 2012 (via Arlington County)

In Halls Hill, Green Valley and Lyon Park, the less expensive options include apartments and smaller duplex and townhouse properties, which often have no or low HOA fees. These neighborhoods also attract renters.

“[These] are very good rental locations and properties, but tend to be passed over more by principal buyers,” he said. “They can generate higher return-on-investment for investors than many other locations and property types that generate a lot more competition from principal buyers.”

Owner-occupancy rates by neighborhood (via Arlington County)

As for River Place, Tucker says it attracts investors whereas most cooperatives tend to restrict investors looking for rental income. The ground lease set to expire in 2052 creates two investor-friendly conditions.

First, the timeline means fewer mortgage options, which means buyers must pay with cash, which favors investors. Second, it means unit values are going down, instead of up.

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An Arlington man is behind bars after police say he shot someone in the Green Valley neighborhood.

The shooting happened early Sunday morning following what police described as a dispute between two people who knew each other. The shooting was only brought to the attention of law enforcement after the victim showed up at Virginia Hospital Center with a gunshot wound.

The suspect was arrested later Sunday on the 1200 block of S. Courthouse Road, just south of Columbia Pike.

More from an Arlington County Police Department press release, below.

The Arlington County Police Department has arrested and charged a suspect following a shooting investigation in the Green Valley neighborhood. Kareem Parker, 40, of Arlington, Va. has been charged with Malicious Wounding, Use of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony and Use of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. He is being held in the Arlington County Detention Facility on no bond.

At approximately 1:49 a.m. on November 27, police were dispatched to Virginia Hospital Center for the report of an adult male who had self-reported to the hospital with a gunshot wound. He was treated by medical personnel for injuries considered serious, but non-life threatening. He remains hospitalized in stable condition.

The preliminary investigation indicates the known suspect and victim became involved in a dispute in the area of S. Monroe Street and S. Lowell Street, during which the suspect allegedly discharged the firearm, injuring the victim. During the course of the investigation, officers identified the suspect and obtained warrants for his arrest. He was subsequently located in the 1200 block of S. Courthouse Road and taken into custody without incident.

The events preceding the shooting remain under investigation. This appears to be an isolated incident and there is no indication of an ongoing threat to the community.

Anyone with information that may assist the investigation is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4180 or [email protected] Information may also be reported anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

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Two design concepts have emerged for a temporary outdoor arts space where Inner Ear Studios, the epicenter of the D.C. punk scene, used to be.

Last year, Arlington County acquired two parcels of land — 2700 S. Nelson Street and 2701 S. Oakland Street — and the warehouse that sits on it, which housed Inner Ear, a Ben & Jerry’s catering outfit and, temporarily, part of Arlington Food Assistance Center, while its main building was under renovation.

Shortly after the acquisition, Arlington County began making plans to raze it and build an outdoor entertainment space as part of an effort to implement an arts and industry district in Green Valley.

Dealing with the optics of demolishing a famed recording studio to build an arts and industry district, the arts division argues the space responds to community needs and makes art more accessible.

“Arlington County is prioritizing a community-based vision that is reflective of local needs and ideas for public arts programming,” per a recent report.

So this spring and summer, Arlington Arts and a placemaking and public arts firm Graham Projects engaged with nearly 400 people, nearly half of whom live or work nearby in Green Valley, Shirlington and elsewhere, through in-person and virtual events, as well as an online engagement page.

Participants shared their feedback on colors, themes, local history and programming, which formed the basis of the two designs. Generally, they envisioned an open space with natural landscaping and plantings, murals and temporary sculpture installations.

Respondents suggested creating a space that could host open-mic nights, art classes, festivals, kids performances, movie nights, partnerships with schools and community arts programs, and food-related programming to dovetail off the work of nearby Arlington Food Assistance Center, per the report.

Some requested multicultural programming and an emphasis on ethnically and racially diverse artists to highlight the same diversity in Green Valley. Others suggested a new recording studio to pay homage to Inner Ear Studios, which has returned to founder Don Zientara’s basement in Arlington Heights.

In short, as one resident said, the open space should be “a place to create music and art, and not just another performance venue or theater stage.”

Another resident urged the county not to “replicate things that are already available to the community within Jennie Dean Park.”

After going over the feedback, Graham Projects came up with two designs, dubbed the “Grid” or the “Glade.” Both feature:

  • a large event space
  • a small performance area
  • a temporary public arts space
  • a makerspace
  • natural berm seating and built seating

The “Grid” design features community tables while the “Glade” has some pergolas covering community tables.

A pergola, left, amd community tables, right (via Arlington County)

But not everyone wants to see these features take over the open space.

One had concerns that portable art would be stolen, while some others said the county should consider adding parking for visitors to and staff at the Arlington Food Assistance Center.

“‘Pave paradise’ and please, please, please, put up a parking lot,” one said.

People can provide their feedback on these designs through Monday, Nov. 21.

Demolition could start in late 2022 or early 2023, according to a county webpage for the project.

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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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Smoke from the shed fire in Green Valley (photo courtesy anonymous)

(Updated at 4:10 p.m.) A shed next to a house caught fire and filled a portion of the Green Valley neighborhood with smoke this afternoon.

The blaze prompted a large fire department response to the 2400 block of S. Oakland Street but firefighters later determined that the flames had not spread to the house, according to scanner traffic. The fire has since been extinguished.

Despite the main house not catching on fire, the blaze has displaced seven residents, according to the Arlington County Fire Department. One person was taken to a local hospital in stable condition, ACFD said.

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(Updated at 3:30 p.m.) A man said to be armed and firing gunshots in the Green Valley neighborhood has been hospitalized after what police are calling an “officer-involved shooting.”

Officers swarmed the neighborhood after a dispatch, shortly after 7:35 p.m., for a man sitting in front of a house and firing gunshots on the 2100 block of S. Shirlington Road. It’s unclear what he was shooting at prior to police arriving on scene.

A chaotic series of transmissions on the police dispatch channel followed, including officers saying that shots were being fired, that the suspect was walking down the street and not dropping the gun, the sound of yelling, and warnings of potential crossfire. Shortly thereafter, the suspect was reported to be down.

Both police and the suspect fired shots, according to the Arlington County Police Department.

“ACPD responded to 2100 block of Shirlington Rd for the report of shots fired,” the department said. “Arriving officers made contact with armed suspect. Suspect and officers discharged firearms. Suspect has been transported to an area hospital. No officers injured.”

Later, police said the man is expected to survive.

“The suspect, an adult male, is in stable condition at the hospital,” ACPD said. “There are no outstanding suspects related to this incident. There is no apparent ongoing threat to the community.”

The Critical Incident Response Team, established by Northern Virginia police and sheriff agencies to investigate police shootings and other “critical incidents” involving law enforcement, “will conduct the criminal investigation into tonight’s officer-involved shooting,” ACPD said.

Several blocks of Shirlington Road remained closed for an extended period of time. S. Glebe Road was temporarily closed during the incident.

ACPD issued for following press release Saturday afternoon, identifying the suspect as a 44-year-old Maryland man.

A Maryland man is facing charges following an investigation into shots fired in the Green Valley neighborhood which resulted in an officer-involved shooting. El-Amin Mutee, 44, of Waldorf, MD is charged with Brandishing and Felon in Possession of a Firearm. Additional charges are pending.

At approximately 7:36 p.m. on October 14, police were dispatched to the 2100 block of Shirlington Road for the report of multiple shots fired. Responding officers encountered the armed suspect in the roadway and gave him commands to drop his weapon. The suspect refused to comply with the officers’ commands and raised the firearm. Two officers then discharged their firearms, injuring the suspect. Officers administered first aid and the suspect was transported to the hospital where he remains in stable condition. The suspect’s firearm was recovered on scene and the preliminary investigation confirmed shots had been fired. No officers or community members were injured as a result of the incident.

At the request of Chief Andy Penn, the regional Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) was activated to investigate the incident. Following completion of the investigation by CIRT, the investigative file will be forwarded to the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office for independent review. In accordance with department policy, the two officers have been placed on routine administrative leave.

There is no ongoing threat to the community related to this incident. This remains an active criminal investigation and anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact CIRT through the Arlington County Police Department’s Tip Line at 703-228-4180 or [email protected] Information may also be reported anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

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Street scene from Clarendon Day 2017 (file photo)

A number of in-person events are back in Arlington this weekend after extended pandemic-related hiatuses. With those, though, comes road closures.

Clarendon Day is returning this Saturday (Sept. 24) for the first time since 2019. One of Arlington’s largest street festivals, the event will run from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and include music, food, vendors, and art.

There will be road closures throughout the neighborhood, including large swaths of Wilson Blvd and Clarendon Blvd. The closures will begin in the middle of the night, around 3 a.m., and go as late as 10 p.m.

The closures include:

  • Wilson Boulevard, from N. Highland Street to Washington Boulevard
  • Clarendon Boulevard, from Washington Boulevard to N. Garfield Street
  • N. Highland Street, from 11th Street N. to Wilson Boulevard
  • N. Herndon Street, from Wilson Boulevard to alleyway behind CVS
  • N. Hudson Street, from Wilson Boulevard to alleyway behind CVS
  • Southbound N. Highland Street, from N. Hartford Street to Wilson Boulevard
Clarendon Day 2022 road closures (image via ACPD)

The Prio Bangla Multicultural Street Fair is also making its comeback after a pandemic hiatus, taking place on Saturday (Sept. 24) in the Arlington Heights neighborhood between Columbia Pike and the Arlington Career Center. The annual festival has been going on for about a decade.

There’s only one road closure related to this event and that’s 9th Street S. from S. Highland Street to S. Walter Reed Drive. The closure will be from 6 a.m. Saturday until midnight on Sunday (Sept. 25).

There are also two events in the Shirlington and Green Valley neighborhoods this weekend.

Beckett’s Celtic Festival is also set for Saturday in the Village of Shirlington. Campbell Avenue from S. Randolph Street to 28th Street S. (the alleyway near the Harris Teeter) will be closed from 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

Finally, Valley Fest is taking place near Four Mile Run Drive on Sunday. The beer-centric event, organized by New District Brewery, did take place last year. The festival is set to begin around noon and go until 5 p.m.

S. Oakland Street, from S. Four Mile Run Drive to S. Nelson Street, will be closed to traffic from 9 a.m.-7:30 p.m. on Sunday to accommodate the event.

Valley Fest 2022 road closures (image via ACPD)

Arlington County police are cautioning that roads may be congested with vehicle and pedestrian traffic in the areas around these events, asking drivers to “remain alert.”

Parking will be restricted and there will be a larger police presence in the area, according to ACPD.

“Street parking near the events may be restricted. Motorists should be on the lookout for temporary ‘No Parking’ signs. Illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed or towed,” said a press release. “If your vehicle is towed from a public street, call the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222.”

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The legendary Inner Ear Studio has reopened in the founder’s Arlington Heights basement.

Last week, the recording studio’s founder Don Zientara spoke at length to the Embracing Arlington Arts podcast about what’s been happening since the studio moved from its home of three decades on S. Oakland Street last year.

The biggest change is that the studio is now back in Zientara’s basement in Arlington Heights where Inner Ear started in 1979.

“It isn’t gone, it’s still thriving,” he told host Janet Kopenhaver. “I’m back in my basement and realizing I can’t fit everything in here.”

He was able to bring over some of his favorite microphones, but much of his old equipment had to be sold or given away. Zientara said that he gave it to people that he “thought could use it the best.”

Much of the art, band posters, prints, drawings, and ephemera that lined the walls at Inner Ear Studio are now at D.C.’s Lost Origins Gallery. It’s set to be on a display soon as part of an exhibit about the famed recording studio.

“They took a lot… they were cutting walls out,” Zientara said. “Some posters there that I thought ‘Come on, this is going to go down with the ship,’ but they were cutting and sometimes took pieces of drywall.”

Zientara told Kopenhaver that he harbors no ill will towards Arlington County for making the studio vacate the building on S. Oakland Street it had called home since 1990.

In 2021, Arlington County purchased the building for more than $3 million, with the intention of demolishing it to make way for an arts and industry district.

As Arlington Cultural Affairs director Michelle Isabelle-Stark told the Washington Post at the time, the county saw this as saving the property from being bought by a private developer. The plan for the new district has some Green Valley community members concerned, though.

“There was no sense in trying to argue with anyone,” Zientara said about the move. “It was fine. A lot of businesses don’t last 32 years. I’m good with [it].”

Inner Ear Studio is famed for being the recording studio where many of the region’s well-known punk bands recorded. That includes Fugazi, Minor Threat, Bad Brains, and, one of the biggest acts in rock, the Foo Fighters. Some called it “the Abbey Road of Arlington.”

Zientara said that the reason a lot of the indie punk bands came to his small Arlington studio was that they were often rejected from the more polished, bigger recording studios.

“I had equipment that was, let’s say, less than ideal. I had a space that was less than ideal,” he explained last week. “[The] bands were not welcomed at a lot of the studios, but I could record them.”

While the studio is now smaller than in its heyday, Zientara described the situation as going back to his roots.

While he could have fully retired or taught at one of the region’s universities — he said he had offers on the table — Zientara is currently in what he calls “semi-retirement.” That means he’s working when he wants and with who he wants.

In fact, when ARLnow reached him this morning for a brief conversation, he said that D.C. punk music icon Ian MacKaye was coming by the studio today to “mix some things.”

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