A groundbreaking was held this morning for the new 3001 and 3003 Washington Boulevard office project in Clarendon.
Local officials, including Rep. Jim Moran and County Board Chair Mary Hynes, were joined by officials from Penzance, the project’s developer, at the ceremony.
Demolition work on the one block construction site actually got underway while the ceremony was taking place, we’re told. Taking the place of the small buildings that once occupied the block — including those housing a restaurant, a car dealership, a gym and a bank — will be two office buildings. Construction on the 8- and 10-story buildings is expected to wrap up in early 2014, according to Penzance.
St. Paddy’s Day Is Almost Here — Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day, so expect some crowded bars and some intoxicated individuals along the R-B corridor. See our 2012 St. Patrick’s Day Guide for a list of some of the local watering holes that are holding special St. Paddy’s Day events.
Groundbreaking on New Courthouse Apartments — Construction is now underway on Grayson Flats, a 67-unit luxury apartment building located at 1200 N. Rolfe Street. The developer, Tysons-based Insight Property Group, say the building will be convenient to the Courthouse Metro station. Construction is expected to wrap up this fall. [Washington Business Journal]
Arlington Dems Get New Website — The Arlington County Democratic Committee launched a redesigned website earlier this week. In a blog post, the organization acknowledged that their old website was “lame.” [Arlington Democrats]
T.A. Sullivan Starts Removing Gravestones — Gravestones are apparently starting to be moved off the old T.A. Sullivan & Son property in Clarendon. The cemetery monument business, and every other business on the block, has closed or is closing to make way for a new office complex. [Clarendon Culture]
The first new building proposed under the Crystal City Sector Plan reached Arlington’s Site Plan Review Committee this week.
The gleaming 24-story office building, complete with a unique cantilevered roof, would replace what is now an older government office building that’s nearly vacant as a result of the Base Realignment and Closure Act (BRAC). Under the proposal currently under initial consideration, the existing building — 1851 S. Bell Street — would be torn down and the new building would be built and relabeled 1900 Crystal Drive.
At some 730,000 square feet, we’re told that 1900 Crystal Drive would be the largest private office building in Arlington County. Developer Vornado is hoping to achieve LEED Silver or Gold environmental certification for the building.
“We’re really excited that such a gorgeous building is [being proposed],” said Crystal City Business Improvement District President and CEO Angela Fox. “It’s a bold statement about where Crystal City is headed.”
(Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser.)
Up the road, changes are in the works for another existing office building along Crystal Drive.
The building known as Jefferson Plaza One, which has also been affected by BRAC, is expected to be renovated starting this spring.
The building will be “re-skinned” with a largely glass exterior and will be relabeled 1400 Crystal Drive. Building owner Lowe Enterprises has scheduled a groundbreaking event for the project on March 29.
The Residence Inn is part of the Founders Square development, which by fall 2014 is expected to consist of two high-rise office buildings, one high-rise 257-unit apartment building, and a smaller building reserved for retailers — in addition to the hotel. All told, the complex will feature 775,000 square feet of office space and 28,000 square feet of retail space.
Penzance Buys Another Arlington Building — Local real estate firm Penzance is upping its investment in Arlington. The company just closed a multimillion dollar deal to buy a 7-story office building at 1555 Wilson Boulevard in Rosslyn. The building, which houses tenants like the Washington Business Journal and George Washington University, is across from another Penzance-owned building at 1500 Wilson Boulevard. Penzance plans to renovate the 1500 Wilson Property, while at the same time moving forward with plans to build a large new office building in Clarendon. [CityBiz Real Estate]
AHC Pays Back Loan, Expands to P.G. Co. — Nonprofit, Arlington-based affordable housing developer AHC Inc. has repaid the remaining principal and interest on a $1.5 million loan it received from Arlington County in 1994. The loan was used to buy the Harvey Hall Apartments, a 116-unit affordable apartment complex in Columbia Heights West. AHC was able to repay Arlington the remaining $717,167 on the loan thanks to a refinancing. Meanwhile, AHC is planning to expand its service area to Prince George’s County, Md. [AHC Inc., CityBiz Real Estate]
Groundbreaking for Crystal City ‘Gateway’ Project — The Crystal City Business Improvement District broke ground on a $300,000 project that will beautify a triangular lot that serves as the southern gateway to Crystal City. “It’s part of a larger effort to replace the concrete neo-brutalism [architecture of Crystal City] with modern glass and steel,” writes reporter Michael Lee Pope. A revamped northern gateway is also in the works. [WAMU]
Photo courtesy Jay Cohen
A drab piece of vacant land that serves as the decidedly unspectacular southern entryway to Crystal City will soon be getting a new look.
The 30,000 square foot, triangular lot at the intersection of Crystal Drive and Jefferson Davis Highway will be getting “a large-scale lighting and landscape enhancement that will create a truly enticing gateway experience.”
“The project adds new turf, 28 trees, and beautiful LED lighting features laid out in an interesting and attractive geometric pattern that continues up the façade of the southernmost building in Crystal City,” according to the Crystal City Business Improvement District. Nearly 50,000 drivers per day pass by the entryway. The revamped look will communicate “the excitement and vibrancy of Crystal City,” according to the BID (see illustration, below).
A groundbreaking will be held on Monday, Oct. 3. Construction is expected to wrap up by Thanksgiving.
Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
(Updated at 3:40 p.m.) A groundbreaking was held this morning for the new Arlington Mill Community Center.
County Board members Walter Tejada and Chris Zimmerman, County Manager Barbara Donnellan and Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization Executive Director Takis Karantonis were among the officials in attendance, along with construction company representatives and county employees.
Construction on the new, five-story community center is expected to start shortly and wrap up in the summer of 2013. The center will include a full-size gym and fitness center, a senior center, teen center and game room, visual arts studio, a job resource center, a community learning center, several multi-purpose rooms for community events, retail space and a public plaza at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Dinwiddie Street. The cost of the bond-financed project is estimated at up to $25 million.
“In these challenging economic times, it is more important than ever that we invest and plan for the future of our community and provide opportunities and services for those who need it most,” Donnellan said. “The new center will benefit all who live here by serving as an anchor for the community. It will not only provide essential services for our residents, but it will also draw future development and amenities to the area.”
Separately, a 122-unit affordable housing complex is being built adjacent to the community center. Work on that project is expected to stretch through the end of 2013.
Photos courtesy Arlington County
Pentagon City Water Balloon Prank Shatters Windshield — Someone apparently thought it would be funny to throw water balloons at cars leaving the Pentagon City mall parking garage on 15th Street. Perhaps it was funny, up until the point where one of the water balloons hit the windshield of a family’s minivan and shattered it as they were driving. [WUSA9]
Groundbreaking Set for Arlington Mill Center — The ceremonial groundbreaking for the new Arlington Mill Community Center (909 S. Dinwiddie Street) has been set for 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 24. [Sun Gazette]
Burglaries from Secure EFC Parking Garage — Two Cadillac Escalade SUVs had their tires and wheels stolen from the ‘secure’ parking garage under the luxury Crescent Falls Church apartment building (2121 Westmoreland Street) in East Falls Church yesterday morning, according to residents. Police are investigating.
Artisphere’s Shakespeare Co. Gets New Name — Washington Shakespeare Company, which now counts Rosslyn’s Artisphere as its home base, has a new name. The scrappy theater company is now known as WSC Avant Bard. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Jason OX4
Groundbreaking for Lee Highway Condos — The Christopher Companies has broken ground on Dominion Heights, a 66-unit condo building at 3565 Lee Highway. Construction is expected to last 14-18 months. [Marketwire]
Suggestions for Field Near Ballston Mall — One writer has a suggestion for a barren quarter-acre field next to the Ballston Common Mall parking garage at the corner of Glebe Road and N. Randolph Street. The field should be turned into a public plaza, complete with specimen trees and a lunch kiosk, GGW’s Joey Katzen writes. [Greater Greater Washington]
It’s Accordion Awareness Month — One Arlington resident and hardcore accordion enthusiast describes how she’s celebrating National Accordion Awareness Month. [Patch]
(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) School officials, County Board members and other local dignitaries donned helmets and shovels to help break ground on the new, $118 million Wakefield High School today.
Over the next 2-3 years workers will build a 380,000 square foot school to replace the existing, 60-year-old building. The new Wakefield will feature 50 classrooms, state-of-the-art science labs, a 625 seat auditorium, a media center, two new athletic fields, two gyms, two pools, a diving well and a geothermal heating and cooling plant.
“It’s a very significant investment that’s going to be a great asset to the county,” said County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman. “Obviously, investing in the kids is the most important aspect of it, but it’s also something that’s going to provide services to Arlingtonians who don’t even have children in the school system. It’s a commuinity center, as all schools are. It will be a great symbol for the county.”
Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy said the new Wakefield is a testament to the hard work of school employees, supporters and students, past and present.
“There has been a lot of energy and focus, and a lot of community involvement,” Murphy said. “I think it sends a really strong message about the belief in public education”
The new building is expected to be ready for occupancy by July 2013, with final project completion by the spring of 2014.
Wakefield Groundbreaking Today — At 9:30 this morning Arlington Public Schools officials will hold a groundbreaking for the new, $116 million Wakefield High School. Construction on the school is expected to begin next month and wrap up by fall 2013.
Planetarium Group Nears Fundraising Goal — The Friends of Arlington’s Planetarium group has raised more than $350,000 to renovate the aging David M. Brown Planetarium, which supporters helped to save from being mothballed by the school system. The Friends were given the goal of raising $402,800 by June 30, but observers expect that the current haul — plus the haul from one final fundraiser — will be “close enough.” [Sun Gazette]
Crystal City Profiled — “Once considered an area to work but not play, Crystal City has blossomed into a hub of activity for residents and tourists. With roughly 11,000 residents, 5,600 hotel rooms and a number of tallish buildings, the community often has the feel of a bustling city,” says the D.C. Examiner. The paper’s profile of Crystal City credits part of its new-found bustle on the neighborhood’s burgeoning restaurant and bar scene. [Washington Examiner]
Report on BRAC Impacts — With the Base Realignment and Closure Act-mandated relocation of Defense Department offices delayed, BRAC’s impact on Arlington County will be eased considerably, according to a new report from real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle. The report presents the drain of DoD offices from Crystal City and the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor as a chance for building owners to update and redevelop. “If anything, we see this as an opportunity for Arlington County -as a whole – to reinvent itself somewhat, to update older inventory, and to cement its place as the leading submarket in the Metro D.C. area,” the report said. [Citybizlist]
Wakefield Groundbreaking Scheduled — The public is invited to attend a groundbreaking for the new Wakefield High School next week. The groundbreaking will take place at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 9, outside the Aquatics Center. Construction of the new 380,000 square foot building is expected to begin next month, with students expected to start using the building in the fall of 2013. [Arlington Public Schools]
Leeway Overlee Community Day and Yard Sale — The 33rd annual Leeway Overlee Community Day and Yard sale will be held along the John Marshall/Ohio Street greenway from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. “About 100 local families and other vendors offer a wide range of items for sale, including plants, clothes, sports equipment, and furniture,” organizers say. [Craigslist]
Don Quixote Opening — Synetic Theater’s production of Don Quixote will have its opening night Saturday in Crystal City (1800 South Bell Street). The show starts at 8:00 p.m. The production runs through July 3.
Flickr pool photo by Mark C. White
The JBG Companies broke ground today on the latest large construction project to hit Rosslyn.
The project, formerly known as Rosslyn Commons but now being called Sedona and Slate, will consist of two residential towers on the 1500 block of Clarendon Boulevard.
The 14- and 12-story towers will have about 450 housing units, including 55 affordable housing units. The buildings, which will be LEED Silver certified, are expected to have sweeping rooftop views. One building will have a rooftop pool.
JBG says they’re targeting restaurants to fill the ground floor retail slots. To further entice potential eatery tenants, the company is promising cafe seating along Clarendon Boulevard.
Among those at the groundbreaking this morning were County Board Vice Chair Mary Hynes, County Board Member Barbara Favola and Rosslyn BID Executive Director Cecilia Cassidy.
This was the second residential project to break ground in Rosslyn so far this year. Abdo Development held a groundbreaking for the Gaslight Square luxury condo development earlier this month. Meanwhile, work is well underway on a new Skanska-developed office building on the 1700 block of Wilson Boulevard.
Hang On To Your Hat – A wind advisory is in effect until 9:00 tonight for the entire metro area. The National Weather Service says to expect sustained winds of 25 to 30 miles per hour, with gusts of 45 to 50 miles per hour. So far, the wind has not caused any major problems in Arlington. Dominion is reporting only 17 customers without power in Arlington as of 6:30 a.m.
Local Snowstorm a Bust, But Travelers Stranded — As it turns out, the snowstorm that was supposed to hit D.C. yesterday left barely a dusting. But at Reagan National Airport this morning, there is evidence of what could have been. The storm ended up blanketing northeastern cities with up to a foot and a half of snow, causing major disruptions to air, rail and bus travel. Many travelers who were trying to fly from Reagan National to Philly, New York or Boston instead spent the night at the airport. New York’s airports are not expected to reopen until this afternoon.
Arlington Residents Complain About Snow – The Dec. 16 “storm” that dropped about two inches of snow on Arlington prompted a slew of complaints to the county’s new online snow issue reporting form. Check out quotes from four of the complaints, courtesy of TBD.
Rosslyn Commons Groundbreaking Set – The groundbreaking for 1510 and 1530 Clarendon Boulevard, also known as Rosslyn Commons, has been scheduled for the morning of Tuesday, Jan. 25. Developer JBG sent an email last week asking local leaders to “save the date.”
Flickr pool photo by Chris Rief
Arlington’s Creeping Debt — Arlington is now one of just eight localities in Virginia with more than $1 billion in municipal debt. Arlington is on the high end of debt on a per-capita basis, at $5,240, but a number of Virginia cities including Richmond and Falls Church have higher levels. By comparison, however, Alexandria has only $3,269 in debt per capita. More from the Sun Gazette.
Rosslyn Commons Groundbreaking Scheduled — Developer JBG is planning a groundbreaking for its Rosslyn Commons residential complex, to be held at some point in January. The Rosslyn Commons project consists of two towers with a total of 474 housing units, including 55 affordable units. More from TBD.
Seven Corners Shell Station Robbed – The Shell gas station at 6623 Wilson Boulevard in Falls Church was robbed at gunpoint Monday night. The robbery was caught on surveillance video, but the suspect kept his face concealed the whole time. More from the Falls Church News-Press.
Changes to Metrobus Routes – WMATA is adding service on two Arlington Metrobus routes. The 7Y route, an extension of the 7E, will travel from the Pentagon to the Federal Triangle Metro station, via Memorial Bridge. The 16F route will travel down Columbia Pike to the Pentagon, ending up at Federal Triangle station via the 14th Street Bridge. More from Metro.