(Updated at 2:50 p.m.) Heavy demolition is underway at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Randolph Street, as portions of the old Ballston Common Mall are demolished to make way for the renovated Ballston Quarter shopping center and apartment tower.
Demolition crews from Celtic Demolition are at work tearing down the corner of the building that contained one of the mall’s main entrances and the former Macy’s furniture store. Crews are hosing down the debris with water to reduce dust.
One tipster who works across the street from the mall, at the National Science Foundation, said yesterday — after demolition started — that the close proximity of the demolition to moving traffic was concerning.
“You have to see the way they are demolishing the Ballston Mall,” the tipster said. “It is such a recipe for disaster. The debris is falling onto [the street] as cars and buses are driving by.”
The extensive renovation project is expected to wrap up in 2018.
After nearly two months of renovations, the Pacers Running Store in Clarendon reopened last week.
The store’s interior was totally revamped to offer a “shopping experience” similar to the new Pacers stores in the District, on 14th Street and in Navy Yard. The new space is more open, more organized and features more natural light.
Pacers is located at 3100 Clarendon Blvd, across from the Metro station. The store moved to an ancillary space along N. Highland Street during construction, offering a scaled-down selection of running shoes, apparel, nutrition and accessories.
Even with the renovated space open, Pacers is still adding product displays and making some finishing touches to the store.
An open field next to Abingdon Elementary School in Fairlington is now being used by the school’s relocatable classroom trailers, ahead of an expansion and renovation of the school.
The trailers were recently relocated to the field, next to a playground and on top of a paved loop that’s often used by those learning to ride a bike. About a dozen trees around the field have also been cut down.
According to a construction bidding document, part of the field will also soon be used as a temporary parking lot.
The changes are connected to the expansion and renovation of Abingdon, which was approved last year and is expected to wrap up in 2017.
“The relocatable classrooms have been moved onto the site in preparation for the upcoming construction project,” said Arlington Public Schools spokesman Frank Bellavia. “The existing field will be used for relocatable classrooms and temporary classrooms and then restored at the end of the construction project.”
“In accordance with the approved Use Permit and as agreed upon by the County, some trees were removed prior to the start of construction, prior to April 1 and before birds and animals start nesting in them,” Bellavia added.
The original District Taco at 5723 Lee Highway reopened at 11 a.m. this morning, after closing last month for renovations.
The restaurant doesn’t look all too different than it did before the renovations. We’re told much of the work focused on the kitchen; if anything, District Taco has been a victim of its own popularity in the form of out-the-door lines during the lunch and dinner rushes.
District Taco will be hosting raffles and giveaways today in celebration of its reopening, founder and CEO Osiris Hoil tells ARLnow.com.
The Burger King on Columbia Pike is getting a makeover.
Located at 3627 Columbia Pike, Burger King’s realm was looking a bit less-than-regal as of late. Over the past few days, however, workers have spruced up the interior.
More remodeling — including exterior changes — appears to be in the works.
During the interior renovation, the restaurant’s dining room was closed but its drive-thru remained open.
Hat tip to John Fontain
In two weeks, the always-busy Apple Store in Clarendon (2700 Clarendon Blvd) will close for renovations.
The store will be closed starting Sunday, April 3, according to a sign in the store. An employee was unable to say how long the renovations would take.
That means that customers will only have a couple of days to get a new Apple iPhone SE at the store before it closes. The new smaller, cheaper iPhone was unveiled by the company today.
Update at 9:55 a.m. — Various readers report being told by Apple Store employees that the renovations would take about 6 months to complete.
Arlington County is preparing to update and add new features to the park next to the Fairlington Community Center (3308 S. Stafford Street).
Fairlington Park currently has exercise equipment, an exercise path, an athletic field, a playground, a gazebo and a small amphitheater.
The county says the scope of the upcoming park project will include “design and reconstruction of the playground, exercise equipment, circuit trail, picnic area, site circulation, site furnishings, fencing, stormwater management and landscaping.”
Before creating an initial design, the county is gathering community input, including via an online survey, which is active through April 15.
The survey asks a number of specific questions about exercise equipment, including: “would you like to be able to do a total-body workout in the park for strength and cardio fitness using equipment that’s similar to indoor fitness equipment?”
The renovations include new basketball courts, tennis courts, tennis practice courts, drinking fountains, water bottle fillers and site furnishings. There’s also new “dark sky” lighting and parking and accessibility improvements.
“Join the community in celebrating this newly renovated space!” said the invitation to the ceremony, which is scheduled to run from 1-2:30 p.m.
“The ribbon cutting ceremony will include fun activities for kids and adults including a tennis drill clinic for kids and adults hosted by FirstServe Tennis Academy and a basketball clinic for kids with shooting and dribbling instructions that will culminate into fun group games hosted by Tiptop Sports.”
The park is located at 1600 S. Hayes Street, near Pentagon City.
Osiris Hoil, who founded District Taco as a single taco cart and now serves as the chain’s CEO, said the Lee Highway restaurant is getting some needed TLC and will remain closed for a few weeks.
“We opened back in November 2010 with a low budget and since then we have improved the model with our new restaurants,” Hoil told ARLnow.com. “I believe in a system that our work environment need to be fun and clean so we can perform better in general.”
“The Arlington location, is getting the love that the other DT stores have and our longtime employees of that store will love getting a new restaurant with new equipment,” Hoil continued. “We should reopen in [a] couple weeks, we are working day and night so we can reopen and serve tacos to our amigos again!”
Arlington residents with a District Taco craving can head to the company’s new location in Rosslyn, which has been doing brisk weekday lunchtime business since it opened.
Photo courtesy Matt Gibert
One of the most prominently-located retail stores in Arlington is getting a makeover.
Renovations are currently underway at the Pacers Running Store at 3100 Clarendon Blvd, across from the Clarendon Metro station. The interior of the store is being renovated, following a recently-completed exterior renovation.
Pacers is still open and selling shoes and other running gear, but is operating out of a small space next to the store, along N. Highland Street.
The company says the construction is expected to last about two months. When completed, the newly-revamped Pacers will offer a “shopping experience” similar to the new Pacers stores in the District, on 14th Street and in Navy Yard.
The Arlington County Board on Thursday approved major renovations to a playground and volleyball court at Quincy Park.
The new playground will incorporate “universal design” to make it fun and accessible for users of all ages and physical abilities. Features include swings, picnic tables, a slide and a “climbing tree.”
The revamped sand volleyball court will be located adjacent to the playground and is being created with adult after-work sports leagues in mind.
The total cost expected design and construction of the project is $1.275 million. Construction is expected to start this spring and wrap up this fall.
Quincy Park is located between Arlington Central Library and Washington-Lee High School, near the Virginia Square Metros station.
From an Arlington County press release:
The Arlington County Board today approved a contract for $1,085,727 to overhaul the heavily used playground and sand volleyball court at Quincy Park.
The playground will be the first in Arlington to incorporate state-of-the-art Universal Design elements to make it accessible for people of all ages and physical abilities. All Arlington County parks are accessible and meet ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) standards, but this playground was specially designed to accommodate and engage the entire community.
“This is a truly innovative project that will make Quincy Park a very special place, accessible, welcoming and fun for people of all ages and abilities,” said Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey.
Universal Design seeks to appeal aesthetically and functionally to everyone, regardless of age or physical ability.
The new playground will have a wheelchair ramp to reach the top of the slide area, instead of stairs. Its swings will hold heavier bodies, so that parents and caregivers can swing alongside children.
The Universal Design elements mean people of varying ages and abilities can climb, swing, play and enjoy this space together. Softer surfaces will make the play space safer. The design includes quieter areas for those with sensory sensitivities. Fencing and gates are all integrated into the landscaping to provide green space and a calming environment. A pavilion area will shade picnic tables, and there will be other benches and tables for seating throughout. There are also water fountains with bottle fillers. The park’s features will be explained in signs throughout the park.
Beginning in July 2014, County staff conducted extensive public outreach for this project, including four public meetings and two on-line surveys. County residents participating in the public meetings included neighbors of the park, parents of children and adults with disabilities and members of the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association. Staff solicited feedback from organizations such as the Special Education PTA, the Community Services Board for Developmental Disabilities and the Arc of Northern Virginia. County staff also consulted with a designer who specializes in universal playground design. To facilitate the design for the sand volleyball court, County staff consulted with local players, teams and groups such as Orange Line Sports and United Social Sports.
A final concept was presented at a May 2015 public hearing that had the consensus approval of all involved groups.
The Board voted unanimously as part of the consent agenda to award the contract to Bennett Group, the lowest responsive and responsible bidder in the competitive bidding process. The overall project funding for this Parks Maintenance Capital project of $1,275,000.00 includes design, soft costs and construction. Funding is provided by FY 2012 closeout funds ($100,000) and FY 2013 park bond funds ($1,175,000).
Construction is set to begin early spring of 2016 and be completed by the fall.
(Updated at 3:01 p.m.) Bicycle sales, rental and repair shop Big Wheel Bikes has closed its Arlington location for renovations, according to a notice on the chain’s website. The shop remained open after a fire in September until closing on Dec. 14.
Owner Mike Sendar said the store at 3119 Lee Highway will reopen “in about two weeks” although a hard date has not been set. Sender said customers can expect “new paint, new flooring and a new arrangement.”
According to the sign posted on the door, Arlington residents can receive 10 percent off when shopping at the company’s four other stores in Alexandria, Georgetown and Bethesda.
The Lyon Village shopping center location opened in 1979 as a branch of Bicycle Exchange. It’s been Big Wheel Bikes since 1999.
Hat tip to Big E.
Clarendon nightlife spot SoBe Bar & Bistro (3100 Clarendon Blvd) has closed last week and will be replaced with a new Spanish tapas restaurant.
The new restaurant will be called Pamplona and will be run by Social Restaurant Group, the company behind Provision No. 14 and The Prospect in the District, ARLnow.com has learned. Both restaurants are noted for their creative, theme-based decor.
Renovations are underway inside the former SoBe space, at the same time as a separate exterior renovation of the courtyard Pamplona will share with Mad Rose Tavern.
Social Restaurant Group wants to have Pamplona open by this spring, though hopes for speedy renovations in Arlington are usually met with disappointment thanks in large part to a stringent county permitting and inspection process.
Pamplona will face competition from La Tasca, Clarendon’s existing Spanish tapas destination.
Major renovations are coming to the ballfields at Tuckahoe Park.
The Dept. of Parks and Recreation released renovation plans in March, making the two baseball/softball fields their focus. Changes include new players’ benches, dugouts, backstops, bleachers for spectators, fencing, drinking fountains, bullpens and batting cages.
Much of the project’s construction will be focused on a new irrigation and drainage system and new sod.
Other additions to the park in the plans include picnic tables, a portable toilet enclosure, storage, landscaping and a new scoreboard. The scoreboard will be shared between the county and Bishop O’Connell High School, which is contributing $18,000 to its purchase
The plans would also make the park and its fields more accessible per Americans with Disabilities Act regulations.
According to a county website dedicated to the project, construction on the park is scheduled to be finished by the end of 2016.
If approved, the contract will authorize $1.06 million for construction. That includes nearly $100,000 as a contingency. The total estimated cost of the project, with design and soft costs factored in, is $1.25 million.
Saturday’s meeting will begin at 9 a.m. in the County Board Room at 2100 Clarendon Blvd, Room 307.
The AMC movie theater in Shirlington (2772 S. Randolph Street) has reopened after extensive renovations.
The AMC Shirlington 7 closed about a month and a half ago. It reopened yesterday, showing only one movie, and will fully resume a full slate of showings on Friday.
Much like the renovated AMC theater in Courthouse, the Shirlington theater now features big, plush seats that recline. Other upgrades include:
- A redone lobby and upgraded interior
- New lobby concession stand with a soon-to-open bar called “MacGuffins”
- More hot foods, like pizza, mozzarella sticks, chicken fingers and curly fries
- Coke Freestyle soda machines
- A new theater sound system
- Bathrooms are now on the first floor
The theater will begin offering assigned seating “in a couple of weeks,” around when the bar opens, an employee said.
The mix of movies will change a bit: the employee said the theater will be showing a mix of indie and mainstream films, whereas is previously focused mostly on indies.