Target Bringing Its Urban Store Concept to South Washington Street

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
June 28, 2017

Ever since Fresh Market pulled out of Lincoln Property Company’s new development on South Washington Street, the question was what would replace it. Few retailers want or can afford more than 20,000 square feet of space, which left Lincoln, one retail analyst said, “between a rock and a hard place.”

Despite that predicament, Lincoln appears to have escaped with the help of Target. The Minneapolis-based chain, best known for its huge suburban department stores, announced Wednesday that it will open one of its new, smaller style stores in the ground floor of Lincoln’s building, which is tucked in between South Maple and South Washington and across from Pearson Square.

It’s a bit of a coup for the City, which gets one of the first of these smaller Target stores and the tax revenue that will come with it. There’s only one other in northern Virginia now, in Rosslyn, and not many more than 30 nationwide. The stores were called Target Express when the company launched the concept in 2014, but it recently dropped that name and now just calls them “Target,” despite the... [Read more...]


German Supermarket Aldi Bringing City Shoppers Another Option

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
June 28, 2017

City shoppers may have missed out when Fresh Market decided against opening a new store on South Washington Street, but now a new grocer is poised to provide another option nearby.

Aldi, a big German company, is preparing to open a 20,000 square foot store in the Tower Square Shopping Center on Hillwood Avenue, replacing the long-standing ethnic market Halalco, a source familiar with the company’s plans said last week.

The grocer will also occupy several adjacent storefronts. One of those adjacent storefronts, Russian market Troika, will move to the other end of the plaza and occupy the long-vacant space formerly occupied by barbecue restaurant Red Hot and Blue, as well as the storefront to that space’s west, the source told the Times.

The impact of Aldi on the mid-century style strip mall could be significant. Combined with the redevelopment of the long-vacant strip mall across from The Falls Church, which sits directly behind the Aldi location, that part of the City will gain a new vibrancy.

And while Aldi is not an exact substitute for Fresh Market, City... [Read more...]


Middle School Teacher Pleads Guilty to Assaulting Students

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
May 25, 2017

Update: This story now includes a response from the Falls Church City Schools and the Manassas Park Police.

Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School math teacher Jose Estrada has pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated sexual battery involving two female students.

The 36-year-old Clifton resident pleaded guilty Wednesday and is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 4. A teacher at MEH since 2015, he was removed from the classroom in January, following accusations of inappropriate conduct by two sixth grade girls.

Those accusations led to an investigation by the Falls Church City Police, who subsequently arrested Mr. Estrada in February.

It’s not clear exactly when the offenses occurred, but court documents say the date or dates were sometime between Nov. 1, 2016, and Jan. 17, 2017. It was on the latter date that the first girl came forward, which then led to the investigation.

Mr. Estrada, who taught sixth-grade math, was placed on paid leave after the girls came forward. The decision to offer paid leave rather than to fire him was because he is... [Read more...]


Henderson Middle School Teacher Arrested, Charged with Sexual Battery of Students

By FALLS CHURCH CITY OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS, FALLS CHURCH CITY PUBLIC SCHOOLS OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS, and FALLS CHURCH TIMES STAFF
February 17, 2017

A sixth-grade math teacher at Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School was arrested Friday and charged with the aggravated sexual battery of two female students.

Jose Daniel Estrada, a 36-year-old Clifton, Va., resident, was placed on administrative leave by school officials the day the first accusation was made on Jan. 17. Students who had classes with Mr. Estrada suddenly had a new teacher, and rumors began sweeping the school, with some students suggesting, or questioning if, he was fired.

Questions about why he was removed from the classroom circulated among students as well, with some students suggesting he had slapped a girl on her rear end, but it’s not clear if the charges allege that specific behavior or something else. Documents that would detail the allegations against Mr. Estrada were not available in either the Arlington County or Falls Church courthouses Friday afternoon, and he is, of course, innocent until proven guilty.

Mr. Estrada began his employment with the Falls... [Read more...]

Around Town

SUNDAY, 4/19: Citizens for a Better City Annual Meeting

All are welcome to join Citizens for a Better City (CBC) on Sunday, April 19th for their Annual Meeting & Cocktail Reception at Falls Church’s Hilton Garden Inn, 706 West Broad Street.

 

Reception begins at 5:00 PM with drinks & light hors d’oeuvres followed by our meeting at 6:00 PM.

 

Cocktails including 2015 dues $30 per person

 

You may pay at the door or in advance. Make your check out to Citizens for a Better City and mail to CBC, PO BOX 6080, Falls Church, VA 22042

 

Parking... [Read more...]

April 9, 2015 | Leave a Comment









Paving of 7-11 Parking Lot Raises Questions About Mason Row

By Stephen Siegel
The Falls Church Times
January 3, 2017

Sharp-eyed Times reader Mark Sparkman was the first to notice, or at least the first to go public: in a comment on the Falls Church Times, Mr. Sharpman noted that the parking lot at the 7-11 was being re-paved. This seemed odd, because the entire site appeared likely to be demolished and excavated as part of the mixed-use Mason Row project slated for that corner.

Other readers quickly chimed in, and some suggested this was an indication that the controversial project was dead, or at least on life support.

But opponents shouldn’t get too excited. Both the City and the developer have known all along that 7-11 has lease rights that the developer needs to address before 7-11 will move out. The paving of the parking lot seems wasteful to be sure, but it may simply be part of a pre-existing contract that calls for such work to be done at prescribed intervals.

One can’t be sure without seeing their contract, but a similar situation unfolded at the Burger King on Broad Street a few years ago, when landscaping and repaving of their much larger parking lot... [Read more...]


What’s Up With Mason Row?

By Stephen Siegel
The Falls Church Times

December 17, 2016

The Mason Row mixed-use project was initially proposed to City officials more than five years ago, and made public three years ago. After much controversy and some significant changes, the City Council approved it in January. But there’s still few signs that anything is happening at the northeast corner of Broad and West streets, prompting some residents to ask if it’s still going to be built.

The short answer is: probably. Builder Spectrum Development, after months of further delays, submitted a site plan for the project in September, which is a necessary step to gaining permits to put a shovel in the ground, and they are scheduled for a meeting with the Planning Commission this Monday, December 19.

Several businesses at the site have left for, or have announced, new locations, including Bikenetic, which moved to West Jefferson Street, and Mike’s Deli, which is relocating to the old Long John Silver’s spot at Broad and Shreve. Brits on Broad has closed.

The 7-11 remains open at that spot and is still looking for another location nearby. The Falls Church Times... [Read more...]


Referendum on Library Expansion Set for Tuesday

By Stephen Siegel
The Falls Church Times
November 7, 2016

After years of study and political wrangling, Falls Church City voters will be empowered on Tuesday to decide if they want to spend as much as $8.7 million to renovate and expand the Mary Styles Riley Library.

On the ballot is a simple question: do you agree to authorize the City to sell the requisite amount of bonds to finance that renovation, along with a 6,600 square foot expansion? But the path that led the City and its residents to this point was anything but simple.

Discussions about improvements to the library have been ongoing for many years, and they gathered steam in 2013, when the Library Board of Trustees requested $18 million and suggested the current building be demolished and a brand new library be built on the same site.

There was some pushback against the idea, both because of the price tag and because of the possibility that the City would be without a library while the new one was built. In the end, the City Council addressed the concerns about both by authorizing in July the referendum before voters now, which cut the cost of the library board’s... [Read more...]


Long-delayed Rare Bird Opens, Adds to City’s Growing Coffee Scene

By Stephen Siegel
The Falls Church Times

October 6, 2016

Rare Bird Coffee Roasters, a new specialty coffee house that roasts beans right at its store, quietly opened its doors Tuesday in a move that adds to Falls Church City’s growing premium coffee options.

The bar and roastery, located in the former Tutti Frutti space at 230 W. Broad Street, is the brainchild of Bryan Becker and Lara Berenji, who originally operated the shop in a location well off the beaten path in Northeast Washington. They had originally targeted a July opening, but finishing the space and getting the necessary permits took longer than they planned.

The Broad Street location is not a second one for the couple; they opted to close their Washington store and relocate to Falls Church. They appear to have a real passion for coffee, not only because they roast their own beans, but because they carefully measured and weighed the amount of ground coffee that went into a reporter’s cappuccino on Wednesday.

“We want to make really good coffee,” Mr. Becker said, “but we don’t want to be snobs about it. We want to be inclusive. We like what the coffee... [Read more...]


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