Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

Regular Schedule for ART Tomorrow — “ART will operate holiday service on Christmas Day (December 25) and New Year’s Day (January 1). On both days, ART 41, 42, 45, 51, 55 and 87 will operate Sunday service. All other ART routes will not operate. ART will operate regular weekday service on December 24.” [Arlington Transit]

Holiday Hours at Pentagon City Mall — The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City is “offering special holiday hours to accommodate busy holiday shoppers… Shoppers can have their gifts beautifully wrapped this holiday season for a nominal fee with all proceeds benefiting Arms Outstretched, a local nonprofit organization supporting wounded warriors. The gift-wrapping service will be located on the second level near Nordstrom.” [Press Release]

Travel Tips at National Airport — “The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is gearing up for another record holiday travel period at both Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport. As the holidays approach, the Airports Authority expects to see heavier traffic and passenger volumes.” [Press Release]

Video Highlights ACPD Crosswalk Enforcement — “WATCH: The Arlington County Police Department routinely conducts pedestrian crosswalk safety enforcement campaigns using decoy officers and federal standards for safe stopping distances.” [Twitter]

Football Team Drops By Elementary School — “Earlier today, the @dcdivasfootball visited Long Branch to talk about who they are, following your passion, health/fitness, and then walked through a few drills. The D.C. Divas, which play in the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA), are one of the most well-known and successful teams in women’s tackle football.” [Instagram]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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Update at 10:50 a.m. — The source of the smoke was determined to be a “malfunctioning air handler” in Nordstrom, which is now being shut down, according to scanner traffic. Most of the fire vehicles are expected to leave the scene shortly.

Earlier: Firefighters from Arlington and neighboring jurisdictions are investigating smoke and a burning odor in the Pentagon City mall.

The smoke and odor was reported on the Nordstrom end of the mall. Thus far firefighters have not found a fire.

A large emergency response is on scene, with firefighters checking out all floors of the store, as well as the Metro station and the roof, for a smoke source.

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As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, the Ballston Quarter and Pentagon City malls are shifting their hours and offering special activities.

At the Fashion Center at Pentagon City (1100 S. Hayes Street), the hours will vary by day, with the full holiday weekend schedule as follows:

  • Thursday, Nov. 28: 5 p.m.-1 a.m.
  • Friday, Nov. 29: 6 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Nov. 30: 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Dec. 1: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

On Black Friday (Nov. 29), shoppers can present their receipts at “Santa’s Grab Bag” for a chance to win prizes like retailer gift cards, American Express gift cards and more. In addition, there will be hot chocolate and freshly baked cookies.

In the meantime, Santa arrived earlier this month and is available for photos with children on the first level of the mall, near Nordstrom. And this weekend, the “Snow Sisters” will be joining Santa, according to the mall’s social media account.

At Ballston Quarter (4238 Wilson Blvd), the mall will be closed all day on Thursday (Thanksgiving), except for Onelife Fitness, Regal Cinema, and Macy’s.

On Black Friday, the entire mall is expected to be open by 10 a.m., with the exception of Macy’s at 6 a.m. and Scout & Molly’s at 7 a.m. Stores, restaurants, and more across the mall will be offering exclusive specials:

  • True Food Kitchen, buy $100 in gift cards and receive a $40 bonus card
  • Sloppy Mama’s BBQ is offering a $20 gift card with the purchase of a $100 certificate.
  • Scout & Molly’s will have staggered discounts throughout the day — from 7-9 a.m., 40% off an entire purchase, then 30% off from 9-1 p.m., and from 1-9 p.m., 25% off.
  • Steadfast Supply will have 15% off the entire shop, with special gifts offered at tier purchases.
  • Gossip will have 40% the entire store all day
  • Special Cookology classes, with a $10 voucher towards a bottle of wine.
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Morning Notes

Water Taxi Coming to Arlington? — The Potomac Riverboat Company, which operates a water taxi between the Wharf, Georgetown, Alexandria and National Harbor, is reportedly considering new commuter-oriented routes, includings a stop at the Pentagon. [ALXnow]

Dems Want to Boost State Affordable Housing Funds — “Virginia Democrats are salivating at what they might be able to achieve now that they’ve finally won unified control of state government, particularly when it comes to affordable housing… new money from the state could be ‘rocket fuel’ for efforts in Arlington if developers can pair that cash with existing funding.” [Washington Business Journal]

Pentagon City Mall to Host New Holiday Display — “Residents and visitors are invited to Fashion Centre at Pentagon City’s inaugural Festival of the Trees! From November 23 through December 24, a variety of Christmas trees decorated by local nonprofits, including Arlington Food Assistance Center, Animal Welfare League of Arlington, Doorways for Women and Families,” etc. [Fashion Centre at Pentagon City]

Zone 4 Leaf Collection Starts Today — Arlington County’s vacuum leaf collection effort is continuing, with crews starting to roam “Zone 4” neighborhoods including East Falls Church, Arlington Forest and Arlington Ridge today. [Arlington County]

Congregation Returns After Redevelopment — “On Sunday, November 17, Arlington Presbyterian Church (APC) celebrated their homecoming. APC returned to their former site opening a new worship, office and multi-use space on the ground-floor of Gilliam Place, a 173-unit affordable housing community developed by the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) along Columbia Pike.” [Press Release]

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The Arlington County Police Department is kicking off its annual Fill the Cruiser holiday toy drive tonight.

ACPD is “asking community members to donate new, unwrapped toys to bring holiday cheer to children ages newborn-17,” the department said in a press release. “Donations will be distributed by the Police Department throughout the month of December.”

Three events are being held this week, starting tonight at Ballston Quarter mall. A fourth is planned on Black Friday — Nov. 29 — at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall.

More from ACPD (emphasis added):

Officers will collect toys at the following locations:

  • Tuesday, November 19, 2019 from 5 to 7 p.m. — Ballston Quarter — 4238 Wilson Boulevard — A cruiser will be located on the sidewalk between Ted’s Bulletin and True Food Kitchen
  • Wednesday, November 20, 2019 from 6 to 8 p.m. — Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church — 830 23rd Street S.
  • Thursday, November 21, 2019 from 6 to 8 p.m. — Lee Harrison Shopping Center — 2425 N. Harrison Street
  • Friday, November 29, 2019 from 2 to 4 p.m. — The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City — 1100 S. Hayes Street — A cruiser will be located in the food court next to the Christmas tree

Those wishing to donate toys, but unable to attend the Fill the Cruiser events can drop off donations at Police Headquarters, located at 1425 N. Courthouse Road, until Friday, December 13, 2019 at the 2nd Floor Administrative Support Unit Front Counter.

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Morning Notes

Residents Want Second Pentagon City Metro Entrance — “Some longtime residents have spent years agitating for just such a study of their roads and public transit options, seeing a need long before HQ2 was a twinkle in Jeff Bezos’ eye. They’re eager to see an evaluation of how much new density the area can bear, and what solutions could make it easier for Pentagon City residents to get around — perhaps most notably, they’re pressing to see a second entrance for the neighborhood’s Metro station.” [Washington Business Journal]

Pentagon City Mall Seeking Sidewalk Cafe Upgrades — Simon, owner of the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall, is seeking to make some additions to the sidewalk cafes in front of the mall on S. Hayes Street. Proposed upgrades, to be considered by the Arlington County Board this weekend, include: “light poles, light strings and fencing with tray tops.” [Arlington County]

No, Crystal City Is Not Named for a Chandelier — “According to Robert P. Kogod, the former co-CEO of the Charles E. Smith Companies — which developed Crystal City — the name for the neighborhood’s first building, Crystal House, came first, and the chandelier came afterward.” [Washingtonian]

County Board to Consider Incentives to Keep PBS HQ — “Arlington County Board is considering offering up to $500,000 to retain the Public Broadcasting Service, nearly a year after PBS already committed to doing just that. The Arlington County Board is expected to consider the Economic Development Incentive grant at its meeting Saturday, along with a $450,000 grant to the Incentive Technology Group, which is also staying in Crystal City under a new lease.” [Washington Business Journal]

New Pike Affordable Housing Building Opens — “A ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the opening of Gilliam Place, a former church, and its 173 affordable housing units in Arlington Thursday morning. The complex is aimed at helping lower income and special needs families, and… it’s already home for a nonverbal woman living with autism.” [NBC 4, WJLA]

New Scooter Corral in Rosslyn — “Yee-haw!! New ‘Shared Mobility Device’ corral for Rosslyn’s North Moore Street.” [Twitter/@ArlingtonDES]

Live Action ‘Clue’ Planned in Arlington — “Time to solve a murder mystery while taking part in an incredible game and Scavenger Hunt as we bring the game of CLUE® – without a board – to our own backyard!” [Facebook]

Reminder: I-395 HOV Becoming Express Lanes — “The time has come for big change for local commuters: after two years of work, the I-395 HOV lanes inside the Beltway are becoming express toll lanes… The switch over is slated to take place on Sunday, Nov. 17.” [ARLnow]

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A victim was robbed at gunpoint by a masked man, in the middle of the afternoon, outside of the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall on Wednesday.

Police responded to the mall’s parking garage around 2:30 p.m. for a report of an armed robbery. By the time they arrived, the suspect — who was armed with a gun — had fled the scene with several stolen “items of value,” according to Arlington County Police.

Police are still investigating. So far, no arrests have been reported.

More from an ACPD crime report:

ARMED ROBBERY, 2019-11060163, 800 block of Army Navy Drive. At approximately 2:36 p.m. on November 6, police were dispatched to the report of an armed robbery. The investigation determined that the suspect approached the victim at gunpoint and stole items of value. The suspect fled the scene prior to police arrival. The suspect is described as a black male wearing a black jacket and a ski mask. The investigation is ongoing.

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Florida-based roasted corn stand “Shuck Shack” has opened its first Arlington location in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City.

The fast-casual stand, which specializes in gourmet roasted corn topped with butter and/or seasonings such as Old Bay and chili powder, first opened earlier this month on the food court level of the mall next to the Forever 21 store entrance.

“We’re always looking for new, fast-casual dining options for our shoppers and are thrilled to be able to offer Shuck Shack’s ‘World Famous’ roasted corn at our center,” said Todd Jerscheid, director of marketing and business development for the mall, which also caters to large tour groups, busloads of visiting students, and people heading to and from the Pentagon City Metro station.

Additional flavors of corn include “The Founder’s Special” topped with a secret blend of seasonings, and hot butter, and “Mexican Street Corn,” (commonly known as “elote“), made with parmesan cheese and additional spices.

A sign on the side of the stand notes that the franchise is veteran owned. The owner did not respond to several requests for comment at the time of publication.

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Morning Notes

Arlington Rooftop Bar Reopens — After being shut down by county building inspectors, Arlington Rooftop Bar and Grill in Courthouse reopened Tuesday evening, just in time to watch the Nationals sweep the Cardinals in Game 4 of the NLDS, to advance to the first World Series in D.C. since 1933. [Twitter]

Housing Still Hot Near HQ2 — “The median sale price for all home types in the 22202 [zip code, which includes the Pentagon City and Crystal City area] jumped nearly 40% in September compared with the same time last year, reaching $685,000… That makes it nine straight months of home price appreciation for the 22202 area. Arlington County as a whole saw a modest 12% year-to-date increase, $590,000 for all home types.” [Washington Business Journal]

Retail Job Fair Next Week — “Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, Washington D.C.’s international shopping destination, invites job seekers to attend its Retailer Job Fair on Tuesday, October 22. From 11 a.m.-7 p.m., candidates can visit the Metro and First Levels to pick up applications, meet with store representatives and apply onsite.” [Press Release]

DCA Fee to Help Pay for Expansion Project — “Project Journey, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority’s $1 billion capital improvement effort well underway at Reagan National Airport, will be paid for in part by airline passengers. At its meeting Wednesday, the MWAA board will be asked to approve the submission of a new Passenger Facility Charge application… The $4.50 fee is collected by airlines as part of their airfare and remitted to the airport of origin.” [Washington Business Journal]

Caps Dogs Star in Arlington Photoshoot — “In the 2020 Capitals Canine Calendar, you will see 12 months of Washington ice hockey players posing with dogs of all sizes, ages and bark levels… There was plenty of four-legged mischief during the October shoot at the MedStar Capitals Iceplex in Arlington.” [Washington Post, Twitter]

Nearby: New Restaurant in Arlandria — “The new Taqueria Senora Lola is now open at 3901 Mount Vernon Avenue in Arlandria. Owner Oswaldo Salinas said the restaurant — adjacent to Salinas’ other eatery, Lilian’s Restaurant, opened two weeks ago and had a grand opening event this past Saturday.” [ALXnow]

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Gluten-free and plant-focused eatery The Little Beet expects to open its second Arlington location by the end of the month.

Little Beet is currently under construction in the food court level of the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City. A marketing spokeswoman from eatery said the restaurant is hoping to open Monday, October 21 but can’t promise an exact date, citing difficulties with “construction permitting.”

An official mall listing said the eatery would open on October 16, however, the spokeswoman said “October” was the safest best.

The Little Beet will give food court diners new gluten-free and healthy options. The restaurant models after similar chains such as Cava and Sweetgreen with make-your-own bowls. Here, they’re built with grains, two portions of seasonal vegetables such as shaved Brussels sprouts and broccoli rabe, and with a range of proteins from salmon to beet falafel.

“Because our center is located nearby several office buildings, we’re always seeking to add healthy lunch options to satisfy our neighbors coming in to grab a quick bite and shop on their breaks,” said Todd Jerscheid, director of marketing and business development for the mall, which also caters to large tour groups, busloads of visiting students, and people heading to and from the Pentagon City Metro station.

The new Pentagon City mall location is the New York-based chain’s second location in Arlington, after one at 1800 N. Lynn Street in Rosslyn. A D.C. location closed earlier this summer.

“We’re aggressively expanding in exciting markets and Fashion Centre at Pentagon City presented a perfect way for our brand to build out our presence in the D.C./Maryland/Virginia market,” said Little Beet CEO Becky Mulligan.

She added: “We’ll be launching in Pentagon City with our app which allows guests and neighbors to pick up a healthy breakfast on their way to work, order ahead for a nutritious lunch, bring a nourishing dinner home after a long workday or fuel up for a weekend shopping trip.”

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(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) It was poultry pandemonium at Popeyes on Pershing, the Pike and in Pentagon City today.

The fried chicken chain has been selling out of its wildly popular, critically acclaimed new chicken sandwiches nationwide, and Arlington is no exception — but one shining beacon of salty and fatty goodness in the county was still serving as of mid-afternoon today.

Spurred on by a social media war among Popeyes, Chick-fil-A and Wendy’s and lesser chicken sandwich purveyors, customers have been flocking to Popeyes restaurants and scarfing down every clucking sammy in the joint.

In Arlington today, we went searching for the coveted bread-chicken-pickles-and-mayo stack at three Popeyes locations in the county: at 4241 N. Pershing Drive in Buckingham, near Ballston; at 5007 Columbia Pike, near the Arlington Mill Community Center; and at the Pentagon City mall food court. (A fourth, right on the Arlington/Alexandria border at 4675 King Street, was left off our visit list.)

Arriving at the Pershing location around 1 p.m., the parking lot was full and a line wrapped around the interior of the restaurant. After finally advancing to the front of the line, a woman dressed in business attire and not the usual Popeyes uniform — was it the owner? — broke the news that the restaurant had sold out of the sandwich an hour earlier. She said a shipment on Friday is expected to restock their sandwich supply, and added in hushed tones that they may be restocked tonight (Wednesday) as well.

The story was even bleaker at the Popeyes on the Pike. Staff there said they’re out of the sandwiches, noted that many local Popeyes have been out for two days, and asserted they won’t be getting more until Friday at the earliest. One particularly spicy customer — the sandwiches come in classic and spicy varieties, it should be noted — said the viral online food fight is to blame.

“It’s crazy. I blame it on social media,” the customer said. “They [the Popeyes sandwiches] are good, but they’re not Chick-Fil-A good.”

Finally, at 3 p.m., the Popeyes at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City food court beckoned. Taking stock of the origin of the chain’s name — it’s supposedly named after a detective in the 1971 film The French Connection, not the spinach-swallowing cartoon sailor — it dawned on our intrepid reporter that we, too, were conducting an investigation into a dealer of addictive substances. But since chicken sandwiches are decidedly more benign than heroin, he soldiered on.

From a distance, a long line could be seen. Upon further inspection, it started at the Popeyes and stretched well past the McDonald’s. Approaching the counter, employees could be seen preparing it — The Sandwich — the most buzzworthy fried chicken fast food concoction since the KFC Double Down.

Sure enough, the chicken sandwich was still being served to hungry shoppers and office workers, pulled to the Popeyes stall at the mall at 3 p.m. as if by some magnetic force.

“It’s really good,” said Sedaya Moore, halfway through her first Popeyes sandwich experience, before continuing to chow down with her dining companions. There was nothing else to say.

Vernon Miles contributed to this report

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