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by Tim Regan — February 23, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

(Updated at 3:44 p.m.) The Clarendon area has a new spot for haircuts.

The barbershop, Willy and Habib’s, opened at 3107 10th Street N about three weeks ago, said co-owner Habib Zaki. The shop is a short walk from the Clarendon Metro station.

Customers at the newly opened shop can get haircuts, shaves and stylings. A cut costs just $20, and the shop has flatscreen televisions, leather barber chairs and lots of nearby parking as perks for clients.

Zaki is a veteran of Pete’s Barbershop, the beloved Westover business that attracts customers from across Arlington. So far, business at Willy and Habib’s has been “pretty good,” Zaki said, a claim matched by a recent flurry of positive Yelp reviews.

by ARLnow.com — February 22, 2017 at 9:30 am 0

Yellow Line Metro trains at National Airport (Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley)

Airbnb Reg Changes Proposed — The Arlington County Board is considering more updates to its new Airbnb regulations. The Board on Saturday is expected to advertise two potential changes: first, eliminate the loophole that allowed Airbnb hosts to get out of paying hotel taxes if they host fewer than four guests at a time. Second, set a $60 annual fee for the permits required to be an Airbnb (or VRBO, HomeAway, etc.) host in Arlington. [Arlington County, Arlington County]

Letter: Short-Term Rentals Pose Risks — A pair of letter to the editor writers in the Sun Gazette argue that allowing Airbnb and other short-term rental services in Arlington involves major risks to safety and the potential for abuse of affordable housing. [InsideNova]

Meeting to Discuss Proposed VRE Fare Hike — A meeting will be held March 7 in Crystal City to discuss a proposed 3 percent fare hike for Virginia Railway Express. [WTOP]

FBR to Be Acquired — Rosslyn-based investment bank FBR is being acquired by Los Angeles-based B. Riley Financial Inc. for $160.1 million in cash and stock. FBR’s chairman and chief executive will become CEO of the combined company. [InvestmentNews, Washington Business Journal]

Wakefield B-Ball Teams Advance — The Wakefield Warriors boys and girls basketball teams have clinched state tournament berths. [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

by ARLnow.com — February 15, 2017 at 2:35 pm 0

Virginia Square restaurant Water & Wall (3811 Fairfax Drive) has closed its doors for good.

The restaurant, which opened in November 2013 and served “creative American cuisine,” announced the closing on Facebook today.

“After 3 1/2 years, we have decided to close Water & Wall,” said the Facebook post. “We hope you’ll visit us at Kyirisan and Chase the Submarine. We have loved being a part of your lives.”

Water & Wall served its last dinner customers last night, the Washington Post’s Tom Sietsema said on his “Ask Tom” chat today.

A year ago, during an ARLnow.com-organized panel discussion on the local restaurant industry, Water & Wall owner and acclaimed chef Tim Ma was asked about keeping customers coming back after the initial excitement of a restaurant’s opening.

“Everybody was coming through the door on day one, two years later, it’s all about retention,” Ma said. “Staying relevant is probably the hardest thing. There are so many new restaurants opening, so many different areas coming back to life, staying relevant is hard.”

The restaurant has previously launched limited-time, “pop-up” menus, offering new dishes for diners to try. It brought on a new chef in June.

by Tim Regan — February 8, 2017 at 1:25 pm 0

The company behind a Clarendon cycling shop has a new owner and a new name.

Local bike and clothing chain Revolution Cycles is now the “Trek Bicycle Store.” The name change is part of a sale to the Trek Bicycle Corporation, a Wisconsin-based retailer of bicycles and riding accessories.

Workers will soon install signs with the company’s new name at the former Revolution Cycles at 2731 Wilson Blvd in Clarendon as well as at the locations in Georgetown, Rockville and Stafford.

“We have plans to expand and continue to improve everything that has made these stores so important to the communities they serve,” Trek spokesman Eric Bjorling told ARLnow.com. “Along with us will come a dedication to creating a great environment for local cyclists through local cycling advocacy and we will be focused on finding all the opportunities we can to create unforgettable retail experiences.”

Revolution founders Mike Hamannwright and Santiago “Pinkey” Gonzalez thanked the store’s longtime customers in an email yesterday.

The full email is below.

Twenty years ago, a couple guys set out on a mission to fulfill a personal dream, namely to turn our passion for bicycles, serving customers and wearing shorts to work into a livelihood. Thus was born Revolution Cycles at the foot of the Key Bridge in Georgetown.

The time has come for us to pass the baton and move into the next chapter of our lives. We’ve been honored to serve the Washington D.C. community and have watched our dream grow into a successful and vibrant family of four stores stretching from Rockville, Maryland, to Stafford, Virginia. From your house to the White Hose, we’ve always strived to exceed expectations. In this journey, we’ve been carried by a tide of amazing customers and a dedicated and talented staff.

We love the business we’ve all built together, and as we planned for the future, our priority was finding a partner who shared our core values and would commit to building upon what we’ve developed. We believe the best part of our business wears shoes; the customers and our tremendous staff. We needed to know that Revolution Cycles would be in the caring hands of people who have a passion for cycling, a reputation for excellent customer service, and a dedication to giving back to the community through advocacy.

We have found that partner in Trek Bicycle. We know they will do a great job and that your experience with your shops and cycling in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia will continue to improve under their guidance and leadership.

There truly aren’t words that adequately say “thank you” for all the support you’ve given us through the years. Owning a small business is a ride like no other. Without your support, there is no revolution cycles. Over the years we’ve drawn inspiration and our drive from the energy of our customers and hundreds of staff who’ve worn the Revolution Cycles black and red polo.

We are forever grateful you chose us to be your local bike shop.

Happy cycling,

Mike and Pinkey

by ARLnow.com — February 1, 2017 at 1:55 pm 0

1812 N. Moore Street model at groundbreaking ceremony

(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) Nestlé is moving its U.S. corporate headquarters from Southern California to Rosslyn, the company announced today.

The move, a boon to Arlington in its effort to reduce the county’s office vacancy rate and its reliance on government-related employment, will finally bring an anchor tenant to 1812 N. Moore Street.

1812 North Moore Street (photo courtesy Monday Properties)The 35-story office building, owned by Monday Properties, was completed in 2013 after being built “on spec” and has remained vacant since, awaiting a major tenant. Nestlé will be initially leasing 40 percent of the building, just over 200,000 square feet on the top nine floors, with the option to expand to over 250,000 square feet, according to a press release.

Nestlé had $26 billion in sales in the United States in 2015. The company’s brands include Haagen-Dazs, Coffee-mate, Stouffer’s, DiGiorno, Gerber, Kit Kat and Pure Life bottled water.

“Monday Properties is proud to welcome Nestlé, one of the world’s finest companies, to our landmark property, 1812 North Moore Street, in the heart of Rosslyn,” said Anthony Westreich, CEO of Monday Properties, in a statement. “This transaction is particularly special to my family and me because we have been intimately involved in the early development of Rosslyn, dating back to the early 1960s. My father, Stanley Westreich, and his partners developed many of the first high rise projects in Rosslyn, having overseen the Gannett Company’s relocation in 1984 to Rosslyn at our 1000 Wilson Boulevard project just one block east of 1812 N. Moore Street.”

Nestlé will be investing $40 million in the relocation and estimates that it will be creating about 750 jobs locally. The company chose Rosslyn over 20 potential locations across the country after being offered $10 million in grants from the state, and $4 million in grants and $2 million in infrastructure improvements by Arlington County, the Washington Post reported.

The Washington Business Journal was the first to break the news, ahead of a 3:15 p.m. press conference with Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe in Rosslyn. Less than weeks ago ARLnow.com predicted that 1812 N. Moore Street would get its first tenant this year.

Arlington is not the only beneficiary of Nestlé’s move. St. Louis stands to gain 300 jobs as Nestlé centralizes its information technology operations in the city, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported today. But Arlington is the big winner, gaining high-paying jobs and a prestigious corporate tenant that will further boost the county’s business reputation.

A big part of the draw: the highly-educated workforce in the area. Nestlé USA’s CEO cited “benefits for our current employees as well as a great talent pool for the future” in an Arlington County press release. That echoes what Monday Properties says is driving leasing along Arlington’s Metro corridors.

“Nestlé’s announcement comes on the heels of a number of high-profile corporate commitments to the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, which has transformed and attracted one of the country’s most desirable pools of top talent for companies looking to leverage for future growth,” the property owner said.

More from the press release:

“It is an honor to have Nestlé as our anchor tenant at 1812 North Moore Street,” said Tim Helmig, President and COO of Monday Properties. “The magnitude of securing one of the most widely recognized corporate brands in the world reinforces our initial strategic business plan which was to develop an office project that would attract prestigious corporate tenants to occupy what is arguably the highest quality designed office project in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area. As companies such as Nestlé increasingly look to procure first-rate amenities and easy accessibility to Washington, D.C., they’ll find that Rosslyn offers a business-friendly environment unparalleled with lifestyle opportunities for its employees.”

Soaring 390 feet, the LEED Platinum certified 1812 North Moore Street building is metropolitan Washington, D.C.’s tallest building with unprecedented visibility and recognition in the marketplace. Of incomparable caliber, distinct design and boasting the most efficient floor plates of any trophy building in the area, the building offers 537,000 square feet spanning 35 stories. The project’s remaining floors (encompassing over 300,000 square feet) provide future tenants with quality view space which is situated within a neighboring “who’s who” tenancy, including but not limited to Grant Thornton, Sinclair Broadcasting, Sands Capital, Raytheon Company, and BAE Systems.

“Rosslyn has clearly arrived,” noted Austin Freeman, Monday Properties Regional Portfolio Manager, who added “Companies are searching not only for quality and efficient real estate solutions, but want to be situated in a premier, transit accessible location that can attract and retain employee talent. 1812’s centralized location and Rosslyn’s unparalleled access to the entire metro DC region has resonated with corporate decision makers. When a company of Nestlé’s stature and global reach enters the market, it says a lot for the Rosslyn, Virginia story.”

On the heels of the Nestlé transaction and as a result of projected increases in defense spending under the Trump administration, Monday Properties expects to see sustained momentum in commercial real estate leasing within Rosslyn over the coming months.  Monday has transacted on over 650,000 square feet of leasing activity in Rosslyn over the past 18 months.

by ARLnow.com — January 28, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Vanessa Reisis, along with her husband and kids, have been running Goody’s Pizza (3125 Wilson Blvd) since it opened in Clarendon in 2006.

When we checked in with “Momma Goody” last summer, she said the family-owned shop was struggling to keep up with high rent and lots of competition.

But there’s good news: since then business has picked up and Reisis is confident that Goody’s will be able to renew its lease and keep serving the shop’s loyal customers for years to come.

We talked about that and more on this week’s 26 Square Miles podcast. Listen below or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google PlayStitcher or TuneIn.

Also, be sure to check out this week’s sponsor, Crystal Couture, which starts next Thursday, Feb. 2, in Crystal City.

by ARLnow.com — January 23, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Arlington Democrats participate in Saturday's Women's March (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

Women’s March Crowds Local Metro Stations — Arlington County Police assisted with crowd and traffic control before and after the Women’s March on Saturday. The event resulted in crowded Metro stations and heavy traffic on routes into the District. [Twitter, Twitter]

Local Restaurant Owner Expands into D.C. — Javier Candon, the co-owner of SER Restaurant in Ballston, has opened a new Spanish restaurant, Joselito Casa de Comidas, in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of D.C. [WTOP]

Reconsidering Virginia’s No-Bars Law — In Virginia, restaurants that serve mixed drinks must make at least 45 percent of their gross sales from food and nonalcoholic beverages. The rule is essentially intended to prevent the opening of bars and nightclubs devoted exclusively to the sale of alcoholic beverages. But some believe the rule should be repealed because it “infringes on the rights of restaurant owners, and limits choice for consumers.” [Reason, Virginian-Pilot]

Obit: Ruth Graze — Arlington resident Ruth Graze, a former advertising executive and former volunteer for the group Arlingtonians for a Better County, died on Dec. 23 at the age of 102. [Washington Post]

Reminder: Submitting Events — As a reminder to those who are planning events in Arlington, the best way to submit events to us is via our event calendar. Sending a press release is usually not necessary. [ARLnow]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

by ARLnow.com — January 9, 2017 at 3:50 pm 0

A longtime Lee Highway seafood shop has closed its doors.

America Seafood Corp., a standalone store located in the Lee Heights Shops parking lot at 4450 Lee Highway, served its final customers on Dec. 31. Owners Gary and Martha Royce were clearing out the last of the store’s equipment today.

The shop has been open for nearly 35 years — a sign in the window sign says 44 years, but that’s a typo, Gary says — and has served legions of locals seeking the freshest seafood and Key lime pies around.

Royce said he his wife were planning to move back down to his native Key West within a month. He plans to stay there at least a year before potentially coming back up to Arlington and deciding what to do next.

“Just wanted to get out of here, we have been here for 35 years already,” Royce said. The response from customers, he said, has been one of shock and sadness.

“Two ladies came here crying,” he said. “The people love this place. I mean, we have been here longer than any shop in this whole place.”

The secret, according to Royce, was “good seafood, good banter.” Royce said he sourced his seafood primarily from New England and Florida fisheries, which set his offerings apart from those in grocery stores.

“We sold a lot of Florida fish: grouper, snapper, yellowtail, swordfish, tuna,” he said, listing some of his best sellers. “I sold two different size shrimp from Key West, Florida… we sold all different kinds of fish, some of them were not even the same week, sometimes we sold trout, Chilean sea bass, we sold salmon.”

“I think I sold quality stuff, that’s why the people want to know where can they go buy quality fish around here,” he continued. “I bought it all direct, nothing from around here… that’s all CO2 [carbon dioxide] treated. They inject it with stuff and freeze it then you thaw it. That’s what they sell at grocery stores.”

So where should customers go to find fresh seafood now that America Seafood has closed down? Gary wouldn’t say for publication, but he did suggest that customers weren’t happy with the recommendation.

“I tell them and they say, ‘that place is terrible.'”

Hat tip to John B.

by ARLnow.com — January 5, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Icy fence (Flickr pool photo by Eric)

CEB Being Acquired — Arlington-based CEB Inc., one of the county’s biggest private employers, is being acquired by Connecticut-based Gartner in a $2.6 billion cash-and-stock deal. CEB is set to anchor one of the under-construction Central Place towers in Rosslyn once it is completed. [Reuters, Gartner]

Fisette Still Mulling Reelection Run — Jay Fisette, who is serving as Arlington County Board Chair for 2017, has not yet decided whether he’ll run for another four-year term. Fisette says he’ll make a decision in February, the Washington Post’s Patricia Sullivan reports. [Twitter]

What County Board Members Did for New Year’s — With the County Board’s traditional New Year’s Day organizational meeting moved to Jan. 3, what did County Board members do on Jan. 1 instead? Nothing too interesting, it turns out. [Falls Church News-Press]

Obama’s Military Farewell Ceremony — It tied up some traffic in Arlington, but yesterday afternoon the country’s armed forces bid farewell to President Obama and Vice President Biden on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. The event went well, minus one Army honor guard member fainting during the ceremony. [NBC News, Daily Mail]

Couple Married After 20 Years Together — An Arlington couple that first met 20 years ago in a D.C. nightclub finally tied the knot over the summer. Bob Kenney, a real estate agent, and Mark Treadaway, an airport executive, were wed in the backyard of their Woodmont home in front of 75 guests. [Arlington Magazine]

Nearby: Alexandria Flips Out Over Taco Bell — Residents in the West End of Alexandria are really worried about a proposed Taco Bell. In letters to the city’s planning commission, residents decried the potential for “late night riff raff,” “the devastating effects of an accident,” and “lowered home values.” One resident also relayed her personal experience of going to a Taco Bell that had run out of forks. There are four Taco Bells in Arlington County, including one on the Alexandria border and another in the Pentagon. [Washington Business Journal, City of Alexandria]

Va. Legislator Proposes N.C. Style Bathroom Bill — Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William) has proposed a “bathroom bill” similar to the controversial bill that because law in North Carolina. The bill would restrict transgender individuals from using certain bathrooms and would require school principals to “notify all parents if a student at their children’s school asks to be treated as a member of the opposite sex.” [Washington Post]

Flickr pool photo by Eric

by Tim Regan — January 3, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

A fan of Cherrydale’s House of Steep is buying the business to keep it from closing.

Lyndsey DePalma, who founded the tea house and “foot sanctuary”at 3800 Lee Highway, announced last month she planned to close the business and “lovingly serve our last cup of tea” by Dec. 30.

Though the business did close its doors last weekend, it’s only temporary thanks to longtime House of Steep customer and Arlington business owner Patrick Vaughan.

Vaughan, a regular runner of ultramarathons, said he was in the middle of a reflexology and foot massage session when he heard that the store was slated to shutter.

“I was really saddened when I heard it was going to close,” he recalled.

Then, he had an idea: Why not see if he could buy the business to keep it afloat? So, Vaughan called up DePalma, and within just 12 hours, they shook hands on a deal.

“I’ve wanted to get into a health and bodywork kind of business for a long time,” Vaughan said. “It just clicked for me. It just really made sense.”

For DePalma, the sale represents a kind of “fairytale ending.”

“I think he’s willing to take his ideas the distance,” she said. “He seems very passionate to begin with and willing to follow through.”

Although Vaughan said he doesn’t want to change the company’s atmosphere or culture, he does plan to add some new offerings and services to the menu.

“I’d like to be able to get beyond foot massage into full-body massage,” said Vaughan, who also owns a local information technology business. “I’m definitely looking to expand the techniques of massage offerings.”

House of Steep is scheduled to reopen Jan. 9.

by ARLnow.com — January 3, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Happy New Year gear lying on a Clarendon sidewalk on a rainy day

Heavy Traffic, Metro Issues — Commuters were welcomed back to work and back to school with a soaking rush hour rain, heavy traffic and delays on Metro’s Yellow and Blue lines. [Washington Post, Twitter]

Are We In a Restaurant Bubble?At last count, more restaurants closed than opened in Arlington last year. There’s talk that certain parts of Arlington’s restaurant scene — sit-down restaurants in particular — are oversaturated. While there’s always room for top-notch restaurants, Arlington’s restaurant woes are seemingly consistent with the assertion that we are in a national restaurant bubble. [Thrillist]

Take Our 2017 Reader Survey — Once a year, we give our readers a chance to weigh in on how we’re doing and what we might do to improve. We also over-share potential changes that we’re considering (some more seriously than others). Now is your chance to share your insights and opinions about ARLnow. [SurveyMonkey]

by ARLnow.com — December 15, 2016 at 4:55 pm 0

Chris Farley (center) recording his Pace the Nation podcast

Chris Farley is a native Arlingtonian who had a knack for running and turned it into a thriving local business.

Farley, the owner and co-founder of Pacers Running, talked with us about how he and his parents bought a local running store and worked hard to grow it to a small chain that also organizes local races.

On this week’s 26 Square Miles podcast we also ask Farley about his podcast, Pace the Nation, and about some of his well-known clients. Be sure to stay tuned to the end for a discussion about the challenging retail climate in Arlington County and how e-commerce is impacting local businesses.

Listen below or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google PlayStitcher or TuneIn.

by ARLnow.com — December 14, 2016 at 9:00 am 0

Buildings in Rosslyn

County to Buy Houses for Fire Station — The Arlington County Board last night approved the purchase of two houses on N. Culpeper Street for a total of $1.68 million. The houses are needed for the construction of a new Fire Station No. 8. One house will be torn down to make way for a temporary fire station, while the other will serve as quarters for firefighters at the station. [Arlington County]

Boeing to Move Defense HQ to Arlington — Boeing is moving the headquarters of its Defense, Space and Security unit from St. Louis to its existing regional HQ in Crystal City. The move will bring about a dozen top executives and fifty support staff to Arlington. [Washington Business Journal]

County Buying Bus Maintenance Site in Springfield — County Board members unanimously approved the $4.65 million purchase of 2.15 acre industrial site in Springfield, Va., to be used as a future heavy maintenance facility for Arlington Transit buses. After it is built, the facility will replace the current leased ART maintenance facility, located in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County. [Arlington County, Arlington County]

ACPD Distributing Toys for the Holidays — Arlington County Police Department officers have been delivering toys to Arlington Public Schools families in need, after collecting the toys during the department’s Fill the Cruiser drive. [Twitter]

Recycling Center Move Approved — The Four Mile Run Drive self-serve recycling center will soon be moving to the Arlington Trades Center, as expected. The County Board unanimously approved the move at its Tuesday night meeting. “County workers will be better able to monitor recycling at this location, to make sure the site is maintained properly and remains litter-free,” said Board Chair Libby Garvey. [Arlington County]

by ARLnow.com — December 9, 2016 at 3:30 pm 0

Kate RocheAs leader of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, Kate Bates (née Roche) has lately taken an active role on issues like trespass towing and Airbnb rentals.

The Chamber is very much opposed to a proposed addition to the county’s towing ordinance that would require business owners to individually authorize each tow from their parking lots. The Arlington County Board is set to take up the issue this coming Tuesday, with the County Manager recommending against the so-called “second signature” requirement.

On Airbnb and other short term rentals, the Chamber has actively engaged its members on the county’s new proposed regulations, which are going before the Board on Saturday. With hotels in support of additional regulations, and apartment owners against (they would like the option of generating revenue through Airbnb while they lease up new buildings), the Chamber has declined to take a stance beyond encouraging its members to make their own voices heard.

In this week’s 26 Square Miles podcast, we asked Kate about those issues, about the current business climate in Arlington — including why so many restaurants and retailers have been closing lately — and about her ascension to the role of President and CEO of the Chamber at a relatively young age.

Listen below or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google PlayStitcher or TuneIn.

by ARLnow.com — December 2, 2016 at 6:15 pm 0

House of Steep, a tea house and “foot sanctuary” in Cherrydale, is closing after four years in business.

The well-reviewed business, at 3800 Lee Highway, is based around a number of relaxing offerings: loose leaf tea, foot soaks, massages and reflexology.

In an email to customers Friday evening, owner Lyndsey DePalma suggested that the store was not sufficiently profitable to justify remaining in business.

“The rewards are wonderful but unfortunately are not enough,” she wrote. The store is set to close on Friday, Dec. 30.

The full letter is below.

To our beautiful, loyal customers –

A deep, Steep thank you for supporting us over the past four years in our vision to spread peace and offer gentle reminders of health and wholeness to our community. Our mission has been successful and the TEAm is celebrating. The rewards are wonderful but unfortunately are not enough to continue on without innovation, which is more than our team has the capacity to do at this time. So effective December 30, 2016, we will lovingly serve our last cup of tea in our retail space.

Steep is a great company with great reviews and a loyal customer base. It’s quite difficult for small retail businesses to succeed in dynamic markets with growing real estate and workforce costs. A huge thank you for helping us defy significant odds in the start-up world and for taking the time to cheer us on along the way. Thank you for becoming our friends and for stopping in to catch up over a comfortable cup. The business has served many and created so many memories with couples first dates, moms spending cherished time with their children (or without), and so many people pausing to take advantage of the moment. Keep doing this!

A sincere thanks to the staff, as well. I don’t know of a more loved business in this area, and this is all thanks to the staff, especially Michael and his leaders who proudly served the mission and set great examples for the staff.

We wanted to give a month to anyone holding gift cards to be able to redeem for goods and services with ease (our reservation policy for foot massage/reflexology is still required). While we will serve our last cup of tea at the end of the month, a few staff members will continue to serve our wholesale accounts, as well as our online store, so you may continue to source our delicious, health-focused tea blends after we close the storefront. And we’ll continue to serve in the hearts and memories of those who appreciated us for the gentle, loving space we provided for so many years. All good things live on and we believe that to be true of Steep.

We hope you’ll come in for one last foot soak, hug, and/or a cup of healthy goodness to help lift your day. You’ve certainly lifted ours over the years.

Steeped in gratitude,
Lyndsey (and the Steep TEAm)

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