‘Meeting Bowls’ Coming to Courthouse — A new, temporary public art installation is coming to Courthouse. Workers will be building 5-foot high “meeting bowls,” designed by the Spanish art collective “mmmm….,” and featuring an 8-foot long circular bench inside. The bowls, which are meant to be used by passersby, are expected to be completed by Monday, July 17 and will remain in place until November. [Washingtonian]
Pentagon City Residents Peeved by Shopping Carts — Legions of stray shopping carts are getting on the nerves of Pentagon City residents, NBC 4’s Julie Carey reported during a news broadcast last night. [NBC Washington, Twitter]
Scholarships Awarded to Wakefield Students — “The Wakefield High School Education Foundation recently awarded 27 scholarships totaling $201,000, bringing the total number of scholarships presented over the history of the foundation to 400 and the total dollar amount of scholarships and teacher grants to more than $2.25 million.” [InsideNova]
Local Author Pens New Thriller — Arlington resident Bill Schweigart, author of the Beast of Barcroft, a supernatural thriller set in Arlington, has penned another book of local interest: The Devil’s Colony, which features a fictional Arlington resident as its main character. [Penguin Random House]
Nearby: Montgomery Co. Consider Plane Noise Suit — Montgomery County, Maryland has hired a law firm to explore legal action against the Federal Aviation Administration in response to new flight paths that have produced a dramatic increase in aircraft noise complaints. The flight paths were implemented in 2015 as part of the FAA’s NextGen system and have prompted some complaints in Arlington and D.C. as well. [Bethesda Beat]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
The tax holiday — which runs from early Friday morning to 11:59 p.m. Sunday — is aimed at helping families doing back to school shopping along with encouraging Virginians to prepare for the hurricane season.
Online purchases of qualifying items are also tax-exempt as long as orders are placed and paid for during the tax holiday and the items are available for immediate shipment.
“This sales tax holiday will make items that help families prepare for the school year or for a potential emergency more affordable,” said Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, in a statement. “It is my hope that shoppers will use this time to get their children the items they need to succeed in school, as well as stock up on the essentials that may come in handy during a hurricane or other emergency where electricity or clean water may be unavailable for an extended period of time.”
Tax exempt items include:
- Most school and office supplies, such as pens, loose-leaf paper, scissors, binders, backpacks, and construction paper, priced at $20 or less.
- Clothing and footwear, priced at $100 or less per item or pair.
- Batteries, flashlights, bottled water, tarps, duct tape, fire extinguishers, cell-phone chargers, smoke detectors, buckets, rope, and first aid kits, priced at $60 or less.
- Gas-powered chainsaws, priced at $350 or less, and chainsaw accessories, priced at $60 or less.
- Portable generators, priced at $1,000 or less.
- Energy Star-labeled dishwashers, washing machines, air conditioners, ceiling fans, light bulbs, dehumidifiers, and refrigerators, priced at $2,500 or less.
- WaterSense-labeled sink faucets, faucet accessories, aerators, shower heads, toilets, urinals, and landscape irrigation controllers, priced at $2,500 or less.
Power Restored at Market Common — Power is back on at the Market Common Clarendon shopping center, following last Tuesday’s transformer explosion and fire. The electricity is being supplied by mobile generators over the next two weeks, before the shopping center can be reconnected to Dominion’s power grid. [Facebook]
Fire at River Place — A fire broke out in the kitchen of one of the units at the River Place residential complex in Rosslyn Saturday afternoon. The fire charred the walls of the kitchen. Smoke spread to several floors of the building. [Twitter]
Some Inconvenienced By Latest Metro Surge — The second phase of Metro’s maintenance surge is entering its second full week and riders have mostly adjusted to the latest round of station closures and service changes — but some are feeling the effects more than others. The current phase of “SafeTrack” work will run through July 3. [WJLA]
AFAC Seeks Fresh Food Donations — The Arlington Food Assistance Center is asking gardeners to donate fresh produce to help feed families in need in Arlington County. [InsideNova]
(Updated at 6:20 p.m.) The effects of Tuesday’s major electrical fire at Market Common Clarendon (2800 Clarendon Blvd) are still being felt.
Large, noisy mobile generators are now providing power to the shopping center and its attached apartment complex, Avalon Clarendon. Nonetheless, some stores remain closed and the apartment building was still without air conditioning, hot water and elevator service.
Building management sent the following email to residents Wednesday evening.
We would like to provide the latest update on the power situation. We regret to inform that A/C, hot water and elevator service will not be restored today. Our team is making every effort for these services to be available tomorrow.
Comcast has notified us that phone, cable and internet has been restored in all three buildings. Verizon has yet to confirm a timeframe for their services.
The Whole Foods Market across the street also lost power after the transformer explosion and fire. Although the store reportedly brought in a freezer truck Wednesday, large quantities of meat, milk, cheese, juice and other perishables had to be thrown away.
Store employees were busy restocking throughout the day on Thursday.
— J. F. (@vtmathteacher) June 22, 2016
Due to Clarendon Power Outage, our store will remain closed on Thursday. Watch this space for updates.
— Clarendon B&N (@BNClarendon) June 22, 2016
Update at 5:15 p.m. — Residents of the Avalon Clarendon apartments at Market Common Clarendon are being told they should consider booking a hotel room, as power for two of the three buildings is not expected to be restored until Wednesday. Management sent the following email to residents Tuesday evening.
While we are still awaiting additional details from Dominion Virginia Power on the full repairs, please know that we are actively working on a temporary solution. Our third party contractor is currently making every effort to get temporary power to the East and West buildings. They are working to get generators here tonight; however the connection process will take into tomorrow to complete. Please note that temporary power does not include elevators, hot water or A/C.
We recommend each resident to make the best decision for their own comfortability as far as staying in your home or searching for a hotel. While many hotels are booked, we have found 3 that may still have availability.
Hilton Arlington 703-538-6000
Hilton Garden Inn DC 202-783-7800
Hilton Garden Inn Shirlington 703-820-0440
We will have associates monitoring the stairwells and doors throughout the evening, available to escort residents up the stairs to their apartments, as well as our Concierge on duty at the Front Desk.
We will send additional updates as we receive them. Thank you for your patience and understanding while we work through this.
Avalon Clarendon Team
2800 ClarendonBlvd. | Arlington, VA 22201
Update at 10:50 a.m. — The fire is contained, ACFD says. A number of road closures remain in the Clarendon area due to the emergency response and power outage.
Update at 10:20 a.m. — The fire is out and was contained to an electrical vault, according to Arlington County Fire Dept. spokesman Capt. Gregg Karl. No injuries have been reported. Power is being restored to parts of Clarendon (it was just restored to Le Pain Quotidien, pictured above, two blocks away) but the shopping center is expected to remain without power for an extended period of time.
Update at 10 a.m. — The smoke has largely dissipated as foam continues to be used to extinguish the flames. Another tanker unit is en route from Dulles International Airport, according to scanner traffic. According to Dominion, 933 customers in the area are currently without power.
Update at 9:40 a.m. — A foam tanker truck from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority fire department is attempting to extinguish the flames. Power is out to much of the Clarendon area.
Firefighters are battling a large fire at the Market Common Clarendon shopping center at 2800 Clarendon Blvd.
A “large electrical transformer has exploded and is on fire in the basement,” according to the Arlington firefighters union Twitter account. A second alarm has been sounded as the fire has grown.
A large, multi-jurisdiction fire response is on scene. Thick black smoke can be seen rising from the shopping center from miles around.
Stores at the shopping center include Crate and Barrel, Barnes and Noble and an Apple Store that’s currently closed for renovations.
And more foam pic.twitter.com/8z9hVz0ai2
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) June 21, 2016
Airport's crash truck putting purple K on the fire. pic.twitter.com/nVzPjaRSPe
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) June 21, 2016
Video of what units are dealing with on scene of the transformer fire. pic.twitter.com/qXI3YozGfg
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) June 21, 2016
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) June 21, 2016
County Board Primary Voting Today — Arlington residents are heading to the polls today to vote in the Democratic County Board primary, choosing between incumbent Libby Garvey and challenger Erik Gutshall. Polls close at 7 p.m. [Arlington County]
More Security at Local Gay Bar — Freddie’s Beach Bar in Crystal City has tightened its security, banned backpacks and is now searching purses in the wake of the mass shooting at a gay club in Orlando. [NBC Washington]
Art Therapy Group Shutting Down — The 296 Project, which provided art therapy for veterans with PTSD, is closing down. On June 25, the group will be hosting a big art supply giveaway at its Crystal City studio. [Facebook]
Local Jewelry and Fashion List — Washingtonian Magazine has released a list of what it says are “the best places to shop in Arlington for local art, custom jewelry, and discounted designer fashion.” [Washingtonian]
Starting Friday, visitors to the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City will be able to use the mall’s new valet parking service.
“A valet service has been something we’ve wanted to implement for many years now,” said Todd Jerscheid, the mall’a director of marketing and business development. “As we prepare for the renovation completion later this summer, we couldn’t think of a better time to launch the program. We know this will be a huge hit for our shoppers, especially around the busy holiday season and as they begin to really experience all of our new features and services!”
The service will cost five dollars on top of the garage’s usual parking rate and it will be available from 10 a.m.-midnight from Friday to Saturday and from 11 a.m.-9 p.m on Sunday.
The Fashion Centre, which is starting to wrap up an expansion project, will hold a launch event on Friday. The first 50 customers to use the service will receive complimentary “swag bags” and two randomly selected shoppers will also win a $150 Simon gift card. Valet shoppers will also receive special promotions throughout the month of June.
A long-vacant Cherrydale strip mall storefront, once slated to become a gun store, has been brought to life as a pop-up vintage gift shop.
NOVA Firearms cancelled its lease and its plans to add a location at 2105 N. Pollard Street this summer, following an uproar that pitted concerned residents against both local and national gun enthusiasts.
This holiday season, however, what was once an ideological battleground is now a temporary shop.
POP Vintage opened this past Friday as a vintage shop, featuring collected, donated, estate sale and consigned items, ranging in price from $2 to $20,000. It will be open every day from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. now until Christmas Eve.
“This is a place where people can sell, barter and trade their items openly and safely, they just have to do it by Christmas,” owner Olympia Hantzopoulos said.
The store is the Rosslyn resident’s first time operating a pop-up. It’s also her first time dealing with a space with such a heated history.
Hantzopoulos said she doesn’t go a day without hearing about what the store could’ve been.
“It was such a difficult issue for both sides,” she said. “Just this Saturday two women got in an argument in the store, which was full of customers, disagreeing over whether this space should be a gun store or not.”
Despite some leftover bitterness from the gun store debate, it hasn’t stopped customers from shopping. Hantzopoulos said her first weekend open was quite busy and the experience has been a positive one so far.
“I’m overwhelmed by the community support,” she said. “I think being here and having something here is doing a lot of good for the neighborhood.”
This also isn’t Hantzopoulos’ first time working with vintage and collectible items. She also owns Miracles in the City, a hair salon in Rosslyn that’s been open for nearly 20 years. The salon also has a small boutique where Hantzopoulos sells vintage jewelry, and all profits from jewelry sales are donated to charity.
She’s adopted the same charitable model for POP Vintage — any proceeds taken in beyond what’s needed to pay the lease will be donated to charities that support women and children in the United States and around the world.
One organization Hantzopoulos plans to support sends donations to an orphanage in Afghanistan, and another provides school supplies for local students. Hantzopoulos said helping in any way she can has always been a priority.
“Thinking about the reality of how little some people have just makes me miserable,” she said. “But you can’t dwell on that, you have to just do what you can do and trust it’s helping.”
From jewelry, to paintings by D.C. artists, to chandeliers, to one-of-a-kind rugs handmade in the Middle East, to tea sets and much more, Hantzopoulos has collected enough items to offer a little bit of everything for holiday shoppers. She knows where they came from, who they belonged to and why, in her opinion, they’re valuable.
“That’s the thing about vintage,” she said. “Everything has a story. It just so happens this space does, too.”
In actuality, the Saturday before Christmas is usually the biggest shopping day of the year. And with Cyber Monday and e-commerce encouraging online shopping, and Small Business Saturday encouraging shoppers to support local businesses, Black Friday may be losing its luster.
We wanted to check with those who are actually heading out to the malls and shopping centers today: how big are the crowds?
Alternatively, if you had to head into work today instead of shopping — like us — there’s an option for you.
There are only a couple of days left to finalize Black Friday shopping plans, so it’s time to take stock of what’s open and when.
The biggest mall in Arlington, the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, has announced its holiday hours and specials for holiday shoppers. The mall’s hours for this weekend are:
- Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26 — 6 p.m. – Midnight
- Black Friday, Nov. 27 — 6 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.
- Saturday, Nov. 28 — 9 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.
- Sunday, Nov. 29 — 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
On Friday, the first 100 shoppers who check in at Guest Services at the mall will receive a “Holiday Shopping Survival Kit.” The kit will include water, mints, snacks and store promotions.
Additional sales, deals and promotions will continue to be posted on the mall’s Facebook page.
The eighth annual Wags N’ Whiskers event will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will feature more than 60 exhibitions, ranging from pet supplies to onsite adoptions.
In addition to shopping for food, treats, toys and other pet goods, owners can get their pets’ portrait taken for $5. There will also be strolling entertainment and kids activities, including face painting and balloon art. Visitors are encouraged to bring their pets with them.
The Arlington County Police Department will close Campbell Avenue and S. Randolph Street from 5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. for the event. Campbell Avenue will be closed from S. Quincy Street to the parking garage in front of the Harris Teeter (4250 Campbell Avenue). S. Randolph Street will be closed from Arlington Mill Drive to the alley just south of Campbell Avenue. Street parking will also be limited.
Virginians are getting a break from the sales tax this weekend courtesy of Virginia’s General Assembly, which combined three existing sales tax holidays into one longer Tax-Free Weekend this year, according to the Virginia Department of Taxation.
According to the department, items exempt from the sales tax this weekend include school supplies, clothing and footwear, emergency preparedness items and some energy-efficient home appliances with either the Energy Star or WaterSense label.
Included in the list of exemptions are back-to-school staples like backpacks, calculators, flash drives and composition notebooks, as well as a variety of sports and recreational equipment.
For items that do not qualify for the sales tax exemption, store owners may still offer them as tax-free by choosing to have the store absorb the cost of the sales tax on behalf of the consumer.
Photo via pixabay.com
Williamsburg Zumba Studio Featured on ‘GMA’ — FITLoose Health and Fitness in the Williamsburg neighborhood was featured on ABC’s Good Morning America. The segment highlighted the studio’s Zumbini classes — a variation of Zumba for children 0-3 years old and their parents. [Yahoo! News]
Hybrid Tax Repeal Passes — Legislation to repeal Virginia’s $64 annual tax on hybrid vehicles has passed both houses of the General Assembly. Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) says he will sign the bill, which was introduced in the state Senate by Sen. Adam Ebbin (D). [Virginian-Pilot]
Herring Announces Run for Moran’s Seat — Virginia Democratic Party Chair Charneile Herring is stepping down to run for the Congressional seat of the retiring Rep. Jim Moran (D). Herring, who has represented Alexandria in the House of Delegates, is considered a party “rising star,” and was Virginia’s first African-American Democratic party chair. [NBC Washington]
Arlington’s Shopping Scene Profiled — “Shopping in Arlington is always a bit of an adventure,” writes the Washington Post’s Jura Koncius. “As you dodge auto body shops, towering corporate headquarters, tanning parlors and trendy eateries, you’ll discover stores that stock just about everything you need for your home. But you might find yourself lost in the process. Hop over a bridge from the city and you’ll roll through slick shopping centers punctuated by shops nestled in funky farmhouses that represent the disappearing Arlington of old.” [Washington Post]
Eads Street Was a Former Canal — Crystal City residents might not realize it, but most of S. Eads Street, a main thoroughfare, used to be a canal. The street was built above the old Alexandria Canal, which connected Alexandria to Georgetown by way of an aqueduct bridge.
The top 8 retail centers in Arlington, including the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City and Ballston Common Mall, alone house 644 stores. Arlington retailers recorded a total of $3.27 billion worth of taxable sales in 2012.
The holidays are obviously a crucial time for retailers, providing on outsized portion of annual sales and profit. But with retail sales growth sluggish compared to the growth in online sales, and with the large regional malls in Tysons Corner and outlet stores elsewhere continuing to lure shoppers, the holidays could be a struggle for some local stores.
Rosslyn Holiday Market Open Today — The Rosslyn Business Improvement District will be hosting a “pop-up” holiday market today from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. at 1500 Wilson Blvd. The market will feature boutique shopping, gift wrapping as well as snacks, sweets, cigar and spirits tasting and massages. Disclosure: As you can tell by the temporary site background, this event is being advertised on ARLnow.com.
New ‘Aerial Yoga’ Studio Opens — Spark Yoga, an “aerial yoga” studio, has opened at 2201 N. Pershing Drive in Lyon Park. [Washingtonian]
Woman, Friends Arrested in Towing Dispute — Updated at 9:20 a.m. — A woman and her two friends were arrested Tuesday night after a dispute over towing. The woman tried to block her car from being towed from a parking lot and called police. When police arrived, the officer tried to remove her from her vehicle, and she allegedly fought back. Police say her friends also physically confronted the officer. The woman and one friend were charged with obstruction of justice and the the other friend was charged with assault and battery of a policy officer. [Patch]
Flickr pool photo by Christaki