There’s progress on the brick work construction that has left Courthouse Plaza torn up for more than a year. But not enough progress that visitors can expect to walk through anytime soon without dodging fences.
A section near N. 15th Street, close to the AMC Theatres, appears to be finished and crews have moved farther into the plaza. Just looking around the area reveals that there’s a significant amount of brick that hasn’t even been torn up yet, much less replaced. The project is already nearly a year behind schedule.
Some business and restaurant owners are frustrated with how long the project has taken, and how it has driven away customers. Toscana Grill Operating Partner Joe Smith said the construction has definitely hurt his business. With the warm weather, the restaurant has set up tables outdoors. However, the usual area for outdoor dining is currently reduced because it’s partially blocked by the brick work.
“I knew there were going to be things that I have to overcome, and this is just one of those things. We’re just trying to bide our time and stay optimistic,” Smith said. “We’re looking forward to the brand new patio.”
Smith says customers have commented on the construction, but many dedicated patrons continue to show up despite the mess. He notes there’s been a lot of progress recently and hopes crews will move on to a new section in a week or so, and Toscana Grill will be able to reclaim its full outdoor space.
We contacted Vornado, which owns Courthouse Plaza, but did not receive a call back.
Two months ago we reported that the brick work that has turned Courthouse Plaza into a maze of fences was behind schedule.
On the surface, it doesn’t appear that much progress has been made on the project since then. We spotted a small construction crew working on the big patch of bare ground in front of the AMC movie theater and the county government building yesterday afternoon, but it’s not clear what exactly they were doing.
Residents, needless to say, aren’t happy with the state of affairs.
“I live in Courthouse Plaza and walk through the disaster area every morning. I avoid it at all other times,” one resident wrote, in an email to ARLnow.com. “Why[is it] taking so long to just do half the plaza? Last week they ripped up an additional section — the walkway connecting the west end of the plaza to 14th Street — so apparently the project isn’t abandoned. However, there seems to be ZERO progress on any other part of the site.”
We reached out to Vornado, the owner of Courthouse Plaza, but haven’t heard back.
We’re told by a source that the project will most likely not be completed this month, the anticipated completion date that TBD.com reported in February. No official word yet on how much longer the project might take. Multiple calls seeking information from the owner of Courthouse Plaza, Vornado Charles E. Smith, have gone unreturned over the past week.
Courthouse Plaza is the home of restaurants, small shops, a movie theater, a hotel, county government’s main office building and a Courthouse Metro entrance. The project has resulted in a gauntlet of fences around the plaza, and the displacement of some outdoor seating, but access to businesses and Metro has been maintained.
Currently, workers are using pools of water to test the sealant used underneath the brick pavers. The pavers themselves — which, we’re told, only arrived recently after a significant delay — are stacked near the county government building, awaiting installation.