The Arlington School Board viewed the proposed concept design for a new elementary school in Westover last week.
With a desired opening date of September 2021, the 725-seat elementary school at the Reed School site has a total project cost estimate of $55.1 million, which is about $6 million more than what was approved by the School Board on June 16, 2016.
A chart underlining funding sources noted that the $6 million extra would come from a “to be determined” source, though staff requested that cost cutting measures be explored to bring the cost back down to the initial $49 million. Construction funding for the elementary school is set to be put to a bond referendum for voters in November.
The existing structure, according to a School Board document, is “appropriate for early childhood program” but has several issues to be addressed, including an “inefficient layout,” “visibility/security,” and the fact that it is “space constrained for older students.”
The “recommended scheme” allows for the lowest total energy use per square foot, classroom transition times, required parking, and loss of open space, and “keeps the most site amenities.” Downsides to the concept design, noted officials, included “minor utility relocation” and constructing a “four-story building next to a two-story building and homes.”
The project will expand the existing Reed School, at 1644 N. McKinley Road, that currently houses The Children’s School, the Westover Branch Library, and the Integration Station, a pre-K student program for those with disabilities.
Sun Gazette Moving HQ to Falls Church — The Sun Gazette newspaper is moving its headquarters from McLean to the city of Falls Church. The paper, which has an Arlington edition and a McLean/Great Falls/Vienna/Oakton edition, has previously, under its current editor, had its headquarters in Dunn Loring, Alexandria and Springfield. [InsideNova]
Review of Synetic’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’ — Crystal City-based physical theater company Synetic is performing its unique take on “Sleeping Beauty” through Jan. 8. It has received a laudatory review from Broadway World. “Every mimed motion, from a butterfly alighting on a hand to that fated spinning wheel wound, is flawlessly executed and transports audiences to a place beyond imagination,” the publication wrote. [Broadway World]
Children of Inmates Receive Gifts — The annual “Project Christmas Angel” initiative has distributed more than 1,100 gifts this year to nearly 400 children whose parents will be locked up in the Arlington County jail or in state prisons over the holidays. The project also supports kids who have a parent that was recently released from incarceration. [InsideNova]
Final ‘Around Arlington’ of 2016 — The final episode of the county-produced Around Arlington television segment features updates on the Four Mile Run Valley initiative, humanitarian award winners and plans for 2017. [YouTube]
ACFD Battles Fire in Fairlington — Firefighters from Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax together helped to battle a kitchen fire in a Fairlington condominium this morning, preventing it from spreading further. S. Abingdon Street near Abingdon Elementary was blocked for part of the morning as a result of the emergency response. [Twitter, Twitter]
ACPD Cracks Down on Fake IDs — An Arlington County Police Department campaign to crack down on fake IDs, in partnership with Clarendon bars, has netted more than 450 fakes since May. At one point this summer, according to a manager, Don Tito collected about 20 fake IDs per week. [WJLA]
Metro Pulls 4000 Series Cars — Metro has removed all 4000-series railcars from service to due safety concerns. Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) said he asked the agency to prioritize 8-car train service on the Blue Line while the railcars are out of service. Metro’s general manager “assured me there’d be very little impact to BL riders,” Beyer tweeted. [WMATA, Twitter]
Sietsema Lauds Ambar — Ambar’s new Clarendon outpost not only lured the Washington Post’s Tom Sietsema west of the Potomac River, but it received 2.5 out of 3 stars from the restaurant critic. Sietsema’s main gripe: too much noise. “Surely the same folks who dispense so much good will and satisfying food can solve a problem like disquiet,” Sietsema wrote. [Washington Post]
Post Profiles Old Dominion Neighborhood — The Washington Post’s continued anthropological study of Arlington’s neighborhoods in the real estate section has this week brought it to the Old Dominion community. A pair of recent homebuyers said they liked that Old Dominion “had a neighborhood feel and was also walkable.” [Washington Post]
Big Wins for Arlington at NAIOP Awards — Arlington County fared well at the 2016 NAIOP Northern Virginia commercial real estate awards on Wednesday. Among the local projects being recognized were the Bartlett in Pentagon City, WeWork/WeLive in Crystal City, Arlington’s Dept. of Human Services building along Washington Blvd and Opower in Courthouse. [NAIOP]
Photo courtesy Peter Golkin
Post Investigates Chinese Rice Customs — In a follow-up to the saga of the diners who received insults on their bill at Peter Chang’s restaurant in the Lee-Harrison shopping center, the Washington Post has taken a closer look at the rice-serving customs of restaurants in China. Could it be, the Post asks, that the servers were driven to frustration due to erroneous “mansplaining” about rice? [Washington Post]
County Considering Fraud Hotline for the Public — Arlington County staff is considering a proposal to expand the county’s new waste, fraud and abuse hotline, making it open to the public. The hotline is currently set up for county employees. [InsideNova]
Market Common Clarendon Sells for $406 Million — The Market Common Clarendon shopping center and apartment complex has sold for $406 million. The buyers are Florida shopping center developer Regency Centers and Arlington-based real estate investment trust AvalonBay. [Washington Business Journal, WTOP]
County Board Race Donations By ZIP Code — New maps show the percentage breakdown of campaign contributions to Democratic County Board contenders Libby Garvey and Erik Gutsthall, by ZIP code. According to the maps, Garvey is strongest in the north Arlington 22207 ZIP, while Gutshall’s strongest zone is the Crystal City and Pentagon City 22202 ZIP. [Data for Humans]
Review of New Synetic Theater Production — “The action-packed shows of Synetic Theater always have cinematic flair, but the second act of the company’s new ‘The Man in the Iron Mask’ takes on surprising storytelling depth. The always-superb fights are accompanied by unexpectedly gripping scenes of high melodrama and even flickers of camp.” [Washington Post]
Guns Stolen from Nova Firearms in McLean — A burglary has occurred at Nova Firearms, the gun store that wanted to open a location in Cherrydale before residents pressured the store and the landlord to scuttle those plans. Two handguns were stolen from Nova Firearms’ McLean store just after midnight this past Friday. Police are seeking tips in the case. [Fairfax County Police Department]
Taxicab Fares Raised in Arlington — A taxi ride in Arlington will now cost an extra 25 cents per ride and an extra six cents per mile. The County Board on Saturday unanimously approved new taxi rates that also include a $25 cleaning fee for those who “dirty or foul a cab enough that the cab must be removed from service.” [Arlington County, WJLA]
Locals Make ’50 On Fire’ List — A number of Arlington-based companies and individuals have been named to this year’s DC Inno “50 on Fire” list. Local honorees include Vornado/Charles E. Smith honcho Mitchell Schear, Crystal City incubator Eastern Foundry, newly-IPOed Evolent Health in Ballston, Ballston-based tech firm Distil Networks and Rosslyn-based advertising agency LMO Advertising. [DC Inno]
Nauck Town Square Design Meeting — A community discussion will be held at Drew Model School to help officials arrive at a final plan and design for its Nauck Town Square project. The meeting will be held from 6:30-8:30 p.m. tonight (Monday). [Arlington County]
Review of Oz in Clarendon — Oz restaurant in Clarendon, which opened in September, continues to receive so-so reviews from the critics. The latest review suggests that Oz suffers from the inherent blandness of Australian cuisine, which it attempts to recreate faithfully. Oz may benefit, however, from its co-owner’s casting on the Real Housewives of Potomac. [Washington Post]
Arlington Fire Captain Retires After 35 Years — Arlington County Fire Department Captain Robert Patterson has retired after 35 years on the job. [WJLA]
Sietsema Skewers La Tagliatella — Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema has delivered a devastating half-star review of La Tagliatella, the European-based Italian restaurant chain that recently opened in Clarendon and is planning to open in Shirlington. The restaurant “makes a strong case for hazard pay for restaurant critics,” Sietsema wrote, and future locations (like Shirlington) “have my condolences.” In a subsequent online chat, Sietsema said that La Tagliatella was several notches below the Falls Church Olive Garden in terms of the overall dining experience. [Washington Post]
AAA Predicts Lower Gas Prices — Gas prices in Virginia will fall 6 cents after July 1 thanks to the bipartisan transportation package that passed the state legislature this year, AAA predicts. Another byproduct of the legislation: the state sales tax in Northern Virginia will rise from 5 to 6 percent. [Sun Gazette]
Forum on Transportation Projects — Arlington’s Transportation Commission will hold a public forum next week to review projects under consideration for funding by the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority. Projects proposed by Arlington County include the Columbia Pike Multimodal Improvement Project, the Crystal City Multimodal Center, ART fleet expansion (Silver/Blue Line mitigation), and a new Boundary Channel Drive interchange. [Arlington County]
Number of Households Growing — The number of households in Arlington grew by one percent over the past year — from 105,667 to 106,717 — a rate twice that of the 0.5 percent household growth in the Commonwealth of Virginia, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. [Sun Gazette]
New Ballston Bars Reviewed — Ballston’s bar scene has “received a shot in the arm over the last two weeks” with the openings of World of Beer and A-Town Bar and Grill, according to a review by Fritz Hahn. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick
Meriweather Pleads to DWI Charge — Washington Redskins strong safety Brandon Meriweather has pleaded no contest to the charge of driving while intoxicated in Arlington. As part of the plea, Meriweather was assessed a fine, a driver’s license suspension, and a 180 day jail sentence — though the jail time was suspended. ARLnow.com was the first to report in April that Meriweather had been arrested for DWI following a traffic stop on I-66 in Arlington. [Washington Post]
Heat Advisory Issued — A heat advisory will be in effect from noon to 8:00 tonight. Heat index values are expected to reach around 105 degrees, which brings the risk of dehydration and heat-related illnesses. [Weather Channel]
District 45 Special Election Scheduled — The special election to replace Del. David Englin, who resigned in June, will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 4. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell announced the special election date yesterday. [Virginia.gov]
Green Pig Bistro Reviewed — Washingtonian Magazine reviews Clarendon’s Green Pig Bistro (1025 N. Fillmore Street) and dubs it a “hipster farmhouse.” In addition to the food, the restaurant’s staff also receives attention in the article: “That dude with the mohawk and baroque tattoos? That’s the sous chef.” [Washingtonian]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
W-L Softball Field Approved — The Arlington County Board has unanimously approved use permits for a new softball field at Washington-Lee High School. The $1 million field will include lighting, grandstands, and a press box.
Comcast Doubling Internet Speeds — Arlington is one of the areas where Comcast is increasing its internet speeds this week. The company says it’s doubling the internet speeds of Arlington customers who currently have the Blast 25 Mbps or the Extreme 50 Mbps internet service, at no additional cost. “This is the seventh time since 2002 that Comcast has increased speeds for its customers,” Comcast spokeswoman Alisha Martin said.
Encore’s ‘Pirates of Penzance’ Reviewed — The Encore Stage and Studio production of “The Pirates of Penzance” — currently playing at the Thomas Jefferson Community Theater at 125 S. Old Glebe Road — is “two hours of solid entertainment for all ages,” according to a newspaper review. [Sun Gazette]
In addition to being able to peruse hard copies of the magazine at branches throughout the county, the library is offering online access. Readers can compare the items reviewed in recent issues of the magazine, as well sift through the archives from the past four years.
Users need to enter their Arlington library card number and PIN code after clicking on the link to access Consumer Reports.
BRAC Not Too Bad, After All — Today is the deadline for the transfer of military offices affected by the Base Realignment and Closure Act. By today, 17,000 jobs were supposed to have moved out of Arlington County (mostly Crystal City) and into secure military installations like Ft. Belvoir. But in the end, the feared deadline is coming and going “with little fanfare.” The Associated Press reports that 10,000 of the 17,000 BRACed jobs are still here and expected to remain through as late as 2014, thanks to extensions granted by the Department of Defense. [Washington Post]
Pumpkins Arrive in Clarendon — The first pumpkins of the season showed up yesterday at the Clarendon Farmers Market. [Clarendon Culture]
Artisphere Called ‘Sad,’ Lonely — The designated art critic for the Clarendon-Courthouse-Rosslyn Patch says he was disappointed by Artisphere on his first visit. “I noticed an immediate loneliness to the place, a sad emptiness,” he wrote. The critic went on to recommend “more traditional” art galleries, in addition to Artisphere’s more modern, avant-garde exhibits. [Patch]
Burapa Thai opened its doors on Monday. Located next to Circa at 1210 North Garfield Street, the restaurant serves Thai classics like Pad Thai and Kaprow, in addition to some signature dishes like the crispy Burapa Noodle in spicy chili gravy.
The restaurant also has a sushi bar near the back, allowing it to serve fresh sushi and hybrid dishes like the bento box with spring roll and Pad Thai noodles.
The Panang Curry was particularly delicious when we stopped by last night. The Larb Gai, meanwhile, was excellent as a starter.
Burapa Thai is offering a limited-time $1 per piece sushi deal through March 15. Regular deals include a 50 percent off happy hour from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m., half-price wine on Tuesdays and Thursday and kids (10 and under) eat free on Monday. There’s also a lunch special from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.: two dishes on one plate for $9 to $12.
The restaurant offers an order-by-fax carry-out option (fax: 703-294-4104) and free delivery with a minimum $20 order (phone: 703-294-4102). It’s open from 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from 11:30 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. Management eventually hopes to bring in a live DJ on Saturday nights to create a lounge-like atmosphere.
Yesterday “Tara S.” — presumably Eclectic Threads owner Tara Selario — went on the review site Yelp to respond to the store’s critics.
“Please go to Georgetown to complete your Halloween costume next year – let them deal with your complete lack of respect for other people’s property,” she said to someone who complained about “dour, snotty service” this past fall.
She had a more measured response to a gripe about the fact that many store transactions are cash-only.
“We do not accept credit cards under $100 because banking fees have gone up in the last few years but there is an atm across the street,” she wrote.
But to a woman who complained about a lack of parking, an abundance of “junk,” and a “growling” dog that inhabits the store during business hours, Tara S. had much sharper words.
The dog probably sensed your negative attitude – you’re clearly a nasty person . We’ve been in business for 10 years and we didn’t last this long selling over priced junk (obviously). There’s plenty of street parking for those capable of reading parking signs. We’ve never advertised our shop as an upscale boutique but it is very much a true vintage shop. Everything is sized and very well organized. There’s not a fur coat in our inventory that’s missing fur spots and just an fyi “divits” is spelled “divots” and it means “sod”.
The Yelp user community wasted no time in responding to Tara’s unapologetic retorts.
“If I went onto a business page and saw the owner making those kinds of comments, I would not step foot into her establishment,” one Yelper said today.
“Seeing the vicious attacks made on those who had negative comments makes me want to steer clear of this place,” said another. “Does she not know that if she wouldn’t have given a negative experience, there would be no negative comments? I’m not sure she understands what customer service is all about.”
Even with the negative reviews, Eclectic Threads (2647 North Pershing Drive) currently has an overall rating of 3 out of 5 stars on Yelp thanks to a number of people who said they had a positive experience at the store.
The business has received considerable media attention over the past few years. Last year it was named the area’s best vintage boutique by Northern Virginia Magazine. It has also been featured in the Washington Post, the Arlington Connection, and on WTOP.
A phone call to Eclectic Threads for comment and confirmation of the postings went unanswered this afternoon. “Tara S.” was identified as the store’s owner on Yelp, which has its own owner verification process.
Photo via Yelp
Despite the weather and the fact it was Tuesday, a decent-sized crowd jammed into Clarendon’s Iota Club last night to see Sean Lennon perform with girlfriend, Charlotte Kemp Muhl.
Together, Lennon and Kemp Muhl comprise The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger. Under low lights, the band performed their dreamy, acoustic folk rock as snowflakes fell outside — a fitting backdrop.
The stage was as bare and humble as the music. Lennon and Kemp Muhl vocalized while playing a variety of instruments, with the occasional commentary in between. The melodies were hard to memorize and the tempo decidedly slow, but the duo’s passion for their craft was evident.
If the audience was as into the music as the musicians were, count it a successful outing.
Back to School — The nearly 21,000 students enrolled in Arlington Public Schools are returning to class today. Watch out for school buses on the roads this morning.
Arlington Parents Like Their Kid’s School, Teachers — On Friday, we reported that a survey conducted on behalf of Arlington Public Schools found that parents were very much opposed to redrawing school boundaries. Now comes more evidence that parents of APS students are happy with their kid’s current school. Asked to grade their child’s school, teachers, and quality of education, parents gave each a 4.4 out of 5 on average. More from the Sun Gazette.
Arlington-Based Rosetta Stone Disappoints Investors — Language education software maker Rosetta Stone, which has its corporate headquarters in Arlington, has struggled through executive departures and weak sales this year. The company hopes to turn that around with a new product, to be launched next week. More from Business Week.
Enthusiastic Review for ‘Chess’ — Signature Theater’s production of Chess, which was inspired by a much-hyped 1972 chess match between American Bobby Fischer and the Soviet Union’s Boris Spassky, might not sound too exciting at first. But add a rock soundtrack, energetic performances and (of course) a love story, and Chess “sizzles,” according to theater critic Terry Ponick at washingtontimes.com. The Shirlington-based production runs through October 3.
New Bike Lane in Courthouse — Cyclists now have a safer way to get to Courthouse from North Rhodes Street (and vice-versa). The Ode Street Tribune reports that a bike lane has been added to 15th Street.