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The Crossing Clarendon (staff photo)

There are some signs of movement forward for the luxury fitness gym Life Time, which is slated to come to Clarendon in 2023.

In mid-December, the County Board is slated to hold a public hearing to consider allowing retail use — and, therefore, fitness activities — inside an office building in The Crossing Clarendon. The Board approved the hearing earlier this month.

Regency Centers, which owns The Crossing (formerly known as “Market Common”), is asking the county to permit retail on the third floor of The Loft office building (1440 N. Edgewood Street) that Life Time is looking to lease. The change would allow the gym to take over the office building and turn it into a 113,000-square foot, multi-story, high-end gym with a host of amenities.

Life Time proposes using all four levels of the newly renovated building. There will be a spa and dressing rooms in the basement, a lobby and small retail space for food and drinks on the first floor, gym space on the second and third floors and a co-working space for gym members and independent users on the fourth floor.

The third floor, set for gym use, comprises more than 18% of The Loft’s total square footage. That is significant enough to require a “major” site plan amendment and Planning Commission and County Board approvals, according to a county report.

Typically, that involves a four-month-long review process, but county staff instead support a one-month hearing schedule, according to the report. It says staff have found no problems with this change, which is supported by planning recommendations for this part of Clarendon.

“Staff finds that a shorter review period is warranted as it does not require any structural additions or significant alterations to the building design as approved under the site plan and community stakeholders have responded to staff outreach to confirm that there are no objections to advertisement of this amendment,” according to the report.

A spokesman for the property owner said there are “no changes to report” on the work done to move the project along.

“The design is being worked on concurrent with the amendment process,” he said. “All permits are on schedule.”

Up until this year, an Equinox gym was expected to move in. In February, Regency Centers sued Equinox, alleging breach of contract.

In total, the building has eight retail spaces on the ground floor, of which three are vacant. Tatte Bakery & Cafe opened in September, and dog daycare and boarding facility District Dogs could be coming next spring. Other forthcoming retailers include a a laser skincare facility and an under-construction tattoo parlor.

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Thaiphoon at Westpost in Pentagon City (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Thaiphoon in Pentagon City is closing for good this weekend, we’re told, set to be replaced by a “taco temple” in spring 2022.

The Thai restaurant located in Westpost — formerly Pentagon Row — is closing on Sunday, Nov. 21, an employee confirmed to ARLnow. The owners made the decision to not renew their lease at the shopping plaza on S. Joyce Street, we’re told, and there are currently no plans to open another location at this time.

Thaiphoon has been serving customers for more than a decade at Pentagon Row.

As we previously reported, Baltimore-based Banditos Bar & Kitchen will be moving into the space. It could start serving as early as this coming April.

This is the first Virginia location of the self-described “taco temple.” The 3,000-square-foot restaurant will serve classic fare like tacos, quesadillas, and margaritas, and is planning to have outdoor seating.

Thaiphoon’s D.C. location is still open, though it’s run by separate ownership than the Arlington location, the employee noted.

A slew of new restaurants and businesses are opening in Westpost over the next year, but that also has come with a number of closings.

Namaste Everest closed earlier this year and is being replaced by the sushi restaurant Kusshi. Bed, Bath, & Beyond, Unleashed, and Champps all also closed over the last 20 months at the shopping plaza while being replaced by a Target, Road Runner Sports, and Nighthawk Pizza.

Westpost is fully leased up with tenants, as of earlier this month.

Hat tip to @CartChaos22202

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(Updated, 11/16) Long-time local restaurant Pines of Florence — and its owner — are each making an unlikely comeback.

The Southern Italian eatery will once again be cooking, this time in Arlington’s Cherrydale neighborhood, after stints in Virginia Square, Columbia Pike, and Old Town Alexandria, owner Jimmy Khan confirms to ARLnow. It’s coming to 2109 N. Pollard Street, the space formerly occupied by the recently-closed Portabellos restaurant, in a one-story shopping strip just off of Langston Blvd.

The plan is to have a “soft opening” this Saturday, Nov. 20, says Khan, where customers can bring their own beer and wine (there will be a service fee).  Khan expects to have their liquor license in about two weeks and will have a “grand opening” then.

The opening comes a year and a half after Khan suffered through a protracted and nearly fatal battle with COVID-19.

“I had a 6% chance of living,” he tells ARLnow. “I was on a ventilator for 40 days. The doctors say it was a miracle I lived.”

During that time and his recovery, he took a long look at his life and decided he needed to do more for his family. That’s why he decided to reopen Pines of Florence.

“God gave me another life, so I wanted to do something for my kids, the next generation,” says Khan.

Pines of Florence’s last location was on King Street in Alexandria in a building that was set for redevelopment. While that was a big reason the restaurant shuttered in June 2020, the closing was also related to Khan’s own battle with COVID and his co-owner (and uncle) retiring.

After some time away, Khan is ready for a restart.

“Being a restaurant owner is in my genes,” he said. “I quit for a while, but I’m re-energized.”

Khan says the plan is to open even more restaurants in the coming years.

The new Pines of Florence will, like the previous iterations, serve pizza, sandwiches, and homemade pasta dishes, as well as beer and wine. It will replace Portabellos: An American Cafe, which closed just this past September, after 15 years serving the Cherrydale and Maywood communities.

Khan says he stands by his June 2020 words about wanting to do more for his community, including creating jobs and helping those less fortunate, particularly after his near-death experience.

“[This restaurant] is going to be meaningful for my family and the community,” he says. “I want to help.”

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The Crossing Clarendon (staff photo)

The Crossing Clarendon says it has “some ‘reel’ good news to share.”

The retail and residential development formerly known as Market Common Clarendon has netted Seamore’s, a New York-based sustainable seafood spot, announcing the new restaurant tenant on social media.

“Born from a love of sustainable and local fishing, Seamore’s brings the ocean back to the urban table with modern, healthy dishes for every eater,” the post said. “From lobster rolls, fish tacos, to their signature tuna poke, this is Clarendon’s best catch and you’ll only find it at The Crossing Clarendon.”

The restaurant is slated to operate in a 2,605-square foot spot at the corner of N. Edgewood Street and Clarendon Blvd — where the old Baja Fresh used to be — on the same strip as the MyEyeDr. and Nicecream. The building has since been renovated, along with the four-story office building behind it.

Regency Centers and Seamore’s were not immediately able to provide additional details about when the restaurant could open.

Seamore’s has a half-dozen locations around New York City, and was founded by a New Yorker seeking better options in Manhattan for local fish.

“For a city surrounded by water, New York shockingly lacks menus with local fish,” the restaurant’s website says. “Seamore’s was born to change this. Founded by native New Yorker, Michael Chernow, who longed for better fish tacos and a reunion of city and sea, Seamore’s brings the ocean back to the urban table in a deliciously modern and healthy way.”

The menu is always changing based on what’s available, according to the restaurant.

Seamore’s says it only sells fish with stable or growing populations that are harvested “in an environmentally conscious manner.”

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(Updated, Nov. 9) The Pentagon City mall is getting a little sweeter with the opening of Swiss chocolate shop Läderach.

The large Swiss chocolate retailer is expanding to 30 new U.S. locations, many of which are specifically at Simon shopping centers, including the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City.

Läderach is replacing the Godiva store that closed earlier this year, part of an asset purchase agreement that saw them assume the leases of more than 30 Godiva locations across the country. The shop is on the mall’s first level, next to the Ann Taylor.

It had a soft opening last month, a Läderach spokesperson confirms to ARLnow.

The Arlington location is the second in the region. In February, Läderach opened a shop at Union Station in D.C. with a “self-serve carousel.” The Pentagon City mall shop does not have a carousel.

This is all part of the company’s “westward expansion… to meet the growing demand for premium fresh chocolate in the area that we’ve also seen through e-commerce.”

Nonetheless, there’s going to be lots of sweet, sweet chocolate.

“For chocolate lovers, this store is all about the chocolate experience! It offers more than 85 varieties of premium fresh chocolate shipped directly from Switzerland, including its famous FrischSchoggi (fresh chocolate in Swiss German) counter which includes more than 20 varieties of chocolate bark,” says a press release. “All chocolate is made from bean-to-bar in-house and shipped directly to the store guaranteeing its quality and freshness, which is second to none.”

Operating since 1962, Läderach is family-owned and until recently only had stores in Switzerland. Elias Läderach is one of the heirs to this chocolate fortune and was named World Chocolate Master in 2018 for his “lightning-fast technique, perfectionist attitude and flawless execution.”

The chocolate store is one of a number of new shops and eateries at the mall on S. Hayes Street. There’s now a Levi’s store, Mediterranean restaurant Sante, and a Day & Night Cereal Bar that specializes in milkshakes and cereal, among others.

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CHIKO, a popular D.C.-based Chinese and Korean eatery, is opening its first Virginia location in Shirlington on Wednesday (Nov. 10).

First announced in July, CHIKO is opening at 4040 Campbell Avenue and is taking over space formerly occupied by DAK Chicken, which closed in summer 2020.

“We look forward to being part of Shirlington’s vibrant restaurant scene and hope to be cooking for the greater Arlington community. Danny and I felt this was a perfect spot for our first foray into Virginia,” co-owner Scott Drewno wrote in the press release.

The fast casual restaurant is owned by Drewno and partner Danny Lee, who make up what they call the Fried Rice Collective and who run other concepts in the region.

This is CHIKO’s fifth location, including the fourth in the area. The other regional locations include Dupont Circle, Capitol Hill, and Bethesda. There’s also a shop in California.

“Federal Realty is excited to add another CHIKO location to our DC-metro portfolio,” writes Stuart Biel, Senior Vice President of Federal Realty Investment Trust, which owns the Village of Shirlington as well as Westpost in Pentagon City. “The Bethesda location has seen incredible success during a very challenging time, and we look forward to the same in The Village at Shirlington. CHIKO’s incredible reputation and loyal following mean yet another quality food option in the neighborhood.”

The eatery is known for its dim sum, double-fried chicken wings, and fried rice. Each location has its own speciality fried rice dish, with the one in Shirlington serving up charred siu pork fried rice.

Relatedly, there’s a new “Fried Rice Passport,” which offers a $25 gift certificate for those who try the fried rice at every local location. A new blueberry kaffir lime custard dessert is also exclusive to the Shirlington location.

The restaurant is about 1,500 square feet, has seating inside for 30, and offers carryout as well as delivery. The interior is designed by D.C.-based Natalie Park Design Studio.

Only dinner will initially be available, though lunch and brunch will come later this winter, according to the press release.

At the opening on Wednesday, the first 50 people to come to the shop will receive a free dumpling order.

CHIKO joins Bearded Goat Barber and F45, a gym, among the businesses to open in Shirlington this fall.

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(Updated, 4:30 p.m.) A slew of new restaurants and stores are set to open at Westpost in Pentagon City over the next year.

From a “taco temple” to a pizza and beer hall to a running store to a new Target, the shopping center formerly known as Pentagon Row will have more than a half dozen new businesses by the fall of next year.

All of these new additions now make Westpost fully leased, confirms a spokesperson for Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRIT), which owns the mixed-use development.

The next to open will be Mimi’s Handmade Ice Cream, which is targeting scooping by the end of this month. The 935-square-foot ice cream parlor was originally going open in the late summer, but that was delayed. Located at 1201 S. Joyce Street, next to Bun’d Up, the shop is owned by local Rollin Amore and named after his daughter. His partner, Sarah, owns an ice cream parlor in Bethesda.

“I have been cooking and creating desserts since I was seven years old and I am excited to make this hobby my job,” Amore told ARLnow back in May.

Kusshi, a sushi restaurant with a location at Bethesda’s Pike and Rose, will be opening in the spring in the space formerly occupied by Namaste Everest, which is next to Mimi’s. We previously reported it was going to start serving by the end of the year.

“Arlington has a lot of business and commerce and has Amazon HQ2 going there as well,” Kusshi’s owner told ARLnow in June about the choice to open at Westpost. “We like to go to mixed-use developments, which is part of our success at Pike and Rose.”

The Baltimore-based Banditos Bar & Kitchen remains on track to also open in the spring. The FRIT spokesperson confirmed that could mean as early as April.

This is the third location of the self-described “taco temple,” but the first in Virginia. The 3,000-square-foot restaurant will have outdoor seating and serve classic fare like tacos, quesadillas, and margaritas.

Also aiming for a spring opening is a 34,000-square-foot Target in the old Bed, Bath, and Beyond space and Road Runner Sports in the former Unleashed space, which shuttered at the beginning of the year.

Target’s target is April while Road Runner Sports is on track for May or “possibly earlier,” says the spokesperson.

Much-anticipated Nighthawk Pizza is also arriving next year. The pizza spot with “a 90s vibe and a beer hall-like atmosphere” is opening “early 2022,” according to a spokesperson. It was originally supposed to start serving slices this fall — in fact, the storefront sticker still advertises this — but that’s been pushed back. (Such delays seem to be common these days, at least in Arlington.)

The pizza and beer hall comes from Arlington nightlife and grooming kingpin Scott Parker, Netflix-famous chef Johnny Spero, and local brewer Aslin Beer Company.

It’s opening in the former location of Champps, which closed in March 2020.

Other developments at Westpost include the opening of the spa and salon Privai, set for November 22. The 4,127-square-foot spa located at 1101 S Joyce Street Suite B-35 specializes in body treatments, facials, salon services, and guided meditation. It is the salon’s fourth Virginia location.

Bun’d Up, meanwhile, is also going through a renovation, according to the FRIT spokesperson. It currently remains open. That’s owned by chef Scott Chung, will reopen.

Restaurants and stores are not the only openings at Westpost. The center’s ice skating rink opened for the season over the weekend.

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(Updated at 2:25 p.m.) A D.C.-based dog daycare and boarding facility is making its first foray out of the nation’s capital with a Clarendon outpost.

District Dogs will move into The Crossing Clarendon shopping center (formerly Market Common Clarendon) in February or March, owner Jacob Hensley tells ARLnow. In addition to daycare and boarding, District Dogs provides other services such as grooming and training.

“We’re very excited to come to Arlington,” he said. “Right now, we have the designs finished and construction plans out to bid. We should be getting bids and contractors in the next couple of weeks or so, and we expect to be open late winter or early spring.”

The business will front Wilson Blvd, according to a photo sent by Hensley, in a ground floor space between the Whole Foods and where Iota Club used to be.

There is one hurdle to surmount: zoning rules about how many dogs can be boarded per night. According to a zoning determination this summer, District Dogs can operate in Clarendon as a doggie daycare and grooming facility, with overnight boarding for up to three dogs. Any more overnight occupants, and it’s considered by the county a “kennel,” which is not allowed on the property either by-right or through a special exception permit.

Regency Centers, which owns The Crossing, is appealing the decision on Hensley’s behalf. Either way, District Dogs can move in, Hensley says.

“District Dogs will be able to offer daycare, boarding, grooming and training services in the Clarendon location regardless of the outcome,” he said. “I can’t comment further [about zoning issues] because of how complicated it is and I don’t want to get the details wrong.”

The forthcoming Arlington location will be Hensley’s fifth. He started District Dogs in 2014 as a one-man dog-walking business and opened his first brick-and-mortar facility in 2016 in D.C. Since then, he’s added two more D.C. locations, with a fourth under-construction.

Clarendon was a natural choice, since District Dogs targets markets with a mix of apartments and single-family homes, and many clients come to D.C. from Northern Virginia, he said.

Hensley says Arlington’s urban corridors need more of these kinds of dog-care facilities, as many existing providers are located in warehouse and industrial districts. Many customers will be able to walk to District Dogs, compared to having to drive somewhere a distance away.

“We’re bringing a more urban dog daycare experience that’s more convenient for people and where they live,” he said.

Hensley said District Dogs aims to make dogs and their humans feel comfortable. For pet owners, that means providing web-cameras so they can check in, as well as operating in spaces with lots of windows.

“We’re really just trying to show everything that goes on,” he said. “That’s what’s lacking in a lot of facilities, which can be old and run-down in a warehouse.”

Hensley attributes his ability to expand in part to COVID-19. People adopted more dogs during the pandemic and now need the services he provides, particularly weeknight, overnight boarding.

“Our facilities in D.C. are pretty much at-capacity in a daily basis,” he said. “In addition to new dogs, since people can work remote, people are traveling more… Because people’s work is so much more flexible, not just travel but the length of travel is increasing.”

Once District Dogs settles into Clarendon, locals can expect dog-friendly community activities.

“We have a great online community, and we try to do events at restaurants, bars and parks,” Hensley said. “We’re trying to bring a sense of dog community to the Arlington area — we want to be a part of it and help foster it.”

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Bearded Goat Barber is opening its third location next week in Shirlington.

The 1,0888 square-foot full service barber shop turns on its shears Monday, November 1 in the former Hair Cuttery space at 4150 Campbell Avenue, next to I-CE-NY and Samuel Beckett’s Irish Gastro Pub.

Bearded Goat Barber Shop is co-owned by serial entrepreneur Scott Parker and barbers Eric Renfro and Jon Dodson. Its first location in Ballston opened in 2019 and the second opened last year in D.C.’s Navy Yard. The expansion to Shirlington was first announced in February

With the region emerging from the pandemic, Parker believes that now is the time to grow.

“The Bearded Goat brand is stronger than ever,” Parker wrote to ARLnow via email. “There is currently a 4-5 week wait to get a cut at our first two locations. Since restrictions were loosened, we are busier than ever. It is the perfect time to expand, and we are slowly starting to look for our fourth location.”

As for where that fourth location of Bearded Goat could be, no further details were provided.

The barber shop offers haircuts, shape-ups, beard sculpting, grey blending, and straight razor hot towel shaves. It’s also “committed to following all CDC guidelines,” which includes sanitizing workspaces, tools, chairs, capes, and the waiting area between all visits.

Scott Parker is probably more well-known for his bars and restaurants. Those include Don Tito in Clarendon, Barley Mac in Rosslyn, Bronson Bierhall in Ballston, and, soon, Poppyseed Rye in Ballston and Nighthawk Pizza in Pentagon City.

That pizza spot with “a 90s vibe and a beer hall-like atmosphere” was initially supposed to open this fall, but it’s been pushed back to “early 2022,” according to a spokesperson.

Parker is also co-founder of BASH Boxing.

Renfro and Dodson were barbers at Hendricks Barbershop in Clarendon before partnering with Parker on Bearded Goat.

“Jon and Eric decided to start their own shop, and asked me to be a part of it,” Parker told ARLnow back in 2018. “They’re super talented guys with almost 20 years of combined experience in barbering. For them it was a chance to finally realize their dream, and, for me, a great opportunity to work with two very passionate, accomplished people.”

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REWILD, a trendy D.C.-based plant shop, has sprouted a second permanent location in Ballston Quarter.

The shop held a “soft opening” yesterday (Wednesday) and has a grand opening set for this Saturday, Oct. 23, with “goodies and special stuff happening,” co-owner Lily Cox tells ARLnow.

The shop first announced its expansion earlier this year, but the opening at 700 N. Randolph Street, Suite #190 has been delayed several months due to supply and material hold-ups.

Cox tells ARLnow the Ballston location was a natural choice, as a big chunk of REWILD’s customer base at its Shaw location came from this side of the Potomac.

“When we started offering delivery service, we found we were doing a lot of deliveries to Virginia,” she says.

The Ballston location will be much like the one in D.C., except a bit larger. It also includes a storefront and delivery service, and will eventually hold workshops.

Like many businesses, REWILD suffered at the start of the pandemic — it shut down for some time and sales dipped by up to 20%.

But this past summer, REWILD sales rose by about 50%, which Cox attributed to the store’s expanded offerings, including more deliveries, consultations and commercial clients.

“Offices have been contacting us because they want plants in their space,” says Cox. “Having plants in the office environment has been proven to boost productivity and [employers] are trying to make the office more enticing.”

Also, in general, people are also investing more into their at-home spaces, she notes.

When Cox opened the first REWILD three years ago, her initial mission was to create “a plant shop that was immersive and interactive.” Now, she says it’s more about education and working with customers to make sure they make the right purchase.

“We have real conversations with our clients about what plants would work best for their space and their lifestyle,” she says “So, they don’t have these horror stories about plants they killed.”

Cox originally got into designing plants as a hobby outside her 9-to-5 job in D.C. She says working with greenery kept her in touch with her West Coast roots. That hobby grew into crafting, workshops and selling plants out of Shop Made in D.C. It was then, three years ago, that she connected with co-owners Joseph Ressler and Kyle Cannon to open REWILD.

To Cox, plants show change and evolution. As REWILD expands, there’s an obvious analogy.

“You see the leaves, you see them add a few more inches of height, or grow in new directions,” she says. “It’s just exciting.”

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A new shop is coming to 576 23rd Street S. (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

A new business called “Beauty by Society Fair” is coming to 576 23rd Street S. in Crystal City, the former location of Agents in Style.

The establishment’s Instagram account describes it as a “champagne boutique.” The business also has an alcohol license pending, showing it’s looking to serve wine and/or beer both on and off the premises.

It also seems clear that the business is associated with the former market and eatery Society Fair and Bar PX in Alexandria, touted as the D.C area’s “original speakeasy-style bar.” Both establishments closed in 2019. An offshoot of Society Fair was also briefly open on Columbia Pike in Arlington in 2014.

Alexandria’s tourism blog promoted in April the eventual opening of “Beauty by Society Fair,” noting that it’s owned by Meshelle Armstrong. She’s the co-owner of several notable local restaurants with her husband, chef Cathal Armstrong, including Mattie and Eddie’s in Pentagon City. Armstrong’s Eat Good Food Group counts Society Fair, Bar PX, Eamonn’s and Restaurant Eve among its former restaurants.

Zena Polin, co-owner with Armstrong of Hummingbird Bar & Kitchen in Alexandria, also looks to be involved in Beauty by Society Fair.

ARLnow has reached out to the owners but haven’t received an on-the-record statement as of publication. A Sept. 30 Instagram post said Beauty by Society Fair would be “coming soonish” to “a darling spot [in] National Landing.”

The building, which is accessible via S. Fern Street, formerly housed the consignment boutique Agents in Style, but that shop moved to Charlottesville in July.

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