63°Scattered Clouds

by ARLnow.com — May 5, 2014 at 10:00 am 1,791 0

View from a jetliner over the Pentagon (photo courtesy @jdsonder)

CEB May Anchor New Rosslyn Skyscraper — The Corporate Executive Board is considering jumping ship from its current Rosslyn office to anchor the planned office skyscraper in JBG’s Central Place development in Rosslyn. Should a deal with JBG go through, construction would start on the office skyscraper, which is currently on hold even though its companion residential skyscraper is being built. [Washington Business Journal]

WaPo Takes on Clarendon — “In the past decade and a half, Clarendon has seen a steady influx of hip eateries, high-rise condo buildings and happy 20-somethings in search of organic quinoa,” writes the Washington Post, in an article about “what to do in Clarendon.” [Washington Post]

Polls Suggest Beyer is Frontrunner in Congressional Race — Former Virginia lieutenant governor Don Beyer is leading in polls taken in the figurative backyards of his opponents. Beyer is leading in Charniele Herring’s House of Delegates district, Adam Ebbin’s state Senate district and in the city of Alexandria, where Bill Euille is mayor. Of the areas polled, only Patrick Hope in his House of Delegates district is beating Beyer. The polls were sponsored by the Democratic website Blue Virginia. The Democratic candidates vying to replace Rep. Jim Moran in Congress will debate tonight at George Mason University’s Arlington campus.

‘Outstanding Volunteers’ Named — The Arlington County Board on May 13 will honor 7 individuals and two teams for outstanding volunteer service to the county. [Arlington County]

New Development Coming to Falls Church — A new seven-story mixed-use building is coming to the City of Falls Church. The development, at 301 West Broad Street, will feature 282 apartments, a Harris Teeter store and another retail space. [Greater Greater Washington]

Photo courtesy @jdsonder

by ARLnow.com — April 29, 2014 at 4:10 pm 2,965 0

Rosslyn Commons development sketch Future site of Rosslyn Commons development

A new townhouse development is coming to Rosslyn.

Dubbed “Rosslyn Commons,” the development will consist of 25 upscale, single-family attached townhomes on a “large landscaped plaza.” It’s being built on what is now a vacant lot along N. Oak Street, behind the new Sedona and Slate apartment complex and across the street from the Belvedere condominium.

The project is a joint venture between Los Angeles-based real estate investment firm Resmark and Vienna, Va.-based developer Madison Homes. From a press release:

The project’s four-story townhomes will be built of variegated brick facades with architectural details reminiscent of late 19th Century brownstones. All will have two-car garages accessed through a private central alley that provides direct entrance into each home. The homes range in size from 2,300 to 2,599 square feet and feature three bedrooms, three and a half baths and a study.

The main living level in each home will have a rear deck and most homes will have a rooftop terrace with available fireplace and hardwood flooring. Elevators will be standard in most units, and distinctive interior finishes will include luxury appliances in the kitchens, Silestone countertops, ceramic and distressed hardwood floors and oak stairs.

“Rosslyn Commons is a prime example of Madison Homes’ prowess in developing high-quality residential communities in the area’s most desirable urban pockets,” the company said in a press release. The presale of homes is expected to begin in September.

by ARLnow.com — April 23, 2014 at 7:00 pm 2,881 0

Wilson School (photo courtesy Preservation Arlington)(Updated at 12:00 p.m.) Arlington Public Schools is backing off a plan to sell its Wilson School property to a developer. Instead, the school system and the county are exploring the possibility of building a new 1,300-student secondary school on the property.

Located at 1601 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn, the Wilson School was built in 1910 and preservationists have been calling for it to be restored rather than torn down. Under a plan approved by the School Board last summer, it was to be demolished to make way for a private mixed-use development with affordable housing, a new fire station and a 1.5 acre park.

Now, according to a press release (after the jump), that plan has been scrapped in favor of retaining the property and perhaps building a new secondary school at the site, to address the school system’s capacity crunch.

The Wilson Boulevard school is envisioned as a brand new secondary school, not a new location for the 624-student H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program, currently located in Cherrydale, according to Assistant Superintendent for Facilities and Operations John Chadwick.

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by Ethan Rothstein — March 27, 2014 at 1:30 pm 5,305 0

(Updated at 2:00 p.m) The Wendy’s fast food restaurant at the intersection of N. Courthouse Road, Wilson Blvd and Clarendon Blvd appears likely to be replaced by a 12-story office building in the coming years.

Carr Properties submitted a preliminary site plan to the county’s zoning division yesterday outlining its plans for the 12-story building with about 6,800 square feet of ground story retail. The building — called 2025 Clarendon Blvd — will replace the Wendy’s at 2038 Wilson Blvd and the Wells Fargo bank at 2026 Wilson Blvd. The plan calls for the Wells Fargo to occupy some of the ground floor retail space in the new building.

The office building will have 233 underground parking spots with entrances to the lot built on a cut-through street. The parcel is on almost 25,000 square feet of land area, and the building will have about 181,275 square feet of floor space for office uses.

Carr Properties also designed a small plaza at the main intersection with benches and plantings for shade. As part of its community benefits package for additional density, it’s proposing either making a public art contribution or incorporating art into the plaza. Other parts of the community benefits package include: plans for the building is planned to be LEED Gold-certified; undergrounding the utility lines and improving the streetscape along Wilson and Clarendon Boulevards.

The Courthouse Sector Plan Addendum calls the site a “major gateway” and calls for a “focal feature” at the main intersection when the Wendy’s is ultimately redeveloped. The application says the building fulfills that goal with the building’s “unique glass column that will serve as an iconic architectural feature in Courthouse.”

The building’s north-facing side — which looks out over parts of the old brick Colonial Village complex — includes a set-back from the street and a “stucco-type” design to bring it more in line with the look of that block. To the east of the planned building, two new apartment buildings are also under construction, which are planned to also include ground floor retail.

by ARLnow.com — March 21, 2014 at 11:15 am 2,875 0

(Updated at 2:25 p.m.) A groundbreaking was held Thursday for Verde Pointe, the new residential and retail development on the former Bergmann’s Dry Cleaning site.

The ceremony was held at the site, at Lee Highway and N. Veitch Street, and featured Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette and representatives from the developer and other companies involved in the $80 million project.

Verde Pointe, which was approved by the County Board in December 2012, will feature 177 apartments in a 10-story building, 23 townhomes, a 14,000 square foot Mom’s Organic Market and other retail spaces.

Construction is expected to wrap up in the spring or summer of 2015, according to a spokeswoman. The full press release about the groundbreaking, after the jump.

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by Ethan Rothstein — March 19, 2014 at 10:30 am 2,796 0

Courthouse Square mapArlington is asking residents and interested parties to participate in a 10-month community planning process to shape the future of the county’s civic center in the Courthouse neighborhood.

The first community planning workshop for “Envision Courthouse Square” will be held at Key Elementary School (2300 Key Blvd) in the cafeteria on Wednesday, March 26.

The county has dubbed a 9-acre area around the county’s large surface parking lot “Courthouse Square.” A mix of county- and privately-owned land and buildings, Courthouse Square could potentially be transformed into a mix of new developments, roads and open space.

“We are looking to the community to help us plan an extraordinary civic center that will not only house County government, but will provide a great public space to serve Arlingtonians for generations,” Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette said in a press release.

The effort, the county says, will be the most comprehensive look at the future of Courthouse since the 1993 Courthouse Sector Plan Addendum. The Courthouse Square Planning and Urban Design Study Working Group, formed by County Board action in October 2013, will take the public’s suggestion and formulate it into a plan moving forward.

The five areas the working group, and the community, will evaluate are open space, building location and design, circulation (moving cars, pedestrians and bicycles through the area), community resources and sustainability.

The working group, made up of residents, business owners and community leaders and chaired by Planning Commissioner Nancy Iacomini, is expected to have recommendations for the County Board by the end of 2014.

by Ethan Rothstein — March 17, 2014 at 1:45 pm 2,169 0

Hyatt Place rendering for Wilson Tavern locationConstruction is expected to begin this summer on a 161-room hotel at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Adams Street after the Arlington County Board approved its site plan on Saturday.

The hotel construction will displace Wilson Tavern and Northern Virginia Mixed Martial Arts on the 2400 block of Wilson Blvd.

The construction will also include four single-family homes behind the hotel on 16th Street N., acting as a buffer between the new building and Lyon Village’s existing single-family homes. The houses standing now, which are occupied by renters, according to the county, will be torn down and replaced.

The motion required amending the property’s General Land Use Plan, a process that began in 2009 before Wilson Tavern had even opened. Despite the lengthy process, County Board Chair Jay Fisette hailed the way the proposal made its way through the county government.

“What’s nice about today is we had three speakers, very little outstanding to talk about,” he said during the meeting. “That’s because the commissions did a great job, the community and neighbors did a great job in reaching an attractive end point. I hear it’s called the Dream Hotel. It’s been a dream process here in the end.”

The eight-story building will also include a 1,300-square-foot restaurant space, separate from the bar and cafe that will be in the hotel lobby. There will be 80 dedicated parking spaces and the building is expected to be LEED Gold-certified, which qualified the developer, Schupp Companies, for bonus density.

Of the three speakers, two were representatives of the Lyon Village and Clarendon-Courthouse Civic Associations, who endorsed the project. The third was Jim Hurysz, who criticized the Board for what he said was an unacceptably low contribution to the Affordable Housing Investment Fund: $586,000. The developer has agreed to contribute about $1.5 million to the county to replace the Courthouse Metro Station elevator with two high-speed units, County Manager Barbara Donnellan said.

“While some of us would like a larger amount [for affordable housing], a lot of times there are other community benefits that must be taken into consideration,” Board member Walter Tejada said. “We also have an amount that’s going to affordable housing. Would I want it to be more? Absolutely, but in other days, it would have been none.”

The Metro elevator contribution, along with a previous contribution from the approved Clean Technology Center, will allow elevator construction to begin before 2020, Donnellan said, and funds at least 50 percent of the costs. It was originally planned for after 2020 in the 2013-2022 Capital Improvements Project.

Schupp Companies is also providing funds for constructing a bus shelter on Wilson Blvd and improving the streetscape in the area.

by Ethan Rothstein — March 13, 2014 at 12:00 pm 2,434 0

Rappahannock Coffee (photo via ChipIn.com)The historic designation for the Rappahannock  Coffee and L.A. Nails buildings has been downgraded to clear the way for an apartment building to be built in their place.

The County Board will likely decide on Saturday to designate 2408 Columbia Pike and 2338-2344 Columbia Pike as “historic facades,” a step down from their current “historic buildings” designation, which grants them full preservation.

The two buildings were designated as historic in 2002 as part of the Columbia Pike revitalization plan. According to the county’s staff report, they were again designated historic in the plan’s 2005 update.

“The [Form-Based Code], like the 2002 and 2005 Columbia Pike Initiative plans, does not provide a specific rationale for the historic designations or guidance on changing such designations,” the staff report states.

A historic facade designation would help to preserve the front of the building, but would allow the rest of the building to be demolished.

The decision to downgrade the protection was approved unanimously by the Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board. The property owner, B.M. Smith and Associates, discovered that the buildings were built in the 1950s, not the 1930s “as staff had assumed” when giving the structures their historic designation, according to the staff report.

by Ethan Rothstein — March 11, 2014 at 2:30 pm 4,522 0

Hyatt Place rendering for Wilson Tavern locationThe Arlington County Board could approve a plan to replace Wilson Tavern in Courthouse with an eight-story hotel at its meeting on Saturday.

Schupp Companies owns the property and is hoping to build a 161-room Hyatt Place hotel at 2401-2407 Wilson Blvd, at the intersection with N. Adams Street. The proposed site plan also includes four single family detached houses to be built along 16th Street N. to provide a buffer between the hotel and the existing Lyon Village neighborhood.

When Wilson Tavern opened in 2011, replacing Kitty O’Shea’s, Schupp Companies owner Ray Schupp already was planning a hotel for the space. Wilson Tavern isn’t expected to close, but rather move to a separate location and then perhaps into a planned 1,300-square-foot restaurant space next to the new hotel’s entrance. The Washington Business Journal reports that Wilson Tavern’s temporary space could be somewhere in Ballston.

Wilson Tavern in CourthouseSchupp is requesting density above the maximum allowed for its rezoning, but county staff is recommending approving the bonus density in exchange for a $1.54 million contribution to building a new Courthouse Metro Station elevator and a commitment to achieve LEED Gold certification. The Metro contribution, along with a previous contribution from the approved Clean Technology Center, will allow elevator construction to begin before 2020, when it was expected in the 2013-2022 Capital Improvements Plan.

Schupp is also requesting to construct 80 parking spaces, below the standard for hotels of its size, which county staff agreed was appropriate considering the space is about 500 feet from the Courthouse Metro Station.

The hotel would be at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Adams Street, and the restaurant space would be to the west. If approved, Northern Virginia Mixed Martial Arts would also be displaced. The WBJ also reports that Schupp is hoping to break ground on the project in June.

Image via Arlington County

by ARLnow.com — February 14, 2014 at 10:00 am 1,869 0

Snowy Rock Spring (Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann)

Va. Gay Marriage Ban Ruled Unconstitutional — A federal judge has overturned Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban, in what the New York Times describes as “the strongest legal reversal yet of restrictive marriage amendments that exist throughout the South.” The judge stayed the ruling, pending an appeal, meaning that gay couples will still not be able to get married in Virginia for the time being. [New York Times, Blue Virginia]

Blue Goose Redevelopment a Year or More Away — A groundbreaking on the redevelopment of Marymount’s “Blue Goose” building in Ballston is not likely to take place until next winter at the earliest. [Sun Gazette]

Behind Arlington’s Snow Decisions — There’s a reason why Arlington County typically makes a decision on whether to open, open on a delay or close for the day at 5:00 a.m., well after some other jurisdictions. Arlington and Alexandria both usually wait until after a 3:00 a.m. Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments conference call, in which various governments and agencies discuss street conditions and their go or no-go decisions. [Washington Post]

Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann

by ARLnow.com — February 13, 2014 at 10:30 am 2,736 0

Snow covers Arlington, Feb. 13, 2014

Work to Begin Soon on Bergmann’s Development — Developer McCaffery Interests is planning to begin demolition work soon on the former Bergmann’s dry cleaning plant, at the corner of Lee Highway and N. Vietch Street. Workers could be seen surveying the building last week. On the site, McCaffrey will build a mixed-use development now called “Verde Pointe.” The project, which was approved in 2012, includes 177 apartments, 23 townhomes and a 14,000 square foot MOM’s Organic Market grocery store. [Washington Business Journal]

Opower Files for IPOCourthouse-based energy efficiency company Opower has filed for an initial public stock offering. The company has nearly 500 employees across 5 offices worldwide. It was founded in 2007. President Obama visited the company’s Courthouse headquarters in 2010. [Wall Street Journal]

Bar to Host ‘Condoms and Candy Necklace Party’ — In honor of Valentine’s Day, Wilson Tavern in Courthouse (2403 Wilson Blvd) will be hosting a “Condoms & Candy Necklace Party” tomorrow (Friday) from 8:00 p.m. to close. [Clarendon Nights]

by ARLnow.com — February 4, 2014 at 1:15 pm 3,786 0

Central Place residential towerThe McDonald’s at 1823 N. Moore Street in Rosslyn will soon be closing to make way for a 31-story mixed-use residential skyscraper.

Developer JBG expects to begin construction on the first of two planned towers of its Central Place development by early spring, the company says. The 31-story, 355 foot tall building will house 377 “impeccably-designed residences” along with 25,000 square feet of retail space. There will also be a 15,000 square foot public plaza built with the development.

“Central Place will be a striking addition to the Virginia skyline and offer some of the most spectacular views available of the nation’s capital,” JBG said in a press release. “It will be the tallest building in JBG’s development portfolio.”

The building will also be one of the tallest, if not the tallest, residential building in the Washington, D.C. metro area. No word yet on whether the building will consist of rental apartments or condominiums.

The development will require the closure and demolition of an existing, stand-alone McDonald’s restaurant and a small existing public plaza. The site is on the same block as the new entrance to the Rosslyn Metro station.

Rosslyn McDonald'sChevy Chase-based JBG, which is partnering with the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio to finance the development, told Rosslyn stakeholders that construction will begin soon and the McDonald’s demolition will be underway by May.

“Beginning next Monday, February 10th, Clark Construction will mobilize and construction will begin with the installation and relocation of utility lines on North Lynn Street,” the company said. “Demolition of the existing McDonalds building and excavation activities will begin in approximately 3 months.”

Last year JBG completed then sold the Sedona and Slate apartment development, located at 1510 Clarendon Blvd in Rosslyn. The company is planning to eventually build a matching Central Pace office tower, to the south of the residential tower.

by Ethan Rothstein — January 27, 2014 at 10:45 am 1,787 0

Rendering of proposed development on "Blue Goose" siteThe distinctive “Blue Goose” building in Ballston is heading for the proverbial wrecking ball after the Arlington County Board approved replacing it with an office and a residential building.

The Board unanimously voted to redevelop the 1963 building, allowing the developer The Shooshan Company, in partnership with Marymount University, to build a nine-story office building and a 15-story, 267-unit residential building with 11 dedicated units of affordable housing.

The entire site will sit on three levels of underground parking, with 317 office spaces and 264 residential spaces. There will also be 3,000 square feet of ground floor retail space.

Marymount University will occupy the first six stories of the office building with plans to expand into the final three floors in the future. The office building will front on Fairfax Drive while the residential building will sit on the corner of Fairfax and N. Glebe Road.

In additional to the affordable housing — which includes a $275,000 donation to the Arlington Housing Investment Fund — the Shooshan Company also agreed to contribute more than $4.5 million toward the construction of a west entrance to the Ballston Metro Station and $1.15 million for improvements to the Ballston beaver pond restoration project and Custis Trail. The buildings are expected to be built to a LEED Gold environmental standard.

The developer will also build a 7,600-square-foot public plaza and an east-west pedestrian walkway between the two buildings, a 10-foot-wide cycle track on Fairfax Drive and allow public access to the planned auditorium inside the office building. The “Blue Goose” is considered a model of the 1960s-era “Modern Movement” architecture, and some of its distinctive panels will be preserved and displayed in the new buildings, as well as distributed to local museums.

“The plaza will have blue seating, blue lighting and benches with panels that will depict the history of the building, re-using blue and white panels from the existing building,” according to a press release. “The office building will incorporate a blue panel design at its base that will be reminiscent of the ‘Blue Goose,’ and a horizontal blue spandrel glass band at the top of the second story.”

“Marymount University is an important institution in Arlington, and it is great to see it expanding its presence in Ballston,” County Board Chair Jay Fisette said in the press release. “The new buildings will be attractive and energy efficient, and will come with many benefits for our community, including affordable housing, a public plaza, and a significant contribution to building a western entrance to Ballston Metro.”

by Ethan Rothstein — January 23, 2014 at 4:15 pm 1,303 0

The Springs Ballston rendering‘The Springs,” a proposed five-story, 104-unit affordable housing building to replace the Carlyn Springs apartment complex, could be approved this Saturday by the Arlington County Board.

County planning staff is recommending the Board approve the site plan amendment, rezoning and General Land Use Plan amendment required to increase the housing density from 27 garden-style units on the site to a 104-unit mid-rise building.

The proposal, in the Buckingham neighborhood on the corner of N. Carlin Springs Road and Thomas Street, calls for two levels of underground parking with 110 total spaces and more than 5,000 square feet of office space, which will serve as the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing’s (APAH) new office.

“The proposed General Land Use plan amendment, rezoning and site plan follows the guidance in, and implements the vision of, the North Quincy Street Plan Addendum for this particular site and adheres to good urban design practice,” the staff report states. “The siting and design of the proposed apartment building is sensitive to the transitional nature of the site, and 71 net new committed affordable housing units are being created within walking distance to a Metro station.”

Overhead diagram of The Springs apartment building proposalAccording to the staff report, the size of the building allows for a transition from the high-rises of Ballston to the north to the townhouses and small apartment buildings to the south. In addition, the proposal would widen the existing sidewalks on Carlin Springs Road and Thomas street from 4-5 feet wide to 13 feet wide on Carlin Springs and 11 feet wide on Thomas Street.

Of the 104 units, 98 are projected to be committed affordable housing, and 80 of those affordable units will be two- or three-bedroom apartments intended for families. The developer also agreed to negotiate a public access easement adjacent to the building intended for a future mid-block park.

The Buckingham Civic Association raised some opposition during community meetings, according to the staff report, claiming the redevelopment is inconsistent with the Buckingham Neighborhood Conservation Plan.

by Ethan Rothstein — January 22, 2014 at 11:00 am 3,266 0

"Blue Goose" building in Ballston (photo courtesy Preservation Arlington)The developer that plans to demolish the “Blue Goose” building in Ballston has agreed to contribute more than $6 million to community improvements for the Ballston area.

The proposed site plan amendment for the project will go before the Arlington County Board at its meeting this Saturday, Jan. 25. The Shooshan Company hopes to bulldoze the distinctive blue building at the corner of Fairfax Drive and N. Glebe Road and replace it with a nine-story office building — to be used to house the Marymount University programs now in the Blue Goose — and a 15-story residential high-rise.

The request for increased density comes with a proposed donation of $1.15 million toward the Ballston beaver pond restoration project and improvements to the Custis Trail, and a $4.57 million contribution to the Ballston Metro west entrance project.

County Planner Samia Byrd said the contributions would connect the Custis Trail to a cycle track that the developer plans to build along Fairfax Drive. The final designs for the improvements “are still under review,” Byrd said, but they could include building a planted buffer between the existing sidewalk and Fairfax Drive and making the sidewalk smoother for pedestrians and cyclists.

Rendering of proposed development on "Blue Goose" siteThose improvements would first have to be approved by the Virginia Department of Transportation, but Byrd said they would effectively extend the Custis Trail to N. Glebe Road.

The contribution to the Metro entrance is just one chunk of the proposed $75 million project. The entrance, which is partially designed and planned for the intersection of Fairfax Drive and N. Vermont Street, still has no timeline for construction, according to Byrd.

The Ballston Pond restoration project is already underway. Logs were removed that were holding the water in the pond and it drained completely by November. Construction on Ballston Pond to improve the habitat for wildlife is expected to begin in the spring.

The redevelopment, and demolition of the infamous building, drew criticism from historic preservation group Preservation Arlington, which named it one of the most “Endangered Public Places.” The developer has since agreed to keep some of the blue panels as elements in the new buildings, while others will be donated to local museums.

The “historical attributes” of the 1960s-era building will be “incorporated into the design of the proposed office building and landscaping in the public plaza and courtyard,” according to the county staff report.

Other community benefits proposed in the site plan include a $75,000 public art contribution, a $106,000 utility underground fund contribution, a $567,000 Transportation Demand Management contribution over 30 years, a public plaza and walkway, a $258,000 contribution to the Affordable Housing Investment Fund and LEED Gold certification.

Construction will remove the surface parking lot on the site and, because the office building will be largely used for education purposes, the Shooshan Company has requested a reduced mandatory parking ratio. The residential building includes 3,000 square feet of ground floor retail and 267 units, some of which will be committed affordable housing.

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