(Updated at 2:35 p.m.) Several restaurants in the food court at the Pentagon City Mall are closed as the mall undergoes repairs to its sewer system today.
The hours-long repairs caused mall management to shut off the water. As a result, Arlington County Public Health closed the food court earlier today, the agency announced.
Among the businesses closed as of 1:00 p.m. were Taco Bell, Chipotle and McDonald’s, but Panda Express, Panera Bread and Popeye’s were open. Post-holiday shoppers had to wait in long lines to buy meals at the restaurants that remained open.
“The County continues to monitor the situation and will take additional action if necessary,” a county media alert stated.
According to Arlington’s Director of Public Health Dr. Reuben Varghese, the mall is reporting they have turned the water back on, which means restaurants that have running water are now allowed to operate. Varghese said health department staff is “on the way” to the mall to confirm the water is running.
The mall is currently undergoing renovations that will change the design of the food court and add tens of thousands of square feet for new shops and restaurants.
The casting call will be held inside the mall from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 3, 2015. Casting directors are “looking for females and males, ages 18 to 27, of diverse backgrounds, shapes, sizes with no minimum height requirement,” according to a press release.
Two local judges will be among those evaluating the hopefuls: Paul Wharton, the fashion and lifestyle correspondent for DCW50, the local CW station that’s organizing the casting call, and Maggy Francois, a D.C. and New York event and fashion marketing executive.
“Wharton and Francois will select three contestants that day to set up immediate Skype interviews with Los Angeles-based ‘Top Model’ casting directors,” the press release says.
DCW50 says it will also be conducting a $1,000 giveaway as part of the event.
Ray’s Hell Burger Opening in D.C.? — A PoPville reader spotted what appears to be a Ray’s Hell Burger Too sign in an under construction storefront at 451 K Street NW, near Mt. Vernon Square. Ray’s Hell Burger Too was previously located in Rosslyn but closed last year after a landlord-tenant dispute. [PoPville]
AFAC Serving Record Number of Families — The Arlington Food Assistance Center served 2,553 families in the week ending Nov. 23, the highest number on record. AFAC Executive Director Charles Meng says he plans to ask the Arlington County Board to bump its contribution to $500,000 from this year’s level of $342,925 during county budget season in the spring. [InsideNova]
Shoe Designer Opens Flagship Store in Pentagon City — Vince Camuto has opened a “flagship store” in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City. Camuto sizes its shoes via “shoe stretching, a unique service that’s currently not offered in any other store in the area,” according to a local fashion blogger. The process “involves heating the leather and then placing it on a metal form.” [Life By Ashley Joy]
5K Race in Ballston This Weekend — The fourth annual running of the “Jingle Bell Jog,” which starts at the Bluemont Trail in Ballston and ends at the “Blue Goose” Marymount University building, is tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. The race’s proceeds go to benefiting the Young Constructors Forum of the Associated General Contractors of D.C. [PR Races]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Dozens of protesters made their voices heard in Pentagon City this afternoon in response to the grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri.
The demonstrators arrived via Metro around 2:30 p.m., after marching thorough the streets of Georgetown to protest the Nov. 24 decision not to charge Ferguson officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. They held signs with slogans like “No Justice, No Profit,” “Black Lives Matter” and “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot.”
The protesters marched through the Pentagon Centre shopping center, held a “die in” in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall food court, marched through Macy’s, and later exited the mall and blocked traffic on S. Hayes Street.
Arlington County Police described the protests as “peaceful” and closed some roads in the area. Some stores closed during the protest, which was timed to coincide with the post-Thanksgiving shopping period.
— J. E. Robinson (@curlyheadRED) November 29, 2014
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— mark essex (@madblackstudent) November 29, 2014
— Lnonblonde (@Lnonblonde) November 29, 2014
— Adam D (@AD_Renaissance) November 29, 2014
— ClinicEscort (@ClinicEscort) November 29, 2014
Officials from Simon Property Group on Thursday previewed the big changes coming to the company’s Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall.
The holiday-themed event featured Santa Claus, taking a break from photos with children to read a renovation “wish list,” and a tile-smashing photo opportunity dubbed “wreck the halls,” complete with candy cane-wrapped sledgehammers.
Arlington County Board member Libby Garvey was among those to ceremonially smash the mall’s surprisingly-difficult-to-break tiles.
The $70+ million renovation and expansion project is already underway and is expected to run through 2016. Among the changes coming to the mall:
- An additional 52,000 square feet of space for five stores and restaurants, located at what is now the mall’s main entrance off S. Hayes Street (estimated completion: spring 2016)
- Outdoor seating for the restaurants in the expansion (new retailers and restaurants to be announced spring 2015)
- Two new glass-enclosed elevators, replacing the existing single elevator (estimated completion: January 2015)
- Additional escalator banks from the Metro level to the ground level (estimated completion: July 2015)
- New lighting, tile, handrails, columns and interior details (estimated completion: July 2015)
- A new valet parking area
The mall’s popular food court — said to be the most successful food court company-wide thanks to its status as an “international tourist destination,” frequented by literal busloads of meal-seeking tourists — will be getting new seating, designed to make it feel less like a “cafeteria.”
The newly-configured food court will seat 750. Its chairs will include padded seats.
Also coming to the mall will be a new burger restaurant and a new chicken restaurant. Simon officials would not reveal the names of the restaurants.
There were, however, two retail announcements made on Thursday. The high-end women’s shoe company Stuart Weitzman is planning to open at the mall this coming spring, and high-end watch retailer Tourneau, which suffered a high-profile robbery last year, is expanding to a 3,000 square foot location on the ground floor in the spring.
The announcements are in keeping with the Fashion Centre’s goal of attracting more higher-end, fashion-forward retailers.
The mall is also adding some technological flare, with a new public WiFi system expected to be switched on around the turn of the new year, and cell phone charging stations planned.
The mall received its last round of major renovations in 1989.
Civ Fed Votes Against Tall Buildings — The Arlington County Civic Federation has voted to urge the Federal Aviation Administration to adopt stricter rules regarding skyscrapers around airports. Such a rule, intended as a safety measure in the event a plane suffers an engine failure on takeoff, could impose a moratorium on future tall buildings in Crystal City and Rosslyn. [InsideNova]
Walk and Bike to School Day — Arlington Public Schools participated in International Walk and Bike to School Day this morning. Students and parents across the county ditched their cars and made their way to school on foot. [Arlington Public Schools]
Man Steals Skinny Jeans from Mall — A 33-year-old D.C. man has been charged with stealing numerous pairs of skinny jeans from the Hollister store in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall. The alleged crime happened Tuesday afternoon. [NBC Washington]
Slow Start for Gay Marriage in Arlington — Only five same-sex couples applied for marriage licenses in Arlington in the 24 hours following the Supreme Court decision that cleared the way for same-sex marriage in Virginia and a number of other states. Among Virginia jurisdictions, Arlington grants the third-most marriage licenses per year. [InsideNova]
Fairfax Approves Streetcar Design Funds — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved its $4.2 million share of design and program costs for the Columbia Pike streetcar on Tuesday. The Board voted 7-2. Arlington County already approved its share of design funds. The Pike streetcar will run from Pentagon City to Bailey’s Crossroads in Fairfax County. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Free People to Open Next Week — The “bohemian” women’s clothing store Free People will open next Friday (May 16) at the Pentagon City mall. The 3,200 square foot boutique is the company’s 94th retail store and the fourth in the D.C. area. [PRWeb]
Bike and Walk to School Day — Today is Bike and Walk to School Day for Arlington Public Schools. Children and parents were encouraged to seek people-powered transportation to school to teach students “about the health and environmental benefits of biking and walking.” [Arlington Public Schools]
Make-A-Wish Star’s Video Released — Addy, the 5-year-old who shot part of a music video in Rosslyn after her wish to become a pop star was granted by Make-A-Wish, has had her video released on YouTube. The video is a cover of the Katy Perry song “Roar.” Addy is suffering from a Wilms Tumor, a form of kidney cancer. [YouTube]
Entrepreneurial Author to Speak at Library — U.S. News & World Report senior money editor Kimberly Palmer will discuss her book “The Economy of You: Discover Your Inner Entrepreneur and Recession-Proof Your Life” tonight at 7:00 at Arlington Central Library. [Arlington Public Library]
Flickr pool photo by Brian Allen
Congressional Candidates Weigh in on Streetcar — Several Democratic candidates for Congress are weighing in with their thoughts on the Columbia Pike streetcar project. Among those weighing in, candidate Don Beyer supports the project while Bruce Shuttleworth supports it “with reservations” and Mark Levine supports a voter referendum on the issue. [Blue Virginia]
Pot Advocates Endorse Ebbin — NORML PAC, a political action committee that supports the legalization of marijuana, has endorsed Democratic state Sen. Adam Ebbin in the race for Congress. “NORML PAC believes strongly that Senator Ebbin has the tenacity, coalition building skills, and political acumen required to help end our country’s destructive war on marijuana consumers,” the group said in a statement. [NORML]
Juicy Couture Closing in Pentagon City — The Juicy Couture store in Pentagon City mall is reportedly closing by late June as part of a larger corporate consolidation. [Patch]
Flickr pool photo by Brian Allen
Rosslyn Startup to Be Featured on ‘Shark Tank’ — Rosslyn-based startup Zoobean will be featured tonight on ABC’s “Shark Tank.” Zoobean, which describes itself as “a web service that recommends apps and books for children,” will pitch itself to a panel of wealthy investors, including billionaire Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. The show airs at 9:00 p.m. on ABC. The company will also be profiled as part of ARLnow.com’s “Startup Monday” feature next week. [PR Newswire, Des Moines Register]
Pentagon City Mall Expansion Imminent — Work is expected to “begin soon” on a planned 50,000 square foot expansion of the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City. The expansion will add two new levels of retail, restaurants with outdoor seating, new elevators and escalators, and an expanded food court. Mall owner Simon is also expected to announce some of the new restaurants and retailers coming to the mall “shortly.” [Washington Business Journal]
We, The Pizza Eyes ‘Late Spring’ Opening — We, The Pizza, the pizza restaurant helmed by celebrity chef Spike Mendelsohn, will be opening soon in Crystal City. No specific date has been set, but a spokeswoman said the restaurant is expected to open in “late spring.” Mendelsohn also operates burger restaurant Good Stuff Eatery in Crystal City.
‘Miss Gay Arlington’ Pageant Tonight — The Arlington Gay and Lesbian Alliance and Freddy’s Beach Bar in Crystal City (555 23rd Street S.) will host the annual Miss Gay Arlington pageant tonight. Four contestants will compete in four categories: presentation, talent, evening gown, and on-stage question. The event starts at 8:00 p.m. and admission is $10. [AGLA]
Enterprise CarShare Launches in Rosslyn — A car sharing service from Enterprise Rent-A-Car has launched in the D.C. area. Two of its car share parking stations are located in the Rosslyn area. [Enterprise CarShare]
Photo courtesy Rick Shewell
The incident happened around noon. According to witnesses, the man might have suffered a seizure before falling half-way down the escalator near the Haagen Dazs store. He suffered what appeared to be a broken leg and was quickly tended to by security personnel and paramedics.
Mall maintenance workers could be seen cleaning blood off the escalator after the man was transported to the hospital. Witnesses say the man was part of a large group of pro-life activists that were shopping and eating at the mall.
A woman was attacked by two other women at the Victoria’s Secret store in Pentagon City mall Saturday evening.
The incident happened just before 7:00 p.m. Police say the 34-year-old victim confronted the two women after they cut ahead of her in the checkout line at the lingerie store. The suspects paid for their goods and then assaulted the woman, according to police.
The victim was punched multiple times in the face and body, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. The alleged attackers left the store before police could arrive, but were caught on surveillance cameras, Sternbeck said.
“Suspect one is described as a black female in her twenties, approximately 5’7” tall and 200 lbs. She was wearing pink pants and a white shirt at the time of the incident,” police said in the crime report. “Suspect two is described as a black female in her twenties, approximately 5’6” tall and 120 lbs. She was wearing blue jeans and a white sweater.”
Flickr photo by Steve Rhodes
Arlington Photos Highlighted as Example of Why Microsoft CEO is Retiring — Microsoft’s CEO, Steve Ballmer, announced in August that he will be stepping down within a year and two photos taken at the Pentagon City mall are being touted as an example of why. The first photo shows an empty Microsoft Store at the mall this past Sunday (December 8) during prime holiday shopping season. The next photo shows a packed Apple Store at the same mall. [Slate]
Parents Claim Incompatible Programs at Drew Model School — Parents who have students at Drew Model School (3500 23rd Street S.) told the County Board last week that the school’s dual focus — a traditional elementary school program and a separate Montessori program — are becoming incompatible. The parents say having the two different programs operate under the same roof stresses both. [Sun Gazette]
Opening Statements in Arlington Sheriff’s Deputy Murder Trial — The murder trial for Arlington County Sheriff’s Deputy Craig Patterson began on Monday with opening statements from attorneys on both sides. Patterson is accused of shooting and killing Julian Dawkins during a confrontation in May. [Alexandria Times]
Google Doodle Commemorates Former Arlington Resident — Monday’s Google Doodle commemorated Grace Hopper’s 107th birthday. Hopper, who used to live in Pentagon City, was a pioneering computer scientist and United States Navy rear admiral. According to Wikipedia, “Grace Murray Hopper Park, located on South Joyce Street in Arlington, Virginia, is a small memorial park in front of her former residence (River House Apartments) and is now owned by Arlington County, Virginia.” [Google]
The Arlington County Board unanimously approved the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City’s request to expand and offer outdoor restaurant seating at its meeting on Saturday.
The mall, owned by Simon Property Group, will add 51,000 square feet along S. Hayes Street — two stories with space for 5-7 retail tenants whose entrances would be on the street.
The expansion will be built on the east façade of the mall, adjacent to the entrance to the Pentagon City Metro Station. As part of the construction, the mall is expected to make pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements along S. Hayes Street, Army Navy Drive and 15th Street.
“This expansion plan for one of the region’s most popular malls fits perfectly with the County’s goal of making Pentagon City a more lively, walkable area,” County Board Chairman Walter Tejada said in a press release. “Bringing new shops and restaurants to S. Hayes Street will be good for the mall and good for the neighborhood.”
Image via Arlington County
Board to Consider Mall Expansion Plan — The Arlington County Board is expected to vote on the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City’s expansion plans at its Saturday meeting. County staff is recommending approval of the plan, which would about 50,000 square feet of space for 5-7 new retail tenants to the front of the mall.
Shopping Center Cost $250k in 1940 — The strip mall at the northeast corner of Columbia Pike and Glebe Road represented an investment of $250,000 in 1940. At the time, traffic volume on Columbia Pike was about 12,000 cars per day and traffic volume on Glebe Road was about 600 cars per day. [Ghosts of DC]
Reminder: Yellow Line Closed This Weekend — The Yellow Line will be shut down this weekend for the annual safety inspection of the Yellow Line bridge over the Potomac River. The closure will begin at about 10:00 tonight (Friday).
Optimist Club Christmas Tree Sale Two Weeks Away — The Optimist Club of Arlington will kick off its annual Christmas tree sale on Saturday, Nov. 30. The sale will be held in the Wells Fargo parking lot at the corner of Lee Highway and Glebe Road. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
The leader of a smash-and-grab robbery crew that committed more than 20 robberies around the D.C. area, including one at the Tourneau store in the Pentagon City mall, has received a lengthy jail sentence.
District resident Walter Douglas, 34, was sentenced to 20 years in prison and, along with his co-defendants, ordered to pay $1.25 million in restitution. From the U.S. Attorney’s office:
Walter Douglas, 34, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to 240 months in prison for his role in a series of smash-and-grab robberies. Douglas and his co-defendants were also ordered to pay $1,251,978.75 in restitution to the victims of these robberies.
Dana J. Boente, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; Colonel Edwin C. Roessler Jr., Fairfax County Chief of Police; M. Douglas Scott, Arlington County Chief of Police; and J. Thomas Manger, Montgomery County Chief of Police, made the announcement after sentencing by United States District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema.
Douglas pleaded guilty on August 8, 2013. According to court documents, Douglas was a leader of a smash-and-grab robbery crew that committed over twenty robberies in the Washington, D.C. area and elsewhere. The crew entered various high-end retail establishments as a group, and through force and intimidation, stole merchandise from the stores. Douglas and his crew stole over $1,000,000 in merchandise during the robbery spree from retailers such as Tourneau, Cartier, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Neiman Marcus.
This case was investigated by the FBI and the Fairfax County, Arlington County, and Montgomery County Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan Fahey and Special Assistant United States Attorney Edward Reilly prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.