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Lane of Wilson Blvd Blocked for Sinkhole Repair

The left-hand lane of westbound Wilson Blvd is blocked at N. Nelson Street in Virginia Square due to a sinkhole in the roadway.

The sinkhole is relatively shallow, but large enough to cause concern of it deepening. Crews were on scene as of 10:30 a.m., investigating the cause of the roadway indentation.

Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services encourages residents to report potholes and other road issues on its website.

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Paving Kicks Off on Clarendon Blvd, As Courthouse Intersection Work Wraps Up

Work is wrapping up on improvements to one of Courthouse’s trickiest intersections, with some night paving set to close a few streets this week.

The county is putting the finishing touches on some changes to sidewalks and bus stops around the intersection of Wilson and Clarendon Boulevards, near the Courthouse Metro station. Starting last night (Tuesday), workers began paving the area and the county expects the work to last through Friday (Sept. 7).

Arlington officials are advising drivers to avoid the area where Clarendon Blvd meets N. Veitch Street and 15th Street N. during the paving, set to run from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. through the rest of the week.

Workers permanently closed the lane turning from Clarendon Blvd. to 15th Street N. in March, and have spent the ensuing months widening the sidewalks in the area and adding a new bus stop to accommodate additional Arlington Transit service in the area. The county hopes the project “will improve pedestrian safety, circulation and access in and around Courthouse Plaza,” per its website.

Construction was originally set to wrap up sometime this winter, but the county says it’s now “nearing completion, ahead of schedule.”

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New Gym Hoping to Move into American Tap Room Space in Clarendon

A boutique fitness studio could soon move into the space once occupied by the American Tap Room in Clarendon.

A gym branded as “FootFire” is applying for a use permit to open in a 49,200-square-foot space adjacent to an office building at 3101 Wilson Blvd, according to documents filed with the county on July 17.

Located just across from the Clarendon Metro station, the space has sat empty since the American Tap Room closed its doors in 2016. The restaurant had struggled for years with noise complaints from neighbors and the area’s high rent prices.

Lawyers for Christopher Hoffman, the gym’s owner, wrote in a permit application that the new fitness studio “will be a member-based running, training, recovery and education center focusing on the complete training experience for runners and other endurance athletes of all fitness levels.”

The attorneys added that the gym will offer both indoor and outdoor running classes, including “treadmill-based courses, group outdoor running exercises, indoor weight training, yoga and stretching courses.” Plans sketched out for the facility also call for a juice bar and daycare area.

The County Board is set to consider the permit request at its first meeting of the fall on Sept. 22.

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New Protected Bike Lane Opens Connecting Rosslyn and Courthouse

Arlington’s opened up another protected bike lane, this time connecting Rosslyn and Courthouse.

This newest lane runs along Wilson Blvd, between N. Quinn Street and N. Courthouse Road near the post office in the area. The county previously built a protected lane between N. Oak and N. Quinn Streets back in 2016.

In the early going, at least, the new lane seems to be a hit for cyclists and scooter fans alike.

The county’s added several new protected bike lanes this summer, including one along N. Veitch Street near this latest addition, as part of summer paving work around Arlington.

Photo via @juddlumberjack

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Permits Issued But No Construction Yet at Former Clarendon Walgreens

It has stood empty and unused for a year and a half, but there are signs that interior construction could be starting soon at the former Walgreens in Clarendon.

The final plan for the historically-designated building to be converted into a JPMorgan Chase Bank was approved by Arlington inspectors last week, according to county permitting records.

The branch is one of four planned for the D.C. area as part of an expansion of the financial giant’s consumer banking arm. The company purchased the property at 2825 Wilson Blvd for $25 million, according to the Washington Business Journal.

Asked for additional details, including an expected opening date, a JPMorgan Chase spokesman said the company has “no further information to provide at this time.”

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Coworking Space to Become First Office Tenant at Former NSF Headquarters in Ballston

A Brooklyn-based coworking space will become the first office tenant in the former home of the National Science Foundation’s headquarters, now known as the Ballston Exchange.

Industrious will open its third location in the D.C. area on the third floor of 4201 Wilson Blvd, according to a news release from the building’s owner, Jamestown LLP. The coworking space signed a 10-year lease at the location in a 24,795-square-foot suite.

Jamestown bought the building, as well as the adjacent 4121 Wilson Blvd, for a combined $300 million in 2015. But the NSF decided to relocate its headquarters to Alexandria last fall, spurring the property owner to kick off $140 million in renovation work at the buildings and go on the hunt for new tenants.

“The addition of Industrious shows our commitment to providing Ballston residents, workers and commuters alike with premier business and lifestyle opportunities,” Jamestown President Michael Phillips wrote in a statement.

Jamestown has already lured several restaurants to the development, with Shake Shack, We The Pizza, Philz Coffee and Cava setting up shop in recent months.

Those stores and others will line a shared courtyard between the two buildings, set to open in full by the end of the year. A pedestrian bridge will eventually connect 4201 Wilson to the newly revamped Ballston Quarter mall, but that project has encountered some delays recently.

As for Industrious, the company hopes to open its Ballston location by early 2019. It operates more than 40 coworking spaces across the country, including locations in downtown Bethesda and in D.C. near Logan Circle.

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New Ballston Quarter Pedestrian Bridge Delayed Until 2019

The developer behind the renovated Ballston Quarter mall is pushing back its plans to open a new pedestrian bridge over Wilson Blvd, as part of a host of proposed changes to the project.

Forest City had originally hoped to open the overhauled bridge connecting the mall to 4201 Wilson Blvd and the Metro station in time for stores to begin opening this fall. Yet work on the bridge is “currently behind schedule and is now expected to be completed in the winter or early spring of 2019,” according to a report prepared for the County Board.

Accordingly, Forest City is asking the Board to tweak some of the planning documents governing the project to account for the delay, which county staff believe will allow for “additional time for public engagement” around changes to the bridge’s renovation. Staff are recommending that the Board push off any consideration of that request until next month, though Board members won’t get a chance to vote on that recommendation until Saturday (June 16).

County staff also suggest that the Board wait until its July 14 meeting to consider a request from Forest City to add “large media screens” to the development. The big TV screens would face Wilson Blvd as part of Ballston Quarter’s west plaza. A spokeswoman for Forest City said “nothing is yet confirmed” when it comes to the purpose of the screens.

The Board could take some action related to the development on Saturday, however. Forest City is hoping to open six “outdoor cafes” as the mall welcomes back patrons in September, though construction plans originally called for some additional landscaping and construction work to be completed before those restaurants could open.

Staff noted that Forest City’s plans are “not ideal,” but they also didn’t see any “public safety risk” in letting the cafes open first. They’re recommending that the Board approve the request, then consider individual permits for each restaurant over the course of the next month.

The developer has already unveiled a variety of restaurants and retailers that will open at the mall, with plans to release more information in the coming months.

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Overhaul of Tricky ‘Clarendon Circle’ Intersection Could Start This Fall

Arlington could soon kick off work on improvements at one of the county’s trickiest intersections for pedestrians and cyclists.

The County Board is set to approve a $2.5 million contract for the overhaul of the “Clarendon Circle” — the area where Clarendon, Washington and Wilson Boulevards all meet, just past the Metro station.

Planners have hoped for years now to add improvements to the intersection, like shortening the distances pedestrians have to walk across roads. The work will also include the installation of additional bike lanes, the widening of Washington Boulevard to four lanes — while nixing the current reversible lanes — and the addition of upgraded traffic signals.

Plans also call for adding a “green streets” element to better manage stormwater on N. Irving Street, next to the Silver Diner.

The Board is scheduled to vote on the construction contract at its Saturday, June 16 meeting as part of its consent agenda, which is typically reserved for non-controversial items. Should Board members approve the deal, the county estimates that work could begin this fall and wrap up in the winter of 2020.

The Clarendon Circle project is designed to move in conjunction with the county’s plans to do away with the reversible lanes on Washington Boulevard and create a “T” intersection with 13th Street N. That construction is projected to kick off in the winter of 2019, after the Board voted on May 22 to let the redevelopment of the nearby Red Top Cab properties move ahead.

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BREAKING: Caps Stop in Clarendon, With Stanley Cup in Tow

(Updated at 12:10 a.m.) Dozens — if not hundreds — of adoring fans flocked to Clarendon tonight (June 8) to welcome home the Washington Capitals as they brought home the Stanley Cup.

The team gathered for a private celebration at Don Tito along Wilson Blvd, and fans congregated on both sides of N. Hudson Street to cheer and offer their thanks. Players arriving at the restaurant early on included T.J. Oshie, Tom Wilson and Philipp Grubauer.

Wilson even got the chance to hoist the Cup and show it off to the assembled crowd.

The Caps returned from Las Vegas earlier this afternoon, after besting the Golden Knights in five games to win D.C. its first major sports title since 1992.

ARLnow broadcast the staggered arrivals of players and the Stanley Cup on Facebook Live. The Cup can be seen in the beginning of the video.

Caps star, Conn Smythe Trophy winner and one-time Arlington resident Alexander Ovechkin arrived after our live feed ended. Later Ovi brought the Cup down from the party to show screaming, smartphone-wielding bar-goers, as seen in the video below.

Despite a brief summer thunderstorm rolling through — and Thursday’s excitement putting a slight damper on Clarendon’s Friday nightlife — the line to get into Don Tito’s remained relatively long as of 11 p.m.

More social media posts from the celebration, after the jump.

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Istanbul Grill Now Open for Business Near Ballston, Offering Traditional Turkish Fare

A new Turkish restaurant is now open for business near Ballston.

Istanbul Grill started serving up kebabs and other traditional Turkish fare yesterday (June 7), according to owner Turgut Yiğit. The new eatery, located at 4617 Wilson Blvd, replaces long-time Mexican restaurant El Ranchero.

Yiğit says he’s a newcomer to Arlington, but spent the last eight years working as a chef at a McLean restaurant. He added that he fully renovated the inside of the restaurant and installed all new appliances to spruce up the space.

The building was constructed back in 1949, according to county property records.

Istanbul Grill will also eventually offer beer and wine, once Yiğit’s state license is approved. He’s even planning to someday enclose the restaurant’s front-porch to offer a “European-style” experience, but those plans are a long way off, he said.

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Boccato Gelato Planning to Leave Clarendon Location, Relocate Elsewhere

After serving up frozen treats for the last decade along Wilson Blvd. in Clarendon, Boccato Gelato is now set to relocate.

The gelato and espresso lounge posted a notice on its front door and social media accounts Saturday (May 19) that it will soon be moving elsewhere, leaving 2719 Wilson Blvd. behind.

However, the restaurant’s managers wrote that “our future location is in the works.” They did not immediately respond to a request for comment on where they might be moving.

“While we were very lucky and blessed to have found this amazing spot in 2008, it has been quite a task and great challenge to keep up with the obligations of our lease,” Boccato’s staff wrote. “We would like to thank our landlord for giving us a chance to serve you in this wonderful location, and to all the employees of Arlington County for helping us get started and giving us the opportunity to introduce our business to the beloved town of Clarendon.”

The restaurant’s managers added that they have not yet decided on when their final day serving up scoops on Wilson Blvd. will be, and plan to post that information to their Facebook and Twitter accounts in due time.

The move will not affect the Cowork Cafe, however, which has operated out of Boccato for the last three years. The notice Boccato posted said that the Cowork Cafe has signed a new lease at the same space.

File photo

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Four Courthouse Elevators Set to be Replaced, Including Two Reaching Metro

Arlington County could soon embark on a $1.8 million effort to replace four elevators around Courthouse.

The County Board will vote at its meeting this weekend on a plan to fully overhaul two elevators in Arlington’s Court Square West building (1400 N. Uhle Street) and two more that connect to the Courthouse Metro station underground.

All four elevators have “reached the end of their useful lives,” according to a report prepared by county staff.

The elevators in Court Square West, a building that holds some county offices, travel seven stories each. The Metro station elevators travel just two stories, and are located at each end of an underground access tunnel linking to the station — one is at 2200 Clarendon Boulevard, the other at 2111 Wilson Boulevard.

The County Board is set to vote to award a contract for the work on Saturday (May 19), as part of its “consent agenda,” which is generally reserved for noncontroversial items that are approved all at once.

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New Rooftop Bar in Clarendon Set For Approval

A new rooftop bar in Clarendon is on the verge of regulatory approval.

The County Manager’s office has recommended that the County Board approve amendments and modifications to an incoming Clarendon restaurant at the former La Tasca site.

The proposed site plan amendment calls for “the addition of approximately 1,760 square feet of new gross floor area and approximately 12 feet of new building height to accommodate a roof structure for the incoming Buena Vida restaurant, with modification of zoning standards for parking.”

Approximately 129 new seats will be added to the space’s capacity with the amendment.

The County Board is set to approve those modifications, allowing the applicant to maintain the current level of parking spaces. This would reduce the project’s parking ratio from one spot per 580 retail square feet to one space per 606 retail square feet, according to a County Board agenda item.

With the Clarendon Metro station two blocks away from the restaurant site and a slew of Clarendon-area parking garages and street parking options, staff noted that “there will be no undue adverse impacts as a result of the request.”

The new rooftop area, “minimally visible to pedestrians at the ground level,” would include both an enclosed and an outdoor section, elevator access, and a lounge area. “Sound attenuating glass” has been proposed by the applicant for the wall adjacent to Wilson Boulevard, and dark sky lighting standards have been agreed to, per the agenda item.

Both the Clarendon-Courthouse Civic Association and the Clarendon Alliance have indicated support, according to county documents, for the site plan amendment. The Lyon Village Civic Association, per the document, “had not communicated a position on the applicant’s request” to the county.

The rooftop dining and bar area would be the top floor of a three floor dining concept, a Mexican beer garden called Up. The first floor will be a Mexican eatery called Tacos, Tortas & Tequila that would serve the aforementioned foods, while the second floor would be Buena Vida, an all-you-can-eat tapas style restaurant.

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Crime Report: Driver Ditches Car, Runs from Police

A Falls Church man driving a stolen car ran a red light, ditched the car and then took off on foot as police gave chase, according to this week’s Arlington County Police Department crime report.

The alleged incident happened early Monday morning near the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Walter Reed Drive.

More from the crime report:

ELUDING, 2018-02190017, Columbia Pike at S. Walter Reed Drive. At approximately 1:34 a.m. on February 19, an officer on routine patrol observed a vehicle traveling without its headlights on and attempted a traffic stop by activating their emergency equipment. The suspect continued driving through a red light, before coming to a stop and exiting the vehicle. The suspect disregarded police commands and attempted to flee the area on foot. Following a brief foot pursuit, the suspect was taken into custody, with the assistance of a Virginia State Trooper arriving on scene. During the course of the investigation, the vehicle operated by the suspect was determined to be stolen out of Fairfax County. Kevin Hernandez Gomez, 22, of Falls Church, VA, was arrested and charged with Grand Larceny: Motor Vehicle Theft, Obstruction of Justice/Resisting Arrest, Eluding Police, Driving with a Suspended or Revoked License/No Insurance, Failure to Dim Headlights and Failure to Obey Traffic Lights. He was held on no bond.

On Sunday and Monday, a man — or men — ran up to two women on Wilson Blvd and on the W&OD Trail and grabbed the backside of each.

SEXUAL BATTERY (late), 2018-02190111, 6000 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 1:35 p.m. on February 19, police were dispatched to the late report of an assault. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 1:50 p.m. on February 18, the female victim was waiting at the bus stop when an unknown male suspect approached her from behind and placed his hands on her back and buttocks. When the victim turned around, the suspect fled on foot. The suspect is described as a male with an average build, approximately 6’0″, wearing a black hoodie. The investigation is ongoing.

SEXUAL BATTERY (late), 2018-02190119, Washington and Old Dominion Trail. At approximately 2:34 p.m. on February 19, police responded to the late report of an assault. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 12:15 p.m., while the female victim was running on the Washington and Old Dominion Trail, a male suspect ran up behind her, grabbed her buttocks and fled on foot. The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 5’6″ to 5’10”, between the ages of 14 and 18, with a slim build, medium length hair, wearing black sweatpants and a hoodie, with black and white shoes. The investigation is ongoing.

On Saturday, D.C. police arrested a man accused of throwing an object at a passing car in Rosslyn and shattering a back window.

MISSILE INTO OCCUPIED VEHICLE, 2018-02170116, Fort Myer Drive at Lee Highway. At approximately 9:41 a.m. on February 17, police were dispatched to the report of destruction of property. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was driving her vehicle in the area when an object was thrown through a rear window, causing it to break. No injuries were reported. Witnesses followed the suspect as he fled on foot into D.C., where he was apprehended with assistance from the Metropolitan Police Department. A warrant for Shooting/Throwing Missiles at Occupied Vehicle was obtained for David Turner, 41, of Washington, D.C.

The rest of this past week’s crime report highlights, including some that we’ve already reported, after the jump.

SHOTS FIRED, 2018-02160270, Lee Highway at N. Glebe Road. At approximately 8:10 p.m. on February 16, police responded to the report of shots fired. No injuries were reported. Arriving officers established a perimeter and a canvas of the area was negative. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.

VEHICLE TAMPERING/LARCENY FROM AUTO (series), 5100-5200 block of 25th Road N. and 2600-2700 block of N. Florida Street, 5000 block of 24th Street N., 5100 block of 26th Road N., 2018-02160050/02160067/02160077/02160086/02160096/02160100/02160114. At approximately 7:21 a.m. on February 16, police were dispatched to the report of a Larceny from Auto. Upon arrival, it was determined that approximately 15, mostly unlocked, vehicles were entered and contents tampered with overnight by three unknown suspects and numerous items of value were reported missing from some of the vehicles. The suspects are described as three young, black males. Suspect One was wearing all black, Suspect Two was wearing a black jacket or hoodie and light blue jeans and Suspect Three was wearing a black t-shirt, light blue jeans and carrying a dark colored duffel bag. The investigation is ongoing.

VEHICLE TAMPERING/LARCENY FROM AUTO (series), 2018-02180132/02180137/02180185/220, 5200-5300 blocks of 5th Street N. At approximately 1:47 p.m. on February 18, police were dispatched to the late report of larceny from auto. Upon arrival, it was determined that overnight, approximately five, mostly unlocked, vehicles were entered, contents tampered with and items of value reported missing from some of the vehicles. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.

LARCENY FROM AUTO (series), 2018-02130043/0046/0057/0061/0065, 3000 block of S. 19thStreet/1500 block of S. Glebe Road/3100 block of S. 15th Street. At approximately 6:37 a.m. on February 13, police were dispatched to the report of a larceny from auto series. Upon arrival, it was determined that an unknown suspect entered multiple, mostly unlocked, vehicles overnight and stole numerous items of value. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.

LARCENY FROM AUTO (series), 2018-02130040/0052/0055/0060/0066/0067, 1000 block of N. Kensington Street/1000 block of N. Kentucky Street/800 block of N. Lexington Street. At approximately 7:16 a.m. on February 13, police were dispatched to the report of multiple larceny from autos. Upon arrival, it was determined that an unknown suspect entered numerous, mostly unlocked, vehicles overnight and tampered with the contents and stole items of value from some of the vehicles. The suspect is described as a white male, approximately 5’6 to 5’10, 150-175 lbs. The investigation is ongoing.

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Photos: Clarendon’s 2018 Mardi Gras Parade

Despite the cancellation of the Mardi Gras Ball and the Jester Jaunt, Clarendon let the good times roll and carried on with the annual Mardi Gras parade.

One resident told ARLnow.com that the parade seemed to have far fewer attendees than last year’s parade, despite last year’s rain storm.

Costumed revelers glittered down Wilson Boulevard, trumpets blaring. Few families and groups watching the parade seemed to mind the lack of fireworks and marketing that The Clarendon Alliance’s executive director Matt Hussman cited as the reason that many were flocking to Washington’s southwest wharf for that neighborhood’s Mardi Gras festivities.

File photos.

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