Arlington County Board member Katie Cristol is stepping down early to take a new job.
Cristol has been selected as the first permanent CEO of the Tysons Community Alliance (TCA), the organization announced this morning. TCA is the successor to the former Tysons Partnership, intended to spur the continued residential and economic growth of the Fairfax County community.
Cristol, who had previously announced that she would not be seeking reelection this year, will be stepping down on July 4 in order to take the new job, the county just announced. A new Board member will be appointed after she leaves.
Though she’ll be working to boost one of Arlington’s primary economic development competitors, Cristol says she’ll remain an Arlington resident.
From a county press release:
Board member Katie Cristol has announced that she will be stepping down from her role on the Arlington County Board, effective July 4, 2023.
“Though arriving a little sooner than anticipated, this transition is every bit the same opportunity to share my deep gratitude to the Arlington community: For the privilege to represent you and for the partnership in achieving new policies, directions, and plans for our shared future,” Cristol said. “In my nearly seven and a half years in office, I have developed an immense appreciation for the dedication of Arlington’s appointed and elected officials and its civic, neighborhood, philanthropic, and private sector leaders. Though I will miss our collaborative partnerships, I feel great optimism about the County’s future under their stewardship.”
Board member Cristol was elected to the County Board in November 2015 and served as the Board’s chair in 2018 and 2022. During that time, she led in advancing human services and sustainable regional public transit networks through partnerships such as Arlington’s Project PEACE, the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, the Virginia Railway Express Operations Board, and the Virginia Municipal League. Cristol is ending her tenure early to become the Chief Executive Officer of Tysons Community Alliance, a new non-profit public-private partnership promoting equitable economic growth and community development in the Tysons area.
“My colleagues join me in thanking Katie Cristol for her tireless service and expert leadership as a Member of the County Board.” Chair Christian Dorsey said. “She has been a trusted colleague and a distinguished leader on regional bodies representing Arlington. Her contributions to our collective efforts to increase opportunities for all Arlingtonians to thrive, while dismantling and reforming systems that cause them harm, have been profound and will have a lasting impact on our community. We will miss her over the last half of this year, yet we wish her well in her upcoming leadership opportunity and are grateful for her service on behalf of us all.”
Cristol adds that, as she transitions from the County Board, “I am looking forward to continuing to serve our dynamic Northern Virginia region in my new role and to maintaining the title most important to me: Arlington resident.”
Pursuant to Virginia Code 15.2-705, the Arlington County Board must fill Board member Cristol’s vacancy by appointment within 30 days of her departure date of July 4. The Board will hold a public hearing to appoint a new member who will serve the remainder of Cristol’s term, which ends on December 31, 2023.
Cristol is in her second term on the Board, after first being elected in 2015. She previously worked as an education consultant.
In a statement released on social media, Cristol called her early departure from the Board “more than a little bittersweet.”
— Katie Cristol (@kcristol) May 2, 2023
The Tysons Community Alliance press release is below.
Tis the season for peppermint mochas and Santa photos.
The 2022 Starbucks offerings include Peppermint Mocha, Caramel Brulée Latte, Chestnut Praline Latte, Toasted White Chocolate Mocha, Irish Cream Cold Brew and Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte, in addition to bakery items like Reindeer Cake Pop, Sugar Plum Cheese Danish, Cranberry Bliss Bar and Snowman Cookie.
Meanwhile, Santa Claus is coming to town — sooner than you might expect.
Santa is set to start snapping photos with children at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City on Friday, Nov. 18, according to the mall’s website. Santa will be stationed on the first level of the mall near Nordstrom.
In addition to the daily photo ops, a special “Caring Santa” session for children with special needs is scheduled for Dec. 4 and pet photos with Santa is set for Dec. 11. Santa will also be hosting two breakfasts with kids at the adjacent Ritz-Carlton hotel on Dec. 3 and 17.
Reservations for the Pentagon City mall photo sessions can be made online.
Jolly Ol’ St. Nick will be arriving at the Ballston Quarter mall a bit later than his Pentagon City counterpart. Ballston’s Santa is set to start taking photos with kids on Dec. 3 and reservations can also be made online.
If you’re really jonesing for Father Christmas, there’s an even earlier option than the two in Arlington. Tysons Corner Center mall announced yesterday that Santa will be returning there next week, on Friday, Nov. 11.
Once you pick up your seasonal Starbucks tomorrow, to get in the holiday spirit — despite this week’s relatively warm weather — you might head over to the Westpost (formerly Pentagon Row) ice skating rink. The rink officially opened to the public yesterday. As of early this afternoon, no skaters could be seen on the ice.
The fall beers on store shelves are not the only sign heralding the imminent arrival of spooky season.
A Spirit Halloween store opened in Bailey’s Crossroads last week, the first of the seasonal chain’s stores to open within a relatively short drive of Arlington.
With it feeling a bit more like early fall outside, with most of you likely suffering summer fatigue after the recent heat wave, and with pumpkin spice season kicking off next week at Dunkin’ and elsewhere, we thought it might be a good time to list some of the Halloween stores near Arlington.
There may be others we’re missing here — if so, please list them in the comments.
Spirit Halloween (5800 Crossroads Center Way, Bailey’s Crossroads)
The shelves might not yet be fully stocked, but it’s already Halloween in the former A.C. Moore space next to Old Navy.
Party City (5522 Leesburg Pike, Bailey’s Crossroads)
Unlike the somewhat disconcerting temporary Spirit Halloween locations inhabiting the dessicated husks of dead stores — which, come to think of it, seems on-brand — Party City is open year-round, hawking various party supplies, before stocking up for Halloween.
Opening soon (as of Aug. 12)
Spirit Halloween (3536 S. Jefferson Street, Bailey’s Crossroads)
Are you sensing a theme here? Bailey’s Crossroads seems to be the hub of big-box Halloween retail for Northern Virginia’s inner suburbs. This location is a short walk away from the aforementioned Party City and a mile away from the currently-open Spirit Halloween. Speaking of short walks, the store is a brisk 10 minute walk from Arlington’s Wakefield High School. For what it’s worth.
Spirit Halloween (7950 Tysons Corner Center, Tysons)
For those in the far northern reaches of Arlington and those taking Metro, this is your Spirit Halloween store of choice. Now, if you’re wondering why we’re filling the text here with random factoids, it’s because we realized too late that no one tried to call Spirit Halloween HQ (in beautiful-ish Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey) and ask when the actual opening date of these two locations will be. But don’t worry, we saved the best random factoid for last. The former Lord & Taylor store that this Spirit Halloween location is temporarily occupying is… wait for it… haunted. Specifically, paranormal activity was reported around the ladies restroom over the years, our sister site FFXnow reported. Plus, after Lord & Taylor closed in 2020, the vast retail space served as a mass vaccination site. Now if that isn’t a recipe for a successful and legitimately creepy Halloween store, who knows what is.
Happy two-and-a-half-months until Halloween!
Arlington’s Biggest House Numbers? — “In the early days of the pandemic, I went on a quixotic quest to walk every one of the 1,114 blocks in my Arlington, Virginia, ZIP code, cataloging the styles of the address numbers on every house along the way… I have kept an eye on the house numbers in Arlington ever since, and imagine my joy this spring when suddenly, on a street I biked down every week, a new set of enormous house numbers appeared.” [Slate, Twitter]
Stepped Up DUI Patrols Begin Today — “This Labor Day, the Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) is participating in the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over impaired driving awareness campaign, which runs from August 18th through September 6th, 2021. This campaign aims to drastically reduce drunk driving on our nation’s roadways through a two-pronged approach of education and enforcement.” [ACPD]
Fallen Pentagon Police Officer Laid to Rest — “A Brooklyn-born Pentagon cop who was stabbed to death while on duty in DC was hailed as a “warrior” and a hero at his funeral Monday… ‘He fought ’til the end,’ his NYPD sibling, Rodney Rubert, said during funeral services at St. Barbara Roman Catholic Church in Bushwick.” [New York Post]
Beyer Proposes Healthcare Provider Vax Mandate — “Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) today announced the introduction of the Protecting Vulnerable Patients Act, which would require healthcare providers who see Medicare or Medicaid patients to be vaccinated following final FDA approval of a COVID vaccine.” [Press Release]
Arlington Hotels Still Hurting — “Hotel-occupancy rates improved in June but, overall, the first half of the year remained a bust for the Arlington hospitality industry. The occupancy rate of 44.7 percent in June was better than the cumulative 34.4-percent rate recorded over the first six months of the year, according to new data from Smith Travel research and Arlington Economic Development. But that 34.4-percent rate was anemic even compared to the weak first six months of 2020, when it stood at 37.3 percent.” [Sun Gazette]
Arlington Office Vacancy Rate Rising — “The Arlington office-vacancy rate continues to go in the wrong direction, according to new second-quarter data. The overall office-vacancy rate countywide was 19.4 percent for the quarter, according to figures reported by CoStar and Arlington Economic Development. That’s up from 18.5 percent in the first quarter and 16.6 percent a year ago.” [Sun Gazette]
Local Nonprofit Eyes Tysons Development — “The Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing is adding another project to its new Fairfax County pipeline, pitching a development in Tysons that could become the neighborhood’s first apartment building made up entirely of committed affordable units. The nonprofit hopes to build up to 175 new apartments on about 2 acres on Spring Hill Road near the Silver Line station of the same name, converting car dealership parking lots that are part of the massive Dominion Square development site.” [Washington Business Journal]
Long-time Columbia Pike dance venue The Salsa Room is moving.
The Latin nightclub and bar at 2619 Columbia Pike will host its last party in Arlington on Saturday, March 7. It is moving to the current Palladium space at 1524 Spring Hill Road in Tysons.
The grand opening in Tysons is set for March 25, according to a social media post.
The loss of The Salsa Room will mean less nighttime activity along the Pike’s main business district. It is also the second major dancing and nightlife venue to close in Arlington following the recent closure of the Clarendon Ballroom.
“After 20+ years in Arlington, and countless, amazing memories, TSR would like to thank all of the artist, dancers, instructors, DJs and you for supporting us,” The Salsa Room said.
View this post on Instagram
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT.• WE’RE MOVING After 20+ years in Arlington, and countless, amazing memories, TSR would like to thank all of the artist, dancers, instructors, Djs and you for supporting us. We invite you to join us March 4-7 for the closing parties. Our new home will be in Tysons Corner. (1524 Spring Hill Rd McLean ,VA) Grand Opening Weekend & Get Your 2020 VIP Card Night March 25 -29. Tickets will go on sale Friday Feb. 21 www.tsrtickets.com Visit our social media for more details. @salsaroom 2619 Columbia Pike Arlington, VA #thesalsaroom #salsaroom #salsa #bachata#salsadancing #sensualbachata #zouk #bachatadancing#tsr #salsaclasses #bachataclass #bachatasensual #tsr #bachatademo #bachatadance #tsrinterviews #tsrangels @salsaroom
Image via Google Maps
Young adult fashion retailer Abercrombie & Fitch and watch shop Swatch are no longer open in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City.
A mall employee told ARLnow that both stores shuttered this week. The closures come amid a rash of retailers closing up shop, in part because of the rising popularity of e-commerce, dubbed by some as a “retail apocalypse.”
Earlier this year, jeans company True Religion also left the mall, an employee at a True Religion store in Maryland said. Greeting card and stationery store Papyrus, which is closing all of its stores, is currently holding its final sale at the Fashion Centre.
Hat tip to @calebfiles
Bezos Talks HQ2 — “[Amazon CEO Jeff] Bezos was pressed on why Amazon would seek to build its headquarters in a dense area like Arlington, given the potential disruptive impacts of the company’s army of new workers moving into the area. But he reiterated that he’s ‘glad it’s not in the suburbs,’ arguing that the new HQ’s location demonstrates Amazon’s commitment to environmental sustainability.” [Washington Business Journal]
No Plan to Change Lee Highway Name — “Speculation that the currently active Lee Highway Alliance has a name change as part of its planning for re-imagining that major road is unfounded, according to its vice president, Sandra Chesrown.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Pedestrian Tunnel to DCA? — “Plans are slowly coming together for a pedestrian connection linking Reagan National Airport to Crystal City, one of the crucial transportation improvements Arlington pitched when luring Amazon to the area… A crucial decision the county will need to make: whether the pedestrian connection will be a bridge or a tunnel.” [Washington Business Journal]
Solo Commuters on the Decline — “Compared with 2004, the number of [D.C. area] commuters driving alone is down; transit use is up. 58% drive alone — down 13 percentage points.” [WTOP]
Arlington Company Moving to Tysons — Woman-owned consulting firm eGlobalTech moved its headquarters to Tysons after outgrowing its Arlington office. [Tysons Reporter]
Reminder: PARK(ing) Day Today — PARK(ing) Day will transform 13 parking spaces around the county into pop-up parks today. [ARLnow]
GMU Arlington Building Renamed — “Founders Hall, one of two major academic buildings on George Mason University’s Arlington Campus, was officially renamed Van Metre Hall after Mason’s Board of Visitors approved the change at its Oct. 10 meeting. The board’s action recognizes the generosity of the Van Metre Companies, a major regional builder that donated 37 acres in Ashburn, Virginia, to the George Mason University Foundation.” [George Mason University]
Overturned Vehicle on Washington Blvd — Near the tail end of yesterday morning’s rush hour a vehicle flipped on its roof along Washington Blvd, between Route 50 and Clarendon. The westbound lanes of Washington Blvd were blocked for a period of time. One person suffered minor injuries. [Twitter]
County Ranks High for Resident Satisfaction — “According to Arlington’s recent Community Satisfaction Survey, 88 percent of residents surveyed are satisfied with the overall quality of County services, 38 percentage points above the national average… Arlington also rated significantly above the national average for overall quality of life — 86 percent compared with 75 percent.” [Arlington County]
Local Credit Union Merger — “Arlington Community Federal Credit Union (ACFCU) announced today the merger of ACFCU with the Queen of Peace Arlington Federal Credit Union (QPAFCU). The combined asset size is $325 million, with nearly 22,500 members.” The Queen of Peace Arlington FCU is located in a church in the northeast corner of the Nauck neighborhood, near the back entrance to Army Navy Country Club. [CUInsight]
Venture-Funded Company Moving to Rosslyn — “FELA, the financial education and literacy company, today announced its rebrand to LifeCents. The name LifeCents is also the company’s health and wellness app that inspires and empowers people to improve their financial health and well-being… The team will move to Rosslyn, VA, at the beginning of next year to accommodate its continued growth.” [BusinessWire via Potomac Tech Wire]
Arlington Has Nightlife Advantage Over Tysons — Despite worries about competition from Tysons among local economic development boosters, the Fairfax County community doesn’t yet have Arlington’s nighttime vibrancy. Said one Tysons bar owner: “A lot of people leave here. They’re done with their job at 6:30 or 7 p.m. and they go home. They don’t come back. If they want to go out, they go to Arlington.” [Tysons Reporter]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
The team behind ARLnow has a mission: to make local news more interesting, engaging and actionable for a new generation of digital-first news consumers in Arlington and in other dynamic, live-work communities.
In support of that mission, we’ve been getting ready to launch a new site for Tysons, McLean and Vienna later this month. But we’ve had a major setback and need to ask for your help to overcome it.
Last month we went to download a list of nearly 3,000 subscribers who had signed up via a Facebook ad that had been running since late spring. Our launch strategy was predicated on growing an initial subscriber base, primarily via a large investment in Facebook ads, and we had promised our advertisers that the site would launch with at least 3,000 subscribers.
To our dismay, only around 1,600 email addresses were included in the file we downloaded. Upon further research, we discovered that Facebook has a policy — not revealed when placing the ad — to only store subscriber email addresses for 90 days.
There were no notifications prior to almost half of our subscribers being purged and Facebook has refused to refund our money, restore the deleted email addresses or do anything, other than recommend that we submit a comment in a suggestion box for the ads product team. Even attempts to escalate the matter via Facebook’s local news outreach team were unsuccessful. A new ad campaign we tried to launch turned out to be prohibitively more expensive than the original.
So here we are, two weeks away from the launch of Tysons Reporter and there are 1,400 people who think they’ve subscribed to a new local news site but have no idea that they’ll never hear from us.
With the viability of Tysons Reporter and the future of our company on the line, we are now turning to our only hope to fix this mess: you.
Please, share this post on social media (yes, even on Facebook). Email people you know in Tysons, McLean and Vienna who might have subscribed. Tell Facebook to do a better job of serving its small business clients and supporting local news.
If you’ve signed up for Tysons Reporter via Facebook, please use the form below (or via this link) to re-subscribe. If you haven’t subscribed but want to, you can also use the form below.
Arlington Man Found Dead in Canal — Police have identified the man found floating dead in the C&O Canal in Georgetown as 51-year-old Arlington resident Osbaldo Lemus Bernal. So far, his death has not been deemed suspicious. [DCist, Patch]
Gutshall Steps Up Campaign Against Garvey — Planning Commission member and County Board hopeful Erik Gutshall is stepping up the rhetoric against his Democratic primary opponent, County Board member Libby Garvey. Gutshall, in an email, called Garvey a “failed… career politician.” At an event last night he blasted her tenure on the School Board — saying she did not do enough to address the school system’s capacity crisis — and her alleged lack of effort in addressing transit issues along Columbia Pike, following the cancellation of the streetcar project. [InsideNova, Blue Virginia]
Gutshall Wins Straw Poll Landslide — Those attending Del. Alfonso Lopez’s (D) second annual straw poll event on Columbia Pike last night favored Erik Gutshall over Libby Garvey in a landslide. One could argue that the event was attended by a select group of Democrats pre-disposed to oppose Garvey, but Gutshall captured 88 percent of the vote to Garvey’s 12 percent. The straw poll also asked attendees about the School Board race (Nancy Van Doren – 46%, Tannia Talento – 35%, Michael Shea – 11%, Chaz Crismon – 7%) and the Democratic presidential nomination (Hillary Clinton – 77%, Bernie Sanders – 23%).
Registration Open for Rosslyn Social Event — Registration is now open for City Social, Rosslyn’s annual meeting. The event, on May 11, is open to residents and will be attended by a number of Rosslyn movers and shakers. In addition to live music and giveaways, attendees at this year’s City Social will be able to enjoy wine, beer and a bourbon bar from Barley Mac, which is preparing to open in the former Red, Hot & Blue space on Wilson Blvd. [Rosslyn BID]
Wegman’s Inches Closer to Arlington — Arlington’s favorite unattainable grocery store obsession will soon be closer than ever. Wegman’s is reportedly planning to open a store in Tysons Corner in 2019. [Washington Business Journal]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Sen. Kaine Speaks to RAFOM — Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) spoke to the Radnor – Fort Myer Heights Civic Association, near Rosslyn, on Monday. The meeting was RAFOM’s 15th anniversary. Kaine spoke about budget issues, defense issues, foreign policy issues, and broad issues of working together politically. He said that “we as a nation are in a period of significant soul searching.” [Ode Street Tribune]
Pedro and Vinny’s Makes ‘Best Burrito’ Bracket — Pedro and Vinny’s, the acclaimed burrito stand at 2599 Columbia Pike, has made the south region bracket in data website Five Thirty Eight’s methodical search for America’s Best Burrito. Five Thirty Eight founder Nate Silver “felt strongly” that Pedro and Vinny’s should be on the list since it had the second-highest VORB (Value Over Replacement Burrito) score in the south. [Five Thirty Eight]
Tysons Wants to Be Arlington — Fairfax County officials are trying to emulate Clarendon and Ballston in remaking Tysons Corner into a vibrant, walkable, transit-accessible community. The plan is getting a boost from the expected summer opening of the Silver Line, for which Metro has added 460 new employees in recent weeks. [Citylab, Reston Now]