Construction on the Pentagon City Multimodal Project on S. Hayes Street is expected to wrap up this spring, county officials say.
The project has been under construction since the summer of 2012. It’s expected to bring numerous streetscape improvements to the stretch of Hayes Street between 15th Street and Army Navy Drive. The stretch includes entrances to the Pentagon City Metro station and the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall.
Some residents have been asking ARLnow.com when the project and its associated lane and sidewalk closures would end. Arlington County spokeswoman Jennifer Heilman says the end is near.
“Crews are currently working on traffic signal installation and landscaping in the median, which includes plantings, bioretention areas to manage stormwater runoff, and installation of porous pavement,” she said via email. “We expect construction to conclude by spring 2014.”
That’s within the project’s expected two-year timetable.
The $9 million project was approved by the County Board in April 2012. The features planned as part of the project include:
- Upgraded traffic signals with improved timing at each intersection
- Clearly designated mid-block crossing areas
- New, upgraded street furniture
- New street lighting and accent lighting
- New sidewalks, crosswalks and lane markings
- New ADA ramps and pedestrian crossing equipment at all intersections
- Bioretention and rain garden landscape features to manage stormwater runoff
- Improved landscaping including street trees and ground cover throughout the project area
- Improved amenities for bicyclists, transit riders, pedestrians and visitors to the Pentagon City area
(Updated at 10:20 a.m.) Two workers have been taken to the hospital after falling 20 feet at a construction site in Ballston.
The incident happened around 9:30 a.m. at an apartment construction site at 650 N. Glebe Road, across from the mall at the intersection of N. Carlin Springs Road.
Two workers were standing at a wall at the construction site when they somehow fell 20 feet into the construction pit, according to Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Bill Shelton. One worker was able to walk out and seek medical attention on his own power, while the other had to be lifted out of the site with a crane.
Both workers were taken to local hospitals with non-life threatening injuries, Shelton said.
A new temporary staircase and accessible path has been built near Potomac Yard.
The path leads from Potomac Avenue, behind the Eclipse condominium building, to the Four Mile Run trail.
The access way is a “long-term detour” that was installed as part of the Four Mile Run Restoration Project and a bridge demolition project, according to Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Jennifer Heilman.
In a letter to the editor of the Sun Gazette last week, Arlington resident Karen Lamb said that construction noise has gotten worse in Arlington in recent years.
“I moved here in 1994, and it was relatively tranquil,” she wrote. “Now, there is new construction going on all over, trees are being leveled, hilltops razed and the sound of construction equipment is everywhere, with the incessant beeping of bulldozers backing up… no longer can I have breakfast or lunch in the gazebo, and forget sleeping past 7 a.m.”
The noise is “unbearable ” and the county has refused to do anything about it, Lamb continued.
The north entrance to the station — the side that includes the skybridge escalator — will also be closed while WMATA starts Phase 1 of its renovation of the Rosslyn station.
“The bridges themselves are going to stay open, but the access to the escalator will be closed off,” said WMATA’s site supervisor, who declined to give his name.
One alternate way to reach the skybridges is via a staircase between N. Moore and Lynn Street, next to the new Rosslyn Metro elevator entrance.
The renovations are expected to take until April to complete. During that time the two up-and-down escalators will be replaced with staircase. Also, a connection to the new skyscraper next door, 1812 N. Moore Street, will be built, the official said.
The escalator removal is taking place despite earlier objections from the North Rosslyn Civic Association, which called the escalators “the only assistance provided to residents in negotiating the tremendous change in elevation between the center of Rosslyn and the adjacent community to the West.”
The removal of the escalators is necessary to make way for a new Arlington Commuter Store.
After Phase 1 is finished, the north side of the station will reopen and the south side will close for construction, the supervisor said. Phase 3 will be renovations to the N. Ft. Myer Drive entrance.
This weekend, the sidewalk that runs along the 1812 N. Moore project, north of the station, will reopen, and the temporary pedestrian walkway that juts into the street will close.
(Updated at 9:45 p.m.) The long-stalled plan to build a western entrance to the Ballston Metro station is taking a small step forward thanks to new transportation funding.
On Tuesday, the Arlington County Board approved a funding plan for the county’s share of revenue generated by Virginia’s new transportation legislation. The plan, which will be submitted to the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA), calls for $500,000 to be allocated to planning for the new Metro entrance during the current fiscal year.
The entrance is already partially designed. As proposed, it will be located at the intersection of N. Fairfax and Vermont Streets, allowing easier access to the new developments along Glebe Road in Ballston, the Bluemont neighborhood and other points west. The station will feature two street-level elevators and escalators, connecting to an underground passageway and mezzanine (with an attended kiosk) that will lead to the train platform.
“The County’s goal with the new funding is to advance the design of the West Entrance and proceed to construction,” said Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Laura G. Smith. “In the next few months, the County will assemble [stakeholders] and reexamine the previous preliminary design.”
In another set of funding priorities submitted to NVTA, for fiscal years 2015-2017, the Board requested $56 million over those three years to cover 75 percent of the estimated $75 million cost of constructing the new entrance. Additional funds for the project are expected to come in the form of a $11 million developer contribution — tied to an approved but thus far unbuilt redevelopment project — and from other local and state sources.
The funding request would suggest that the entrance could be built by 2018, but the construction timeline does not appear to be set in stone.
“The Ballston Metro West Entrance Project has a lot of moving parts,” Smith noted.
Also included in the FY 2015-2017 priority list is $10 million for the planned realignment of the eastern end of Columbia Pike, between the Air Force Memorial and the Pentagon. Arlington is hoping to reach an agreement with the military on the realignment plan and a related land exchange “within the next six months,” said Smith.
Four Arlington transportation projects were approved by NVTA this summer. Other transportation funding requests made by the County Board on Tuesday include:
- Clarendon Circle pedestrian safety improvements ($2 million)
- Crystal City street improvements ($2 million)
- New Arlington Transit bus maintenance facility ($2.25 million)
- Streetcar project management ($2.5 million)
- New traffic cameras and signals ($1 million)
- Design of improvements to Glebe Road ($2 million)
A milestone has been reached on the planned revamp of Ballston Common Mall, and the makeover can now move forward. Forest City, the mall’s owner/developer/manager, has purchased the Macy’s Furniture Store.
The purchase has been in the works for months and just recently was finalized. Forest City spokesman Gary McManus said Macy’s never resisted the offer to purchase, but both sides had to devise and agree upon terms for the deal.
“Macy’s is a very big company and this had to go through all of their channels,” McManus said. “They saw the opportunity to consolidate the store, to make the operation more streamlined and get everything in one location.”
The existing Macy’s anchor store will remain, and the furniture portion will relocate into the lower level of the main store. The redevelopment plan, which was announced in February, involves tearing down the furniture store structure to rebuild it as new retail space with residences above.
McManus explained that the furniture store structure would need to be rebuilt and reinforced because currently it is not strong enough to support the addition of residences above. Should Forest City not receive approval to add the residences, the furniture store might not need to be completely demolished, but instead renovated for other retail options.
The whole mall complex will be rebranded as “Ballston Center.” In addition to all of the interior renovations, the idea is to have more stores with street entrances.
“What we’re trying to do is open it up onto the street. We’re seeing more malls with restaurants and stores and such that have entrances to the outside,” McManus said. “It’s a big trend in malls.”
Forest City is now moving forward with presenting the plans to the county. The County Board must approve the multi-phase development before construction can begin. So far, there is no timeline for approval and the beginning of construction.
Food and retail options at Reagan National Airport will soon take on a new look. The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) has launched a wide ranging food and retail development program for DCA and Dulles International Airport.
MWAA plans to redevelop about 95 percent of DCA’s concessions over a 30 month period. The revamp will occur in five phases, with construction on the first kicking off in the next few weeks. Customers can expect to see changes both before and after passing through security checkpoints.
“This allows us to take advantage of broader trends and designs in the industry to provide enhanced offerings for our passengers,” said MWAA spokesman Chris Paolino. “This is something that’s been in the works for quite some time.”
During the planning process, Paolino said MWAA researched airports around to the world to determine the best practices in the concessions industry, noting what works well at an airport and what does not. It also took into consideration feedback about what existing concessions customers like and what they would like to see added in the future.
As mentioned yesterday, well-known restaurants and stores such as Ben’s Chili Bowl, Legal Sea Foods, Pinkberry and Spanx will be added. Those phase one additions will be joined by others such as Brighton Collectibles, Lacoste and Vineyard Vines. Some existing restaurants and stores, such as Five Guys and Brooks Brothers, will remodel and/or expand. The 34 phase one offerings at DCA are expected to open sometime in the spring of 2014.
The redevelopment plan released today estimates each restaurant will be under construction for about four months and stores will take a little more than two months. MWAA will do its best to stagger construction so not all of the food and retail will be under construction at the same time.
“We want to maintain as many dining and shopping opportunities as possible for passengers while this is being done,” Paolino said. “We’ll try to limit the inconvenience as much as possible.”
MWAA plans to put out regular updates about which concessions are under construction and which will open soon. Customers can get updates on the Reagan Food and Shops website or via the DCA Twitter feed.
Update at 4:30 p.m. — Police say the 35-year-old man who fell at the construction site has been pronounced dead at Virginia Hospital Center. Police remain on the scene as part of the investigation. OSHA is on the way to the scene to conduct its own investigation.
Earlier: Medics are performing CPR on a construction worker who fell two stories at a construction site on Columbia Pike.
The worker fell about 20 feet at the Rosenthal development site at the corner of Columbia Pike and S. Glebe Road. He is reported to be unconscious and bleeding from the ears, according to scanner traffic.
A technical rescue team has been dispatched from the scene and is discussing using a crane to extricate the worker from the site.
Police have shut down all southbound lanes of Glebe Road at Columbia Pike due to the emergency response. Arlington County detectives and state occupational safety investigators are en route to the scene.
The new $32.6 million facility, on the opposite side of N. Moore Street from the current entrance, will feature three high-speed, high-capacity elevators.
The entrance will be able to serve up to 2,000 riders per hour, according to Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services. Officials have said that they hope the entrance will help keep pace with the station’s soaring ridership, which has increased 23 percent in the past decade and is expected to increase even more with new office and residential development in the area.
Arlington County will be holding a grand opening ceremony for the new entrance — at 1811 N. Moore Street — on Monday, Oct. 7 at 9:30 a.m. The event will feature members of the County Board and will be open to the public.
In addition to the elevators, the station improvements include an emergency evacuation stairwell, a mezzanine passageway, a new station manager kiosk and new fare collection equipment. The Rosslyn Metrorail station is the busiest in Virginia, servicing more than 36,000 passengers per day, according to DES.
After numerous construction delays, James Hunter Park will finally open tonight in Clarendon.
The $1.6 million park has both dog- and people-friendly features like a community canine area, pathways, a picnic area, demonstration garden, public art, lighting, and solar panels that power the irrigation system. Crews have been putting the finishing touches on the park this month, according to Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Roberta Korzen.
“Over the past few weeks remaining amenities have been installed and all final inspections were approved,” Korzen said in an email. “Accordingly, County staff conducted a walk-through inspection late this week and declared the park safe for use.”
“As typical with construction, there will be some outstanding items to be completed after the park opens,” she added. “Therefore you may see construction workers in the area from time to time and areas of the park may be temporarily closed to users.”
The new park replaces what was previously a fenced-in grass field used exclusively as a dog park. A ribbon cutting ceremony is being planned and will take place later this fall.
File photo from July 26, 2013
Building Permits for Major Projects — Developers have filed applications to begin construction on two major building projects. At 20 stories, the soon-to-be-built office building at 4040 Wilson Blvd will be the largest of the three Liberty Center buildings in Ballston. Also set for construction: 2145 Lee Highway, better known as the Bergmann’s development. That project will include 175 apartments, 27 townhouses and a MOM’s Organic Market. [Washington Business Journal]
At Kettler, Olympic Hopefuls Expect Gold — The prospective USA Hockey players who are holding orientation camp at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston through Thursday expect to be a favorite to win gold at the Sochi Olympic Games in 2014. [Associated Press]
Copperwood Tavern Now Hiring — “Cabin-style” restaurant Coppperwood Tavern, located in the former Bistro Bistro space at 4021 Campbell Avenue in Shirlington, is now hiring. The restaurant will hold an employment open house for all positions tomorrow (Thursday) from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. [Facebook]
Catching Up With Dave Arlington — “Our Man in Arlington” columnist Charlie Clark chats with WASH-FM deejay Dave Arlington, who used to be a disc jockey at Arlington-based WEAM. [Falls Church News-Press]
Wilson Blvd between N. Rhodes Street and Courthouse Road was closed this weekend to remove a crane from the “superblock” construction site, and at least one business owner says he’s out thousands of dollars as a result.
Wilson Whitney, co-owner of Rhodeside Grill at the corner of Wilson and Rhodes, estimates he lost as much as $3,000 during the closure, largely because he wasn’t given proper notification of the closure.
“I was given no notice or warning this was going to take place,” Whitney wrote in an email. “This has virtually closed down our restaurant… I could have at least staffed and stocked accordingly or maybe even closed for some of our own improvements.”
Department of Environmental Services spokeswoman Laura G. Smith said the county granted a transportation right-of-way permit to Crane Rental Company to close that section of Wilson Blvd from 9:00 p.m. Friday to 5:00 p.m. Sunday.
“All permits are granted with the understanding that the company will notify all affected property owners in the adjacent work area,” Smith said. Crane Rental Company president Michael Scott told ARLnow.com that he was unfamiliar with the specific notification process undertaken.
Work on one of the under-construction apartment buildings on the “superblock” is expected to wrap up by year’s end. The other is expected to be complete by the spring of 2014.
Photo courtesy of Wilson Whitney
Restoration Anglican Church in Cherrydale began demolition on its 150-seat church this morning, clearing the way for a new church building in the same spot.
Rubble already covers the church’s grounds at 1815 N. Quincy Street, as construction crews quickly tore down the small, brick building. Temporary church services will now be held at 5:00 p.m. on Sundays at Little Falls Presbyterian Church at 6025 N. Little Falls Road.
When Restoration Anglican Church congregation formed in January 2009, with less than 100 members of its congregation, it rented space for services from Trinity Baptist Church at the Quincy Street location. When Trinity disbanded in 2010, Restoration bought the building and has called it home ever since.
The building permit for Restoration’s new church was issued Aug. 12, and construction crews wasted no time in getting started. The congregation raised more than $2.4 million toward the design and construction of the building, according to Restoration’s website.
The new building will house a 375-person sanctuary, classrooms and will have a front porch for post-service gatherings. Whereas the old church was “quaint” and centered on the property with grass surrounding it, Parish Administrator Kat Vinson said the new one will be almost to the limits of the property.
“It was exciting to watch [the demolition begin] this morning,” Vinson said.
The construction of the new church is projected to take 8-12 months, Vinson said. Restoration hopes this building will last its congregation, which is about 500 strong, for years to come.
(Updated on 8/15/13) Construction of the new Wakefield High School is wrapping up as school officials prepare for the first day of school on Sept. 3.
The $113 million project broke ground in 2011. It is expected to receive a LEED Gold certification for sustainability, thanks in part to having — when completed — 400 geothermal wells, each 500 feet deep, to heat and cool the school.
The main entrance of the school opens into what Project Manager Bill Herring calls the “town hall,” a large open space that will be filled with couches and chairs for students to congregate. Adjacent to the town hall is an outdoor courtyard, where students will be able to take their lunches or their work, since it will be WiFi enabled soon after the school year begins.
“It was important to have a heart of the building,” said Wakefield principal Chris Willmore, “and this is it.”
Wakefield High School’s soon-to-be-demolished old building housed students for 63 years, well past the building’s expected lifespan of 40 to 50 years, Herring said.
The new school will help accommodate continued growth of Arlington’s student population. Wakefield is expected to open with about 1,500 students this fall, while the building’s capacity is 1,960, with the possibility of expanding even more if necessary, Willmore said.