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Pentagon Row Parking Rates Creep Upward, A Development Neighbors Attribute to Amazon

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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Hanukkah Celebrations Planned Around Arlington Next Week

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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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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Pentagon City Ice Rink Opening for the Season This Week

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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Video: Soldier on Scooter Menaced by Driver in Pentagon City

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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New Restaurant Serving Up Indian, Nepalese Food Coming to Pentagon Row

(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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Pop-Up Gorilla Taco Opens in Pentagon Row

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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Basic Burger Now Open in Pentagon Row

Basic Burger is officially open in Pentagon Row (1101 S. Joyce Street) after moving out of its Courthouse location at the end of last week.

The eatery will host a grand opening celebration Saturday (June 23), featuring giveaways and a raffle for Washington Nationals tickets.

The move comes as the young company plans to expand in the region, having signed leases for new spaces in North Arlington and D.C., according to general manager Guillermo Castillo.

The Pentagon Row location is larger than the Courthouse space, where the restaurant first opened in 2016, and will offer an expanded menu.

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Basic Burger Leaving Courthouse, Planning Expansion Across D.C. Region

Basic Burger is moving out of its Courthouse location, but the restaurant has big plans for expansion across the D.C. region.

General manager Guillermo Castillo says his eatery will be closing up shop at 2024 Wilson Blvd at the end of this week, after first opening there in 2016.

He says that decision was in part driven by some big changes in the company — Castillo said one of its main partners left the business six months ago —  but also a reflection of his plans to open other Basic Burgers elsewhere in the coming months. He announced plans last fall to open a new space in the Pentagon Row shopping center, and he’s hoping to open another location in North Arlington and one in D.C. soon enough.

“It was a tough decision… but with all the new projects we had going on, it just didn’t make sense for us to stay there any more,” Castillo told ARLnow.

Castillo hopes to hold a soft opening for the Pentagon Row shop, to be located at 1101 S. Joyce Street in the plaza next to Starbucks, by this weekend, at the earliest. He expects that location will become the restaurant’s “flagship,” as it’s several times larger than the old Courthouse space, and will offer a whole host of new menu items beyond the burgers and hotdogs that have defined Basic Burger.

“We’re limited a bit by our budget as we opened up last time,” Castillo said. “But this has really taken us to the next level.”

He also plans to set up outdoor seating and a bar that’s “twice the size” of the one at the Courthouse location. That will include a handful of vodka cocktails on tap, as well as frozen  rosé.

As for the new locations elsewhere, Castillo said he’s signed leases for both a North Arlington space and one in D.C., but he declined to reveal the locations of those just yet.

Castillo also noted that burger fans in Courthouse will soon have a new option in the space Basic Burger is leaving behind. He says he’s arranged for another restaurant to take over the location, though he doesn’t know much about the new occupants, other than the fact that they operate some food trucks in the area.

State records show that a company called Philomina, LLC recently applied for a license to serve wine and beer at the space, under the name “Burger District.”

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Retail Kiosk at Pentagon Row to be Demolished

Demolition permits have been issued for one of the freestanding retail kiosks at Pentagon Row.

The kiosk is one of two built in Pentagon Row’s central plaza during its 2013 renovations. A frozen yogurt store operated out of the kiosk until it closed in November 2015.

We’re told the kiosk is being torn down to provide additional outdoor seating for the forthcoming Basic Burger location and “pop-up” street taco eatery.

Pentagon Row’s other retail kiosk is currently home to Bread and Water cafe, which opened in February.

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New Taco Restaurant Coming to Pentagon Row

(Updated at 4:20 p.m.) A restaurant called “Gorilla Taco” appears to be coming to the Pentagon Row shopping center.

The new Mexican restaurant has applied for a Virginia ABC permit to serve wine and beer at 1201 S. Joyce Street.

Gorilla Taco has a Facebook page, but it lists little information except for the address and a logo.

A phone number in the permit application is a listed number for Basic Burger, which is in the process of opening a new location on Pentagon Row.

Basic Burger co-owner Jamie Mansy confirmed that Gorilla Taco will be a sister restaurant to Basic Burger and will be an “eight-month pop-up” restaurant based on a food truck the company had for special and private events. It will serve “authentic street tacos,” he said

Additional information about the the restaurant was not immediately available.

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Cupcake Shop, Mediterranean Restaurant Coming to Pentagon Row

A pair of new restaurants are coming to the Pentagon Row shopping center in Pentagon City.

Smallcakes, a cupcake and ice cream chain, is set to open in a vacant storefront adjacent to the former Ristorante Murali.

Smallcakes has more than 200 locations in the U.S. and abroad. It touts its freshly-made treats, including a daily offering of 18 cupcake flavors — with “seasonal and special flavors such as Maple Bacon, Fat Elvis, Cannoli, Strawberries N’ Crème, Tiramisu, French Toast, and Pumpkin” — and 15 ice cream flavors, which are “a nod to Smallcakes’ famous cupcake recipes.”

The Pentagon Row Smallcakes location is simply listed as “coming soon” on the company’s website.

Also coming to the shopping center is Aabee Restaurant, a “Persian and Mediterranean fusion” restaurant formerly located in Fairfax. Permanent signs are up for Aabee, which is opening in the former NKD Pizza storefront across the parking lot from Harris Teeter.

Aabee’s former location is listed as closed on Yelp. Neither its former website nor Facebook page have been updated to reflect the apparent closure and new location, though a new website was recently launched. A phone number listed for the business has been disconnected.

In its previous location, Aabee offered soups, salads, sandwiches, pastas, kabobs and Iranian stew dishes. It also had Saturday night belly dancing shows, according to the restaurant website.

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Pentagon Row Ice Rink Closed This Week, Despite Possible Weekend Snow

The Pentagon Row ice rink closed on Monday, April 2, despite possible Saturday snow and ongoing cold temperatures.

According to the Capital Weather Gang, “snow or a mix of precipitation is likely across the region between 8 a.m. and late morning, with temperatures in the 30s.”

Several crew members were seen clearing the space on the shopping center’s plaza today (April 5). No word yet on social media when the plaza will be open again for other activities.

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Bread & Water Opens In Pentagon Row

The new location of Bread & Water had a “soft opening” the past weekend on Pentagon Row (1201 S. Joyce Street).

The eatery, the original location of which is in the Belle View section of Fairfax County, sells pastries like fruit bars, danish, muffins, key lime pie, plus sandwiches, salads, and more.

The artisan bakery regularly sells at local farmer’s markets in Ballston, Crystal City, and Columbia Pike. Additional farmer’s market stops are as far apart as Dale City, Va., and Silver Spring, Md.

Signs for the bakery initially went up in January. It is located at Pentagon Row’s central plaza, in a space formerly occupied by a sunglasses store and a Capital Teas shop.

The store’s Facebook page lists hours of operation between 7 a.m.-7 p.m. The company also caters.

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