Three businesses have closed in short order at the Dominion Hills Centre shopping plaza, worrying some local residents — but remaining businesses say there’s little cause for concern.
A tipster emailed ARLnow.com earlier this week lamenting the shuttering of the Little River Yoga Studio at 6025 Wilson Blvd. The tipster said it was the “latest to go,” following the departure of the Great Harvest Bread Company as well as the florist nearby.
But expiring leases and other circumstances were behind the closures, not a larger trend, we’re told. Business owners that have remained say foot traffic and sales remain healthy.
Great Harvest closed at the end of January. Franchisee Brad Hurst, who operates the bakery’s Alexandria location alongside his wife, said that it proved difficult to run two stores, especially as the larger Alexandria one took up more time.
After taking over the franchise’s five-year lease with approximately two years remaining, Hurst said they made the decision to close and focus their energies in Alexandria.
“Probably for the last year or so, we knew it was a lot of effort for what we were getting as far as traffic and sales,” Hurst said. “When the lease came up, we let that expire, much to the disappointment of several customers. We have to make sure our effort is rewarded with the business, so it was hard to keep it going.”
The shopping center’s florist had been in business for several decades at 6035 Wilson Blvd, but multiple business owners in the plaza said it closed when its owners retired and let the lease expire. It is now being marketed for another tenant.
Then Little River Yoga relocated its classes to Faith Lutheran Church at 3313 Arlington Blvd and rebranded as Ashtanga Nation. It made the move in mid-January.
Katie Gilman, owner of Taste by Katie, which provides reheatable meals to bring home, said business appears healthy for the dozen-plus stores that remain, including her own. When a reporter visited on Thursday afternoon, the plaza’s parking lot was about two-thirds full.
“Three [closures] seem like it could be a big percentage, but it’s really not when you consider all the stores open along here,” Gilman said.
Steven Cover joined Arlington County as director of Community Planning, Housing and Development in March 2015. He won the respect of many in Arlington’s business community by trying to streamline processes in CPHD, which has gained a reputation for a heavy-handed, intransigent approach to enforcing county regulations, sources tell ARLnow.com.
The City of Sarasota announced Cover’s hiring yesterday.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Steven Cover to Sarasota,” said City Manager Tom Barwin. “Steve has extensive and highly successful experience in two of America’s great communities: Arlington, Virginia and Madison, Wisconsin. Steve’s experience and passion for walkable communities, cutting edge bicycle and transportation planning, appreciation for great architecture, innovative zoning codes, and commitment to affordable housing collaborations will serve our community well.”
In a statement released to ARLnow.com, Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz said the search for Cover’s replacement will be starting soon.
After more than two years of service as our Director of Community Planning, Housing and Development, Steve Cover is leaving to take another job. We wish him well. With the guidance of the County Board, Steve, together with our excellent staff of CPHD professionals, and in coordination with Arlington Economic Development, helped make improvements in service during his tenure. We will begin a search soon for a new director to lead this vital department.
We also only sparingly cover things like high school sports or do long human interest feature stories, things which readers have told us — in surveys and in their actions — are a lesser priority than news about core topics like crime, fire, local government, local businesses, weather and traffic. At the same time, readers frequently ask for us to “investigate” various topics, but true investigative journalism is time-consuming and expensive and hard to do while on the daily local news grind.
So what’s the solution to this for those readers who have emailed us and asked for more weekend coverage, more in-depth features and more investigative stories?
One possibility is for ARLnow to launch a membership program as part of a larger community journalism project.
Services like Patreon allow fans to support, with a small monthly contribution, the creators who are making content they’re passionate about. Similarly, we’re wondering if Arlingtonians would be interested in supporting local content that goes above and beyond ARLnow’s core news mission.
Those who sign up as members would get to weigh in on what kind of content their contribution should be funding — features, investigative pieces, coverage of local arts and nonprofits, etc. The new content would run as an ARLnow “weekend edition” — so as to not overwhelm readers who follow our weekday news coverage.
At the same time, members could get other benefits. We’re considering exclusive discounts from local businesses, access to exclusive ARLnow member events, access to a members-only online forum and perhaps the occasional ARLnow schwag (if NPR has totebags, we can have totebags).
That all said, maybe a $6 a month for local news isn’t something that people want to pay, or you’d rather we just stick with our core mission. Tell us what you think in the poll below and in the comments.
With the worst of the snow over, businesses and restaurants around Arlington appear to be mostly back to normal ahead of a potential refreeze tonight.
In Clarendon this afternoon, only Crate & Barrel and Barnes & Noble appeared to still be closed as their doors were locked.
There are also some early closings: The Container Store is set to shutter at 6 p.m. tonight because of the weather, while the Washington Sports Club gym posted a sign informing members that no group exercise classes would be held.
Although main roads are plowed and largely clear of snow and ice, it appears that those who did get a snow day mostly chose to spend it inside — especially as winds picked up and dropped the wind chill well below freezing.
The lunch rush was virtually non-existent at Clarendon fast casual salad eatery Sweetgreen. While lines usually snake to the door, today employees said it was “not anywhere near” as busy as it usually is at lunchtime.
Similarly, the Trader Joe’s grocery store had lines almost out the door on Monday evening as shoppers prepared for the onset of the storm, but on Tuesday afternoon was quiet and still had plenty of items on the shelves.
Several businesses looked to cash in on many people not being at work, or their children being out of school. Ireland’s Four Courts on Wilson Boulevard opened its doors and let children eat for free all day.
— Irelands Four Courts (@irelands4courts) March 14, 2017
Also in Courthouse, Bayou Bakery is celebrating Pi Day — the date is 3/14 — with a $3.14 special on slices of pie. However, the business is closing early so you’ll have to hurry.
— Bayou Bakery (@BayouBakery) March 14, 2017
— Bayou Bakery (@BayouBakery) March 14, 2017
A new women’s clothing and accessories store opened December at the Lee Heights Shops, replacing the recently-shuttered Lemon Twist Arlington.
Lemoncello Boutique at 4518 Lee Highway is a family-owned store that sells clothes for women of all ages, including young children and babies. It opened under different ownership from the previous store.
It also sells gifts and other items, including photo frames, jewelry and beauty products. Brands sold include Vineyard Vines, Scout and local jewelry designer Second Daughter, owned by Jessica Speckhard.
Lemoncello replaced Lemon Twist, which sold similar items and brands from the time it opened on Lee Highway in the late 1980s until it closed last year.
The store was part of a small retail fashion chain.
As of yet, the other Lee Heights Shops store to close recently, Bradshaw’s Children’s Shoes, appears not to have been replaced. It shuttered last year due to the owners’ retirement, after the store had served Northern Virginia since 1834.
(Updated at 4 p.m.) The Buckingham Florist, a long-time local business on N. Glebe Road, closed last week and appears to have relocated to Annandale.
Open since the 1940s, the florist delivered to Arlington County, Arlington National Cemetery and other parts of Northern Virginia.
Jean Tucker Bassin founded Buckingham Florist with her late husband Myer. Their son Neil Bassin is listed on various websites as having also owned it. In 2013, another website said Buckingham Florist was owned by Kim Park, who also owns Annandale Florist and Tysons Flower Affair.
As of last week, the flower shop’s location at 301 N. Glebe Road in the Buckingham Shopping Center was shuttered, an empty shell with no fixtures or fittings and some of its tiled floor ripped up. A retail leasing brochure lists the 1,460 square foot space as “coming available.”
An employee at the next-door Ravi Chatkhara takeout restaurant said he heard rumors the florist would be relocating elsewhere and would be replaced by a coffee shop.
The phone number listed for the florist is still active. A person at that number answered Tuesday and told ARLnow.com the store is now located in Annandale and open, but hung up when asked for further details.
Sale of Reeves Farmhouse Moves Forward — From a press release following yesterday’s Arlington County Board meeting: “The Arlington County Manager today recommended that the County move forward with the sale of the historic Reeves farmhouse, and that the County not be a financial partner in the farmhouse’s restoration and reuse.” [Arlington County]
‘No Systemic Problem’ Led to High Water Bills — Arlington County says it has investigated resident complaints about unusually high water bills and found “no systemic problem.” Errors in billing or meter-reading were found in only five percent of complaints, the county said, adding that customer-side leaks and a hot and dry summer help to explain many of the remaining cases. [Arlington County]
Arlington Millennials Willing to Move — According to a new study, 77.5 percent of Millennials in Arlington say they would leave the region for the right job offer. That’s the highest response of any D.C. area jurisdiction surveyed. Millennials make up 35-40 percent of Arlington’s population, but real estate affordability remains a concern. Only 28 percent of Millennials in Arlington said they can afford to buy a home in the D.C. area. [Washington Business Journal]
Another Phone Scam Warning — Arlington residents are getting phone calls from scammers claiming to be Dominion Virginia Power technicians collecting unpaid electric bills. “In some cases, scammers have deliberately falsified the information transmitted to the victim’s Caller ID display to disguise their identity,” warns the Arlington County Police Department. [Arlington County]
Talk By Black Man Who Befriends KKK Members — Daryl Davis, a musician who befriends KKK members and convinces them to leave the organization, gave a talk in Arlington earlier this week. Of our current political climate, he said: “This is the best thing that has happened to this country because we have been so much in denial of racism in this country, xenophobia and all these kinds of things… Now we can no longer turn a blind eye to it.” [Fox 5]
Arlington’s ‘Cafe Urbanism’ — A new article in a publication written for state and local government officials asks poses the question: “Hip restaurants have helped revive cities. But is the boom fizzling out?” As a prime example, the article cites recent restaurant closures in Clarendon. [Governing]
Flickr pool photo by Brian Irwin
(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.
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
Virginia Square restaurant Water & Wall (3811 Fairfax Drive) has closed its doors for good.
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 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.
Mike and Pinkey
(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.
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.
“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.
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.
Also, be sure to check out this week’s sponsor, Crystal Couture, which starts next Thursday, Feb. 2, in Crystal City.
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]
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.