Arlington, VA

The new Harris Teeter along Columbia Pike appears to be one step closer to opening.

State records indicate that the grocery store replacing the Food Star market at the corner of the Pike and S. George Mason Drive applied for a Virginia ABC permit to sell wine and beer last week, and a Harris Teeter spokeswoman said it’s expected to open soon.

The spokeswoman told ARLnow yesterday (Monday) that the new store at 950 S. George Mason Drive had an “anticipated opening date of fall 2019,” but did not provide an exact opening date. Previously, a spokesperson said the store was slated to open in late 2019.

The finished store will have 50,000 square feet of space and is part of the redevelopment of the Columbia Pike Village Center that demolished the shopping center that Food Star, EvolveAll fitness studio, and several other small businesses inhabited.

As part of the project, dubbed Centro Arlington, developers are also building a 22,150 square foot public space, 31,530 square feet of space for other retailers, a three-level parking garage, and 365 market rate apartments.

Pop-up hotelier WhyHotel is planning to open around 150 temporary hotel rooms in the new apartment building this fall.

Image 1 via Google Maps, Image 2-3 via Google Maps

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Residents of Arlington will have a number of chances to weigh in on the next steps for the Ballston Harris Teeter redevelopment.

The Arlington County Board unanimously approved scheduling a public hearing related to developer Southeastern’s request to rebuild the grocery store as a ground-floor retail space with five stories of apartments up top — as well as build a second, eight-story apartment building next to it and a half-acre public park.

The upcoming hearing by the county’s Planning Commission is one of several planned to review the project.

A meeting of the Site Plan Review Committee next week will allow residents to learn more about Southeastern’s request to rezone a portion of the land slated for the site as well as view updated renderings. It will be held this upcoming Monday, July 22, from 7-9:30 p.m.

On Tuesday, July 23, the public can attend an open house from 5-6:30 p.m. to ask more questions, particularly about the project’s proposed public spaces, and view the latest project renderings.

Both meetings will be held at county government headquarters, at 2100 Clarendon Blvd in Courthouse.

Southeastern wants to up-zone the land near N. Thomas Street, which is is currently zoned for “Low-Medium” residential buildings, which would otherwise put a damper on the developer’s plans to build 732 units and include retail space in the buildings.

County Board members approved the request to advertise the public meeting during their meeting this past weekend.

In April, the developers submitted new planning documents the county proposing:

  • increasing the number of housing units from 700 to 732
  • seeking a LEED Silver certification for green energy
  • reducing the number of parking spaces to 1 per unit, excluding the store parking lot

“The proposed development will provide a new, top of the line Harris Teeter grocery store with upgraded features and offerings,” an April letter from the developer noted. “It will also provide additional, much needed housing close to the Ballston Metro station and the Ballston Quarter project.”

Five years ago, the County Board approved changes to increase density on the site, taking into account the neighborhood’s development along Wilson Blvd.

At the time, Board members said they hoped N. Glebe Road could become an “urban boulevard.”

Map via Arlington County

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The proposed redevelopment for the Harris Teeter site on N. Glebe Road is moving ahead with changes to the number of apartment units and parking spaces.

Developers are now proposing to build 732 multi-family units on the Ballston Harris Teeter and Mercedes Benz dealership lot — an increase from the earlier estimate of 700 units.

The grocery store owners have partnered with developers to knock down and rebuild the Harris Teeter — the first in Virginia according to the Washington Business Journal — with a larger version featuring seating and drinks and apartments above. The old grocery site would then be transformed into a retail space with more apartments above.

In total the project is slated to include 81,443 square feet of retail in addition to the 732 units.

“The project will be constructed in three phases to keep the existing store and surface parking lot in service while the new store and apartments above are under construction,” attorneys for the developer noted in an April 10 letter to the county.

“The proposed development will provide a new, top of the line Harris Teeter grocery store with upgraded features and offerings,” the letter added. “It will also provide additional, much needed housing close to the Ballston Metro station and the Ballston Quarter project.”

Georgia-based developer Southeastern Real Estate Group, LLC is backing the project, according to a filing, and has pledged to also build a half acre public park on the site, plus extensions of two local streets through the project. The firm did not respond to requests for comment in time for publication.

Updated plans posted on the county’s website this week also indicate Southeastern is seeking LEED Silver certification and are seeking to reduce the number of residential parking spaces to one per unit. The total number of parking spaces included in the plan, however, is 1,002 spaces — including spaces for the grocery store — in three-level parking garages.

The county’s Planning Commission is scheduled to hold a public meeting on the development on Monday, April 29, from 7-9 p.m. at the Bozman Government Center in Courthouse.

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Fairfax County Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying suspects in a credit card theft case with an Arlington connection.

FCPD says credit cards were stolen from a vehicle in the Kingstowne community south of the Beltway — home to the “Alexandria” Top Golf and the Kingstowne Towne Center shopping center — but were then used to buy prepaid gift cards at a Harris Teeter store in Arlington.

The suspects were caught on surveillance cameras at the grocery store. More from a police press release:

Several credit cards were stolen from a vehicle in the Kingstowne area. This happened last week on Tuesday, October 9. The suspects used the stolen credit cards to purchase prepaid gift cards at a Harris Teeter store in Arlington County. If you recognize the suspects, or have information about this crime, please contact Detective R. Burke at 703-922-0894.

Tips can be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by visiting http://www.fairfaxcrimesolvers.org, or calling 1-866-411-TIPS. They can also be sent in via text by texting “TIP187” plus the message to CRIMES (274637). Text STOP to 274637 to cancel, or HELP to 274637 for help. Message and data rates may apply. Anonymous tipsters are eligible for cash rewards of $100 to $1000 if their information leads to an arrest.

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Plans seem to be taking shape for a full redevelopment of the Harris Teeter and adjacent Mercedes Benz dealership lot in Ballston.

The grocery store’s owners are hoping to team up with a Georgia-based developer to build 700 residential units on the property with 83,600 square feet of retail on the ground floor of two buildings, including a newly renovated Harris Teeter store to replace the existing location.

The plans match the county’s long-term goal of transforming the Glebe Road property into a mixed-use community.

Though the plans are still conceptual at the moment, the developer provided some details to owners at the neighboring Hyde Park Condominiums — an anonymous tipster provided a copy of a presentation sketching out the redevelopment to ARLnow. Helen Duong, a spokeswoman for the county’s planning office, said that there’s a meeting scheduled today (Tuesday) for the developer to submit preliminary plans on the project.

A lawyer working on the development effort declined to comment. But the presentation, dated July 30, shows that the developer is envisioning buildings anywhere from six to eight stories tall, in addition to adding a half-acre park on the site. The plans also call for as many as 974 parking spaces to serve the new buildings.

Back in 2013, the County Board approved some policy changes to allow for more density on the site, in light of Ballston’s rapid development along Wilson Blvd. County staff wrote at the time that redeveloping the area would enhance “the southern gateway of Ballston” and transform N. Glebe Road into “an urban boulevard.”

The Board even approved zoning changes to allow buildings anywhere from 12 to 14 stories tall, so the current proposal, backed by the development firm Southeastern, is less dense than the county envisioned. However, it does call for many of the same transportation improvements the county sketched out at the time, including an extension of N. Tazewell Street from where it meets with N. Carlin Springs Road, running through the property.

Harris Teeter envisions building a new, 70,600-square-foot store on the site, complete with an “improved layout” and “improved customer experience and offerings,” according to the presentation. The old store would remain open as workers built the new one, complete with 390 housing units stacked on top.

Plans are a bit less set in stone for the height of each residential building. One option included in the plan calls for both buildings to be eight stories tall, provided the developer can win some policy changes from the county — another option envisions an eight-story building located on the current pre-owned Mercedes lot, and six-story building where the Harris Teeter is currently, closest to the Hyde Park condos.

Ballston Business Improvement District CEO Tina Leone declined to comment on the exact details of the plans, but said “we are very pleased and supportive to see community-building development happening here.”

Map via Google Maps

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More than a dozen people protested outside Harris Teeter in Ballston this morning (Monday), urging the grocery store to make it easier to access a form of emergency contraception.

Protestors gathered near the store at 600 N. Glebe Road just after 10 a.m. holding signs and chanting, urging the grocery store to put Plan B One Step on its shelves. Currently, customers must pick up a card on the shelf for Plan B and take it to either a pharmacist or store manager to redeem it.

Plan B is a time-sensitive medication to prevent unintended pregnancy when taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, but the sooner it can be taken, the more effective it is.

The protest was organized by Reproaction, a direct action group formed two years ago to help increase access to abortion and reproductive justice: the right to parent, the right not to parent and the right to raise children in safe and healthy communities.

“For over four years, the FDA has authorized emergency contraception to be sold on the shelf to anyone regardless of age or gender,” Erin Matson, co-director of Reproaction, said. “You pick it up off the shelf the way you do Tylenol. What Harris Teeter does is asinine.”

For others protesting, it was a chance to stand up for the rights of immigrants and the LGBTQ community, who are able to access such contraception easier than other types requiring identification.

“Plan B is something we have fought for so we don’t have any barriers for it,” Alejandra Pablos of the Virginia Latina Advocacy Network said. “It’s very important when you think about all the immigrant people, the trans people from the LGBTQ community having Plan B accessible to you without ID, without that barrier is super important.”

And Shireen Shakouri, another protestor, said she came to protest after some difficult experiences in the grocery store.

“When I was younger, trawling through the aisle that had sexual health products, I was often followed,” she said. “I don’t need that policing now, I didn’t need it then and I’m here to speak out against it.

Matson said Monday’s action is part of a wider push against the grocery store’s policy, timed to coincide with Thanksgiving and Christmas.

“We’re kicking off our campaign to make HT put emergency contraception on the shelf where it belongs at the beginning of the holiday season on purpose,” she said. “This is a time when shoppers are busy and coming over here, and we wanted to make sure we got the word out and make this change happen.”

For its part, Harris Teeter said in a statement posted on news website Rewire last year that the product must be sold by a pharmacy associate or store manager, as they are certified under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

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(Updated at 3:55 p.m.) Arlington County’s hazmat team investigated a chemical leak this afternoon following an equipment malfunction at the Harris Teeter grocery store at 600 N. Glebe Road in Ballston.

Firefighters were initially dispatched to the store at 2:34 p.m. for a report of smoke coming from the rear of the building, a chemical odor and some reporting a burning sensation in their eyes.

According to Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Deputy Fire Marshal Brian McGraw, the problem came from a water treatment system that was filtering water for a tank of live lobsters. The system overheated and partially melted. In the process, a chemical — “a type of bromate,” McGraw said — heated and turned into a large vapor cloud.

The system was in a storage room in the back of the store and medics treated a vendor who “breathed in a large amount” of the vapor, McGraw said. The vendor declined an ambulance transport. McGraw said minimal exposure to the chemical is harmless, and customers and employees are now being allowed back into the store.

A health inspector is en route to evaluate whether any food might be contaminated.

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Ribbon cutting ceremony for the reopening of the Potomac Yard Harris Teeter store (photo courtesy Catherine Becker/Harris Teeter)The Potomac Yard Harris Teeter at 3600 S. Glebe Road has reopened.

The store had been closed since May 2012 after being flooded with raw sewage. It reopened this morning following an extensive clean-up process and a complete renovation.

Harris Teeter employees held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 8:00 a.m.

The 44,000 square foot store will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It features a redesigned pharmacy, in addition to “all new flooring; new drywall and paint; updated equipment; wooden display cases; new fixtures; an expanded seating area; an expanded floral department; new prepared food stations including pizza, an Asian hot bar, and a made-to-order sandwich bar; and sustainable décor elements.”

Harris Teeter’s insurers are currently suing Arlington County for more than $1 million to recover losses caused by the sewage backup.

Photo courtesy Catherine Becker/Harris Teeter

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'Now Hiring' sign outside the Harris Teeter store near Potomac YardThe Harris Teeter store near Potomac Yard, which has been closed since May 2012 after being flooded with raw sewage, will hold its grand reopening in two weeks.

The store, at 3600 S. Glebe Road, will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 23. Events will also be held that weekend in honor of the reopening.

The store will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

From a Harris Teeter press release:

The 44,000 square foot store, part of The Eclipse luxury mixed-use development, underwent a complete renovation including: all new flooring; new drywall and paint; updated equipment; wooden display cases; new fixtures; an expanded seating area; an expanded floral department; new prepared food stations including pizza, an Asian hot bar, and a made-to-order sandwich bar; and sustainable décor elements. The Company also re-designed its pharmacy to feature an open floor plan that will allow our pharmacists to better serve their customers.

In each of its stores, including its location at Potomac Yard, Harris Teeter considered sustainable building design throughout its re-design process. The refrigerated cases will feature motion detection lighting; the company will also install doors with LED lights on the refrigerated cases as well as LED spotlighting throughout the store to reduce energy consumption. Harris Teeter originally installed both an energy management lighting system and a heat reclamation system in this store and will continue to utilize these technologies to reduce energy waste.

Harris Teeter’s insurers are currently suing Arlington County for more than $1 million to recover losses caused by the sewage backup.

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Crews on the scene of a possible sewage spill at the Potomac Yard Harris Teeter (photo courtesy Douglas Wendt)Arlington County is being sued for the sewage backup that has shuttered the Potomac Yard Harris Teeter supermarket for more than a year.

Harris Teeter’s insurers are seeking more than $1 million in damages from the county, claiming negligence led to the clog and backup that flooded the store with raw sewage in May 2012. As first reported by WJLA, the lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court on Sept. 17.

In the lawsuit, the insurers claim that Arlington failed to properly maintain its sewage system and ignored warnings of potential equipment failure before the clog. Reached by ARLnow.com, Arlington County officials declined comment, citing the pending litigation.

Harris Teeter said last month that it plans to reopen the Potomac Yard store, at 3600 S. Glebe Road, at some point in October.

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'Now Hiring' sign outside the Harris Teeter store near Potomac YardThe Harris Teeter at 3600 S. Glebe Road, near Potomac Yard, is getting closer to reopening.

The grocery store closed in May 2012 after it was flooded with raw sewage, the result of a clog at the nearby Arlington County Water Pollution Control Plant. The contents of the store were scrapped, and construction on a brand new interior has been underway since this spring, when the company announced plans to reopen later this year.

Harris Teeter is now hiring personnel for the store, according to a number of online job listings posted over the past 10 days. The store reapplied for a Virginia ABC wine and beer license and keg permit on Monday.

The store will reopen at some point in October, Harris Teeter spokeswoman Catherine Becker told ARLnow.com yesterday.

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