Over on Greater Greater Washington, a mini debate is raging in the comments section about whether this Capital Bikeshare station (pictured, left) in Crystal City is a good idea.
It’s located on S. Eads Street at 23rd Street S, in what was previously a shared bike lane and vehicle travel lane (albeit one with a CaBi station on the side of the road). Now, the lane consists only of a protected bike lane and an in-street Capital Bikeshare station.
In support of the station, some say it has improved safety for cyclists while keeping the station off of the sidewalk. Also, it prevents conflict among drivers when two cars heading straight have to abruptly merge into one lane at the end of the intersection.
Those arguing against the station say it reduces lines of sight, making it harder for drivers to see cyclists and pedestrians crossing the intersection. It also is vulnerable to an errant driver and eliminates a lane used by cars turning onto 23rd Street. Finally, those returning and checking out bikes at the station may come into conflict with those using the bike lane.
Do you like or dislike the placement of the station?
ARLnow.com is holding its fifth anniversary bash in Crystal City tonight from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
If you haven’t booked your tickets yet, you can still do so through 5:00 p.m. on Eventbrite. Tickets will also be available at the door.
The event, at the ever-expanding headquarters of the Crystal Tech Fund and Disruption Corporation, will feature two hours of all-you-can eat food from Ruth’s Chris and plenty of wine and beer, thanks to our friends at the Crystal City BID.
To help celebrate our fifth anniversary (which technically is on Thursday), we’re recounting some of the top stories of 2010.
Coming off of the depths of the Great Recession, the year that was 2010 was especially active for business openings in Crystal City. Here are some of the memorable openings in our first year:
- The Arlington Community Federal Credit Union, presenting sponsor of tonight’s bash, opened its flagship Columbia Pike branch
- District Taco opened its first brick and mortar restaurant, on Lee Highway
- Buffalo Wild Wings opened in Crystal City
- Chick-fil-A opened in Crystal City, complete with people camping out in a nearby park for the opening
- Nordstrom Rack opened in Pentagon City
- Food trucks Bada Bing, Rebel Heroes and BBQ Bandidos launched. Only Bada Bing is still serving customers.
- Bakeshop opened in Clarendon, kicking off the Arlington version of the gourmet cupcake craze
- Red Mango opened in Clarendon, kicking off the Arlington version of the froyo craze
- Crumbs opened in Clarendon
- Northside Social opened in Clarendon
- Lyon Hall opened in Clarendon
- Bayou Bakery opened in Courthouse
See you tonight, Arlington!
Another Early Morning Fire — Arlington County firefighters rescued a man from an early morning house fire on the 2100 block of S. Randolph Street. This is the second day in a row that Arlington firefighters rescued someone from a house fire. [WJLA]
Association Moves from Alexandria to Arlington — The American Diabetes Association is moving from Alexandria to Arlington. The association has signed a 78,000 square foot lease for a building in Crystal City. The building, owned by Vornado, has been vacant since the previous military moved out due to the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Act. [Washington Business Journal]
Snow Total for Arlington — Yesterday’s afternoon snowfall resulted in an accumulation of 0.4 inches in Arlington, according to a measurement at Reagan National Airport. In the Great Falls section of Fairfax County, 1.8 inches was recorded. [National Weather Service]
Va. Considering All-HOT Lanes I-66 — Virginia is considering a plan to convert I-66 to HOT lanes only during peak periods. That would mean that transit and carpools of three or more people are allowed to use the highway for free during rush hours, but anyone else has to pay tolls. Construction could begin as soon as next year, with the goal of starting HOT lane service by 2017. [Washington Post]
Opening Date for Kapnos in Ballston — Kapnos Taverna, the new 165-seat Greek restaurant from chef Mike Isabella, has set an official opening date of Tuesday, Jan. 27. The restaurant is located at 4000 Wilson Blvd in Ballston.
Photo via @The_Old_Guard
The D.C. Tattoo Arts Expo is being held at the Crystal Gateway Marriott (1700 Jefferson Davis Highway) from Thursday night to Sunday night.
Organizers say the expo is “back, bigger and better than ever.”
“We will again have over 160 of the world’s best tattoo artists, including the finest tattoo artists from the DC Metro area,” according to the expo website. “We have more vendors, more clothing, more tattoos, more craziness and more fun than ever before.”
Attracting tattoo artists and enthusiasts, the event features live tattooing and body piercing. There are discounts for active duty military members and children under 12 get in free with a paying adult.
Launched on a Friday, on the eve of a snowy Saturday and a week before Snowmageddon, ARLnow.com has been published continuously ever since. During that time it has gone from being an informal local news blog based out of a Crystal City apartment to a professional news publication with full-time employees and an actual office.
By the time we officially turn five, two weeks from now, we’ll have published more than 10,000 articles, including on-the-ground breaking news reporting, big local scoops that became national stories, and plenty articles chronicling everyday life in our fair county.
To celebrate our big day, we’re inviting everybody to our anniversary bash. Our friends at the Crystal City Business Improvement District are helping to organize the event, which is being held from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 27 at Disruption Corporation’s headquarters (2231 Crystal Drive) in Crystal City.
The party will feature drinks and delicious appetizers, all included in the price of admission. Tickets are $20.10, but act fast because for “early adopters” they’re just $12.90 through tomorrow night.
See you there!
Update at 3:45 p.m. — The gas line has been shut off and the incident has been cleared. Northbound Crystal Drive remains shut down between Potomac Ave and 27 Street S. as repairs on the gas line continue.
Emergency crews are shutting down the 2600 block of Crystal Drive to repair a gas leak.
According to scanner traffic, multiple units from the Arlington County Fire Department are on scene for a hole in a four-inch gas line running underneath the street. Crystal Drive is under construction in the area and crews appeared to have hit the line while working.
The construction subcontractor that struck the gas line was working on the Crystal City Potomac Yard Transitway project, Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokesman Eric Balliet confirmed to ARLnow.com.
Police are also being dispatched to keep pedestrians away from the leak and to try to keep those in the buildings adjacent to the leak inside. One of those buildings is a large Environmental Protection Agency office at 2777 Crystal Drive.
The street is shut down from Potomac Ave to around 26th Street S. Drivers in the area should seek alternate routes. According to the scanner, police have cleared the buildings in the area and there are no evacuations.
There is no indication yet of when the leak will be repaired and how it may affect the evening rush. Washington Gas repair crews are on scene.
Photo via Google Maps
Murphy Apologizes for Snowy School Opening — Arlington Public Schools superintendent Patrick Murphy has personally apologized for the unpopular decision to open schools on time yesterday, in the midst of a snow storm. Murphy said APS, like other local school systems that also opened on time, had to make a decision early in the morning, when the forecast still called for less snow. “Once that decision is made, we are kind of locked in,” said Murphy. [InsideNova]
Salt Truck Slides Down Hill — The refreeze may have claimed a salt truck last night. A reader spotted a salt truck being pulled out of a ditch on N. Roosevelt Street. [Twitter]
Crystal City Profiled — As part of its ongoing “Where We Live” series, the Washington Post has profiled Crystal City, which the paper says is “not just underground anymore.” The neighborhood is noted for being convenient to various forms of transportation and having a very low crime rate. [Washington Post]
Remembering Kathryn Stone — Kathryn Stone, a “legendary figure in the history of Arlington County and the Commonwealth,” is remembered for her role in advancing the role of women in government. [Falls Church News-Press]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.
Eastern Foundry CEO and Founder Geoff Orazem said he expects to be full in his space on the fourth floor of 2011 Crystal Drive by “mid-February at the latest.” Its occupancy rate is just one example of the sweet spot his company has found in its sector.
Taking a walk through the halls of Eastern Foundry belies the future the company envisions. Outside a few of the office doors are framed fact sheets about the companies inside, with photos and bios, plus the company’s mission, relationships within the federal government and former jobs where the workers may still have contacts. These sheets will soon be outside every office, and are a resource for companies looking for partners or advice.
Every Thursday, Eastern Foundry hosts a seminar on issues government contractors face, led by a working expert in the field. These topics have already included GSA scheduling, and the ins-and-outs of Small Business Administration set-aside mandates. Eastern Foundry is also using the 10th floor of the Vornado-owned building — currently a vacant 40,000-square foot space – and turned it into an event space and flexible area for some of its tenants.
“No one has integrated residential, community and business development the way we have,” Orazem told ARLnow.com. He said Eastern Foundry is the first government-contractor-only incubator in the country.
Orazem is a former U.S. Marine Corps infantry platoon commander and graduate of Harvard Law School, but realized he wanted to help facilitate business success while working to set up a “tribally run trucking cooperative with government contracts” in Iraq and Afghanistan around 2009.
“We were having an amazing impact on development and security in the area,” he said. “I had far more influence by creating jobs than I ever did as a Marine.”
He spent three years working for McKinsey & Company in D.C. before he decided to try to start his own contracting firm in January. The process, he said, was far more onerous than he had imagined, and his background as a veteran and his “fancy named” college degree didn’t help.
“It wasn’t hard for reasons I thought were good reasons,” he said. “It was difficulty with the process. It was bewildering, bureaucratic, obfuscating and infuriating.”
Orazem realized the opportunity was there to help people like him get through the process. During a meeting with a friend at 1776 in D.C., he saw how collaboration was working for tech startups, and had a “mini-breakthrough.” He realized a cooperative space could have the same impact for contractors as it does for young tech companies.
Orazem hired Andy O’Brien at Jones Lang LaSalle to broker a real estate deal, and Vornado started aggressively pursuing Orazem to consider Crystal City.
“Vornado basically made us an offer we couldn’t refuse,” he said. “We’re really excited about the area and the vision of Vornado to recreate it as a technology and innovation center. They were really putting their money where their mouth was.”
HOT Lane Lawsuit May Haunt County — At a time when the state is studying HOT lanes and other possible changes to I-66 inside the Beltway, Arlington County’s past actions may come back to haunt it. County officials “burned some bridges” when they filed a lawsuit against VDOT in 2009 to block HOT lanes on I-395. The county has also lost some regional credibility by abruptly canceling the streetcar project. Efforts by Arlington to oppose any changes on I-66, therefore, may fall on deaf ears. [InsideNova]
Incubator Launches in Crystal City — Eastern Foundry, a “veteran-owned government technology and innovation incubator,” celebrated its launch in Crystal City yesterday. The company held a ribbon cutting ceremony with Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Vornado/Charles E. Smith president Mitchell Schear. [PR Web]
Man Arrested for Arlington Attack — Fairfax County Police have arrested a man wanted for allegedly attacking his ex-wife’s boyfriend in Arlington. In the June 15 attack on Columbia Pike, police say Edwin Patino-Medina ripped two necklaces off the boyfriend’s neck then tried to run him over with a car. [WUSA 9]
Menorah Lighting Tonight — Last night was the first night of Hanukkah. Tonight, in the park next to the Clarendon Metro station, Chabad Lubavitch of Alexandria-Arlington will hold a menorah lighting and community celebration. The event kicks off at 6:00 p.m. and features a “giant 6 foot menorah” plus music, potato latkes, chocolate gelt and “dreidels for all.” Tomorrow, the group will hold its annual Chanukah on Ice event at the Pentagon Row ice rink.
Flickr pool photo by Alves Family
Arlington-based PBS is celebrating the upcoming fifth season of its hit Downton Abbey with a building-sized mural on its Crystal City headquarters.
The temporary art installation, featuring the likeness of Downton character Lady Mary , is 90 feet high and 54.5 feet wide — 4,900 square feet total — and took about 140 hours to complete. It was installed at 2100 Crystal Drive in partnership with the Crystal City Business Improvement District and building owner Vornado/Charles E. Smith.
“Downton Abbey is the top PBS drama of all time and we are thrilled to showcase that in Crystal City, where PBS calls home,” said Angela Fox, president and CEO of the Crystal City BID, in a press release.
“Crystal City residents, workers, and visitors are encouraged to take photos of themselves with the project, and hashtag #DowntonPBS,” the press release said.
The fourth season of the British period drama drew an average audience of 13.2 million viewers, according to PBS, making it one of the highest-rated dramas on American television. The fifth season will premiere on Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015.
Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
Disruption Corporation in Crystal City (2231 Crystal Drive, 10th floor) is hosting the annual Tech Cocktail holiday party and all-star award ceremony tomorrow night.
The party will start at 6:00 p.m., end at 8:30 and costs $25 to attend ($35.99 if the guest wants a copy of Startup Mixology by Tech Cocktail’s Frank Gruber). All guests are encouraged to bring canned goods to donate to the Arlington Food Assistance Center.
Hundreds from the D.C. startup scene are expected to be in attendance, and awaiting the announcement of the annual awards. Winners will be named in the following categories:
- Best Design (Product)
- Best Bootstrapped
- Most Innovative Product
- Most Disruptive
- Biggest Pivot
- Best Company Culture
- Most Active in Local Community
- Most Likely to Get Acquired
- Best Social Good Startup
- Best Big Company with Startup Culture
- Most Charismatic or Best Founder(s)/Leader(s)
- Best Community Leader
There will also be a mixology demonstration and cocktails — naturally — for the occasion. After the event concludes, the remaining guests will migrate just one floor up for a happy hour at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse.
Photo via Teck Cocktail
Update at 6:30 p.m.: Investigators have determined that the substances found in the apartment were cleaning supplies and chemicals such as acetone, police spokesman Lt. Kip Malcolm told ARLnow.com. The substances were held in “weird containers,” for reasons unknown. Hazmat teams have cleared the scene.
Earlier: Police and the Arlington County hazmat team are investigating a possible drug lab found in a Crystal City apartment.
Arlington County Police, Virginia State Police and the hazmat team were called to the Crystal Square Apartments (1515 Jefferson Davis Highway) this afternoon after the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office found “suspicious items” and substances in an apartment during an eviction. The items include laboratory equipment like respirators, scales and beakers, according to ACPD spokesman Lt. Kip Malcolm.
The hazmat team is performing tests on the items to determine what they are and if they’re hazardous. While the equipment may be for some sort of drug lab, it’s not suspected to be a meth lab, which would have prompted evacuations. So far, the building has not been evacuated, Malcolm said.
There have been no reports of any health problems in the apartment building nor of any arrests made by police. Police have closed a portion of 15th Street S. near the scene as the investigation continues.
The bar applied for a live entertainment and dancing permit, which the Arlington County Board is set to review on Saturday, laying out plans for “musical ensembles, solo performers, deejays, karaoke, and comedians” to perform nightly until 2:00 a.m. County staff has recommended approving the permit with conditions that amplified music be limited to Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, when all windows and doors to the outside are closed.
Highline conducted open job interviews last week, and co-owner Peter Bayne told ARLnow.com “we had a lot of people show up, more than we ever expected.” The stack of applications is pretty full, but the bar “isn’t going to turn away a rock star,” he said.
The picture of the offerings for patrons is also starting to become a little clearer. Highline will have side-by-side pop-a-shot games as well as a “full shelf” of board games old and new. There will also be arcade games and, a month or two after opening, a new, high-tech gaming table.
“It’s an interactive game table with an LCD TV as the surface and Xbox Kinect cameras overhead,” Bayne said. “You can play games like tic-tac-toe or air hockey just by moving your hands above the table.”
The bar will also have 36 beers, a few wines and a “pre-mixed cocktail” on tap. Bayne also plans to incorporate some barrel-aging and other creative ideas around the libations. “We’re going to have a lot of fun with the beer program,” he said.
“This is definitely one of the more beautiful bars we built,” he said. His company, Bedrock Bars, co-owned with Geoffrey Dawson, owns 24 bars and restaurants, largely in the D.C. area. “I think Crystal City is going to love it.”
File photo (left) courtesy Robert Mandle
Vornado is planning a new 25-story office tower and a 28-story apartment building at Crystal Drive and 23rd Street S.
The redevelopment plan would demolish the current, vacant office building at 223 23rd Street. In addition to building the two new buildings — which would be two of the tallest in Crystal City — Vornado is planning on building a 13,000-square-foot park on the site, adjacent to the residential tower, and a 4,000-square-foot pocket park along Crystal Drive.
It’s unclear what would happen to Jaleo and Kora restaurants, which currently sit at the corner of the intersection, where the office building and the 4,000 square foot park will go.
The Washington Business Journal reported on the plans this summer, noting Arlington’s Site Plan Review Committee was scheduled to review the redevelopment proposal in “early fall.” According to the project’s site plan coordinator, Samia Byrd, the SPRC process has not yet started and “there are no public committee or commission meetings scheduled.”
A site plan review is one of the steps the proposal must take before being considered for County Board approval.
The buildings are part of Vornado’s plan to overhaul Crystal City as a technology and retail hub, and the office building — closer to the corner — is planned to have two floors of retail at ground level. If approved, it would deliver 658,365 square feet of office space and 28,675 square feet of retail, while the residential tower would have 1,754 square feet of retail and 353 units.
In order to complete the larger park on the side of the residential tower, and to make way for the realignment of S. Clark and Bell Streets, the plan calls for a second phase of the project which would tear down the Crystal Plaza 6 building at 2221 S. Clark Street S.
Crystal Plaza 6 is set to be renovated in order to become microunit apartments from the coworking space company WeWork. The company reportedly has a 20 year lease on the building.
New, protected bike lanes are now in place on S. Eads Street in Crystal City.
Crews were painting the new markings early this afternoon (Thursday) and there is no parking for stretches between 15th and 23rd Streets today or tomorrow. The road is now down to three lanes — two through lanes and a center left-turn lane — and there are bike lanes on each side of the road.
Parking has been removed on the northbound side, and the parking lane has been moved away from the curb on the southbound side of the road, to protect cyclists from traffic. The lanes are being referred to as a pilot program by the county, and county staff will study traffic patterns once the lanes are fully implemented.
“The idea for the Eads Street plan is that ultimately we’d rebuild the road with new curb and gutter and new geometry,” Arlington’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs Manager David Goodman said. “We’re testing it, certainly, to confirm that Eads Street will work okay as a protected bike lane, moving the parking out and the way it interacts with transit. Making sure that it is in fact a good idea to do that there. When funding opportunities come around, we can look at making more permanent changes.”
Goodman said the “flexi-posts” in place on the S. Hayes Street protected bike lanes should be installed this month.
The posts are helpful to motorists confused about where to park their car. Cars were reportedly ticketed earlier this week for parking in the bike lane before parking was prohibited entirely. There are no signs on the stretch of road to indicate to drivers where they are allowed to park, and one Twitter commenter said “1 painted bike per block clearly not sufficient guidance.”
From 23rd Street S. to Eads Street’s terminus at S. Glebe Road, the road has also been reduced from four lanes to three to accommodate a new bike lane, but the lane will be in the traditional place between parking and traffic, Goodman said, similar to the configuration along Wilson Blvd in Clarendon.