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New Gym Hoping to Move into American Tap Room Space in Clarendon

A boutique fitness studio could soon move into the space once occupied by the American Tap Room in Clarendon.

A gym branded as “FootFire” is applying for a use permit to open in a 49,200-square-foot space adjacent to an office building at 3101 Wilson Blvd, according to documents filed with the county on July 17.

Located just across from the Clarendon Metro station, the space has sat empty since the American Tap Room closed its doors in 2016. The restaurant had struggled for years with noise complaints from neighbors and the area’s high rent prices.

Lawyers for Christopher Hoffman, the gym’s owner, wrote in a permit application that the new fitness studio “will be a member-based running, training, recovery and education center focusing on the complete training experience for runners and other endurance athletes of all fitness levels.”

The attorneys added that the gym will offer both indoor and outdoor running classes, including “treadmill-based courses, group outdoor running exercises, indoor weight training, yoga and stretching courses.” Plans sketched out for the facility also call for a juice bar and daycare area.

The County Board is set to consider the permit request at its first meeting of the fall on Sept. 22.

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The Little Gym Tumbles Into Lyon Park

The Little Gym, an international franchise focused on stimulating physical, cognitive, and social-emotional development in children through gymnastics, is coming to Arlington.

The new location is projected to open on Sept. 4 in Lyon Park at 2209 N Pershing Dr.

“The mission is serious but the method is fun,” said Jessalyn Crossman, gym director at the Arlington location.

The gym is non-competitive and focuses around utilizing gymnastics as a learning tool. There’s six other locations throughout Northern Virginia, including gyms in Falls Church and Alexandria, but Crossman said they found that many of the families going to those locations were coming from Arlington.

“When we looked at Northern Virginia, we noticed a really big gap,” said Crossman. “There’s a lot of young parents in Arlington starting out. There’s a lot of people who are implants from other parts of the country, who have come and started here. I like that we can build a gym community of people who are new to the area.”

Crossman has worked with the Little Gym since 2009 and said the biggest impact she’s seen on children is helping them build confidence.

“A lot of kids coming to the gym aren’t looking to be olympic gymnasts, they’re looking to grow as an individual,” said Crossman. “I love seeing kids make the transition to being able to come in by themselves. This translates into pre-school, where they have to confidence to do more things on their own.”

The Little Gym is aimed at children ranging from four months to twelve years old. While most of the classes focus on gymnastics, the Arlington gym will also offer an introduction to sports class that will help children understand the rules, strategies and fun of team sports.

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Tutti Spa & Nails Coming to Pentagon City Mall This September

Tutti Spa & Nails will open up shop in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City Sept. 4, according to the mall’s website.

The company’s services include manicures, pedicures, facials and a variety of spa packages.

The 1,400-square-foot site, located on the third level, looks to be the company’s first in Virginia, and joins locations as far south as Georgia and as far north as Massachusetts.

Other new additions to the shopping center include Comfort One Shoes, which recently opened a 1,200 square foot location on the mall’s second floor, according to a press release from the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City.

Roots Canada will also join the shopping center’s roster at the end of this week (Aug. 10).

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Core Allegro Prepares to Open on Fairfax Drive

Core Allegro, a studio that will offer group pilates and ballet classes along with private and semi-private sessions, is about a week away from finishing construction.

Waiting to receive final permits, they hope to open by the end of the month at 4001 Fairfax Drive, business manager Steve Roberts said.

Located between the Ballston and Virginia Square Metro stations, the studio will be led by Olga Roberts and Elena Ovchinnikova.

Ovchinnikova’s experience includes studies at Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet Academy and the Russian State Medical University, according to her bio on Core Allegro’s website. Roberts graduated from London’s Rambert School of Ballet, and began training in pilates at age 11.

“They’re two amazing kind of world class teachers that have come together to really lead this studio,” said Steve Roberts, who is married to Olga Roberts. “It’s not related to any franchise… this is purely from their own professional history and training.”

The roughly 3,000-square-foot facility is being converted from office space to feature reclaimed wood, vinyl flooring and LED lighting. It has been in development for the past year, Steve Roberts said.

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Coworking Space to Become First Office Tenant at Former NSF Headquarters in Ballston

A Brooklyn-based coworking space will become the first office tenant in the former home of the National Science Foundation’s headquarters, now known as the Ballston Exchange.

Industrious will open its third location in the D.C. area on the third floor of 4201 Wilson Blvd, according to a news release from the building’s owner, Jamestown LLP. The coworking space signed a 10-year lease at the location in a 24,795-square-foot suite.

Jamestown bought the building, as well as the adjacent 4121 Wilson Blvd, for a combined $300 million in 2015. But the NSF decided to relocate its headquarters to Alexandria last fall, spurring the property owner to kick off $140 million in renovation work at the buildings and go on the hunt for new tenants.

“The addition of Industrious shows our commitment to providing Ballston residents, workers and commuters alike with premier business and lifestyle opportunities,” Jamestown President Michael Phillips wrote in a statement.

Jamestown has already lured several restaurants to the development, with Shake Shack, We The Pizza, Philz Coffee and Cava setting up shop in recent months.

Those stores and others will line a shared courtyard between the two buildings, set to open in full by the end of the year. A pedestrian bridge will eventually connect 4201 Wilson to the newly revamped Ballston Quarter mall, but that project has encountered some delays recently.

As for Industrious, the company hopes to open its Ballston location by early 2019. It operates more than 40 coworking spaces across the country, including locations in downtown Bethesda and in D.C. near Logan Circle.

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Jon David Salon Plans Second Arlington Location Along Lee Highway

Jon David Salon is planning to open another location in Arlington, with a second salon slated for the Lee Heights Shops along Lee Highway.

The company said last month that it’s hoping to open the new location sometime this fall.

The salon will take the place of furniture store Random Harvest at 4522 Lee Highway, between a Starbucks and a Chipotle. Random Harvest closed up shop just before the start of 2018.

Jon David is planning on hosting a cosmetology school known as “Hair Tech Institute” at the new salon. Classes for aspiring stylists are set to start on Sept. 4.

The company currently operates another salon in Courthouse along Wilson Boulevard, as well as locations in Clifton and Springfield.

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Morning Notes

Region Sets Heat Record — The National Weather Service reports that Arlington and surrounding areas set a heat record yesterday. The temperature at Reagan National Airport reached 91 degrees, which tops the previous record of 89, set in 1930. [Twitter]

Co-Working Space Opening Soon — TechSpace, a new co-working space, will hold a grand opening event and happy hour in Ballston on May 15. The 20,000 square foot office will open in the Two Liberty Center building (4075 Wilson Blvd) across the street from the under-construction Ballston Quarter Mall. [PR Newswire]

Playground Design Meeting — County staff will present the two concepts for the new playground at Rosslyn Highlands Park and take feedback from the public at a meeting tonight. It takes place in the library at Key Elementary School at 7 p.m. [Arlington County]

Theodore Roosevelt Island Survey — The National Park Service is seeking feedback via a survey for improvements to Theodore Roosevelt Island, including possible bridge and comfort station upgrades and the addition of a boat dock. Today is the last day to submit comments. [National Park Service]

Reduced Parking in Fairlington — As the Fairlington Park Project enters its final stages, 19 parking spaces will be occupied for construction equipment staging. Visitors should plan ahead for the parking challenges.

New Marymount President — Dr. Irma Becerra has been chosen as the new Marymount University president and will take over the position on July 1. She comes to the school from St. Thomas University. [Marymount University, InsideNova]

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UPDATED: Escape Room Opening on Columbia Pike

(Updated at 6:15 p.m.) Richmond-based Ravenchase Adventures is opening a new escape room along Columbia Pike.

Signs are up for the business, which is located in the same building as William Jeffrey’s Tavern, near the corner of Columbia Pike and N. Adams Street.

Ravenchase — which describes itself as offering “elegant adventures for the spirited intellectual” — has existing escape rooms in Richmond and Herndon.

As defined by Wikipedia, an escape room is “a physical adventure game in which players solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, hints and strategy to complete the objectives at hand.”

The Arlington location is listed on the company’s website as “coming soon,” while the last Facebook post for the business said it would be opening in December 2017. A company rep emailed ARLnow.com after publication of this article to say that they were now hoping for a “late spring” opening.

“We are very heavy into the building process but it’s taken some more time that we had hoped,” said Omer Aru. “Once open, it will be a very stylish 4,000 square foot facility with four unique escape room games. We will be launching with at least two rooms: Glitch in the Matrix and MindTrap. We have two other that will follow very shortly after: Grandma’s Attic (What’s in the Attic), and Portal.”

Photo courtesy Sarah Campbell

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National Capital Bank Branch Opens on Wilson Blvd

(Updated at 4:50 p.m.) A new branch of National Capital Bank opened this morning (March 29) roughly between Clarendon and Courthouse, marking the bank’s first branch in Virginia.

National Capital Bank bills itself as “Washington’s Oldest Bank,” and has been open since 1889, according to its website.

The bank is at 2505 Wilson Boulevard, which is at the intersection with Franklin Road and N. Barton Street.

The bank takes over the once-vacant former location of another bank, Cardinal Bank, which was bought out by United Bank about a year ago.

Hat tip to Sandra Alboum

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Young Columbia Pike Business Owner Opens Electronic Repair Shop

When James Sampson was 14, a few of his friends were hit with the red ring of death — the notorious Xbox problem that devastated gamers globally. Instead of buying new devices, they turned to Sampson — who soldered some of the wiring in the devices, along with some other tinkering, and brought them back to life.

He saved his friends hundreds of dollars, and his only training was a few hours spent watching YouTube video tutorials.

“It became a lot of people calling me asking me to fix their cell phones, laptops, just any device they had,” said Sampson. He began referring people to an actual electronic repair business — until he realized that the shop was making a lot of money.

The now 23-year-old has now gone into business himself, opening up Wireless Rxx last week at 2340 Columbia Pike. Sampson works alongside longtime electronics repairman Mario Vasquez, who has been in business for about 26 years. Sampson does the microelectronic repairs and soldering while Vasquez focuses on more traditional electronic appliances.

The pair complement each other technically and linguistically; the Chilean-born Sampson’s first language was Spanish, so he’s able to help the many nearby Spanish-speaking customers and Vasquez as he assists English-speaking clients.

By the end of the first week, Wireless Rxx made back their $700 rent without any marketing or advertising — and without the planned “old retro vibe” interior design changes, including new neon signs and flooring. The building itself, which Sampson calls “old and tattered,” stands out from the luxury mixed-use development across the street.

Wireless Rxx saw around 27 customers, and earned around $1,700 in the first week, with many flat-screen television repairs, laptop fixes, and cell phones that needed to be unlocked — though Sampson runs serial numbers and other phone identification numbers to make sure that he isn’t unlocking a stolen phone.

While many Arlingtonians might be excited to get a new phone and toss their older model, many low-income residents are finding value in the service, Sampson said, as they are able to pay significantly less for what is in most cases a relatively minor fix instead of buying an entirely new product or waiting weeks for a manufacturer repair.

“It’s a mix of what the market economy put up,” said the young entrepreneur. “You either have to wait for your fix — because if you break your phone and you go to Apple, it can be a $200 or $300 price tag — or if you take it here, it can be under $100.”

He has friends who are either recent immigrants or on college scholarships with less money to spare. They’ll go to Sampson with their younger sister’s iPads and $20 or $30, looking for a repair. It helps them maintain a decent standard of living without spending money that they don’t have for a brand new device, he said.

Sampson buys dead devices from customers, which he either fixes, sells, or recycles responsibly with a certified e-recycling company. Most electronic components aren’t safe for general trash collection.

He stressed the importance of proper electronic recycling, noting the dangerous chemicals in lithium batteries, which are found in many electronic devices. Poking one can result in chemical burns.

“If something’s broke, you can still fix it. You can still put maybe a third of the device’s [cost] into fixing it, and it’ll be a working device as opposed to buying a new one,” said Sampson. “Especially in our society right now, we just throw things away.”

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Ballston Quarter to Be ‘Entertainment Hub’ With Addition of New ‘Experiential’ Tenants

With the addition of new experience-oriented tenants, Ballston Quarter is billing itself as “one of the largest experiential and entertainment hubs in the D.C. area.”

The center is bucking its identity as a mall as construction continues on what was once the Ballston Common Mall. Set to open this fall, Ballston Quarter has already announced hip food options in its 18-restaurant food hall and a marquee entertainment tenant in the planned 25,000 square foot Punch Bowl Social.

This morning, mall owner Forest City announced a handful of new tenants, including:

  • 5 Wits — “A live-action entertainment venue that immerses visitors in realistic, hands-on experiences, similar to escape rooms…”
  • Cookology — A “recreational culinary school” that “offers professionally taught, hands-on cooking classes for adults and kids… perfect venue for families, date nights or corporate outings.”
  • Nook — “A modern indoor play and learning space for young families” that is moving from its current Lee Highway location.

Those are also in addition to the existing Regal Cinemas and Sport&Health club, which are undergoing multi-million dollar renovations.

More from a Forest City press release, after the jump.

Today, Forest City announced the initial group of experiential and entertainment tenants that will be featured at the 850,000 square-foot Ballston Quarter redevelopment project coming to Arlington, VA. Once completed in September 2018, Ballston Quarter will become one of the largest entertainment hubs in the region.

The new tenants and those under renovation will encompass nearly 40 percent of Ballston Quarter, enhancing the development’s inspired, growing lineup of best-in-class entertainment options to the region, including the following:

  • 5 Wits: 5 Wits is a live-action entertainment venue that immerses visitors in realistic, hands-on experiences, similar to escape rooms, but with higher quality environments, special effects and more compelling storytelling. Visitors of all ages feel as though they are an action hero dodging security lasers, tracking down a giant dragon or battling an angry pharaoh. It’s also available for private events such as corporate team-building functions or birthday parties. 5 Wits will open a 11,500 square-foot space in Ballston Quarter in Fall 2018, which will be the company’s seventh location in the country and first in the region.
  • Cookology: Cookology offers professionally taught, hands-on cooking classes for adults and kids, such as gnocchi workshops, family sushi classes and Duck 101, making it the perfect venue for families, date nights or corporate outings. Their professional culinary program offers a 21st century approach to culinary education. Cookology’s second-ever site and closest to the District at Ballston Quarter will include five commercial kitchens located in a 5,700 square-foot space.
  • Nook: Nook, a modern indoor play and learning space for young families, is moving its first location in North Arlington to a 3,500 square foot space in Ballston Quarter in Fall 2018. The space is divided into several different themed play areas, or “nooks,” offering children a calming, sensory-friendly space to engage in self-directed, play-based learning. Nook also features classes, hosts birthday parties and offers a variety of family-friendly programming, from classical music concerts to parent workshops and happy hours.
  • Punch Bowl Social: Punch Bowl Social – a beloved bar, restaurant and entertainment concept – will open a 25,000 square-foot location at Ballston Quarter in Fall 2018, serving as its first location in the D.C. region as part of the company’s nationwide expansion. Beyond incredible food and craft cocktails, Punch Bowl Social will feature eight bowling lanes, one bocce court, three private karaoke rooms and a 360 degree bar where visitors can eat, explore and play.

In addition to these new tenants, Ballston Quarter will also be home to a fully updated Regal Cinemas and Sport&Health, which are both currently undergoing multi-million dollar renovations. The 67,000 square-foot Regal Cinemas features reserved, luxury seating in all 12 theaters and a new box office. Once completed, Sport&Health will feature a new cardio center, barre, spin and group fitness studios, and luxurious locker rooms complete with steam rooms and saunas, among many other new amenities within the 35,000 square-foot space. Both are open through Ballston Quarter’s redevelopment.

“Although dining and retail will certainly be an important aspect of Ballston Quarter, nearly 40 percent of the property will account for experiential offerings such as 5 Wits, Cookology and Regal Cinemas, among others, positioning Ballston as an exciting and fun, go-to entertainment hub of the region,” said Will Voegele, Forest City’s senior vice president of development.

Once complete, Ballston Quarter will feature 360,000 square-feet of retail, an 18-restaurant, 25,000 square-foot food hall, a 22-story, 406-unit residential building, 176,000 square-feet of office space and a completely renovated Ballston Common Mall–all designed with the community in mind and the creation of a true city center in Northern Virginia.

“At Forest City, we specialize in creating mixed-use urban villages with best-in-class residences, dining, retail and entertainment, which are all critical to creating an experience that elevates how people live, work and, of course, play,” said Deborah Ratner Salzberg, president of Forest City Washington. “Once Ballston Quarter is complete, it will achieve this objective threefold, elevating not only Arlington, but the entire D.C. region.”

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‘Bash Boxing’ to Replace Cafe Asia in Rosslyn

Bash Boxing, a boxing-focused interval workout studio, will open its first location this spring in Rosslyn.

The new studio will be replacing Cafe Asia (1550 Wilson Blvd), which closed in 2016 after nearly 15 years in business.

The boutique studio’s fitness routine combines boxing on an water-filled aqua training bag and high intensity interval training for a total 45-minute workout. Half of the workout is boxing on the water bag and the other half is on the floor doing interval training.

Alex Trakas, one of the co-founders of Bash Boxing, noted the benefits of using an aqua training bag over one filled with sand.

“There’s no pain that goes into your joints. Every time you hit into the bag it just absorbs all the punch and all the energy,” Trakas said.

What differentiates Bash from other boxing gyms in the D.C. area is that it’s interval training focused, but uses boxing for cardio, said Lee Smith, another co-founder of Bash.

Trakas said the studio is “driving a community vibe” and is one of the reasons she and other co-founders invested into Bash Boxing. She added that there will be a pre-sale mid February that future members can access on the studio’s website.

Other partners in the brand include Arlington area entrepreneurs Scott Parker (A-Town, Don Tito, Barley Mac, The G.O.A.T.), Win Sheridan (Apex Systems, Echostage, Soundcheck, Bresca) and Sherif Abdalla (TTR Sotheby’s).

The Washington Business Journal reported yesterday that Bash will take up just over half of the cavernous former Cafe Asia space.

Photo courtesy Andy B.

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Westover Gift Store Trade Roots Launches Artisan Cafe

A store in Westover Village that offers handmade and fairly traded products from developing countries has opened a new cafe.

Those behind Trade Roots (5852 Washington Blvd) opened the cafe, called Roots & Vines. It offers fairly traded coffees, teas and food items.

The café is run by chef Katia Reecer, who grew up in a Brazilian restaurant family and rounded her skills at the former Academie de Cuisine in Bethesda.

“Roots & Vines offers a casual and welcoming ambiance to relax over locally sourced and globally inspired coffee, tea, sweets & savories,” Reecer said in a statement. “We plan to keep the eclectic menu limited with weekly and seasonal changes, while always offering vegetarian and vegan options. My mother instilled in me the simple philosophy that when you cook with passion using both your hands and palate, the results will always be extraordinary.”

Trade Roots also sells soaps, food, jewelry and home products from local people, and prides itself on offering “beautiful and unique” items.

“I’m thrilled to have Katia as part of the team,” Trade Roots owner Lisa Ostroff said in a statement. “Trade Roots’ customers will now have fair trade coffee and tea options and an array of delicious foods and drinks from around the globe. Katia’s experience and philosophy lend perfectly to our vibe. She makes healthy morning treats like oatmeal and fruit parfaits and some amazing-but-not-as-healthy scones and croissants as well!”

Photos via Facebook

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Italo Frame Store Open in Clarendon

The new Ten at Clarendon apartment building at 3110 10th Street N. has its first open retail tenant: frame store Italo Frame.

Open for about two weeks, owner Nasir Ester said it has a wide selection of frames as well as deeper shadow boxes for several photographs or other memorabilia.

Ester said he has been involved in the framing business for over 30 years. He previously owned Alna Art & Framing in Alexandria. The new store has frames from across Europe of all different colors and materials.

“You bring it, I will frame it for you,” he said.

The store is on the building’s westernmost corner, across the street from Fire Station 4.

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Drybar Coming to Arlington, But Exact Location Unclear

A national hair salon chain that specializes in blowouts is coming to Arlington County as part of a nationwide expansion, but its location has not yet been revealed.

Drybar announced January 1 on Facebook it is expanding into Arlington and 21 other cities, including nearby Alexandria as well as in the likes of Pennsylvania, Texas, New Jersey among others.

A Drybar spokeswoman did not provide any further information on the Arlington outpost as of the time of writing after repeated requests, including requests for specifics on its location and a possible opening date.

Drybar offers hair blowouts at more than 70 locations in the United States and Canada, and has products at department stores like Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s.

Currently, the closest Drybar to Arlington is in Tysons Corner.

New year, new shops!! Over 20 new Drybar locations coming to a city near you in 2018!💛

Posted by Drybar on Monday, January 1, 2018

Photo via Facebook

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