Arlington, VA

Nationwide gym franchise Planet Fitness says it will be opening a new location at 1301 S. Joyce Street in the Pentagon Row shopping center.

“We’re eager to expand our ‘Judgment Free Zone’ to the Northern Virginia community,” Mike Campagnolo, CEO of Planet Fitness, said in a press release. “Planet Fitness will provide local residents a convenient, high quality, judgment-free fitness experience at an extremely affordable cost of $10 per month.”

The Pentagon Row location is one of five newly announced locations in Northern Virginia. Gyms are also planned for Manassas, Springfield, Fairfax and Alexandria.

Planet Fitness isn’t the only gym in Pentagon City. Australia-based F45 has a location at 1101 S. Joyce Street, also at Pentagon Row.

So far there’s now word yet on when Planet Fitness plans to open.

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Morning Notes

Crystal City to Grow With Amazon — “‘Amazon, and its 25,000 employees, coming to Crystal City will change everything,’ [Vornado Realty Trust Chairman and CEO Steven] Roth wrote in the letter. ‘Crystal City will become a teeming metropolis of apartments, shops and offices.'” [Washington Business Journal]

Local Couple Talks About Deadly Accident — “An Arlington couple is making a personal plea for a recall of the Fisher-Price Rock ‘N Play sleeper after their son died while laying in the product. Arlington parents Evan and Keenan Overton’s baby son Ezra died in the Rock ‘N Play sleeper right before Christmas in 2017.” [WJLA]

FLIR Moves to Pentagon Row — Infrared camera manufacturer FLIR Systems is moving its D.C. area headquarters to Pentagon Row, in the former LA Fitness space. The company recently announced an investment in a drone company and a large new DoD contract. [FLIR, BusinessWire, BusinessWire]

Confusing Signs Corrected on the Pike — A pair of seemingly contradictory direction signs on Columbia Pike, at the Washington Blvd interchange, have been corrected, county officials say. [Twitter]

Arlington Holds #MeToo Event — “On Wednesday, several Arlington County groups and Arlington’s ‘Project PEACE,’ held an event named ‘#MeToo: Being Men – Raising Men’ at the Arlington County Central Library. Lisa Tingle, the senior assistant commonwealth’s attorney for Fairfax County and Falls Church, said it is important to teach men about sexual harassment at an early age.” [WUSA 9]

Flickr pool photo by Brian Irwin

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(Updated at 5:30 p.m.) Arlington County firefighters have extinguished a blaze near the TJ Maxx Store at Pentagon Row.

Firefighters first heard reports of smoke coming from vents and heat in the ceiling of a utility room near the shop and the apartments above it around 5 p.m.

About half an hour later, firefighters were able to get the fire under control, according to the department’s Twitter account.

They remain on the scene checking for “hot spots” from the blaze.

The fire prompted the building’s sprinkler system to activate, per scanner traffic.

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A Pentagon City parking lot is jacking up some of its monthly rates, and some residents fear that Amazon’s impending arrival in the neighborhood is to blame.

Residents of the RiverHouse Apartments (1400 S. Joyce Street) were recently informed by their landlord that their monthly parking rates were about to jump substantially if they park their cars in the nearby Pentagon Row garage and surface lot. Starting Jan. 1, anyone from the apartment complex parking there will pay $100 month per space, up from $65.

The parking managed by Colonial Parking, not JBG Smith (RiverHouse’s owner, the area’s dominant real estate developer and a key player in bringing Amazon to the area). Accordingly, RiverHouse management lamented in a letter to residents, provided to ARLnow, that it isn’t able to control such a change.

“Please rest assured that this increase was just as much a surprise to us as this is to you,” General Manager Joe Mettee wrote.

Colonial Parking did not respond to a request for comment on what prompted the sudden increase. But Megan Niewold, a RiverHouse resident set to see her parking rates skyrocket, told ARLnow that she has her suspicions about their motivations.

“When I spoke to my garage attendant, he said they were notified because they want to prepare ‘National Landing’ for an influx of parking needs in the future,” Niewold wrote in an email. “It sure seems like they’re raising prices for Amazon’s arrival super early, which sucks because it’s making this place unaffordable for nonprofit workers/teachers/etc.”

Concerns over how the tech giant’s new headquarters, and its promised 25,000 workers, will transform the area are certainly nothing new.

The company’s selection of Arlington for half a new headquarters has already spurred development activity in both Pentagon City and Crystal City, and other such changes are surely on the way in the coming months. Though county officials are hoping a slew of new transportation options will encourage Amazon employees to opt for public transit instead, neighbors fear that the area is already facing a parking crunch, which will only be exacerbated by similar price increases.

“The belief is that because so many people take public transportation that it won’t be a problem; but for people who already live here, there’s already a problem,” Crystal City Civic Association President Carol Fuller said during a town hall focused on Amazon this week.”Most of the spaces we have are only available at cost, and some street parking will disappear due to the Metroway expansion.”

The good news for people like Niewold, at least, is there are some other options. RiverHouse added in its letter that it’s knocking down some of its own parking prices for anyone frustrated with the Pentagon Row increases.

Photo via Google Maps

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Now that Thanksgiving is over, Hanukkah celebrations are right around the corner.

This year, the Jewish holiday begins at sunset on Sunday (Dec. 2) and ends the following Monday, Dec. 10.

Arlington is ready for the festivities to begin, with seven events planned in the area for locals to attend during Hanukkah.

  • Dec. 2: Chanukah at Kol Ami — The Northern Virginia affiliate of the Jewish Reconstructionist Movement is set to sing and play dreidel at its potluck. Attendees are asked bring their menorahs, candles and pre-cooked food.
  • Dec. 2: Light Up Your Shabbanukkah Table — OneTable will be at the Crate & Barrel on Clarendon Blvd to learn how to get your table ready for the Festival of Lights.
  • Dec. 4: Chanukah in Clarendon — Spider Kelly’s will have a menorah lighting and dreidel tournament. The $18 admission includes a drink ticket, latkes and unlimited darts, pool and shuffleboard.
  • Dec. 5: Clarendon Chanukah Menorah Lighting — The free event at Clarendon Central Park will include the lighting of a six-foot menorah and hot potato latkes, chocolate gelt and dreidels.
  • Dec. 6: Chanukah on Ice — Head to the Pentagon Row Ice Rink for the lighting of a six-foot menorah, a free raffle, ice skating and kosher hot dogs. Tickets, which include the skate rental, bought before Monday (Dec. 3) are $10 and $13 after.
  • Dec. 6: Festival of Lasers — Compete in laser tag to celebrate Hanukkah at the Ultrazone Laser Tag in Falls Church. Tickets are $25.
  • Dec. 7: Shabbat-Hanukkah Party — The Congregation Etz Hayim’s monthly potluck will turn into a Hanukkah party after Shabbat services at 6:15 p.m. After kiddush and motzi, the group will serve latkes alongside the potluck, sing songs and play Hanukkah games.

File photo

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Morning Notes

Rare, Tropical Dragonfly Spotted in Arlington — “There was quite the discovery at this year’s Bioblitz in Glencarlyn Park. After a photo posted on the crowd-sourcing tracker, iNaturalist, started to spark a lot of interest… the consensus was that what had been photographed was a Great Pondhawk Dragonfly (Erythemis vesiculosa).” [Arlington County]

Frost Fest Rescheduled — Frost Fest at Pentagon Row, originally planned for Saturday, has been rescheduled due to expected rainy weather. It will now take place this Sunday from 4-7 p.m. [Twitter]

County to Open Garages During Snowstorms — “If a big winter storm – or two, or three – hits the region in coming months, Arlington residents will be able to leave their cars safe and sound in county-owned garages for the duration. It’s all part of an effort to keep residential streets as free of vehicles as possible so snow-plow operators can do their job.” [InsideNova]

Crafthouse Going Big — Beer-centric local restaurant chain Crafthouse, which has a location in Ballston, has inked a $250 million deal to franchise nationally. [Reston Now]

Portion of W&OD Trail to Get Separate Lanes — “A major 1.2-mile stretch of the W&OD Trail bike path that traverses the City of Falls Church… will soon be enhanced with the benefit of $3.2 million from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority and turned into a dual path — one for bikes and the other for pedestrians.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Amazon News Roundup — Virginia economic development officials say they have “accounted for a host of risks that might arise related to Amazon, from a shift in direction for the company to antitrust litigation.” The Arlington Civic Federation “will host a discussion of the proposed Amazon economic-incentive package at its monthly meeting, to be held on Tuesday, Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. at Virginia Hospital Center.” Arlington County’s building and permitting staff “won’t be doing anything out of the ordinary to accommodate Amazon, such as fast-tracking, a common incentive offered to big economic development prizes.” And, in a new report on the oft-reported subject, “Amazon’s Northern Virginia headquarters could exacerbate existing economic disparities.”

Flickr pool photo by David Giambarresi

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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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Fall foliage may be MIA so far, but there’s another sure sign of the season that signals that sweatshirt weather is here to stay for awhile: the opening of the ice skating rink at Pentagon Row.

The rink, at 1101 S. Joyce Street, is set to open for the season on Thursday, Oct. 25. It will remain open until March 24.

Renovated in 2013, the outdoor skating rink is billed as the largest in Northern Virginia, at 6,840 square feet. It hosts thousands of skaters each year during the cold weather months, even when it’s not particularly cold.

The rink is open seven days a week, including on holidays. Hours and pricing are posted on the rink’s website.

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A man in Army fatigues who was riding a motorized scooter down an alley in Pentagon City was nearly run into by an impatient driver.

The road rage incident happened Friday afternoon along the driveway between the Pentagon Row shopping center and the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall. An apartment resident witnessed it and managed to take video of the final seconds, as the soldier scooted just out of the way of the tailgating driver.

“Heard some honking outside my apartment and went over to my balcony that overlooks Pentagon Row, right next to the Pentagon City Mall parking garage,” the tipster said via email. “Saw a car right on the heels of a gentleman on a motorized scooter. Gentleman was wearing military fatigues. The military figure yelled ‘Stop!’ Car proceeds to hit scooter after the rider hopped off. Driver then continues on their way.”

No injuries were reported.

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(Updated at 3:10 p.m.) A new restaurant offering Indian and Nepalese cuisine is on the way for the Pentagon Row shopping center.

Namaste Everest plans to open its doors in spring 2019, according to a release from Pentagon Row owner Federal Realty Investment Trust.

Chef Nabin Paudel, a Nepal native, operates another restaurant under the name “Namaste” in Alexandria. The new eatery will be his first expansion into Arlington.

The menu will include an array of curries and tandoor cooking, as well as dumplings, biryani, kabobs and more. The restaurant also plans to offer a full bar, the release said.

“It has been a priority to continue to expand dining options at this location for the local community,” Kari Glinski, director of asset management for Federal Realty, wrote in a statement. “With the addition of Indian and Nepalese cuisine, diners certainly have several diverse choices to choose from.”

Other recent additions to Pentagon Row include a pop-up taco bar and a new location for local chain Basic Burger.

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Gorilla Taco is officially open in Pentagon Row.

The pop-up taco restaurant will be open Wednesdays through Sundays until December. The restaurant is located at 1201 S. Joyce Street alongside its sister restaurant, Basic Burger, which moved to Pentagon Row from Courthouse in June

When Gorilla Taco was first announced, Basic Burger co-owner Jamie Mansy said that the restaurant was based on food truck the company had for special and private events.

Like the food truck, the restaurant has a rotating menu of five to seven taco types each day. Gorilla Taco also serves alcohol, with a selection of beers like Modelo Negro and Pacifico, as well as house-made margaritas on tap. 

“We are excited to announce that Gorilla Taco will be joining Pentagon Row and its sister restaurant, Basic Burger, at this location,” said Kari Glinski, Director of Asset Management for Federal Realty Investment Trust, in a press release. “The addition of a Mexican-style pop up restaurant certainly builds upon the strength of the Center’s dining options.”

Photos via Gorilla Taco

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