Arlington, VA

A woman was robbed by two people on Columbia Pike near the Pentagon on Monday evening.

The robbery happened just before 5:30 p.m. on Veterans Day, at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Joyce Street. Police say a patrol officer was flagged down by the victim, who reported being robbed by a pair of suspects, one of whom was armed with a gun.

“The victim was walking in the area when she was approached her from behind by two suspects,” according to an ACPD crime report. “The female suspect demanded her belongings and cell phone, while the male suspect brandished a firearm. The suspects fled the area with the victim’s belongings prior to police arrival and the victim ran to seek assistance. The victim was not injured.”

“Suspect One is described as a white female, with a skinny build, brown hair, wearing a pink shirt, a dark colored vest and dark pants,” the crime report continues. “Suspect Two is described as a heavy set white male, wearing a black vest, white shirt, white hat and jeans. The investigation is ongoing.”

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Lebanese Taverna is hoping to open its “LebTav” fast-casual concept later this month in Ballston.

It’s part of a new expansion push by the Arlington-based local chain, which includes a new location that’s planned to open in the Pentagon late next year.

As previously reported, the new restaurant in Ballston will be located in the former Taylor Gourmet space at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Quincy Street. Signs are up on the doors, the windows are covered and construction is still underway inside.

Lebanese Taverna has existing, full-service Arlington eateries in Westover (5900 Washington Blvd) and Pentagon Row (1101 S. Joyce Street), as well as a market at 4400 Old Dominion Drive.

LebTav offers a smaller but similar menu to the full-service restaurants, and existing locations in Rockville and Silver Spring, and is opening another in a former Taylor Gourmet space in D.C. A PR rep tells ARLnow that the Ballston location is expected to open at some point in November.

A press release from commercial real estate firm KLNB, below, notes that Lebanese Taverna currently has a dozen locations in the D.C. area.

KLNB, the leading mid-Atlantic multi-service commercial real estate firm, has announced that Lebanese Taverna will open three new “LebTav” fast-casual concept locations within the next two years: Ballston in fall 2019, K Street in early 2020, and inside the Pentagon in late 2020, in addition to the recently opened Farragut Square location on 17th Street in D.C.

KLNB principal, Steve Combs, and retail specialist, Kelley Milloy, represented Lebanese Taverna in all three deals.

Founded in 1979, the Lebanese Taverna Group currently owns and operates 12 locations around the Washington, D.C. Metro area, and has been recognized by numerous media outlets and publications as having the region’s best Mediterranean cuisine. KLNB has worked with Lebanese Taverna since the opening of its first location and has helped the restaurant group open all subsequent locations. The restaurant group is family-owned and operated.

Recently, Lebanese Taverna has evolved to adapt to their customers’ changing tastes and needs. “The new LebTav brand and fast-casual concept is a response to these changing consumer trends,” said Combs. “For savvy business owners like Lebanese Taverna, that meant launching a new concept in target markets around the region. From a real estate perspective, it was critical to the business plan that we work with the owners to find unique spaces that reduced the restaurant group’s footprint and aligned with the fast-casual atmosphere they wanted to cultivate.”

Last year, Lebanese Taverna rebranded three of their locations in Annapolis, Congressional Plaza Rockville, and Downtown Silver Spring to “Lebanese Taverna Cafes”. In each case, KLNB helped Lebanese Taverna find and move the restaurant to another space within the existing shopping center, cutting down their square footage.

“We want to grow and change with our customers. LebTav is a refinement of what has been successful in the past. We took the greatest hits of our traditional menu and utilized smaller retail space paired with a fresh design to cater to our busy customers,” said Grace Abi-Najm Shea, Executive Vice President, Lebanese Taverna Group. “KLNB helped us bring this new concept to life. As a restaurant owner, the space in which you operate is critical to your business. KLNB has grown with us and we look forward to many more successful years to come.”

Lebanese Taverna has had a banner year. 2019 marked the restaurant group’s 40th anniversary in business – an achievement for which they were honored by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) at the annual RAMMY Awards Gala with the Honorary Milestone Award. They were also honored by the National Restaurant Association as a Faces of Diversity Award winner.

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Morning Notes

Congrats to the Nats — Fireworks could be heard in parts of Arlington as the Nationals won the World Series in Game 7 just before midnight. [Twitter, Twitter]

Nats World Series Run Helps Local Startup — “BreakingT’s business is very much staying in the fight. The Arlington T-shirt retailer had already seen a significant boost from the Nationals’ playoff run… Until last week, BreakingT’s biggest revenue day was during the All-Star Game hosted at Nationals Park last July. But each of the three home World Series matchups have now exceeded that.” [Washington Business Journal]

Severe Storms Expected Tonight — “Hazardous Halloween weather is possible in the Washington area and many parts of the Mid-Atlantic, where a line of storms, some of which may be severe, will sweep through during the evening. ‘A potentially dangerous weather event is unfolding for Thursday,’ wrote the National Weather Service serving the Washington region.” [Washington Post, Twitter]

Chick-fil-A Customers Cause Crystal City Cycling Consternation — “Diving deeper geographically from streets to blocks and overlaying vehicle type, a story starts to emerge from the data. We already knew the majority of bike lane blockages were on Crystal Drive, but now we can see that the 2100 block of Crystal Drive is where all the action is, why? Chick-fil-a!” [Greater Greater Washington]

Kudos for Hot Lola’s in Ballston — “Got a hankering for a fried chicken sandwich? Forget Popeyes — go for Hot Lola’s’s version in Arlington, says a new report. Washingtonian says Hot Lola’s hot-chicken sandwich are the best in the D.C. area, tied with Wooboi in Herndon for the No. 1 spot in their list of the top five in our region.” [Washingtonian, Patch]

Paul Rudd’s Pentagon Ice Cream Connection — “While searching for the quickest route to the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City from my apartment, I went down a weird internet black hole and discovered that the Google Maps photo for the Baskin-Robbins at the Pentagon features Paul Rudd dressed as a Baskin-Robbins employee. What’s the deal with that?” [Washingtonian]

Tomorrow: Horticultural Event at Arlington National — “Friday Nov 1: Join ANC’s Horticulturist for a walking tour of the cemetery’s Memorial Arboretum. We’ll look at trees, shrubs and perennials that survived the wet spring and hot, dry summer of 2019.” [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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The annual Army Ten-Miler race returns this weekend for the 35th year in a row, prompting several road closures.

Runners will hit the pavement to compete in this 10-mile race on Sunday, October 13, following a route that starts and ends at the Pentagon and takes runners into D.C. via the Key Bridge, and back to Virginia via the 14th Street Bridge.

The race course is set to avoid the Memorial Bridge again this year, after detouring from the under-construction bridge for the first time last year.

Participants will be released in waves, with athletes in the Wounded Warrior division kicking off the day at 7:50 a.m.

The Arlington County Police Department announced a long list of road closures in a press release earlier this week.

The department said it’s planning to coordinate closures the day of the race together with the Virginia State Police, U.S. Park Police, and the Pentagon Force Protection Agency.

The closures include:

  • Route 110, between Rosslyn and Crystal City, will be closed in both directions from 5:00 a.m. to approximately 2:00 p.m. Motorists may use the George Washington Memorial Parkway as an alternative.
    • There will be no access to southbound Route 110 from N. Marshall Drive
    • The public may access Arlington National Cemetery from N. Marshall Drive
  • I-66 westbound will be closed from Washington, D.C. to N. Scott Street from 5:00 a.m. to approximately 10:00 a.m. Motorists may use the George Washington Memorial Parkway or Route 50 as an alternative route.
    • To access I-66 westbound, enter from N. Scott Street in Rosslyn.
  • I-66 eastbound, Exit 75 will be closed from 5:00 a.m. to approximately 10:00 a.m.
  • North Lynn Street, from Gateway Park to the Francis Scott Key Memorial Bridge will be closed from 5:00 a.m. to approximately 10:00 a.m.
  • The exit for Route 29 North/Key Bridge from the George Washington Memorial Parkway will be closed from 5:00 a.m. to approximately 10:00 a.m.
  • The Francis Scott Key Memorial Bridge will be closed in both directions, with no vehicular access from 4:00 a.m. to approximately 10:00 a.m.
  • I-395 HOV northbound from Crystal City to the 14th Street Bridge will be closed from 6:00 a.m. to approximately 12:30 p.m.
  • Eads Street from Army Navy Drive into the Pentagon/ northbound I-395 HOV lanes will be closed from 5:00 a.m. to approximately 12:30 p.m.
  • I-395 southbound HOV exit to S. Eads Street / Pentagon South Parking lot will be closed from 5:00 a.m. to approximately 12:30 p.m.
  • Route 27 in both directions from George Washington Memorial Parkway to I-395 will be closed from 7:00 a.m. to approximately 10:00 a.m.
  • Army Navy Drive from S. Eads Street to 12th Street S. from approximately 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
  • 12th Street S. from S. Eads Street to Long Bridge Drive from 8:00 a.m. to approximately 12:00 p.m.
  • Long Bridge Drive will be closed from 12th Street S. to Boundary Channel Drive from 8:00 a.m. to approximately 12:00 p.m.
  • Boundary Channel Drive will be closed from 8:00 a.m. to approximately 12:00 p.m.

Race attendees are encouraged to use Metro to get to the race via the Pentagon or Pentagon City Metro stations.

Those traveling by ride hailing services like Lyft, Uber, or Via are asked to use the drop-off point for runners at Army Navy Drive and S. Hayes Street.

Photo via Flickr Pool/Rob Cannon

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A $17.2 million overhaul of the Boundary Channel Drive interchange along I-395 is in the works.

Plans call for overhauling the existing, difficult-to-navigate interchange near the Pentagon and Crystal City with two rotaries, to be installed on either side of I-395.

The 150 and 160-foot wide rotaries aim to merge traffic from Boundary Channel Drive and the Pentagon Access Road on the left, and the Boundary Channel and Long Bridge Drive on the right. The project would remove I-395’s two southbound loop ramp, and add a new multi-use trail, shared by cyclists and pedestrians, connecting the Mt. Vernon Trail to Long Bridge Park.

The project will be managed by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and is expected to cost around $17 million.

The Arlington County Board will review an agreement for the project during its upcoming meeting this Saturday. As of Tuesday, the project was featured on the Board’s consent agenda, a place usually reserved for items expected to pass without debate.

Officials hope the redesign will better connect to the long awaited Long Bridge Park Aquatics Center and better serve area commuters, as staff noted in a report to the Board:

The Interchange serves the Pentagon (five million square foot office building with 25,000 employees), Pentagon City (12.7 million square feet of office, 2.3 million square feet of retail and over 13,000 residential units), Crystal City, Long Bridge Park plus its future park expansion and the future Aquatics & Fitness Center, which is expected to draw regional visitors from Maryland and the District of Columbia, as well as from the areas south and west of Arlington in Virginia. The existing interchange design is dated and will need to be redesigned to better serve the transportation needs of the existing and future land uses in the area.

The county held public meetings to showcase the designs in 2015, during which staff noted feedback “varied greatly.” The points staff said residents agreed on included:

  • There needs to be fewer ramps onto I-395
  • Rotary islands need to be designed to not allow cars to speed
  • Pedestrian crossings need to be designed to reduce conflicts with cars and bicycles

County staff also noted that plan for the trail meets goals set by the newly-upgraded bike element of the Arlington County Master Transportation Plan to make it easier for cyclists and pedestrians to use the Mt. Vernon Trail.

“The Mount Vernon Trail connection is an extremely critical part of the project and will create a much-needed link between Long Bridge Park and the trail,” the staff report said.

Image 3 via Google Maps

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One person was taken to the hospital after a hazmat incident at the Pentagon’s bus bay this morning.

Arlington County firefighters, including a hazmat team, were called to the bus terminal outside the Pentagon around 9 a.m. for a report of the driver of a Metrobus having medical symptoms after smelling a chemical odor on the bus.

A police officer also reported similar symptoms, according to scanner traffic. The officer was treated on the scene and released, but the driver was transported to Virginia Hospital Center for evaluation. The driver was reported to be in good condition, Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Ben O’Bryant said.

Firefighters did not find anything hazardous on the bus.

“Crews believe there might’ve been a refrigerant leak on Metrobus that caused a couple people to feel ill,” O’Bryant told ARLnow. “[The] bus was shut down, and no dangerous readings were found when crews ran meters through the bus.”

Shortly after the bus driver was transported, ACFD turned the scene over to WMATA.

File photo

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Morning Notes

Storms Expected Today — “Strong to locally severe thunderstorms are in the forecast Tuesday afternoon and evening, and the potential exists for this to be a significant severe weather event.” [Capital Weather Gang]

ACPD: Expect Police at Fair — “As in years past, the [Arlington County Fair] will have dedicated police staffing and resources and fairgoers can expect to see a visible police presence… There are no known threats to Arlington County, however, the public is encouraged to remain aware of your surroundings at all times.” [Arlington County]

Local Volunteer Firefighting Legacy — “Tucked inside the Clarendon fire station on N. 10th St. is a special closed-off room. By long-standing arrangement with the county, it is dedicated to honoring the station’s decades of reliance on volunteer firefighters. Today’s professionally staffed Fire Station 4 deploys ‘no active volunteers, but retains a volunteer presence.'” [Falls Church News-Press]

Hotel Near HQ2 Sells For Big Bucks — “Host Hotels & Resorts sold the Residence Inn Arlington Pentagon City, a 299-room high-rise property at 550 Army Navy Drive, for $99.1M in a deal that closed July 1, according to Arlington County property records.” [Bisnow]

Deer Rescued from Fence — “Last week, Officer Solano and several neighbors were able to safely untangle this juvenile deer from a soccer net in a resident’s backyard. The deer immediately ran away, uninjured, back into the woods nearby.” [Twitter]

Man Brings Loaded Shotgun to Pentagon — “A Kentucky man taken into custody at the Pentagon last week had a shotgun, ammunition and a machete in his pickup truck, according to court documents… While speaking to the officers, [the man] made ‘incoherent statements about being in the area for ‘liberty business.”” [Fox 5]

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The Pentagon’s police force will be holding a training exercise Saturday, prompting the closure of the Pentagon Metro and bus stations.

The Pentagon Force Protection Agency said Pentagon transit stations will be closed between 3 a.m.-2 p.m. The emergency-response exercise itself is slated to start at 8 a.m.

“If you see activities near the Pentagon, do not be alarmed,” the agency said via social media, “it is part of the exercise.

Flickr pool photo by ksrjghkegkdhgkk

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Construction on the Washington Blvd (Route 27) bridge near the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery is now complete.

The newly reconstructed bridge was renamed Arlington Veterans Bridge in honor of the county’s veterans; it maintains the original design spanning over Route 110, recently renamed as Richmond Highway.

Arlington County shared a video this week spotlighting the completion of the bridge this past May. The span was originally built in the 1940s.

“The substructure includes granite, which is not a very common material that we use in our bridges these days,” said VDOT Project Development Engineer Nicholas Roper, who is also a retired Army colonel.

Roper explained that crews were able to widen the bridge and add granite cladding to the structure, adding that, “three of the original piers from the 1940s still remain.”

As part of the reconstruction, VDOT added a sidewalk on one side of the bridge and a 14-foot wide path, which opened in 2017, on the other side for pedestrians and cyclists.

“It’s a place where daily residents of Arlington County and thousands of individuals… traverse the bridge,” said retired Army Col. Joseph A. Simonelli Jr., who chairs the county’s Military and Veterans and Committee, which recommended the name.

“It honors the 13,000 current Arlington veterans,” said Simonelli. “And the millions of veterans in our nation. And as a veteran, it makes me proud.”

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After over a year of work, the new bus and slug lanes are finally open at the Pentagon’s south parking lot.

Yesterday (Tuesday), the new configuration opened with bus-only travel lanes, reconfigured commuter lanes and slug lanes — lanes designed for High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) carpooling.

The new, dedicated bus loop is designed to distance passenger vehicles and buses to make the lot safer and increase mobility.

“The changes to the South Parking Lot are going to have a positive impact on the thousands of commuters traveling to and from the Pentagon Reservation each day,” said Susan Shaw, megaprojects director for the Virginia Department of Transportation, in a press release. “This important feature of the 395 Express Lanes project reinforces VDOT‘s commitment to support travel choices and alternative travel modes throughout our roadway network in Northern Virginia.”

An average of 25,000 employees use the Pentagon lots, with more than 1,800 buses and 3,400 “sluggers” passing through the lot each day, according to the press release.

Other improvements include new pedestrian sidewalks, new signage, and new lighting.

Image via National Capital Planning Commission

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If you worked at the Pentagon, the man behind the clippers at Blades Like New, a new barber shop at 2461 S. Clark Street in Crystal City, might look familiar.

For 14 years of the 25 total he’s spent working as a barber, Delonta James was working at a barber shop inside the Pentagon. But now, James is striking out on his own.

On April 11, James opened up Blades Like New as his own barber shop inside a Crystal City office building, right in the center of a military contracting hotbed where military uniforms are as common as suits and sundresses in the hallway.

James said his goal is to bring some of his military hair-cutting experience into a civilian atmosphere. For years, James worked in the Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) branch of the military, and both his father and sister were in the military. But now, James said he’s excited to do something new.

“It’s been awesome and it’s getting better,” James said. “We do all kinds of hair, but I’m focusing on military [haircuts].”

To that end, James said he’s planning to bring on another barber sometime soon to handle a broader range of haircuts.

Prices range from $18 to $22.

The barber shop is open Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m.-5 p.m., with appointments available by email ([email protected]) on weekends.

James said his favorite thing about being a barber is the new stories and lessons people bring with them into the store.

“I love the communication,” James said. “You get different people in here all the time and you’re learning new things. People teach you new things. You find out about a lot of stuff barbering.”

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