The historic Colonial Village apartments (the portion owned by Wesley Housing Development Corporation) will be renovated and most of the units converted to low income housing, under a plan that’s up for discussion at a county hearing next week.
The proposal calls for renovations to begin around March of next year, according to a leasing agent. Renovations would proceed several at a time. Tenants will be “relocated” during the renovation process.
The details about the low income housing conversion are a bit sketchy at this point, but initial reports suggest all but two dozen or so apartments will be designated low income housing under the plan, which could force some existing tenants out.
Colonial Village was among the first garden-style apartment complexes in the U.S. when it was built in the 1930s. Wesley owns 162 apartment units, which are home to about 400 residents.
A county housing counselor told ARLnow.com that more details will be revealed on Wed., Sept. 8, during an Arlington Tenant-Landlord Commission hearing. The hearing will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Azalea Room (lobby level) of 2100 Clarendon Boulevard.
One Colonial Village resident we heard from was upset that there have only been two “resident meetings” about the plan leading up to next week’s hearing.
Today’s renovation news follows our report earlier this week about major renovations at the 1020 North Quincy Street apartments in Ballston.
Multiple calls to Wesley Housing Development Corporation’s main office in Alexandria went unanswered throughout the afternoon.
You can now place a call and find out exactly when the next Metrorail train is expected to arrive. Today Metro is rolling out its ‘Next Train’ phone service, to complement the existing internet and mobile web-based services.
To access the real-time system, riders call Metro’s customer service line at 202-637-7000, say “Next Train,” then say the station name after the prompt. The automated system utilizes voice recognition technology.
“Up-to-the-minute information is key to the convenience of transit; the easier it is to know when your train is coming, the easier it is to manage your schedule,” said Arlington County board member Chris Zimmerman, who also sits on the Metro Board of Directors.
After the jump: Metro released a video demonstrating how the system works.
Arlington firefighters and the hazardous materials team responded to the Lyon Village Shopping Center around 12:20 this afternoon for a strong chemical odor. Several people in the Starbucks reported feeling ill as a result of the odor.
Firefighters went up to the roof and came down with a bucket of epoxy that was being used for some sort of roofing work.
A building inspector and a health inspector are on their way to the shopping center to evaluate the situation.
The Starbucks appeared to be closed, but all other stores in the shopping center — including popular lunch spots The Italian Store and BGR The Burger Joint — are still open.
Update at 12:55 p.m. — The building and health inspector are on the scene, and fire crews are packing up.
Less than two weeks ago we warned you about the misleading parking meters in front of 1400 North Uhle Street, which seemed to suggest that you could park there on Saturday mornings. Which you can — until 5:00 a.m., when your car gets towed and you get fined (the result of parking restrictions for the Courthouse farmer’s market).
In any event, it seems that someone was listening. The meters have new stickers on them that indicate that parking is enforced Monday through Friday. The new stickers originally said there’s free parking on Saturday and Sunday, but the “SAT.” is crossed off.
Question: Is that enough? Or should there be a sticker on the meter itself indicating that parking is restricted and towing enforced on Saturday mornings (in addition to the “reserved for farmer’s market” signs on either side of the building)?
We’re hearing that the planned opening for District Taco’s forthcoming brick-and-mortar restaurant has been pushed back
a month, to October 1. (Update on 10/14: The opening is now said to be set for the first week in November.)
The storefront at 5723 Lee Highway is now being used to prepare ingredients for the District Taco cart, following some changes to the existing kitchen (once used by the former occupant, the now-defunct Restaurant Vero). Tables and chairs are ready to go, we’re told, but there are still additional interior details and regulatory hurdles to be taken care of.
The county granted approval for a change of restaurant ownership yesterday.
Arlington’s first Capital Bikeshare station is scheduled to be installed this morning in Crystal City. The station will be installed at 27th Street and Crystal Drive, with another station set to be installed at 18th and Bell Streets immediately afterward.
The Capital Bikeshare system will feature 1,100 specially-designed bikes that visitors or commuters can rent. Mechanics have started assembling the bikes in a local warehouse.
“History in the making,” said Crystal City Business Improvement District President Angela Fox on today’s installation.
Photo via CommuterPage blog.
Trio of Editorials Against HOT Lane Lawsuit — Arlington County’s $1 million lawsuit against the planned I-395 HOT lanes project is getting more bad press from local newspapers. Letters to the editor in the Sun Gazette and the Washington Post have both panned the county’s decision to add a federal highway employee to the lawsuit in his professional and personal capacities. And an editorial in the Washington Examiner called the lawsuit a “peevish jeremiad to block HOT lanes on Shirley Highway.” Ouch. All three have been published in just the past 36 hours.
Metrorail Operator Caught Texting in Arlington — Unsuck DC Metro published a photo that purports to show a Metrorail employee texting while operating a Blue Line train in Arlington. The incident happened Saturday morning, a tipster told the site.
T.A. Sullivan and Son Monuments Profiled — You know that rickety old building on Washington Boulevard in Clarendon? The one across from Lyon Hall with all the blank gravestones outside? According to TBD the site is worth $538,800 but the 71-year-old, cigarette-smoking, Skoal-chewing owner says business is good and he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
In an email to local leaders, VDOT senior engineer Christiana Briganti-Dunn said the agency plans to award a contract to build the bridge by February. Utility relocations are expected to follow, with major construction beginning by late summer or early fall of 2011.
VDOT expects the project to be complete by the end of 2014.
One local leader said drivers should expect a traffic “nightmare” on the eastern end of Columbia Pike during construction of the new bridge.
The design for the bridge, more generally called the Route 27/244 interchange, will remain the same as was presented at a public hearing in June 2008. In addition to replacing the bridge, the project calls for new traffic signals to be placed on Columbia Pike.
Leaders say that given the long delays in the project, the announcement is surprising (in a good way). The bridge was called “decaying” and “crumbling” in a Washington Post article more than five years ago. The same article said that replacing the bridge “has been a top priority of Arlington County for more than 15 years.”
Even VDOT notes that the bridge, which dates back to the 1940s, “was rated as ‘poor’ in recent structural inspections.”
VDOT plans to call the new bridge the “Freedmen’s Village Bridge.”
Update on 8/31 — VDOT spokesperson Joan Morris assures us that as with all local VDOT projects, there will be no lane closures during rush hour on Columbia Pike or Washington Boulevard during the construction. It’s not clear how engineers will install a new bridge while maintaining existing traffic lanes and on-ramps, but we expect to learn more next week.
The year was 1979. Margaret Thatcher became the British prime minister. Americans were taken hostage in Iran. And, just two days after the Iranian hostage crisis began, two bond issues were rejected in Arlington County.
It was the last time Arlington voters would say no on a county bond referendum.
With less than three weeks to go before absentee voting begins in Arlington, it seems highly unlikely that the trend will reverse itself this year.
There is one important parallel to be drawn, however.
In 1979, like today, there was economic turmoil that had voters on edge about new spending. (Witness: the Glenn Beck rally that took Arlington hotels by storm over the weekend.)
The difference is that in 1979 interest rates were sky-high, making the cost of borrowing money prohibitively expensive. Now, interest rates are close to all-time lows.
In 1979, there were four bond issues on the referendum, including a $4 million local parks bond, a $1.7 million regional parks bond, a $4.7 million roads bond and a $2 million sewer bond. Both park bonds were rejected after the Arlington Chamber of Commerce and a group called the Committee of Concerned Citizens came out against them. The other bonds were approved.
The park bonds, which would have been used to maintain open space and beautify the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, were supported by the county board and the League of Women Voters.
“We don’t want another Rosslyn,” the League’s Judy Sibert told the Washington Post a week before voters went to the polls. “We want the [Rosslyn-Ballston corridor] to be an attractive place to work in.”
The park bonds attracted less than 40 percent of the vote.
Last week’s nightly closures of the Custis Trail under I-66 have been extended through Wednesday. Construction is still taking place on a framework, intended to protect bicyclists from work related to the I-66 widening project.
The closures will take place between 9:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. Any trail traffic during that time will be detoured. The detoured route will be marked and will take cyclists and joggers farther east to a pedestrian overpass.
The closures are expected to wrap up Wednesday night.
The renovations will force residents to pack up their stuff and vacate their apartment for 2-3 weeks. They will be moved to a vacant apartment elsewhere in the building, and will have the option of staying in that apartment permanently or moving back to their old apartment once renovations are complete.
According to one of the many commenters on the blog, management expects rent to be raised $100 to $150 per month post-renovation.
A number of commenters expressed frustration with the project, the rent increases and a perceived lack of tenant input. Some have called for residents to organize to resist the renovations.
At 9:50 a.m., police on the scene said they were temporarily shutting down the highway while they move the accident to the side of the road.
Traffic had slowed to a crawl before the wreck, but is starting to clear out.
Arlington County Board Chairman Jay Fisette was interviewed recently for the Washington Examiner’s My Washington series. The 54-year-old Ashton Heights resident discussed his favorite places to eat, bike and vacation.
The interview, published on Sunday, revealed that Fisette is really, really into cycling, as transportation, recreation, and as spectator sport. It also revealed that Fisette is burning the candle at both ends at Clarendon’s Silver Diner — he goes there for late night food and for morning breakfast meetings.
When he’s not biking to work or presiding over an eight-hour-long county board meeting, Jay Fisette can also be found at Whitlow’s on Wilson. “Whitlows serves a great meal,” he said.
More from the Washington Examiner.
One meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 21 at the Shirlington Library (4200 Campbell Ave). Another is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 23 at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association building (4301 Wilson Blvd). Each meeting will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
At both meetings, service on the 23A, 23C, 25A, 25C and 25D routes (The McLean-Crystal City and the Ballston-Bradlee-Pentagon City lines) will be discussed. WMATA is reviewing the travel time and reliability of the routes.
Other meetings are planned for Oxon Hill, Northeast DC, and McLean.
Paving Update — Now that the section of Wilson Blvd near Whitlow’s is paved with smooth blacktop, workers are focusing on Washington Blvd. As of Sunday afternoon, one lane between North Highland Street and Pershing Drive was torn up, awaiting fresh asphalt. TBD reports that the repaving of Washington Blvd will stretch into next week.
Flames Seen From Plane Engine — The Associated Press reports that flames were seen coming from the engine of a US Airways plane landing at Reagan National Airport. The captain of the flight from Charlotte, N.C. declared an emergency but landed without incident. No flames were seen after it landed.
‘Old Guard’ Returns from Iraq — Soldiers from the Fort Myer-based Old Guard arrived back home Saturday night after serving one year in Iraq. More than 120 soldiers from the historic regiment, best known for its ceremonial duties at Arlington National Ceremony and the White House, provided security at an Iraqi prison. More from WUSA9.
Students Return to Marymount U – The familiar sight of parents helping their children move into the dorms returned to Marymount University over the weekend. The school’s incoming class includes a record 440 freshman and a record 335 transfer students. More from the Sun Gazette.