Rosslyn Apartment Building to Sell for $220 Million — The JBG Cos. has reached a deal to sell its new Sedona Slate apartments in Rosslyn for $220 million. The company spent about $150 million to develop the two-building apartment project, which had a ribbon cutting ceremony in June. [Washington Business Journal]
APS Competition to Reduce Dropout Rate — Arlington Public Schools (APS) announced a competition for data analysts to help the school system prevent students from dropping out. Analysts will help APS identify trends and hopefully will find ways to flag students who could use more one-on-one time with counselors. Assistant Superintendent for Information Services Raj Adusumilli told ARLnow.com the winning team of analysts likely will be announced by the end of this winter. Although no firm date is in place for finishing the data analysis, the school system anticipates being able to use the gathered information by about February 2014 in order to help students make class choices for next year. [Washington Post, Arlington Public Schools]
Opera Singer Wins Talent Competition — Opera singer Garrick Jordan won first place in the second annual “Arlington’s Got Talent” competition. Jordan beat out six other competitors on Sunday (November 18) at Clarendon Ballroom. [Sun Gazette]
The Latitude Apartments will be a 12-story apartment building with 265 residential units and 262 underground parking spaces, on the 3600 block of Fairfax Drive. It will feature a 2,800 square foot “cultural and educational space,” 3,100 square feet of retail space, a public plaza and pedestrian walkway, outdoor seating and a water feature.
Other community benefits include LEED Gold sustainability certification, 14 committed affordable units, a $75,000 public art contribution and funding of utility and transportation improvements.
The project received mixed feedback during the public comment period, with some residents speaking out for it and some against it. Those who opposed it said an office building, not an apartment building, should be built on the site, in keeping with the county’s original land use vision set forth in the 2002 Virginia Square Sector Plan.
Many on the opposition side were residents of nearby condominium buildings, who wore matching badges expressing their opposition. Concerns included added noise, traffic and pedestrian congestion, crowding at the Virginia Square Metro station, visitors parking in residential neighborhoods and other “quality of life issues.”
“My view is that an office building would be the better use,” said resident Anita Wallgren. “I live across the street. By taking action today in a decisive way to deny the applications, you would affirm the sector plan and improve the integrity of the county’s planning process.”
Those supporting the project said the developer, Penrose Group, has been responsive to residents. The development, supporters said, will be a net positive for the neighborhood.
“I love the design of the project from the renderings I’ve seen,” said Judd Ryan, a member of the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association. ”Throughout this process I’ve struggled to understand the opposition to this project. The [office] vacancy rate is the highest I’ve seen since living in this market. No developer would build office here without a significant pre-lease.”
County staff spent time refuting claims that the apartment building will have a significant impact on crowding at the Virginia Square station. The station is one of the most under-utilized stations in Arlington, staff said, and the new building will only add about one additional passenger per inbound train during the morning rush hour. In keeping with rates seen at similar apartment buildings, about half of residents will end up driving to work, staff estimated.
The Arlington transportation and planning commissions sided with those opposed to the project, recommending against changing zoning for the site. The Arlington Chamber of Commerce weighed in with a letter, supporting the project and the principals of transit-oriented development. In the end, the Board voted 3-2 for the project, with Chris Zimmerman and Mary Hynes casting the dissenting votes.
Zimmerman said the project is attractive on its own, but that’s not justification enough for “throwing overboard a sector plan.”
“Do we disregard long-term plans because of the appeal of an individual project?” he asked. “That for me is the fundamental problem.”
Jay Fisette stated that he doesn’t “want to send a message that the sector plan isn’t important,” but said the county may have to reexamine its expectations for commercial office development given the current high vacancy rate and market changes like the Silver Line to Tysons and the increasing number of employees who work from home or in co-working environments.
“Conditions in the market are changing,” Fisette said. “Adjustments might be necessary in sector plans.”
Libby Garvey said a sector plan is a guiding document but isn’t dogma.
“The plan is a tool but it’s not something that tells us absolutely what to do,” she said. “Otherwise you wouldn’t need a [County] Board.”
Garvey dismissed concerns about noise — “I assume the people in that building are not going to make any more noise than you all in your building” she said — and crowding at the Virginia Square station — “one of the least-used Metro sites.” She said adding additional housing in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor will help keep housing costs down.
“One of the reasons housing is so expensive here is because there’s not enough of it, there’s unmet demand,” she said.
The Latitude Apartments project has received a thumbs up from county staff members, fresh off of last week’s Arlington Planning Commission recommendation to defer consideration of the proposal. County staff recommends the County Board approves the plan during its meeting on Saturday, November 16.
Both the Planning Commission and the County Board deferred the issue during their July meetings in order to examine more information regarding complaints about the plan. The largest concern has been about changing the site’s status from commercial, as designated in the Virginia Square Sector Plan, to mixed-use residential.
In addition to rezoning the site, the proposal includes demolishing the existing one- and two-story buildings on the property to construct a 12-story, 265 unit residential building, with 14 affordable units. The building would have more than 3,100 square feet of ground floor retail space and around 2,800 square feet of ground floor space dedicated to cultural and educational uses. The plan includes a 12,000 square foot public plaza at the corner of Fairfax Drive and N. Monroe Street, which would have a pedestrian connection to Quincy Park.
County staff members note that the immediate area has changed since the sector plan was created, and recent expansion there makes it unnecessary to preserve additional commercial space at this time. The staff report reads, in part:
“Office uses, which were encouraged to increase the daytime population, maintain the existing medical office presence, and facilitate shared parking, have increased by over 700,000 square feet since the plan was adopted, albeit not at the same pace as residential development. However, institutional growth has significantly increased in Virginia Square, including George Mason University, which also contributes to the desired daytime activity in this area. Further, GLUP-based estimates of additional development capacity within Virginia Square indicate there is remaining development potential on blocks slated for either office or mixed land uses, which would help further sector plan goals for additional office growth… Staff finds that the proposed site plan, while not meeting all of the indicated uses of the sector plan, is generally consistent with Virginia Square Sector Plan guidance for the site and the GLUP… Therefore, staff recommends that the County Board adopt the attached resolution to rezone the subject property from ‘C-2′ to ‘C-O’. Staff further recommends that the County Board adopt the attached ordinance to approve the subject site plan, subject to the conditions of the ordinance.”
Two other issues that arose regarding the project are that the building height would exceed the sector plan’s recommendation by three feet and that the parking ratio would be 0.9 spaces per residential unit instead of the standard 1.0 space per unit. County staff did not consider either of these substantial enough to recommend against approving the proposal.
Three houses are being torn down to make way for a new apartment building in the Lyon Park neighborhood.
Developer Clark Realty expects to begin demolition on the vacant houses, on 9th Road N. behind Jay’s Saloon, within the next week. Construction on the new building, which will feature 18 one-to-three bedroom apartments and 33 parking spaces, is expected to take about a year.
The building, dubbed 9th Road Residences, is being built “by right,” meaning County Board approval is not needed. The new structure will be adjacent to another Clark-built apartment building on 9th Road. Both are about the same in scale: 3 stories high with a half-sunken ground floor.
Clark is planning to rent the apartments, but they’re being built with “condo-level finishes” so that the building can be converted to condominiums if market conditions dictate.
The project is adjacent to but separate from Clark’s “10th Street Flats” development, which will eventually result in the closure and demolition of Jay’s Saloon (3114 10th Street N.) and several other small businesses. That development must first go through Arlington’s site plan process.
At an informal neighborhood meeting with the developer last night, Lyon Park residents expressed little objection to the 9th Road project, but raised some concern about traffic that might eventually come from 10th Street Flats.
Arlington’s Feuding Bike Donation Charities – “Arlington, surprisingly, is home to not one but two nonprofits that donate bicycles to the underprivileged in Africa and elsewhere,” writes Our Man in Arlington columnist Charlie Clark. “Our 26-square-mile county, however, may not be big enough for both – the two groups do not ride alongside each other smoothly.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Pike Apartment Ad from the ’60s – The Columbia Pike apartment complex now known as the Wellington is seen in a 1960s-era advertisement uncovered by Ghosts of DC. The then-new “Executive Apartments” were “designed to meet the requirements of successful executives who can command the finest in luxury air-conditioned apartment living,” the ad says. Rent for a one bedroom was $135 per month. [Ghosts of DC]
Library Reminds Feds to Return Books — Furloughed federal employees might not have access to their government email accounts, and thus might miss reminder emails from the library about overdue items. Arlington Public Library is reminding feds that they can keep track of their account through the library website. [Arlington Public Library]
New Nauck Civic Association Website — The Nauck Civic Association recently unveiled a new website, which includes a history of the neighborhood. Also known as Green Valley, the neighborhood was settled by a freed slave in 1844. [Nauck Civic Association]
The fire broke out around 2:30 p.m. in an apartment on the 700 block of S. Florida Street. According to initial reports, the fire started on the stove of one of the apartments and spread to the cabinets.
Firefighters have managed to extinguish the flames. No injuries have been reported.
Update at 7:50 p.m. — Officers entered the apartment and found a 37-year-old man dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to police. A Chihuahua that was in the apartment has been turned over to animal control. Units are clearing the scene.
Earlier: Police have surrounded an apartment building on S. Glebe Road, near Shirlington, after officers heard a gunshot from one of the apartments.
Shortly before 4:00 p.m., officers responded to the Twenty400 building (2400 24th Road S.) to check on the welfare of a man who had not shown up for work for several days. Upon making entry into the apartment, officers heard a gunshot, according to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. They immediately backed out of the apartment and called for additional resources.
The apartment complex has been at least partially evacuated. Arlington’s SWAT team and bomb squad are now on the scene, preparing to use a robot to look inside the apartment, Sternbeck said. Police negotiators are also on scene. They’re not sure whether this might be a case of a suicide, or a subject who’s barricaded in the apartment.
“We don’t know what we have inside at this time,” said Sternbeck.
Police and bomb squad units have staged around apartment building, blocking at least one lane on S. Glebe Road and causing some traffic backups. Drivers should expect delays in the area.
Photo courtesy Brian Ossip
Some of the ongoing construction on the Courthouse “superblock” along Wilson Blvd and Clarendon Blvd, from N. Courthouse Road to N. Rhodes Street, may begin wrapping up by the end of this year.
Barring any major setbacks or weather delays, the proposed completion date for the development at 1900 Wilson — referred to as 19Nineteen Clarendon — currently stands at December of this year. It had previously been expected to open this summer. Construction on the neighboring 2001 Clarendon — which is considered a joint project with 19Nineteen Clarendon — is expected to finish in the spring of 2014. 19Nineteen Clarendon is managed by Harkins Construction and 2001 Clarendon Blvd (sometimes called Washington View) is managed by S.E. Foster.
The developments will be separated by the yet to be built extension of Troy Street. According to Arlington’s Department of Environmental Services (DES), it appears Harkins may be working with S.E. Foster to transfer the required completion of Troy Street to S.E. Foster. That would allow S.E. Foster to complete the final street paving once construction on its building finishes next year.
When completed, 19Nineteen Clarendon will be a 200 unit luxury apartment complex. It occupies the space where an office building and Hollywood Video once stood. 2001 Clarendon Blvd took over the space once belonging to a Taco Bell and Dr. Dremo’s Taphouse, and will be a seven story, 154 unit residential building with more than 30,000 square feet of ground floor retail.
DES and the county’s Community Planning and Housing Division both report that thus far there have been no issues with the development process for the project.
The Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing is planning to build a 104-unit apartment building to replace its three-story, 27-unit Carlyn Springs apartment complex near Ballston.
The site, at the intersection of N. Carlin Springs Road and Thomas Street, has gone through its first round of site plan approval meetings with the county, planning commissioners and civic associations, APAH President and CEO Nina Janopaul said. The new building is planned to be in an “S” shape, with five stories and underground parking. The building plan was amended to preserve a 100-year-old tree on the site.
“It’s going to be really first-class affordable housing,” Janopaul said. APAH acquired the property in the 1990s and watched the area turn into one of Arlington’s strongest commercial and residential neighborhoods. “It’s turned into a very successful land-banking opportunity.”
(The spelling of the name of the apartment complex, Carlyn Springs, differs from the name of the road it’s on, Carlin Springs.)
APAH hopes to have county approval for the $35 million redevelopment by the end of the year, and while it waits, it will apply for a loan from the Arlington Housing Investment Fund and for a federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit. The result of those applications should be determined in March, setting up the start of construction before the end of 2014, Janopaul said.
Eighty of the building’s 104 units will be two- to three-bedroom units intended for families. A handful of the apartments in the current building are near-market-rate units, and to encourage those residents to come back to the new building, Janopaul said about eight of the apartments will not be low-income units.
As for the residents currently living at Caryln Springs, Janopaul said they will have the chance to move into affordable housing spaces in the surrounding area. Some, however, have said that they will use being displaced as impetus for moving elsewhere. Others, she said, are looking forward to living in a new building after being in a space that hasn’t been renovated since it was built nearly 50 years ago.
Photo (left) courtesy of APAH. Photo (right) via Google Maps.
(Updated at 3:10 p.m.) A woman has died after falling from the top of a building in Ballston.
Initial reports suggest that the individual, currently believed to be female, jumped from the top of the Randolph Towers apartment building, at 4001 9th Street N., and landed on a car parked in front of the 9th Street side of the building.
A witness tells ARLnow.com that a man was inside the vehicle when the woman landed on it. He was unhurt but ran out of the vehicle, distraught, we’re told. The vehicle has diplomatic license plates.
The woman left several bags on the roof of the building, according to police radio traffic. Police are investigating the incident as a probable suicide.
A man died after jumping or falling from Randolph Towers in April 2011.
If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, help is a phone call away. Call CrisisLink at 703-527-4077.
The County Board is scheduled to examine a proposed development that has angered some residents in Virginia Square. The Board, however, will likely defer the issue at its meeting this Saturday in accordance with a county staff recommendation.
The matter before the Board is a request to consider the proposal for the Latitude Apartments at 3601 N. Fairfax Drive. It involves rezoning the property from commercial to residential and approving a site plan for 265 apartment units, more than 3,000 square feet of retail and more than 2,800 square feet of cultural/educational use. There is also a request to allow an encroachment into a public street and utilities easement in order to add balconies along the N. Monroe Street side of the building.
Residents at the nearby Monroe Condominium (3625 10th Street N.) and others in the neighborhood have voiced opposition to the proposal, claiming the plan has progressed without adequate community input. The largest concern appears to be with rezoning the space to residential, which the residents note violates the Virginia Square Sector Plan. Opponents have also raised concerns about the influx of new residents from the apartment complex causing congestion at the Virginia Square Metro station.
Earlier this month, the Planning Commission held a meeting and residents explained their issues with the project. Members of the Planning Commission voted unanimously to support the county staff recommendation of deferring the issue for further study of the concerns raised.
With a deferral, the Planning Commission would take up the matter again at its November 4 meeting and the County Board could then address the proposal at its November 16 meeting.
‘Luxury’ Apartment Rent Falling in Arlington — Rents for Class A apartments in Arlington and Alexandria fell 4.5 percent in the second quarter of 2013, “a clear sign that the supply of new apartments is catching up to demand.” The average Class A rent in Arlington and Alexandria is $1,973 a month. [UrbanTurf]
Kroger Buys Harris Teeter — Ohio-based grocery chain Kroger has purchased Harris Teeter. So far, the company is not planning any significant changes for Harris Teeter stores, which will retain their branding and management. [Washington Post]
Still No Tenants for Rosslyn Skyscraper — The new 35-story office building at 1812 N. Moore Street in Rosslyn — now the D.C. area’s tallest building other than the Washington Monument — is set to open in October. However, the building, which was built “on spec” by owner Monday Properties, could open without a single tenant. [WJLA]
All-American Honors for DJO Softball Stars — Bishop O’Connell softball stars (and recent graduates) Tori Finucane and Jillian Ferraro have been chosen as All-Americans by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick
New Laws, Sales Tax Hike Takes Effect in Va. — Today, July 1, a number of new laws take effect in Virginia. Among them: a new law cracking down on texting and driving, the decriminalization of unmarried cohabitation, and an increase in the sales tax in Northern Virginia from 5 to 6 percent. [WTOP]
NSF Buildings to Be Sold, Redeveloped — Changes may be on the way for the two office buildings in Ballston being vacated by the National Science Foundation in 2017. One of the building is being offered for sale, while the other is being considered for a conversion to apartments or a hotel, according to the Washington Business Journal.
Challenge to Va. Gay Marriage Law Considered — The law barring same-sex marriage in Virginia may face legal challenges in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision on the Defense of Marriage Act, according to several local elected officials. [Sun Gazette]
Wayne Street Apartments to be Renovated — The Wayne Street Apartments on 2nd Street S. in Penrose have been acquired by developer Penzance. The company plans to renovate the aging complex, raise rents and incorporate the complex into the Myerton community apartment across the street. [Globe St.]
Flickr pool photo by Eschweik
(Updated at 5:35 p.m.) A new Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches shop is coming to Rosslyn.
The eatery is the first business to lease a ground floor retail bay in the new Sedona | Slate apartment complex at 1510 Clarendon Blvd.
The 14-story, 474-unit complex, developed by the JBG Companies, held a ribbon cutting ceremony yesterday morning. JBG representatives were joined by Rosslyn BID Executive Director Cecilia Cassidy, state Sen. Barbara Favola, County Board Vice Chair Jay Fisette and County Manager Barbara Donnellan.
Already, 70 percent of the 271-unit Sedona tower is leased, while all 55 committed affordable units in the complex are leased. The 203-unit Slate tower will begin leasing next month. The complex features rooftop pools, LEED Gold sustainability certification and planned cafe seating for retail tenants along Clarendon Blvd.
Jimmy John’s has two existing Arlington locations, at 2450 Crystal Drive in Crystal City and 550 N. Quincy Street in Ballston. A JBG rep tells us the new restaurant in Rosslyn is hoping to open early this fall. So far, no building permits have been issued.
The Sedona | Slate project was beset by a couple of construction incidents in 2011, including the partial collapse of a retaining wall and a rescue operation for a crane operator who suffered a medical emergency.
County Invests in Supportive Housing — Arlington County has matched a $500,000 grant from the Arlington Community Foundation to convert 10 units at the Marbella Apartments in Rosslyn to Permanent Supportive Housing. The apartments will be offered to the county’s most vulnerable homeless residents at a rate affordable to those making about $22,500 per year. [Arlington County]
Spring Athletic Achievements — Sportswriter Dave Facinoli recounts some of the most notable achievements of Arlington teams and athletes this spring. [Sun Gazette]
Advertising Firm Moves to Rosslyn — Local ad agency LM&O Advertising is moving to Rosslyn. The 94-person company signed a 10-year lease for the top floor of the new office building at 1776 Wilson Blvd, which will also soon be home to Pier 1 Imports and 100 Montaditos. LM&O plans to move from its current office in Courthouse in December.
Ribbon Cutting for New Apartment Complex — A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 9:30 this morning for the new Sedona and Slate apartment complex at 1510 Clarendon Blvd in Rosslyn at 9:30. According to developer JBG: “Sedona is 271 units, and is about 70 percent leased. Slate is 203 units and will begin leasing soon; delivery is expected in July.”
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick