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New Vietnamese Restaurant Looks Set to Move into Former Bistro 360 Space in Rosslyn

A new Vietnamese restaurant seems to be coming to the former Bistro 360 space in Rosslyn.

Signs posted at the storefront, located at 1800 Wilson Blvd, promise that “Saigon Noodles and Grill” is “coming soon” to the space.

The restaurant doesn’t seem to have a web presence as of yet, but county permit records show that Hien Nguyen applied for a permit for a new 80-seat restaurant in the space on Nov. 5. County officials have yet to sign off on that request.

Bistro 360 closed back in late May, after owner Art Hauptman decided to shutter the restaurant after four years in business.

Hauptman subsequently struck a deal with the D.C.-based Parlay Sports Bar and Lounge to open a “pop-up” bar in the space. He’d originally hoped to make the arrangement more permanent, but it ended up lasting only a few weeks.

Photo via @IAmAru

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Chick-fil-A in Ballston Quarter Starts Serving Up Sandwiches Today

Starting today (Thursday), Chick-fil-A is back open in Ballston.

The fast food restaurant is welcoming hungry diners once more as part of the new Ballston Quarter development. The new outpost of the chain is located at 671 N. Glebe Road, on the development’s ground level and accessible via both its Glebe and Wilson Blvd entrances.

Chick-fil-A was long one of the most popular spots in the former Ballston Common mall, opening there more than 27 years ago, according to a press release.

Unlike the old location, however, the new space has a 50-seat dining area as well. The restaurant also includes a designated pickup counter for mobile orders.

Anyone swinging by the chain today can expect “a day of Chickfil-A surprises,” the release said, including giveaways.

The restaurant will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day, except Sundays, and serve breakfast until 10 p.m.

Chick-fil-A joins Punch Bowl Social among the first eateries to open in the new development, with businesses slowly starting to open to customers over the course of the last month. Ballston Quarter’s full “food hall,” an upscale food court, isn’t set to open until February.

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Restaurant with Ties to Timber Pizza Co. Looks Set to Move into Ballston Quarter

A new bar and restaurant could be on the way for Ballston Quarter, as businesses in the development slowly start to open to customers.

An establishment dubbing itself the “Ballston Service Station” is planning to move into the newly converted Ballston Common mall, according to a permit application.

The restaurant is seeking to serve both wine and beer “on and off premises,” records show, but there aren’t many other details available about the company. However, it does seem to have ties to Andrew Dana, the co-owner of D.C.’s Timber Pizza Company and Call Your Mother Deli — Dana’s phone number is listed as the contact on the Ballston Service Station permit application.

Dana is already planning on bringing a Timber Pizza location to Ballston Quarter, which will be located in the development’s “Quarter Market,” an upscale food court.

It’s unclear if the two restaurants will be connected, however — neither Dana nor a spokeswoman for Forest City, the company backing Ballston Quarter, responded to requests for comment.

Some stores and restaurants in Ballston Quarter have started welcoming their first customers in recent weeks, though the exact timeframe for the rest of the development to open for business remains murky.

The Quarter Market is currently slated to open in February, and Forest City hopes to have everything open by this coming spring.

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New Irish Pub Aims to Set Up Shop in Former Tortoise and Hare Space in Crystal City

A new Irish pub is on the way for Crystal City, aiming to set up shop in the neighborhood’s long-time row of local restaurants on 23rd Street S.

The space once occupied by the Tortoise and Hare Bar and Grill at 567 23rd Street S. will soon become home to the second location of Fiona’s Irish Pub, a restaurant and bar currently based in Alexandria.

Owner Martin White, a native of Ireland, told ARLnow that he’s hoping to get the new pub up and running somewhere in “early to mid-January,” and he’s eager to move in to what he termed “the best block in Crystal City.”

“You probably have every chain in the world on Crystal Drive, and that’s fine, you need chains,” White said. “But that 23rd Street block with all those independent restaurants, it’s got a great vibe to it. It could almost be an old part of New York or D.C.”

White is no stranger to the neighborhood’s dining scene — he says he helped open Crystal City’s Hamburger Hamlet back in 1991 and ran King Street Blues over on Crystal Drive for years. But the impending redevelopment of the area forced that restaurant out of its space this summer, and White found himself looking for other options.

Considering that his original location of Fiona’s was “going gangbusters” over in the Kingstowne Shopping Center in Fairfax County, White says he decided to expand the concept elsewhere.

And with 23rd Street thriving, thanks to the arrival of some new businesses and the revival of Cafe Italia, White immediately started targeting the area for an expansion.

“There’s this vision for it being the local village within the city, and that grabbed my attention, big time,” White said. “The more independents there, the better.”

He was able to secure the lease at the 23rd Street space months ago, and has been hard at work rehabbing the location ever since. White says the announcement that Amazon would indeed be moving in nearby didn’t hurt his prospects, either.

“Everybody knew what was going on with Amazon, but it was a hope,” White said. “We’d already signed the lease and the contract before it was announced. That was just a happy coincidence.”

As for the restaurant itself, White says the new location will be virtually the same as first Fiona’s. That means he’s aiming for a “traditional Dublin Irish pub” to honor his hometown, complete with a stage for live music, plenty of beer on tap and a “significant Irish whiskey collection.”

“Everything, all our food will be all fresh made,” White said. “Everything will be made in-house daily.”

While Crystal City may well have other bars and restaurants, White expects that commitment to freshness will help Fiona stand out.

“When you think about it, farm to table has been going on for hundreds of years in Ireland,” White said. “That’s how we grew up, and that’s how we’ll be.”

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I-CE-NY Set to Open Today in Village at Shirlington

I-CE-NY is set to start dishing out ice cream today in Shirlington.

The unique ice cream chain, which serves “smashed and rolled ice cream” with mix-ins like fruit, cookies and candy, started in Thailand before expanding to New York City in 2015 and then other U.S. cities.

Debuting on the same day as Shirlington’s Light Up the Village event, the shop plans to offer a “Buy One, Get One Free” rolled ice cream promotion today (Nov. 29), a spokeswoman for Federal Realty told ARLnow.

With more than 250 locations across Asia and more than 20 locations in the U.S., this is I-CE-NY’s first D.C.-area location.

In October, signs in the windows of a storefront at 4150 Campbell Ave for I-CE-NY indicated that it would take the former Knits Etc. space. The shop neighbors Samuel Beckett’s Irish Gastro Pub and Diana Nails.

I-CE-NY offers a number of signature pre-set ice cream and mix-in combos, including “Mango Sticky RI-CE” and “Strawberry Cheese-CE Cake,” per its website.

The ice cream gets made by pouring the ice cream base — including flavors such as “Thai I-CE Tea,” “Biscoff Cookie Butter,” “Cookie Spree,” “Want S’mores” and more — with a choice of mix-in ingredients on a custom-designed metal plate that can get as cold as -15 degrees Fahrenheit, the spokeswoman said. It is then chopped, smashed, flattened and served in chubby rolls.

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Morning Notes

Shatner: Arlington E-Bike Rules ‘Barbaric’ — E-bike enthusiast and Priceline pitchman William Shatner, better known as Star Trek’s Captain James T. Kirk, said via Twitter yesterday — in response to a tweet from the sassy Arlington Dept. Environmental Services Twitter account — that Arlington’s prohibition on e-bikes on local trails is “barbaric.” [Twitter]

Kojo Coming to Crystal City — WAMU 88.5 is bringing the Kojo Nnamdi Show to Crystal City for “a town hall-style discussion about how local officials, businesses, and community members in Northern Virginia and the region are reacting to Amazon’s decision.” Those wishing to attend the taping can register online. [Kojo Nnamdi Show]

Upgrades for Ballston Senior Housing — “The Arlington County Board [Tuesday] approved a low-interest loan of $3.025 million in federal Community Development Block Grant funds to help renovate The Carlin, a 162-unit, 10-story building located at 4300 N. Carlin Springs Road. The Carlin serves low income elderly residents who are 55 years and older.” [Arlington County]

‘Arts District’ Near Crystal City? — “Even before the specter of Amazon’s second headquarters put stars in everyone’s eyes in Crystal City, Stratis Voutsas and Georgia Papadopoulos, managers of a trust that owns many buildings on the neighborhood’s ‘restaurant row,’ were dreaming up a plan to bring more people across U.S. Route 1 to the neighborhood… The trust wants to build an open-air park and plaza on a parking lot and site of a Greek restaurant the trust owns behind some of the 23rd Street restaurants. It would have artist spaces tucked below, facing onto 22nd Street.” [Washington Business Journal]

Amazon News Roundup — Amazon’s HQ2 search was about “selecting locations with specialized kinds of talent that meet certain needs,” and “Crystal City… puts Amazon closer to tech talent, but also to government leaders, cloud customers, and the U.S. Department of Defense.” Crystal City is built upon the former Abingdon Plantation and the new Amazon presence “affords us the opportunity to recognize and memorialize the lives of those enslaved there.” Meanwhile, a former JBG executive who left to help build a $3 billion development in Tampa is returning as the company prepares for Amazon’s arrival.

Nearby: New Wawa and New Restaurant — A new Wawa is coming to Vienna, making it the closest Northern Virginia location to Arlington for the beloved convenience store chain. And an acclaimed chef is planning to open a new Italian restaurant on N. Washington Street in the City of Falls Church.

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Morning Notes

McChrystal Speaks Out Against Lee — Amid the furor over changing the name of Washington-Lee High School, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who attended W-L, says it’s time to set aside icons like Robert E. Lee and “combat our desire to mythologize our history and our leaders.” [Washington Post]

Soft Opening for Shirlington Ice Cream Shop — Rolled ice cream shop I-CE-NY is scheduled to hold a soft opening tonight in Shirlington from 4:30-9:30 p.m. [Instagram]

Fill the Cruiser Tonight — The Arlington County Police Department is holding one of its three planned “Fill the Cruiser” holiday toy drive events today from 2-6 p.m. at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall. “A cruiser will be located in the food court next to the Christmas tree,” ACPD notes. [Arlington County]

E-CARE Stats — This month’s Arlington E-CARE disposal and recycling event collected more than 100,000 pounds of hazardous household materials and used electronics products. [Twitter]

AFAC Helps Less Fortunate Celebrate Thanksgiving — The Arlington Food Assistance Center gave away 2,500 turkeys, along with other Thanksgiving staples, over the past week. Hunger remains an unresolved issue at a time when Amazon’s future arrival will likely exacerbate inequality and housing unaffordability in Arlington. [Washington Post]

Nearby: Big New Development in Falls Church — “The development team of EYA, PN Hoffman and Regency Centers was chosen by the Falls Church City Council Monday night to orchestrate a dense and diverse $500 million development of 10.3 acres of City-owned land where its George Mason High School currently sits,” near the West Falls Church Metro station. [Falls Church News-Press]

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Morning Notes

New Elementary School at Reed Site Approved — “The Arlington County Board today approved a new elementary school for up to 732 students at the Reed site, 1644 N. McKinley Road, in the Westover neighborhood. The Board voted unanimously to approve a use permit amendment for Arlington Public Schools to renovate and expand the existing Reed School/Westover Library to create a neighborhood elementary school.” [Arlington County]

Here’s Where Amazon is Coming, Exactly — Amazon will be leasing office space at three JBG Smith buildings in Crystal City: 241 18th Street S., 1800 S. Bell Street and 1770 Crystal Drive. Amazon also agreed to buy two JBG-owned land parcels in Pentagon City that are approved for development: PenPlace and the remaining portion of Metropolitan Park. [Washington Business Journal]

County Board Discusses Legislative Priorities — “A highlight of the County’s package is a call for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution that was proposed by Congress in 1972. Both the Arlington League of Women Voters, and the Arlington Civic Federation have called on the General Assembly to ratify the ERA.” [Arlington County]

Arlington Projects Win at NAIOP Awards — Nine of the 29 real estate development projects lauded at the Best of NAIOP Northern Virginia Awards on Nov. 15 were Arlington projects. [NAIOP]

Neighborhood Conservation Projects Funded — “The Arlington County Board today approved $2.9 million in Neighborhood Conservation bond funds for projects in Cherrydale and Arlington Forest… The $1.84 million Cherrydale project will improve N. Monroe Street, between 17th Street North and 19th Street North… The $1.08 million Arlington Forest project will make improvements to Edison Park.” [Arlington County]

How DIRT Chose Ballston — “DIRT co-founders @jlatulip and @jamcdaniel visited many parts of D.C. and the greater DMV area before deciding to open in Ballston. ‘We noticed very quickly that this was a special community, one that we could call home and grow with. We love the energy of the neighborhood — Ballston is a young, active community, which fits DIRT perfectly.'” [Instagram]

Verizon FiOS Outage — Verizon’s FiOS service suffered a major outage in the D.C. area yesterday. [Twitter, Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Tom Mockler

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‘Common Ground’ Food Hall in Rosslyn Pushes Opening to Next Spring

Hungry diners in Rosslyn will need to wait a bit longer for a new food hall slated to open in one of the neighborhood’s new skyscrapers.

Social Restaurant Group, the same company behind Clarendon night-life spots Bar Bao and Pamplona, plans to someday open the “Common Ground” food hall in the Central Place building at 1800 N. Lynn Street. However, SRG co-founder Mike Bramson told ARLnow that the company is currently targeting the “end of spring 2019” to open its doors, despite previously hoping to do so before the end of this year.

The main hold-up in moving forward on the project is the permitting process, Bramson said, a common complaint among Arlington restaurateurs.

“We are at the mercy of the permitting office,” Bramson said. “We will move quickly once we receive those.”

Bramson hasn’t revealed many details about the new eatery, but he says it will be located on the second floor of the massive skyscraper across from the Rosslyn Metro station, “above the McDonald’s overlooking the plaza.” The building sits directly across from the CEB Tower, a 31-story structure rapidly attracting businesses and retailers of all kinds, and is already home to ground-floor restaurants The Little Beet and Sweetgreen.

SRG is also working to open the new “The Lot” beer garden in Clarendon, another project it’s hoping to wrap up this spring.

Photo 2 via Google Maps

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Mediterranean Restaurant Replaces Mazagan on Columbia Pike

Mediterranean-themed restaurant Caspi is replacing the Moroccan eatery and hookah bar, Mazagan Restaurant, next to the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse.

Located at 2901 Columbia Pike location, Mazagan Restaurant was purchased last week and will be replaced with a restaurant featuring a menu of Mediterranean and European cuisine, one of the owners told ARLnow. He added that the restaurant is aiming for a soft opening this coming weekend, followed by a grand opening in late November.

A peek inside the windows reveals a torn apart inside with construction tools and signs of major renovation. A Virginia liquor license application from Huseynov and Sam LLC is posted in the window facing Columbia Pike.

Mazagan Restaurant opened at the spot in May 8, 2014 after replacing the quirky electronics store Venus Stereos & TVs. The website for the Moroccan eatery says “closed” and “under construction.”

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New ‘Open Road’ Restaurant in Rosslyn Skyscraper Pushes Back Opening to Next Year

A new bar and restaurant bound for the ground floor of the CEB Tower in Rosslyn is pushing back its opening date slightly, now aiming to start serving patrons next year.

The Metropolitan Hospitality Group, which also operates Circa Bistro in Clarendon, announced plans to bring a second “Open Road” restaurant to the area last summer. The firm had hoped to open it up sometime this fall, but MHG President Matt Carlin told ARLnow that “the permit process has definitely taken longer than we thought.”

But he says the project is still moving forward, and the company is “expecting our permit at the end of the month.”

“Then it will be approximately [a] six-month buildout,” Carlin wrote in an email. “And [we’re] hoping to open in May/June 2019.”

The company first brought the concept, which features a vast beer selection and Southern-style menu options, to Merrifield several years ago. However, Carlin says the Rosslyn location will be a bit different than the original.

The restaurant itself will be located in the plaza area directly in front of the building, with awnings and outdoor seating accompanying it. Then, below the plaza, MHG is also planning a separate bar attached to the restaurant dubbed “Salt,” which will be accessible via N. Lynn Street.

The tower itself is the largest building in Rosslyn, and only just opened last year. It’s currently in the process of adding new office tenants, and has already signed other retailers including Compass Coffee and Cava.

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Ballston Shake Shack to Open This Weekend

At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 2018, the new Ballston Shake Shack will open its doors.

The company says it’s planning to open its new location at Ballston Exchange (4201 Wilson Blvd) at 11 a.m. on Sunday, which only coincidentally coincides with the 100th anniversary of the World War I armistice.

Shake Shack is donating proceeds from its soft opening and a portion of sales of one of its desserts to Arlington’s Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, the company said in a press release. A t-shirt giveaway will also be held on opening day.

More from the press release:

Spreading the Shack love! Shake Shack® is thrilled to announce it will open the doors to a new location in the heart of Ballston on Sunday, November 11th at 11 a.m. The Shack will be located at 4201 Wilson Blvd Suite 0180, Arlington, Virginia 22203 in the prominent Ballston Exchange development.

Shake Shack is a critically acclaimed, modern day “roadside” burger stand known for its 100% all-natural Angus beef burgers, chicken sandwiches and griddled flat-top dogs (no hormones or antibiotics – ever), fresh-made frozen custard, crispy crinkle cut fries and more. A fun and lively community gathering place with widespread appeal, Shake Shack has earned a cult-like following around the world.

In addition to the classics, the Ballston Shack will be spinning up a unique selection of frozen custard concretes:

  • Pie Oh My: Vanillas custard with a slice of Livin’ the Pie Life seasonal pie
  • Short & Sweet: Vanilla custard, salted caramel sauce, banana and shortbread cookie
  • Shack Attack: Chocolate custard, fudge sauce, chocolate truffle cookie dough, Mast Brothers Shake Shack dark chocolate chunks, topped with chocolate sprinkles

Guests can wash their burgers down with local brews from Port City Brewing Company and DC Brau, plus Shake Shack’s exclusive Brooklyn Brewery ShackMeister® Ale. Wine lovers can enjoy a glass of Shack RedTM and Shack WhiteTM wine from the Gotham Project.

As part of Shake Shack’s mission to Stand For Something Good®, The Ballston Shack will donate all proceeds from soft opening, as well 5% of sales from the Pie Oh My concrete throughout the life of the shack to Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, a volunteer-powered nonprofit dedicated to rescuing homeless, neglected, and abandoned animals from certain euthanasia and finding them loving forever homes.

The 2,803 square-foot Shack will feature an outdoor covered patio and ample seating for guests. In keeping with Shake Shack’s commitment to green architecture and eco-friendly construction, the Ballston Shack’s tabletops will be made by CounterEvolution using reclaimed bowling alley lanes; chairs will be designed by Uhuru using sustainable materials; and booths will be crafted by Staach using lumber certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

Snag some swag! The first 100 people in line when doors open at 11AM will receive a custom T-shirt — on us!

Shake Shack is now hiring full-time and part-time team members – no previous experience required! Apply online at ShackCareers.com

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Health Food-Focused ‘Dirt’ Plans Expansion in Ballston Exchange Next Year

A new eatery coming to Ballston is inviting diners to eat “Dirt” — not quite literally, though.

The Miami-based restaurant plans to open its first location outside Florida in the Ballston Exchange development, located at 4121 Wilson Blvd, according to a press release.

Dirt will move into an 1,800-square-foot space in the office building, and expects to be ready for customers by spring 2019. The newly redeveloped building, once home to the National Science Foundation, will welcome a spate of new retailers in the coming months, including a Shake Shack, Philz Coffee and We the Pizza.

The chain’s backers were inspired to move to Ballston by “the energy of the neighborhood,” and the sudden proliferation of new businesses at both the Ballston Exchange and Ballston Quarter developments, the release said.

The restaurant is health-food focused, with offerings including breakfast dishes and toasts (both served all day), salads, bowls, smoothies, juices and even vegan “mylkshakes,” made with almond milk ice cream. Dirt will also offer a “full espresso bar and tea program,” the release said.

The eatery’s founders dub Dirt a “counter casual” restaurant, presenting it as a blend of a sit-down restaurant and up-scale fast food restaurants like Chipotle.

“We have a different service model than the omnipresent Chipotle-style assembly line that people have become inundated with,” JJ McDaniel, the chain’s director of operations, wrote in a statement. “You order at the counter, and although we don’t have formal servers, from there it’s very much a full-service experience. We bring your order to you, with real plates and silverware and linen napkins, check on you during your meal and clean your table after you leave. Trays and bus tubs are purposely absent from the Dirt dining experience.”

The Ballston location will be the chain’s third overall, after opening two restaurants in the Miami area starting in 2015.

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Bethesda Bagels Opens Its Doors in Rosslyn

A new Bethesda Bagels location opened its doors yesterday (Nov. 6) across from the Rosslyn Metro station.

Located at 1851 N. Moore Street, this is the first location in Arlington for Bethesda Bagels, which has two shops in D.C. to go along with the original in Bethesda, Md., founded in 1982.

About 15 customers showed up for the store’s 6:30 a.m. opening, and “long lines” formed throughout the rainy morning, Danny Fleishman, president of Bethesda Bagels, told ARLnow.

Sandwiched between Nando’s and McDonald’s, Bethesda Bagels offers passersby a glimpse into the bagel-making process with a storefront window near the kitchen. Fleishman said he plans to put a counter by the window for seating.

The menu centers around its two dozen varieties of handmade, New York-style bagels. The shop offers an all-day breakfast menu of egg sandwiches and smoked fish sandwiches and “lunch goodies” including pizza bagels and “bagel dogs.”

For first-time customers, Fleishman recommends the egg sandwiches or the smoked salmon sandwich, which uses smoked fish from Ivy City Smokehouse in D.C.

“Everything we do is homemade and true New York-deli style and is delicious,” he said.

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Aabee Express Now Open at Pentagon Row

A new restaurant has opened at the Pentagon Row shopping center in Pentagon City.

Aabee Express is now serving Mediterranean cuisine in the former Nkd Pizza storefront. The diminutive restaurant, next to the F45 gym, opened on Nov. 1.

More from a press release:

Federal Realty Investment Trust (NYSE: FRT), recognized leader in the ownership, operation and redevelopment of high-quality retail based properties, announces today the opening of Aabee Express at Pentagon Row, a 300,000-square foot open-air shopping destination with a unique combination of specialty retailers, modern fitness concepts, best-in class spas and exciting restaurants. The new Mediterranean fusion style dining (Grab n’ Go) option will be open seven days a week from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. starting on November 1, 2018 and is located on 1101 S. Joyce Street.

Aabee Express is a chef driven restaurant with over 27 years’ experiences in gourmet food. The menu is produced homemade to order or pre-packaged prepared from whole food and unprocessed ingredients. Aabee Express accommodates vegetarian, vegan and gluten free customers with zero added preservatives, additives or MSG. The menu includes fresh soups, salads, kabobs, fresh baked flatbread, family portion platters, desserts and more. The restaurant will accommodate pick up (carry out), curbside pickup, catering, and delivery.

“Pentagon Row is truly a gathering place for locals and tourists alike. We largely credit that to our amazing dining and shopping tenants that provide an array of services to the community. We are thrilled to continue to build upon those options with the opening of Aabee Express,” said Kari Glinski, Director of Asset Management for Federal Realty Investment Trust.

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