(Updated at 11:30 a.m.) N. Nash Street in Rosslyn was closed to traffic in both directions today due to road construction crews paving the road.
Signs have been placed at entrances to N. Nash Street, indicating cars should take a detour. Key Blvd, which intersects with N. Nash Street, has also been milled and crews were beginning to pave the road as of 3:30 p.m.
The road closure came as a surprise to many.
Workers parked in parking garages on N. Nash Street this morning — including a garage used by ARLnow.com employees — only to find that they were unable to leave. A spokeswoman with the Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services said that paving on N. Nash Street will be finished tonight. (Update at 4:05 p.m.: Those parked in the garage are now being allowed to exit.)
Arlington’s police and fire departments were not told that the street would be closed, according to the fire department’s public information officer. The county typically tells emergency services which roads are closed or being worked on to allow them to adjust their response routes, he said.
The road should not have been closed to traffic in both directions, county spokeswoman Jessica Baxter said
“‘No Parking’ signs were posted along the block a few days before the operation began, and the roadway was not entirely shut down,” Baxter said. “Residents and workers should continue to have access to the garages.”
Road construction crews will start paving Key Blvd, between N. Nash Street and N. Quinn Street, once they have finished N. Nash. Paving is expected to be done by the end of the week, she said.
N. Nash Street is being repaved in response to complaints from residents, while Key Blvd was scheduled for paving this year, Baxter said.
“This street [N. Nash Street] was added to the paving list recently due to its deteriorating condition, pothole history (from the previous winter/spring) and amount of complaints we received through the Arlington, Va. App,” she said in an email.
What is now a peculiar outdoor tribute to the fall of the Berlin Wall is slated to become a play area for children.
The Arlington County Board on Saturday will consider a site plan amendment that would allow the Rosslyn Children’s Center, a childcare facility at 1401 Wilson Blvd, to move down the street to the office building at 1101 Wilson Blvd. The Board will also consider a lease agreement that would lease a small parcel at the rear of the building, facing N. Kent Street, to the center.
The parcel is owned by the county and is currently leased to the Newseum, which closed its former location at 1101 Wilson Blvd in 2002. (Artisphere has since come and gone from the former Newseum space.) It’s considered part of Freedom Park, which was originally designed as a vehicle overpass but later converted to a park after significant engineering problems were discovered.
The parcel used to be an outdoor display of sections of the Berlin Wall — the largest display of the wall outside Germany. With the portions of wall having been moved to the new Newseum in D.C. in 2008, what stands today is a large mural behind a fenced-off and weed-filled lot. In front of the fence, exhibit labels are still largely intact, explaining the history of an exhibit that no longer exists.
Under the terms of the proposed 15-year lease, the Children’s Center will convert the space into an outdoor playground.
The site plan amendment calls for the Children’s Center to occupy 10,140 square feet of space at 1101 Wilson Blvd, including 8,800 square feet of former office space and 1,340 square feet of soon-to-be-former parking garage space. The center will serve up to 121 children.
Rosslyn Children’s Center is moving from its 1401 Wilson Blvd location due to a planned redevelopment of the office building.
Potomac Yard Station Delayed Again — The new $268 million Potomac Yard Metro station in Alexandria is now not expected to be complete until 2020. The City of Alexandria is paying the project’s costs with a combination of local funds, developer contributions, state grants and federal funding. [Washington Post]
New Target Fills Niche — The new Target store in Rosslyn “fills an urban retail niche” as a type of “21st century general store.” Expect to see more such stores around, writes transportation planner Dan Malouff. [Greater Greater Washington]
Kudos for ‘Horrors’ — The Arlington Players production of “Little Shop of Horrors” is worth seeing, says a reviewer. The production “retains its quirky charms and benefits from strong performances and production values.” [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
The Artisphere cultural center in Rosslyn closed in June, but on Saturday the County Board is expected to shut the door for good by terminating Artisphere’s lease.
Arlington County leased the 62,000 square foot former Newseum space at 1101 Wilson Blvd in November 2008. It opened Artisphere on Oct. 10, 2010.
Intractable financial losses at Artisphere — contrary to rosy projections made prior to the center’s opening — combined with a lack of local community participation to doom it. An effort to have the Artisphere space used for a tech incubator and conference center apparently fell through, leading to the lease termination recommendation from county staff.
Not helping matters: it costs about $1 million per year to maintain the space, including electricity, heating and air conditioning costs. Building owner Monday Properties, which gave the space to Arlington virtually rent free, will now be free to attempt to find a new tenant.
Under the staff recommendation, the lease will be terminated on Oct. 31. Arlington County will owe the landlord payments totaling $447,436.24 in order to exercise the early lease termination. (The lease was originally slated to end in April 2023.)
Negotiations regarding the early lease termination have cut the county’s total costs by more than $100,000, staff said.
The money will come from $1.3 million in funding already allocated by the County Board for the closing of Artisphere. The total cost of the facility’s shuttering is not yet available.
“Other expenses associated with the closure of the facility are still processing and a final estimate of the total closure costs will not be available until all invoicing is complete and internal accounts are reconciled,” county staff wrote.
The County Board will consider the lease termination at its meeting this coming Saturday.
The paper has been taken off the windows at Secret Chopsticks in Rosslyn, but when is it opening? Well, that’s a secret.
A restaurant representative declined to speak on the record to an ARLnow.com reporter this afternoon and declined to allow photography inside the soon-to-open contemporary Chinese eatery. Inquisitive members of the public, however, can walk up and see the interior for themselves by looking through the large plate glass windows.
The restaurant will feature authentic modern Chinese cooking, Secret Chopsticks’ Robin Li said previously.
“Whatever they are cooking in China now, we are going to cook,” he said.
Update at 4:15 p.m. — Secret Chopsticks general manager Malia Milstead explains via email: “We are striving for perfection and want to do [a] preview for press in a couple of weeks.”
Despite signs on the door and statements to the press to the contrary, the new TargetExpress store in Rosslyn is now open.
Even at mid-afternoon today the store wasn’t lacking for intrepid customers who figured out that they could just walk right past the “Opens October 11” sign on the door. An employee described it as a “soft opening.”
The 23,000 square foot store, at 1500 Wilson Blvd, stocks a selection of groceries, beer, wine, personal care items, clothing, tech gadgets and other sundry goods. It also boasts the area’s third Starbucks store within a one block radius.
The incident was reported on the 1800 block of N. Scott Street — two blocks north of the Colonial Village Shopping Center — around 2:30 a.m.
“A 23 year-old female victim was followed home and pushed into the bushes by an unknown male subject,” said an Arlington County Police Department crime report. “The subject touched the victim inappropriately and implied that he had a knife.”
“The suspect is described as a black male in his 20’s, approximately 5’10”-5’11” tall and was wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt,” the crime report said.
A woman was also grabbed from behind and pushed into some bushes near Quincy Park and Washington-Lee High School last week, but the attacker quickly fled the scene. The crimes do not appear to be related.
Update at 5:20 p.m. — This article has been updated to reflect a CEB spokeswoman’s request that we no longer refer to the company as “Corporate Executive Board.”
A ten-foot-tall, 1,300 pound “moon” has been gracing the Rosslyn skyline for the past two weeks.
The moon, which is illuminated with 936 LED lights, can be seen hanging from a crane that’s part of the Central Place construction project on N. Lynn Street. It was first lit up on Sunday, Sept. 13.
The temporary public art project is the brainchild of Brian Coulter, Managing Partner of Central Place developer JBG.
“[Coulter] and JBG team members worked with Los Angeles-based Custom Prop Shop, which created the prototype design and fabricated it from steel and a fibrous resin in a nearly year-long process from idea to installation,” according to a press release. “The moon will be suspended from the rear span of a Miller and Long Co. crane during construction, for about a year.”
Construction on the Central Place project is continuing at a steady clip. The development consists of CEB Tower, a 350,000 square foot office tower at the corner of Lynn Street and Wilson Blvd; a public observation deck; a 17,000 square foot public plaza; 45,000 square feet of street-level retail space; and Central Place Residences, a 377-unit residential tower.
So far, the office tower — the future global headquarters of CEB, formerly known as Corporate Executive Board, a publicly-traded company that’s currently based down the street in Rosslyn — is still just a big hole in the ground. The steel-and-concrete frame of the residential tower, however, is now several stories high and seemingly getting taller by the week.
A spokeswoman for JBG said construction crews are currently pouring concrete on the 8th floor of the residential building and expect the “topping out” to take place by the second quarter of 2016. Completion of the building is scheduled for early 2017.
Crews are currently working on the garage levels of the office tower, the spokeswoman said. A topping out for the office tower — the point at which the top floor of the unfinished building is in place — is expected by the end of 2016. CEB is expected to move in at the beginning of 2018. The observation deck is also slated to open in early 2018.
‘No Drone Zone’ Reminder for Pope’s Visit — Pope Francis begins his three-day visit to D.C. this afternoon. The Arlington County Police Department and the FAA are reminding residents and visitors that the airspace around the District, including Arlington, is a “no drone zone.” [Twitter, FAA]
Widening of I-66 Inevitable, Says VDOT Chief — Widening I-66 to three lanes between the Dulles Connector Road and Ballston is an inevitability, says Virginia Transportation Sec. Aubrey Layne. However, VDOT will exhaust every alternative before moving forward with expansion, Layne said. [WTOP]
Celeb Posts Pic from Arts Center Installation — A giant dart on the front lawn of the Arlington Arts Center in Virginia Square is gaining some fame. Comedian Nick Swardson over the weekend posted on Instagram a photo of a woman jokingly posing as if the dart had hit her in the rear end. He was apparently unaware that the woman was DC’s 107.3 FM personality Sarah Fraser. The dart is part of a well-reviewed installation at AAC called “Play.” [Sarah Fraser]
Prescription Drug Take-Back Day — Arlington County will participating in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day this coming Saturday. The police department will be accepting anonymous returns of pills and patches at fire stations 2, 8 and 9 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. [Arlington County]
New Office Lease in Rosslyn — Tax services Ryan, LLC has signed a lease for the 21st floor of the Rosslyn Twin Towers building. The towers at 1000 and 1100 Wilson Blvd are also home to Raytheon, SRI International, Sands Capital, Strategy&, Politico, WJLA and the Washington Free Beacon. [GlobeSt]
Pope Prayer Protest at DCA — Airport workers and a local pastor will hold a “worker pray-in” at Reagan National Airport this afternoon, in advance of the pope’s visit to D.C. Workers are seeking “a living wage, improved training and adequate resources.” [SEIU 32BJ]
Flickr pool photo by Edobson22207
The Arlington County Police Department is planning a some road closures for the Rosslyn Backyard Beer Festival on Saturday.
The event is being held at Rosslyn’s Gateway Park in two sessions, one from 1-4 p.m. and the other from 7-10 p.m. Organized in part by Project DC Events, best known for their Clarendon bar crawls, the festival will feature more than 60 craft brews and live music.
More than 30 breweries are expected to participate, including Flying Dog from Frederick, Maryland, Old Ox Brewery from Ashburn and D.C. breweries Atlas Brew Works and DC Brau. Tickets are now $35-45.
To help accommodate the large crowds expected for the event, police will be flocking off the southbound lanes of N. Fort Myer Drive for most of the day, directing traffic coming into Rosslyn via the Key Bridge to a detour that runs up Lee Highway.
In a press release, the police department warned of the following traffic impacts:
- “Southbound lanes of N. Fort Myer Drive between east and westbound Lee Highway will be closed from 10:00 a.m. to [midnight]. Detour signs will be posted.”
- “Heavy pedestrian traffic is anticipated between the hours of 12:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m., be prepared for delays.”
- “DETOUR (coming from Key Bridge on N. Fort Myer Drive) around the event will be directed west on Lee Highway, then south on Scott Street, followed by Veitch Street.”
- “Street parking in the area may be restricted. Motorists should be on the lookout for temporary ‘No Parking’ signs. Illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed or towed. If your vehicle is towed from a public street, call 703-558-2222.”
(Updated at 1:20 p.m.) Starbucks will be opening a new cafe in Rosslyn this fall, with the opening of the new TargetExpress store.
The coffee shop will be located inside the store, at 1500 Wilson Blvd, which is expected to open next month. A quick peek inside the glass doors yesterday revealed that much of the familiar Target interior is already complete, with workers continuing to work on fixtures like security cameras.
Curiously, this will be the third Starbucks location within a one block radius. Shoppers sipping their latte from the store will be able to look out the big glass windows and see two Starbucks across the street, one inside the Safeway (1501 17th Street N.) and the other freestanding (1525 Wilson Blvd).
A fourth Rosslyn Starbucks is down the hill on N. Lynn Street, about a quarter mile away.
Such dense placement of Starbucks stores is not unprecedented, and Arlington is noted for its love of Starbucks, but it does seem a bit excessive even for Manhattan on the Potomac. The Columbia Pike corridor, for instance, only just got its first Starbucks.
“As a standard course of business, Starbucks continually evaluates our store portfolio, using various criteria to ensure we are meeting the needs of our customers,” a Starbucks spokeswoman told ARLnow.com.
To help celebrate Mexican Independence Day and its own 15 year anniversary, Guajillo in Rosslyn will be giving customers the chance to scarf down a burrito the size of a small newborn baby.
The Mexican restaurant in the Colonial Village Shopping Center (1727 Wilson Blvd) will hold its annual burrito eating contest this coming Saturday, Sept. 19, at 4 p.m. Up to six contestants will attempt to eat a 16-inch, seven-pound burrito called El Cachudo for a chance to win a future dinner for two, said Guajillo spokeswoman Joahna Hernandez.
“El Cachudo is a 16-inch long burrito made with flour tortilla, filled with Mexican rice, refried pinto beans, Oaxaca cheese, pork carnitas, shredded beef, shredded chicken, lightly battered tilapia and most importantly, voodoo salsa made with a blend of fresh habaneros and garlic. It is served with pico de gallo and sour cream on the side,” Hernandez said.
The current record to beat is 20 minutes, which was set by an 18-year-old named Ian, she said. Guajillo co-owner Rolando Juarez started the contest in 2009 and named the burrito El Cachudo, which is a slang word for devil in Spanish, Hernandez said.
In addition to its large size, El Cachudo also has a spicy kick due to the homemade voodoo habanero salsa.
“As for the spicy level, you only need to pour a few drops [of the salsa] on a taco to give it a spicy kick; a little goes a long way!” Hernandez said in an email. “As you may know, an habanero chiles are even hotter than thai peppers and serranos.”
Anyone brave enough to sign up for the burrito eating contest can call 703-807-0840 or email [email protected] for more information.
Guajillo will also be holding specials starting today through Sept. 19 in honor of the Mexican holiday and its anniversary. The restaurant will serve $15 El Taconayo, a build-your-own taco meal, $15 tequila and Mezcal flights and $4 Coronas and Pacificos today. On Saturday, the restaurant will serve brunch starting at 11:30 a.m. with $5 spicy margaritas, according to a press release.
The full press release, after the jump.
(Updated at 6:15 p.m.) A D.C. based shawarma and falafel chain has opened up a new restaurant in Rosslyn.
Shawafel, which opened at 1919 Wilson Blvd on Monday, Sept. 7, is bringing an “Americanized” twist to traditional Lebanese cuisine, said co-owner Ali Amarlooi.
The new Rosslyn location is the third Shawafel location — there is one at Nationals Park and on H Street in northeast D.C. — but it will serve as the flagship as Shawafel becomes a franchise, Amarlooi said.
The new restaurant can currently sit 30 people, but will have a few more seats once their countertop seating opens, he said. Shawafel is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday.
“It is a fun place. We play good music and everyone seems to have fun working here,” he said.
Shawafel is named after one of the restaurant’s popular sandwiches, the Shawafel, which is chicken or meat shawarma, falafel, tomatoes, pickles, lettuce, parsley and tahini, he said. The restaurant also offers a variety of meat, chicken and vegetarian sandwiches, as well as flatbreads, salads, hummus and platters.
“We have a very good vegetarian menu,” Amarlooi said.
For those new to Lebanese cuisine, Amarlooi recommends trying the Shawafel, the meat shawarma sandwich and shish Taouk sandwich, which is a “chunks of grilled chicken.” New customers should also try the cauliflower, falafel and Batinjan, crispy eggplant, sandwiches, as well as the hummus, cauliflower, Tabouleh salad and baba ghanouj, which is an eggplant dish, he said.
“Our meat shawarma is a combination of meat and lamb,” Amarlooi said. “It’s extremely juicy.”
The shawarma is cooked on large roasting sticks behind the checkout counter at the restaurant. It takes about 30-45 minutes to cook the meat and about five minutes to make and sandwich, he said.
Amarlooi and co-owner Alberto Sissi decided to open the restaurant in Rosslyn because of a sizable Middle Eastern population in Arlington, Amarlooi said.
“It fits our food because we’re trying to come as an Americanized version the Lebanese cuisine,” he said.
Multiple roads will be closed in Arlington this weekend due to a 9/11 memorial race, a triathlon and festivals.
The 14th annual Arlington Police, Fire and Sheriff 9/11 Memorial 5K Race on Saturday will shut down some streets around the Pentagon.
The race takes runners around the Pentagon, starting from the DoubleTree Hotel in Pentagon City (300 Army Navy Drive) down Army Navy Drive, around Columbia Pike and on Route 110 back to the DoubleTree.
Online registration is closed, but the race is holding in-person registration for $50 on Sept. 10 and 11 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the plaza next to Arlington Police headquarters (1425 N. Courthouse Road). On race day, Sept. 12, runners can sign up from noon to 5 p.m. at the DoubleTree. All participants get a commemorative shirt and post-race refreshments at the DoubleTree.
For the race, both directions of Army Navy Drive between 12th Street S. and S. Eads Street will be closed from about 3-8 p.m.
The following roads are also closed between 5:45-6:30 p.m.:
- Westbound Army Navy Drive between S. Eads Street to S. Joyce Street
- S. Joyce Street from Army Navy Drive to Columbia Pike
- Columbia Pike from Pentagon South Parking to S. Joyce Street
- The northbound I-395 HOV exit to S. Eads Street
All roads that cross Army Navy Drive will be closed for approximately 20 minutes.
The following roads will be closed between 5:45-8 p.m.:
- Westbound Washington Blvd from Memorial Bridge to I-395
- Southbound Jefferson Davis Highway from Rosslyn to 15th Street S.
- Marshall Drive at Jefferson Davis Highway
- S. Eads Street from Army Navy Drive to 11th Street S.
Street parking will also be limited in Crystal City during the race.
In addition to the 9/11 Memorial 5K, there are two festivals shutting down roads on Saturday. The Prio Bangla Street Festival in South Arlington will close 9th Street S. from Walter Reed Drive to S. Highlands Street from 8 a.m. to midnight.
The Rosslyn Jazz Festival in Gateway Park (1300 Lee Highway) will close southbound N. Fort Myer Drive between east and westbound Lee Highway from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. There will be detours from on westbound Lee Highway and south on N. Scott and N. Veitch Streets for cars coming from Key Bridge. Heavy pedestrian traffic is expected between 2-10 p.m., according to ACPD.
On Sunday, roads in Pentagon City will be closed again, this time for the Nation’s Triathlon. The I-395 HOV lanes from the 14th Street Bridge in D.C. to the HOV overpass at S. Fern Street will be closed from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. to allow triathletes to complete the bike leg of the race.
(Updated Sept. 1 at 5:45 p.m.) The Rosslyn Business Improvement District and Arlington County have turned an unused fountain at Gateway Park into a new sandbox.
The sandbox will officially open on Sept. 12 during the Rosslyn Jazz Festival, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 1:30 p.m. There will also be kids activities, including face painting and sidewalk chalk drawing.
Located on the western edge of the park, by Lee Highway, the sandbox features the work of local artists Evelyn Powers and Patrick Kirwin, who have painted the edges of the sandbox with flowers, insects and other critters. The artists will also paint stone bunnies, turtles, frogs and other creatures that will be placed around the sandbox, according to a press release.
The former fountain now has a main sand area reachable by stairs, surrounded by a sand-filled moat.
“Once an unmemorable part of the park, we hope it will become a place where children and their caregivers can go to relax and have fun,” the Rosslyn BID said in a statement.