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‘The Coop’ Carryout Window at Clarendon Whole Foods Shuts Down, For Now

The carryout window at Clarendon’s Whole Foods is now shut down: at least, for the moment.

Signs posted at “The Coop,” located near the main entrance to the grocery store at 2700 Wilson Blvd, say that the area is “temporarily closed.”

A quick glance inside the window reveals that the chicken-focused carryout counter has been completely cleared out, and the area is now littered with construction materials. A tipster told ARLnow that it’s been shut down since at least Jan. 27.

“The Coop will be closed until further notice,” the signs read. “Sorry for any inconvenience. Thank you for all your support. And stay [tuned] for things to come.”

Whole Foods did not respond to a request for comment on when, or if, the The Coop might reopen. The rest of the store remains open as normal.

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Renovated Taco Bell on Lee Highway Looks A Long Way Off From Opening

(Updated at 10:30 a.m.) It seems as if Arlingtonians craving Taco Bell may have a while left to wait for one of the chain’s four restaurants in the county to re-open.

The Taco Bell near Yorktown, at 4923 Lee Highway, shut down back in September as its owner sought to tear down the restaurant and completely rebuild it.

Contractors working on the project had initially hoped to have it open within three to four months. But these days, the only evidence of progress on the new restaurant is a new foundation where the old building once stood.

Managers of the construction project did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the project’s timeline. County permit records show the restaurant’s owners won building permits for the project in October.

The project’s slow progress leaves county residents craving a taco or burrito with just three other options in the county: in the Pentagon City mall, in the Pentagon itself, and along Route 7 near the S. Walter Reed Drive intersection.

A new Taco Bell Cantina, complete with alcoholic beverage options, opened at the end of last year in Alexandria.

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Rustico in Ballston Re-Opens Tonight, Following Water Damage Repairs

The Rustico restaurant in Ballston plans to open back up today (Friday) after a roughly three-week-long shutdown.

General Manager Ryan Cline says the bar will be open for business once more tonight, now that it’s managed to complete a series of repairs after a burst pipe flooded the bar with water in mid-January.

The process hasn’t exactly been a smooth one, as it’s required new flooring to be installed. Cline said another sprinkler head burst in the midst of the repairs, complicating matters further.

In all, Cline doesn’t expect that most regulars will notice much of a difference at the restaurant, which puts a heavy focus on both pizza and beer. But he hopes that the restaurant’s loyal customers will be eager to return to the watering hole.

Cline added that Rustico is planning a special celebration next Friday (Feb. 8) to mark the bar’s grand reopening.

The restaurant will offer new specials like pork belly tacos and “overloaded nachos,” with a variety of new stouts, sours and other beers on tap.

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Major Renovations on the Way for Aging Rosslyn Safeway

Rosslyn’s Safeway, one of the oldest grocery stores in Arlington, is getting a badly needed facelift.

The shop, located just a few blocks from the area’s Metro station at 1525 Wilson Blvd, should be fully renovated by sometime this spring, according to the Rosslyn Business Improvement district.

The Safeway’s management team told the BID that the store has already added new self check-out machines, and replaced the store’s tile floor with concrete. The shop also widened its aisles and raised its shelves “to provide more space for a greater variety of products,” the BID wrote in a blog post.

The store is currently installing new cases for frozen food, and workers plan to expand its bakery and Starbucks counter. The shop will also get a new seafood department.

The renovation work should come as welcome news to Rosslyn residents, as the Safeway garnered some brutal reviews from Yelp users over the years. Rosslyn-ites also told the BID in a survey last year that “better grocery stores” was one of their top priorities for future development in the area.

The Safeway has called the 1500 block of Wilson Blvd home since 1962. However, the store did need to relocate briefly when its building was redeveloped in 1985, and it returned shortly afterward.

Photo 2 via Rosslyn BID

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Ballston’s Rustico Shuts Down Temporarily Due to Water Damage

Water damage from a “renegade sprinkler” has resulted in the temporary closure of the Rustico restaurant in Ballston.

The pizza and beer-focused eatery has been shuttered to allow for renovation work since last Tuesday (Jan. 15), and a series of tarps currently cover its bar.

“We are working tirelessly to get things back up and running, and sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this may cause you,” a sign posted on its door says. “We’ll be cooking and pouring again in no time.”

The restaurant’s general manager, Ryan Cline, told ARLnow that the sprinkler dumped more than five inches of water into the restaurant in total, prompting all sorts of challenges for the staff.

“We are still doing repairs as fast as possible,” Cline wrote in an email. He added that he’s hoping to reopen the eatery by Feb. 1.

In the meantime, Rustico’s original, Alexandria location, at 827 Slaters Lane, is still open for business.

The restaurant opened up the Ballston space back in 2010.

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Plans for Education Center’s Transformation into Classroom Space Begin to Take Shape

Plans to transform the old Arlington Education Center into a new wing of Washington-Lee High School are taking shape, with early designs calling for 24,600 square feet of classrooms in the renovated building.

Arlington school officials hope to someday add space for 600 high school students on the site, the former home of the Arlington Public Schools offices at 1426 N. Quincy Street. But first the School Board needs to sign off on a full renovation of the building, in order to welcome students in time for the 2021-2022 school year.

The Board is set to approve “educational specifications” for the facility at its meeting Thursday (Jan. 10), which sketch out the general requirements for the building’s new design. While the exact details still need to be worked out, these new plans will guide the final design work for the space.

In all, the current draft of the specifications mandates that the building will be home to 16 traditional classrooms, three classrooms designed for science classes, a standalone science lab and two rooms designated for physical education classes.

The Education Center should have the capacity for anywhere from 581 to 594 students under these plans, a key addition in high school classroom space as officials wrestle with the best way to tackle the county’s swelling enrollment numbers. The school system is also set to add room for another 1,050 high schoolers at the Arlington Career Center, as leaders have debated the efficacy of building a fourth comprehensive high school in the county.

Another 3,800 square feet in the Education Center will be set aside for office space, with a 4,000-square-foot common space and 400-square-foot “digital library” also included in the plans.

The rest of the $37 million renovation effort remains a bit up in the air.

A key question officials will need to resolve in the coming weeks is how best to free up parking on the site — according to documents prepared for the county’s Public Facilities Review Committee, planners are currently recommending that the school system reopen an existing lot on the site and allow room for 70 new parking spaces, but they’re also weighing the best strategies to open up bike access to the campus and move attendees out of their cars.

Arlington Public Schools leaders are also still trying to sort out how to connect the Education Center to the rest of W-L’s existing facilities.

The school system’s initial plans called for a new entrance to the Education Center that would help connect with a new set of stairs and ramp, which would make it easier for students to reach an access road known as “Generals’ Way.”

But planners have also begun considering the prospect of building a bridge to connect the Education Center to the northern half of W-L’s main building, documents show. However, officials have yet to settle on exact specifications for the bridge, or decide on where it would meet W-L.

So long as the School Board gives the green light to these “educational specifications” Thursday, officials plan to spend the next month finalizing the project’s budget and final designs. The Board is then set to sign off on those plans in February, and construction would start by 2020.

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Wendy’s on Columbia Pike Closes for Major Renovations

The Wendy’s on Columbia Pike has temporarily closed for major renovations.

Workers are currently in the process of fully overhauling the fast food restaurant, located at 3431 Columbia Pike, stripping away some of its exterior and clearing out its interior as well.

Signs on the property say that the Wendy’s is “closed for a refresh” and will be “opening soon.” A tipster first alerted ARLnow to the closure on Monday (Nov. 5).

The Wendy’s is one of three in the county, with other locations at 5050 S. Chesterfield Road and 5066 Lee Highway.

There’s also a restaurant just over the Fairfax County line in Seven Corners at 6349 Seven Corners Center.

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Crystal City McDonald’s Reopens Following Months of Renovations

Crystal City’s McDonald’s has now reopened, following several months of renovation work.

The fast food restaurant, located at 2620 Jefferson Davis Highway, has been serving customers again since at least late last week. The McDonald’s shuttered back in mid-May for renovations.

The restaurant now boasts a new facade, a revamped drive through and an improved lobby area.

The McDonald’s parking lot has become a point of contention for neighbors in recent weeks, particularly as people looking to avoid traffic generated by the new staging lot for rideshare drivers waiting for passengers at Reagan National Airport have sought to cut through the lot and save a bit of time.

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Ballston IHOP Remains Closed Following Fire, With Plans to Reopen Soon

The Ballston IHOP remains closed for repairs after catching fire last week, though it should be open again soon.

The restaurant, located at 935 N. Stafford Street, is currently surrounded by repair vans and has signs posted on the door informing would-be diners that it remains closed for renovation work following the fire.

However, an employee told ARLnow that IHOP could reopen as soon as the end of this week, or this weekend.

The blaze started around 2 a.m. last Wednesday (Oct. 3), with smoke seen billowing out of the roof of the restaurant. No one was hurt as a result of the fire.

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Lululemon is Back in Original Clarendon Location

After a brief move across the street this summer, Lululemon is back home at 2847 Clarendon Blvd.

The athletic apparel retailer temporarily relocated to “The Loop”  at 2700 Clarendon Blvd earlier this summer while the main location underwent renovations.

The store moved back in and showed off its reconfigured interior last week with a grand reopening party.

Lululemon is open 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sunday. The location’s “Rooftop Sweat Series” continues above the renovated store tomorrow (Tuesday) at 6 p.m.

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Glencarlyn Park Upgrades Could Move Ahead Later This Year

Construction work on some improvements to Glencarlyn Park will likely kick off later this year.

The County Board will consider a roughly $685,000 contract for renovation work at the park during its meeting Saturday (July 14). Crown Construction Services, Inc. is set to manage the renovations.

The work will include replacing one of the park’s picnic shelters, which is “beyond reasonable repair,” according to a county staff report, and updating the park’s open picnic and parking areas. The county expects the renovations to wrap up early next year.

The Board will also consider awarding a construction contract to install synthetic turf at Gunston Park’s Diamond Field at the meeting Saturday.

Photos via Arlington County

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Morning Notes

Arlington Doctor Sentenced in Poisoning Case — Arlington doctor Sikander Imran was sentenced Friday to three years in prison, with 17 years suspended, for slipping pills into his pregnant girlfriend’s tea, causing her to lose the unborn baby. The now ex-girlfriend pleaded for leniency during the sentencing. [WJLA, New York Daily News]

Miniature Horses Could Be Allowed at Schools — “A new policy defining the rights and responsibility of those – students, staff or visitors – wishing to bring service animals into schools would allow for dogs and miniature horses… schools spokesman Frank Bellavia told the Sun Gazette there are no miniature horses used as service animals in the school system at the moment.” [InsideNova]

Powhatan Skate Park Renovations Approved — The Arlington County Board on Saturday unanimously approved a $1.87 million contract to overhaul the Powhatan Springs Skate Park, the only such park in Arlington. “This well-loved skate park is in need of a makeover to address crumbling concrete conditions,” said Chair Katie Cristol. “The result will be a safer park that both kids and adults in Arlington who are passionate about skateboarding, inline skating and BMX cycling can enjoy for years to come.” [Arlington County]

Residents Protest Amazon at County Board Meeting — Several public speakers at Saturday’s County Board meeting spoke out against the prospect of Amazon’s second headquarters coming to Arlington. They held signs saying “No Amazon” and decried the company’s “brutal working conditions” and “culture of toxic masculinity,” among other things. [Blue Virginia]

Walter Reed Drive Project Green Lit — “The Arlington County Board today approved a $1.8 million contract to A & M Concrete Corporation to improve bicycle and pedestrian connections on a short but critical segment of South Walter Reed Drive, between South Four Mile Run Drive and South Arlington Mill Drive. The project will provide safer connections between two of Arlington’s busiest trails: Washington & Old Dominion and Four Mile Run.” [Arlington County]

Trees Fall During Heavy Rain — A number of trees around the area fell late last week after a record-breaking stretch of heavy rain. Among the trees to topple was a large one that fell on a home on the 2100 block of N. Vernon Street and injured one person. [Twitter, Washington Post]

Lubber Run Farmers Market OKed — “Field to Table, Inc., an Arlington-based non-profit organization, won the County Board’s approval today to open the Lubber Run Farmer’s Market in the parking lot at Barrett Elementary School, 4401 Henderson Road. The market is expected to open in late May.” [Arlington County]

Nearby: Train Derailment in Alexandria — A large contingent of emergency personnel responded to the CSX tracks near Port City Brewing in Alexandria Saturday morning for a freight train that had derailed. About 30 cars came off the tracks but no injuries or hazardous spills were reported. [City of Alexandria, Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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Crystal City McDonald’s Closed for Renovations

Crystal City’s McDonald’s is closed for renovations.

Signs posted at the restaurant located at 2620 Jefferson Davis Highway say only that the location is closed during construction, urging visitors to head to the McDonald’s locations along Columbia Pike instead. Construction materials litter the restaurant’s parking lot.

No one answered the phone number listed for the restaurant and construction fencing currently blocks off its parking lot. McDonald’s didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on how long the restaurant might be closed.

A tipster first notified ARLnow about the renovations this past Wednesday.

Photos by Alex Koma

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County Board Approves $1.5 Million Dawson Terrace Park Renovation

Changes are coming soon to Dawson Terrace Park near Rosslyn now that the Arlington County Board has approved a $1.5 million construction contract.

Currently, there are two small courts at the park. These will be replaced by one larger, multi-use court the size of a high school basketball court.

Project illustrations show eight to 10 foot decorative fences installed on either side of the court, behind the basketball nets. Also included: new lighting and landscaping.

Design for the project began in the second quarter of 2016. Project construction is anticipated to begin in the second quarter of 2018 and wrap up by the end of the year.

A small field along 21st Road N. is not scheduled for any renovations in this plan, but stormwater management and ADA improvements are in the works.

The County Board voted unanimously to grant the park contract to D.C.’s Bennett Group at Saturday’s County Board meeting (April 21), according to a county press release. County staff had recommended that the contract be approved.

“Arlington continues to upgrade and improve its parks, to make them both more accessible and more engaging,” County Board Chair Katie Cristol said in a statement. “These renovations will help ensure that Dawson Terrace will be a great park for everyone to use, for years to come.”

The three and a half acre park in the North Highland neighborhood is home to the Dawson-Bailey House, the second oldest home in the county, and site renderings include a decorative screen and plants that would form a buffer on the building’s eastern facade. In 2016, an archaeological dig at Dawson Terrace Park uncovered approximately 2,000 glass, ceramic, and glass objects from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Also at its Saturday meeting, the County Board approved the planting of over 1,000 trees in parks along Four Mile Run. The plantings are partially funded by a federal grant.

More from a county press release, after the jump.

A federal grant will help pay for the purchase and planting of more than 1,000 seedlings along Four Mile Run stream in Bluemont and Benjamin Banneker parks.

The trees and shrubs will be planted in areas where invasive plants have been removed, to help restore Four Mile Run’s riparian buffer zone. The County plans to host community planting events in fall 2018 to get the seedlings in the ground, and will install deer protection around the plants.

“This project is part of a much larger effort to restore Four Mile Run’s water quality and preserve this natural resource treasure,” Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol said. “Stay tuned for opportunities to help us get these seedlings in the ground.”

The County Board voted unanimously to accept the grant, awarded by the Virginia Department of Forestry.

The $9,657 grant required a one-to-one match from the County. The Department of Parks and Recreation will meet that within its existing budget, contributing $5,864 in local dollars along with a $7,512 in-kind match value for volunteer and staff hours and related supplies.

To read the staff report, visit the County website. Scroll to Item No. 36 on the agenda for the Saturday, April 19, 2018 Regular County Board Meeting.

Renderings via Arlington County

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Morning Notes

Crystal City Tops HQ2 Poll — The combined Crystal City-Potomac Yard site is the most likely D.C. area landing spot for Amazon’s second headquarters, according to an online poll conducted by the Washington Business Journal. Meanwhile, D.C., Virginia and Maryland officials are teaming up to promote the region as the HQ2 search continues. Amazon fever has even entered the world of local business conferences: an event dubbed “HQmania” is scheduled to be held in Rosslyn next month. [Washington Business Journal, WAMU, DCA Live]

Rosslyn Lands Nonprofit HQ — “It’s been a good week for Rosslyn. First came the news that Gerber, a Nestle subsidiary, would relocate its headquarters and 150 jobs from New Jersey to 1812 N. Moore St. And Friday, we learn that a D.C.-based global nonprofit has decided to cross the Potomac into Arlington.” [Washington Business Journal]

ART Bus Stop Vandalized — Someone smashed two of the windows on an ART bus stop in the Long Branch Creek neighborhood late last week. [Twitter]

Arlington Man Charged With Statutory Rape — A 47-year-old Arlington man was arrested at his home last month and charged with the statutory rape of a minor in North Carolina. The man arranged meeting the minor in North Carolina via the messaging app Kik, which is popular with teens. [Fox 8]

Local Columbine Survivor Addresses Student Protesters — “Salli Garrigan was in music class when the sound of gunshots reverberated through the halls of her high school… Garrigan, now 35 and an Arlington resident, stood Friday before a crowd of D.C.-area students gathered on the U.S. Capitol lawn and told them when she was their age, she didn’t know how to make her voice heard.” [Washington Post]

Long Bridge Park Field Renovations Starting — Work is set to begin today on new turf for Long Bridge Park’s heavily-used Field No. 3. The field is expected to be closed for 45 days. [Arlington County]

Past and Present School Board Members Gather — On Thursday, the Arlington School Board held its last meeting at the Arlington Education Center building next to Washington-Lee High School. The board room and administrative offices are moving to the Syphax Education Center along Washington Blvd. To mark the last meeting, past and current School Board members members gathered for a photo. [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Duluoz Me

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