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Rosa Mexicano is looking to open in the former home of Sugar Factory on S. Hayes Street (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Rosa Mexicano will not be opening next month in Pentagon City but is aiming to start serving later this year.

The new restaurant that’s moving into the former Sugar Factory space is looking to open its doors sometime this fall, a company spokesperson told ARLnow.

That’s a bit of a push from what was reported back in June, when the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City website noted a September 1 opening for the new 4,200-square-foot dining space on S. Hayes Street.

However, the Rosa Mexicano spokesperson tells us the aim was always to open later in the fall. The mall’s website has since been updated and it now simply says “coming soon.”

Either way, it appears that the New York-based upscale Mexican eatery will be serving its tableside guacamole in Pentagon City by the end of the year. It will be the region’s second currently operating location, though locals might remember a previous one in D.C. across the street from Capital One Arena. That location closed only last summer after 16 years.

The first Rosa Mexicano opened in New York City close to four decades ago.

The decor and menu in Pentagon City are still being worked on, but it will likely hue close to recently-opened locations in Philadelphia and Boston. While the menu is set to be “revamped,” it is likely the eatery will still have its guacamole prepared tableside as well as other well-known Mexican dishes like tacos, ceviche, and enchiladas.

There have been plenty of comings and goings at Pentagon City mall recently, beyond Rosa Mexicano.

Menswear store Psycho Bunny is now hopping towards an October opening while local chicken wing restaurant Soul Wingz and Latin American cuisine Maizal are also listed as “coming soon.” Earlier this year, Rihanna’s lingerie brand Savage x Fenty opened a storefront at the mall as well.

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Pentagon City mall and S. Hayes Street (file photo)

Virginia’s annual back-to-school tax holiday is coming up this weekend and one local shopping center is using the occasion to hold a donation drive.

This year’s statewide sales tax holiday is taking place from Friday through Sunday (Aug. 5-7). Those shopping in Virginia can rack up tax savings on eligible products, including back-to-school clothing and supplies, emergency preparedness items, and certain energy- and water-efficient home appliances and fixtures.

More from the state’s website:

What items are eligible?

Detailed lists of qualifying items and more information for retailers can be found in the Sales Tax Holiday Guidelines.

“During a time of high inflation and gas prices, Virginians will receive some needed tax relief this weekend as they support local businesses across the Commonwealth,” Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) said this afternoon in a statement. “Lowering the cost of living remains a top priority for my administration as we work together to make Virginia the best place to live, work, and raise a family.”

Locals taking advantage of tax-free shopping at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, meanwhile, are being asked to bring their used denim with them. Denim clothing can be donated at the mall between Aug. 5-14.

“Fashion Centre at Pentagon City encourages shoppers to bring any type of denim apparel items to the Do Good With Denim drive,” mall operator Simon said in a press release. “Shoppers can recycle their used denim at various bins throughout the center. Stations will be located throughout the center for shoppers to custom embroider their denim. Donations will be given to the Salvation Army.”

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Psycho Bunny is bounding its way to the Pentagon City mall, along with restaurants Soul Wingz, Maizal, and Rosa Mexicano.

The menswear store Psycho Bunny is looking to open inside of Fashion Centre at Pentagon City next month, on August 1, according to the mall’s website. It’s located on the first level, above the food court, and next to the Ritz-Carlton hotel.

The bunny brand is multiplying, with 49 stores nationwide expected to be open by the end of the year.

“Over the years, the brand has developed a cult following for men who don’t have to sacrifice irreverence for style,” the Pentagon City’s website says. “Psycho Bunny is about contradictions; it is mischievous, yet refined; timeless, yet contemporary.”

Additionally, local brand Soul Wingz is planning to open early next month in the mall. It’s set to be located next to Auntie Anne’s Pretzels and near the entrance to the Metro.

Soul Wingz began as a D.C. area food truck in 2008, according to its website. The restaurant also appears to have a location near Howard University in D.C.

The website describes the cuisine as soul food, with a menu that includes wings, fried fish, smothered pork chops, and hush puppies.

Maizal, a Latin American street food stand, is also opening at the Pentagon City mall. The aim is to open in September, notes the mall’s website. This will be the restaurant’s second Arlington location, the other being at Ballston Quarter. There appear to be also locations coming to Reagan National Airport and to Reston, according to the restaurant’s website.

The fast-casual spot specializes in create-your-own bowls and arepas (stuffed corn cakes), and also offers burritos, empanadas, plantains and tacos.

Rosa Mexicano is planning to open in September as well, moving into the 5,500-square-foot space formerly occupied by Sugar Shack. That location has an outside entrance facing S. Hayes Street.

The mall has had other opening recently. Rihanna’s lingerie brand Savage x Fenty, along with SneakerMat and Custom World, opened at the mall earlier this year.

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Police car speeding to a call at night (staff photo)

Thieves did not take the Independence Day holiday off, keeping Arlington police busy this past weekend.

It was a long weekend of vehicular mayhem across the county. In one of the earlier incidents, nearly three dozen vehicles — all Hondas and Acuras — had their airbags stolen overnight Saturday into Sunday in various neighborhoods, including the Rosslyn and Pentagon City areas.

From an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

LARCENY FROM AUTO (Series), 2022-07030018, 1300 block of Fort Myer Drive/1300 block of N. Ode Street/1200 block of S. Nash Street/1100-1300 block of S. Arlington Ridge Road/1600 block of 28th Street S./1100 block of Arlington Boulevard/1500 block of Arlington Boulevard/1600 block of S. Joyce Street/900 block of 15th Street S./Army Navy Drive at S. Lang Street/1300 block of Arlington Ridge Road. At approximately 1:15 a.m. on July 3, police were dispatched to the 1300 block of Fort Myer Drive for the report of a suspicious vehicle. Upon arrival, it was determined the victim heard her vehicle’s alarm sounding and upon looking outside, observed a white van or SUV stopped next to her vehicle. The suspect vehicle then fled the scene. Upon investigating, the victim observed her vehicle’s window smashed but nothing was reported stolen. Officers canvassed the area and located three additional vehicles with broken windows and airbags stolen. During the course of the day, police received additional reports of larcenies from auto in the County. The investigation determined an additional 34 vehicles had their windows smashed and airbags stolen overnight. All vehicles were Honda and Acura models. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

On 5 p.m. on the Fourth of July, police chased a car driven by a suspect wanted for felonies in Maryland.

The pursuit started in the Pentagon City mall parking garage when the car allegedly ran into two police cruisers and through the parking gate. It was halted when the driver continued onto an I-395 ramp going the wrong way, but the vehicle was later found and the suspect — who remains at large — was identified and charged.

From ACPD:

ELUDING (Significant), 2022-07040145, 800 block of Army Navy Drive. At approximately 5:00 p.m. on July 4, officers conducting extra checks in a parking garage observed a parked, unoccupied vehicle registered to a suspect wanted for felony offenses out of Anne Arundel County, MD. Officers attempted to take the suspect into custody when he returned to the vehicle but he was non-compliant and refused to follow the commands of officers. The suspect then fled the scene at a high rate of speed, striking two cruisers and causing minor damage and breaking the arm of the gate to the garage. Officers initiated a vehicle pursuit and the suspect continued to driver erratically before exiting I-395 on a one-way ramp going the wrong direction at which time the vehicle pursuit was terminated. A perimeter was established and the area was searched by ACPD and Virginia State Police with the assistance of U.S. Park Police and Metropolitan Police Department helicopters. Alexandria Police Department subsequently located the unoccupied suspect vehicle near the intersection of Route 1 and Franklin Street. Warrants for Felony Eluding, Assault on Law Enforcement (x2), Felony Destruction of Property and Misdemeanor Destruction of Property were obtained for the suspect. The investigation is ongoing.

Then, early Tuesday morning, a pizza delivery driver was carjacked in the Arlington Mill neighborhood, just north of Columbia Pike, by two people with guns and ski masks. They were not found despite a helicopter search of the area.

CARJACKING, 2022-07050020, 800 block of S. Greenbrier Street. At approximately 3:12 a.m. on July 5, police were dispatched to the report of an armed robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was delivering pizza when the two unknown suspects, who were wearing black ski masks, approached him. The suspects displayed firearms, threatened him and demanded he give them his personal belongings including the keys to his vehicle. The suspects then fled the scene in the victim’s vehicle. A police helicopter searched the area for the suspect and stolen vehicle yielding negative results. The vehicle is described as a 2013 Black Hyundai Elantra with Virginia tags UFD1506. There are no descriptions of the suspects. The investigation is ongoing.

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Morning Notes

Trees cast long shadows from the setting sun at Virginia Highlands Park (staff photo)

Pike Plan Peeves Preservationists — “Under current, still tentative proposals, the façade of the building would be dismantled, stored away and then re-installed after the new development on the site rises. Keeping the facade ‘is kind of better than nothing, I suppose,’ said HALRB board member Joan Lawrence, who went on to blast the county government’s commitment, or lack thereof, to finding a way to retain ‘one of the few historic structures left on Columbia Pike.'” [Sun Gazette]

Local Credit Union Merger — “Two local credit unions, one based in Arlington and the other in Alexandria, are planning to merge into one entity that will have combined assets of about $700 million, 12 branches, 38,000 members and 140 employees. Arlington Community Federal Credit Union and InFirst Federal Credit Union, with headquarters in Alexandria, are seeking regulatory approval for their proposed merger, the credit unions announced Tuesday.” [Patch]

Mall Food Court Crowded Again — “Can confirm that the food court at ⁦[the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall]⁩ is back at pre-COVID visitor numbers.” [Twitter]

Deloitte Wins Big Military Contract — “Deloitte Consulting LLP, Arlington, Virginia, was awarded a $83,594,365 firm-fixed-price contract to assess energy vulnerabilities and assist in determining the best approach to addressing security threats by performing energy security assessments… Work will be performed in Arlington, Virginia.” [Defense Daily]

Pair of Flipped Cars on GW ParkwayUpdated at 10:05 a.m. — The “usual spot” for rainy day crashes on the northbound GW Parkway near Key Bridge claimed more vehicular victims over the past 24 hours, with two reports of overturned vehicles last night and this morning. [Twitter, Twitter]

It’s Wednesday — Rain overnight, then partly sunny during the day before possible storms in the evening. High of 83 and low of 69. Sunrise at 5:45 am and sunset at 8:34 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Rosa Mexicano is looking to open in the former home of Sugar Factory on S. Hayes Street (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

A new casual Mexican restaurant is looking to start serving later this year at the Pentagon City mall.

Rosa Mexicano is aiming for a September 1 opening, according to the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City website. It’s moving into the 5,500-square-foot former Sugar Factory space, which has an outside entrance facing S. Hayes Street.

Sugar Factory closed last year.

New York-based Rosa Mexicano has eight other locations currently open, including one at National Harbor in Maryland. Locals also might remember a previous location in D.C. across the street from Capital One Arena. That one closed last summer after 16 years.

“Given the popularity of the brand in the D.C. market, Fashion Centre felt like it was an ideal upgrade over Sugar Factory, which previously occupied the space,” Todd Jerscheid, Director of Mall Marketing and Business Development at Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, tells ARLnow via email.

The decor will feature “the restaurant’s new prototype,” seen at recently-opened locations in Philadelphia and Boston, writes Jerscheid. The menu is also being “revamped,”  though the restaurant is known for its guacamole prepared tables side. Rosa Mexicano also serves tacos, ceviche, enchiladas, and parrilladas (Mexican-style mixed grill).

The first Rosa Mexicano opened in New York City in 1984.

The Pentagon City mall has seen several retail bays turnover recently. Rihanna’s lingerie brand Savage x Fenty opened at the mall earlier this spring. The shoe restoration business SneakerMat and a customized hoodie and t-shirt retailer both opened over the past few months. In September, a cereal restaurant several other retailers began operations.

Hat tip to @rdc20132

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A restaurant at the Pentagon City mall has been evacuated due to smoke coming from the roof.

Firefighters from Arlington, Alexandria and elsewhere are on scene at wood-fired pizza eatery Matchbox, at 1100 S. Hayes Street, trying to find the source of the smoke. It’s currently believed that debris within the kitchen’s ventilation system may have caught fire.

Firefighters used a ladder truck to get to the roof, which reportedly was not accessible from the restaurant space.

Rush hour commuters should expect some traffic impacts from the emergency response along S. Hayes Street, which is closed between Army Navy Drive and 15th Street S., according to Arlington Alert.

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File photo

A man armed with a hammer smashed and stole from a jewelry store in the Pentagon City mall Thursday morning.

Arlington County police say they were dispatched to the 1100 block of S. Hayes Street around 11:15 a.m. and arrived to find that “an unknown male subject [had] walked into the business, smashed the display cases with a hammer and stole jewelry.”

Officers searched the area but couldn’t find the suspect, who was wearing a black hooded jacket, face covering and ball cap.

While police don’t typically reveal the names of businesses that are the victims of crimes, on social media it was reported that the store was the Kay Jewelers, on the first level of the mall near Nordstrom.

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An privately-owned overflowing trash can in Pentagon City. (photo courtesy of Rebecca/@rdc20132)

Overflowing trash cans are becoming a more common sight in Pentagon City and Crystal City, but the county is pledging to clean up the mess.

In recent days, several local residents posted photos on social media of neighborhood trash cans and recycling bins filled beyond the brim with soda cans, food wrappers, pizza boxes, coffee cups, and doggie bags. The problem, as noted, seemed to happen more on weekends.

https://twitter.com/rdc20132/status/1525557363557777410

County officials tell ARLnow that increased seasonal tourism and more weekend events are to blame, as both in the region are ramping back up after 2+ years of pandemic-related drop-offs.

“We are seeing a definite increase in use of public trash cans in parts of Arlington like Pentagon City, frequented by a lot of folks from out-of-town,” Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services (DES) spokesperson Peter Golkin tells ARLnow. “After the first two years of the pandemic, there’s a noticeable rise in tourism and this is the traditional high point for any year thanks to school trips. When a group pulls up, it’s natural to want to get rid of junk like food wrappers and soda cans, especially on big buses that drivers have to keep clean.”

Golkin says that there are more workers back in offices as well, grabbing lunch and coffee while disposing of the remains in public trash cans. Plus, the increasing number of events both in Arlington and in D.C. has resulted in more “water bottles and wrappers naturally [making] their way beyond the event site.”

There’s also the notion of not wanting to walk the extra block to find a less-filled trash can.

“The messy problem comes when a trash or recycling can is full and the urge is to just keep piling rather than look for something with room maybe a block or two down the street,” he says.

To help solve the issue, Golkin says that DES is shifting schedules to include specific weekend checks at trouble trash spots in addition to the regular weekday rounds. However, “tight staffing” does not make it “easy to re-allocate limited resources like staff time.”

Despite requests from some residents, there’s no current plan to add more trash and recycling receptacles to those areas most impacted.

“The Solid Waste Bureau will see if the increased servicing takes care of the issue or if additional steps are necessary,” Golkin notes.

Not all of the trash cans in those neighborhoods are serviced by the county, however.

DES monitors and manages four pairs of trash and recycling receptacles on each side of S. Hayes Street near the Pentagon City mall. But there are also a number of trash cans in the area that belong to privately-owned buildings and are required to be serviced by those property owners.

Additionally, another county department — the Department of Parks and Recreation — handles the waste around Virginia Highlands Park, which is up a few blocks from the mall on S. Hayes Street.

As County Board chair Katie Cristol noted on Twitter, residents can request service or report problems with trash or any other street issue 24/7 through the county’s “Report A Problem” portal. More broadly, the county is currently updating its nearly-two-decade-old solid waste management plan and is asking for public input.

Golkin is optimistic that shifting more service to the weekends will help alleviate the trash problem in Pentagon City and Crystal City. But he does have a simple request.

“If a receptacle is already full, try to hold on [to trash] until there’s a nearby can with room.”

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The growing cadre of tech employees working in Pentagon City and Crystal City now have new places to go for their sneakers and hoodies.

Two new stores recently opened at Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall on S. Hayes Street. SneakerMat is on the second level near Nordstrom and specializes in sneaker cleaning, restoration, and repair. It also has a collection of footwear for purchase.

The shop is local to the D.C. area and independently-owned, with its only other location in Hyattsville, Maryland.

“I became very proficient in shoe care and restorations [because] of a passion to always keep my shoes clean,” Nathan Hawkins, the shop’s co-owner, wrote on its website. “Growing up there were times I had to wear the same shoes an entire school year; so making sure my shoes were clean and could last was very important to me.”

Custom World, located next to the GameStop on the mall’s food court and Metro level, is a customized hoodie and t-shirt retailer. The store claims that it can “customize everything in 15 minutes” — something, presumably, that fast-moving startups may appreciate.

The stores join other recently-opened retailers at the Fashion Centre, including Rihanna’s lingerie brand Savage X Fenty. Back in September, a cereal bar, a Levi’s store, a furniture store, and an LA-based luxury goods seller all set up shop there.

The mall, popular with local shoppers as well as out-of-town tourists, is located only a block from Amazon’s under-construction HQ2.

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Morning Notes

Blooming trees and the dog park at Gateway Park in Rosslyn (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Animal Shelter at Capacity — “Our dog kennels are at capacity (every single kennel is occupied)… but what about your home? That extra seat on your couch sure would be a lot cuter with a furry friend curled up on it.” [Animal Welfare League of Arlington, Fox 5]

Parents Peeved at Teacher Transfer — From an online petition with nearly 500 signatures: “Dr. Sharon Gaston has worked at Taylor Elementary school for 12 years as the lead reading specialist. For the past 11 years she was appointed under 2 different principals as their designee. This past school year she applied to be the principal and unfortunately was passed over. The new principal… is transferring her to a high school. Why? We want answers.” [Change.org]

APS Announces New Principals — “So happy and proud to announce that Ms. Frances Lee has been appointed as the next principal of Ashlawn Elementary! She is currently assistant principal of Escuela Key.” “At the April 28 School Board meeting, the School Board appointed Ms. Bridget Loft as the new Swanson principal. Her appointment is effective May 3.” [Twitter, Arlington Public Schools]

New Japanese Eatery at Mall Food Court — “Sarku Japan… The largest and most successful Japanese Quick Service Restaurant chain in the US is coming! Come celebrate the grand opening of Sarku Japan at Fashion Centre at Pentagon City. Sample their famous signature chicken teriyaki at the food court.” [Twitter]

Arlington Man Sentenced for Bias Attack — “A man from Arlington, Virginia, was found guilty and sentenced Friday for a hate crime attack on two Latino construction workers back in 2019. A judge sentenced Kurt Madsen, 53, to 540 days — nearly a year and a half — in jail, but suspended his term to time served as long as he completes two years of probation. Before his trial, Madsen spent 160 days in jail.” [WTOP, U.S. DOJ]

Police Memorial Ceremony Planned — “The annual Arlington County Peace Officers Memorial Day Ceremony will be held on Tuesday, May 10 at 8 a.m. at the Arlington County Justice Center, 1425 North Courthouse Road… The public is invited; the event also will be live streamed through the county government’s Facebook page.” [Sun Gazette]

Metro Starting to Buy Electric Buses — “New details of Metro’s Zero-Emission Bus Transition Plan, presented at this week’s meeting of the Board of Directors, outlines how the agency will transition to a zero-emission bus fleet including testing and evaluation, infrastructure and facility upgrades, and procurement efforts.” [WMATA]

It’s Monday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 76 and low of 61. Sunrise at 6:10 am and sunset at 8:03 pm. [Weather.gov]

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