A Rosslyn businessman who has been waging a campaign against a high-rise building that will block his restaurant's panoramic view of Washington approached a developer last year about operating a rooftop restaurant on the new building.
Arlington officials in a previously undisclosed memo, said Alexander Inglese, owner of Alexander's III Penthouse Restaurant, was aware of developer Thodore B. Gould's planned 24-story office building long before he began his campaign against the building. For the past month Inglese has peppered Arlington officials with visits, telephone calls and lists of questions about Gould's building at 1300 N. 17th St.
"The questions . . . surrounding Mr. Inglese's inquiry would lead one to believe he had no beforehand knowledge of [this building]" said county planner Thomas C. Parker in a memo to the County Board, which has twice considered Ingleses' protests.
"Not only was Mr. Inglese aware of the pending [plan]," Parker said, "but he personally contacted [Gould's associate] in early October 1977 about the possibility of renting the penthouse" for a new restaurant.
Inglese's sometimes emotional protests over the new building have drawn the backing of groups ranging from the federal Commission on Fine Arts to the International Commission for English in the Liturgy as well as from a candidate for the Arlington County Board. County officials, however, have been cool toward Inglese's complaints.
When Inglese appeared before the board last month, he seemed to ridicule the developer's plans, implying, some county officials said, that he had been surprised to learn of the building. "To approve a restaurant on top of that building," Inglese then shouted as he pounded a podium, "is the most ridiculous thing . . . I'd like to see him find a tenant.
Gould's $24-million mirrored glass building, planned for completion in 1980, will be one of the area's tallest buildings. Because it exceeds height and density requirements it earlier received special board approval in exchange for proposed street improvements and a small urban park.
"We are very angry about the insinuations of improprieties," Gould said in an interview. "I was not interested in having Mr. Inglese as a tenant. He had the opoortunity to oppose it [earlier] but he didn't because he wanted the space."
Gould said that Inglese had also approached his associate, Ron Nester, about a summer job for his 24-year-old son, a business school student at the university of Virginia. Gould said his firm subsequently hired Ingelese's son, who worked on financing for the Rosslyn building.
Last month Inglese told a reporter he did not come to the County Board meetings during which Gould's project first was approved because he did not think the building would affect him.
"I knew about the building but I never thought the Federal Aviation Administration would approve it," Inglese said yesterday. The building is near one of the approach patterns for National Airport. "I never thought the building would go that high. I'm not mad at Ted Gould. If I was a builder I'd to the County Board and try to get a lot of things."
Inglese's case has become an issue in the race for a seat on the Arlington County Board. Inglese has discussed the building with Democrat Joseph N. Pelton and Republican Stephen H. Detwiler. Recently Pelton sent a letter to County Board Chairman John W. Purdy expressing concern about the county "violating the equity rights . . . of Mr. Alexander Inglese" by waiving the height requirements for Gould's building and two other Rosslyn high-rises.
Charles Atherton, secretary to the Commission on Fine Arts, testified before the board against Gould's building and the other two high-rises. Atherton said this week he was unaware of Inglese's involvement with Gould. "Our appeal was not in his behalf," Atherton said. "We're still concerned about the effect on the skyline these buildings will have."
Purdy said yesterday the board has no plans to rescind approval of Gould's building or take any further action on the matter. He said officials have already provided Inglese with detailed answers to 40 questions he posed "If the case had merit," Purdy said, "we'd deal with it."