News

The Top Stories in Falls Church in 2018

Over the last 12 months, a plethora of headlines splashed across the pages of the News-Press. Stories covered budget battles, downtown parking problems, new high school construction, West End development updates along with the annual news of Little City business openings and closings.
As 2018 draws to a close, we take a look at the most popular stories of the year, as viewed by readers, at the Falls Church News-Press Online, FCNP.com.

At long last, Northside Social Falls Church opened for business this past June. (Photo: News-Press)

1. Northside Social Officially Opens in F.C.

June 11, 2018

The most popular story of 2018 was on the opening of Northside Social at the corner of Park and N. Maple avenues in the City. The long-awaited debut here of the Arlington favorite was one of the Little City’s most anticipated restaurant openings in years, with the repeated delay in opening only adding to the fervor.

Originally, the coffee and wine bar was expected to open its second location in the fall of 2017 but construction and other delays pushed the date back to April 2018 until, finally, it opened its doors on the afternoon of June 11.


After 18 years, Argia’s shuttered this past September. (Photo: News-Press)

2. F.C.’s Argia’s Italian Restaurant Closes Doors After 18 Years

September 10, 2018

While the top story of the year was the arrival of a restaurant to the City, the second most popular item was the news of another eatery’s closure.
After 18 years, Falls Church’s popular Italian restaurant Argia’s closed its doors for the final time in September. First opened in 2000 by Adam Roth and taken over in 2012 by Pragun and Salina Rana, Argia’s had been a fixture of the City’s dining scene, winning the “Best Taste” award at the Taste of Falls Church in 2014.

In November, it was announced a new Italian restaurant from Gabriel Thompson would open in the former Argia’s space in 2019.


HUGH BROWN, longtime owner of Brown’s Hardware in Falls Church, passed away in November at the age of 92. (Courtesy photo)

3. Longtime Owner of F.C. Hardware Store, Hugh Brown, Dies at 92

November 5, 2018

News of the passing of Hugh Brown, the longtime owner of legendary Brown’s Hardware, reverberated through the community when it was announced in November.

At 92 years old, Brown was hands-on in running the oldest business in the Little City since taking over operation of the store in 1959.

An outpouring of condolences and words of appreciation for Brown were left on the news article of his passing and the News-Press received a flood of letters, commentaries and even several poems, all in tribute to the venerable Falls Church business owner.

In remembrance of Brown and his contributions to the community, the Falls Church City Council designated Dec. 8 “Hugh Brown Day” and Dogwood Tavern created a drink in his honor.


ALONG WITH THE ARRIVAL of Falls Church’s popular new restaurant Northside Social, a spike in towing and added parking confusion has crept into the Little City’s downtown. (Photo: J. Michael Whalen)

4. Parking Pains Abound Around New Restaurant at Park Ave. & N. Maple

August 23, 2018

Northside Social wasn’t the only one racking up business after it opened in Falls Church this past spring. So were the towing companies.

The trendy coffee and wine bar was introduced to the Little City in June with just one parking space — an accessible parking space at that — rather than the 28 required by the City’s zoning code for a business of its size. The result was an unprecedented 13,000-percent increase in vehicles towed from the surrounding area due to a combination of lack of Northside parking, confusing signage in area parking lots and what many have called a predatory towing company.

Some blamed the City for approving Northside’s parking space exemption while others blamed the restaurant itself for its apparent lack of concern with the parking situation.

Earlier this month, six months after its debut, Northside Social announced its first regular parking spots — nine from a condo building and one from an office building — just across the street.


FALLS CHURCH-BASED real estate developer Todd Hitt, at his Kiddar Capital headquarters in 2016. (Photo: News-Press)

5. F.C. Developer Todd Hitt Surrenders to FBI on Securities Fraud Charges

October 5, 2018

The community was shocked in October when news broke that Todd Hitt, CEO of Falls Church-based Kiddar Capital, was arrested by the FBI on securities fraud charges.

Over the past several years, Hitt and his company had risen to the forefront of development news in the Little City, with Hitt playing a pivotal role in the 2016 opening of the City’s WestBroad development housing a flagship Harris Teeter and the announcement that Kiddar Capital was co-developing a new large-scale, mixed-use project at the intersection of Washington and Broad St. in downtown Falls Church.

Hitt is alleged to have falsely claimed Kiddar Capital managed $1.4 billion in assets and had offices in Houston, Palm Springs and London and failed to disclose extravagant spending, such as the leasing of private jets and the purchase of sports tickets and jewelry. Additionally, a DOJ complaint alleges Hitt raised over $16 million from investors by misrepresenting that he would invest $6 million in a planned $33 million purchase of a Herndon building near a future Metro stop.

After Hitt’s arrest, Insight Property Group has stated that development of the Broad and Washington project will continue under its direction.

 


The year’s most popular stories were based on total number of views from January 1 — December 21, 2018 of posts published in 2018 on Falls Church News-Press Online at FCNP.com