State Dept. Office Consolidation — The GSA is working with the State Department on a plan for consolidating its two offices in Rosslyn into one office in either Rosslyn, Ballston, Pentagon City or Crystal City. [Washington Business Journal]
Ohio Woman Charged in Arlington Boy’s Death — A 62-year-old woman has been charged in the death of 8-year-old Ashlawn Elementary student Eli Sachar. Police in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, have charged Christine Gregory with aggravated vehicular homicide, reckless operation and failure to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk, after she struck Eli and his family with her car as they were crossing a street while visiting the town. [WKYC]
ACFD Training for Active Shooter at the Pentagon – The Arlington County Fire Department is training with the Pentagon Force Protection Agency on active shooter scenarios at the Pentagon. During an actual active shooter situation, under newly-updated plans, armed Pentagon Force Protection officers would escort unarmed Arlington medics into the area where the shooting was happening so they can begin medically treating the victims. [Washington Times]
Library Sends Erroneous Overdue Emails — Arlington Public Library sent erroneous emails yesterday incorrectly stating that patrons had overdue books. “We apologize for the inconvenience, and are working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible,” the library said on its website. “If you have any questions about what materials are actually checked out to you, you can check by logging in to your account online or at any Library location.” [Arlington Public Library]
Metro: Eight-Car Trains More Effective Than I-66 Widening — Metro says adding all-eight-car trains to the Orange Line is the capacity equivalent of widening I-66 by two lanes. “Plus, it’d likely be cheaper and faster for commuters, too,” Metro planners say. [PlanItMetro]
Fireball Seen Across Mid-Atlantic — Arlington residents and those across the mid-Atlantic saw a fireball streak across the sky last night around 10:15 p.m. Wrote one reader to ARLnow.com: “Was out on my back porch [in Lyon Park] looking west and at exactly 10:15 p.m. I saw a crazy, bright shooting star fall from North Arlington over Columbia Pike and towards the ground near Shirlington. Totally time from sighting to out of sight behind the trees was 4 seconds tops.” [Capital Weather Gang]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
It’s arguably the most recognizable office building in Clarendon, and it’s currently vacant.
The office building at 3100 Clarendon Blvd, across from the Clarendon Metro plaza, was built in 1987 and, until recently, housed the high-security Defense Intelligence Agency. Now that the DIA has moved to Reston, property owner Piedmont Office Realty Trust is reportedly planning exterior and interior renovations to the building in an attempt to attract new tenants to fill its 250,000 square feet of space.
The renovations will include adding more glass to the building — on the second floor, above the ground floor retail that runs along the entire block, and down the middle of each side of the tower, according to an individual familiar with the plans who spoke to ARLnow.com on the condition of anonymity. Also set for a refresh: the street-level courtyard that currently includes outdoor seating for Mad Rose Tavern.
The exact plans and timeline for the renovations are not clear — a representative of the leasing agent, Avison Young, declined to comment, saying that additional information would be made available within “the next few weeks.”
(Updated at 2:55 p.m.) The Arlington County Board unanimously approved a major redevelopment in Rosslyn at its meeting Saturday morning.
The Board voted 5-0 in favor of a proposal by Monday Properties to tear down two aging 1960s-era office buildings, at 1401 Wilson Blvd and 1400 Key Blvd, and replace them with a new office tower, a new residential building, and public gardens.
Also set to be demolished is the buildings’ parking garage, in which Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward met a source dubbed “Deep Throat,” who passed on information that helped exposed the Watergate scandal. The scandal helped to topple the presidency of Richard Nixon in 1974. Monday plans to build a “commemorative monument regarding the Watergate scandal” as a community benefit of the project.
The 24-story office building planned for the site will include 513,004 square feet of office space and 11,131 square feet of ground floor retail. The 28-story residential building, located above what is now a Gold’s Gym, will contain 274 multi-family dwellings and a 44,409 square foot grocery store.
Together, the buildings will share 816 vehicle parking spots and 161 bicycle parking spots in a six-level, below-grade parking garage.
In addition to the buildings, Monday’s plans include a publicly accessible plaza with landscaped gardens, water features, outdoor dining and seating, a bocce court, “interactive play features” and a pedestrian connection from the corner of 18th Street and N. Oak Street to N. Nash Street.
Other community benefits offered by Monday Properties include:
- $7.8 million cash contribution to the county’s affordable housing fund, to be used for affordable housing in Rosslyn (no dedicated affordable housing will be offered in the residential building)
- $5.7 million for transportation improvements
- $3.1 million for Rosslyn-area park improvements
- $1.1 million for a transportation demand management program
- $1.1 million for reconstruction of the N. Nash Street skywalk
- $750,000 for public art
- $50,000 for a new Capital Bikeshare station in Rosslyn
- Streetscape improvements
- Bicycle lane improvements
- Removal of the N. Nash Street slip lane
- Installation of multi-space parking meters
- LEED Platinum sustainability certification for the office building
- LEED Silver sustainability certification for the residential building
“This redevelopment is a key part of our efforts to transform Rosslyn into a world-class downtown,” Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette said in a statement following the vote. “It will bring a much-needed full-service grocery store, a beautiful public space with interactive play features, and 274 residential units to the heart of Rosslyn.”
“This redevelopment epitomizes Monday Properties’ commitment to creating a sustainable and dynamic 24-hour business and residential community in Rosslyn,” Monday Properties co-president Tim Helmig said in the statement. “We believe that our plan for the block will be the catalyst for economic development and job growth. It could generate the critical mass that will attract businesses and the talented people who want to live within walking distance from their jobs.”
There’s no official word yet on a timeframe for the demolition and construction, but one source told ARLnow.com that it may be about three years before demolition could start due to lease provisions with existing office tenants.
(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.
A car crashed into an elevator lobby in a Rosslyn parking garage Tuesday evening.
The incident happened around 6:00 p.m. below the office building at 1776 Wilson Blvd. We’re told the driver, a “young woman,” accidentally rammed a parking gate, then somehow slammed into the elevator lobby, shattering plate glass and damaging the elevator bank itself.
No one was hurt, but initial reports suggest several people were briefly trapped in the elevator as a result of the crash.
Projected Subsidy Soars for Aquatics Center — The planned Long Bridge Park Aquatics Center could require more than $4 million per year in subsidies from the county government, according to new projections. That’s up from projections as low at $1 million per year. “Certainly there are other priorities that arguably should come before building a luxury pools facility,” said local fiscal watchdog Wayne Kubicki. Construction contracts for the aquatics center are expected to be awarded early next year. [Sun Gazette]
County May Allow Less Office Parking, For a Fee — Arlington County is considering a system that would allow office developers to build less than the currently-required amount of parking, in exchange for a per-parking-space fee. The fee would then be used for public improvements in the area around the building, or for Transportation Demand Management Services for the building’s tenants. [Greater Greater Washington]
Memorial Bridge Could Have Looked Like Tower Bridge — The Arlington Memorial Bridge was originally proposed as a memorial to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, complete with a series of “medieval”-looking towers and turrets. [Ghosts of DC]
Arlington Carpenter’s Intricately-Carved Birds — Arlington carpenter Jeff Jacobs, 59, carves intricate wooden hummingbirds out of a single block of wood. He sells the birds at Eastern Market and the Clarendon farmers market. [Washington Post]
Flickr photo by Eschweik
First Night of Hanukkah — Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah, the eight-day Jewish holiday also known as the Festival of Lights. [Chabad]
Ebbin Introduces Repeal of Va. Gay Marriage Ban — State Sen. Adam Ebbin has introduced legislation that would repeal Virginia’s constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. In order to repeal the amendment, which was approved by voters in 2006, Ebbin’s legislation would need to pass the General Assembly in 2014 and 2016, and be approved in a statewide referendum. [Sun Gazette]
No Tenants for New Rosslyn Skyscraper — So far, no tenants have signed on to lease office space in 1812 North Moore, the new skyscraper in Rosslyn that holds the title of the region’s tallest building (with the exception of the Washington Monument). The lack of tenants is being blamed on weakness in the local office market. The office vacancy rate inside the Beltway has risen from 10 percent in 2010 to 17.5 percent this quarter. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by J. Sonder
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and FBR, an investment bank, will be moving into new offices in Arlington over the next year and a half. That’s good news for economic development officials in Arlington, who are still reeling from the impending loss of the National Science Foundation and its 2,237 jobs.
FBR will move from a “trophy” office building at 1001 19th Street N. in Rosslyn to a slightly less lofty accommodations, at 1300 17th Street N., also in Rosslyn. FBR’s new lease runs through the end of 2025. First-year rent for the space — on the building’s 2nd, 13th and 14th floors — is $41 per square foot for the lower floor and $51.50 per square foot for the higher floors, according to an SEC filing.
FBR employs approximately 250 people in Arlington. The company hopes to make the move this May.
The FDIC, meanwhile, has signed a lease for 171,000 square feet in the former DARPA building at 3701 N. Fairfax Drive, in Virginia Square. The agency expects to move employees there from an office at 1310 N. Courthouse Road, in Courthouse, in April 2015.
The FDIC has an existing office at 3501 N. Fairfax Drive, and the new accommodations will eliminate the need to shuttle employees back and forth between Courthouse and Virginia Square, the Washington Business Journal reported.
Yorktown Wins Big in Opener — The Yorktown High School football team defeated Coolidge 49-0 at their season opener on Thursday, Aug. 29. Senior running back M.J. Stewart ran for 215 yards on 15 carries. The Patriots next face Langley on Sept. 6. [Sun Gazette]
Arlington Firefighters Assist on Six-Alarm Fire — Firefighters from Arlington County helped to battle a six-alarm warehouse fire in Alexandria on Labor Day Monday. It took more than 200 firefighters four hours to finally get the fire on S. Pickett Street under control. [NBC Washington]
An Office Built for Millennials — The consulting firm Accenture designed its 90,000 square foot office in Ballston, which opened last year, with 20-something millennial workers in mind. The office eschews private offices for workspaces that are booked by workers when needed, among other innovations. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Maryva2
‘Luxury’ Apartment Rent Falling in Arlington — Rents for Class A apartments in Arlington and Alexandria fell 4.5 percent in the second quarter of 2013, “a clear sign that the supply of new apartments is catching up to demand.” The average Class A rent in Arlington and Alexandria is $1,973 a month. [UrbanTurf]
Kroger Buys Harris Teeter — Ohio-based grocery chain Kroger has purchased Harris Teeter. So far, the company is not planning any significant changes for Harris Teeter stores, which will retain their branding and management. [Washington Post]
Still No Tenants for Rosslyn Skyscraper — The new 35-story office building at 1812 N. Moore Street in Rosslyn — now the D.C. area’s tallest building other than the Washington Monument — is set to open in October. However, the building, which was built “on spec” by owner Monday Properties, could open without a single tenant. [WJLA]
All-American Honors for DJO Softball Stars — Bishop O’Connell softball stars (and recent graduates) Tori Finucane and Jillian Ferraro have been chosen as All-Americans by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick
The 14-story, 280,000 square foot office building at 1777 N. Kent Street, on the easternmost end of Rosslyn, will be undergoing a full-scale renovation. Building owners Vornado and Gould Property Company announced late last week that they had secured $53.5 million in debt financing from Wells Fargo to help pay for the renovations, which will include “new lobby and common areas and upgrades to the building’s mechanical systems.”
The building, which was built in 1980, is also known as Rosslyn Plaza North.
The Corporate Executive Board has already pre-leased more than 100,000 square feet in the renovated building. That’s in addition to their existing 625,000 square foot lease at the Waterview building at 1919 N. Lynn Street, the Washington Business Journal previously reported.
Jones Lang LaSalle, which helped arrange the financing, described Rosslyn as “one of the strongest office markets in the United States.”
“Situated in Rosslyn, Virginia, 1777 N. Kent Street offers an irreplaceable location including stunning, unobstructed and monumental views of the Washington, D.C. skyline,” the company said in a press release. “The submarket, one of the top performing in the DC metropolitan area offers an urban setting providing abundant amenities and direct access to Metrorail’s Blue and Orange lines, the area’s critical roadways and major international airports including Washington Reagan National Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport.”
Photo via Vornado
Rosslyn to Lose ‘Tallest Building’ Crown — Rosslyn may eventually lose its distinction as the home of the tallest building in the D.C. region. The under-construction 1812 N. Moore Street office building in Rosslyn will soon claim the ‘tallest building’ crown, but a planned tower in Alexandria and a proposed skyscraper in Tysons will be taller. [Greater Greater Washington]
Bicycle ‘Hibernation’ is Over — The number of bicyclists on local trails is spiking as the weather becomes warmer. Bike Arlington says of the seasonal ridership spike: “Winter hibernation for Arlingtonian riders is over.” [Bike Arlington]
Books for ‘Mummy’ — Just in time for Mother’s Day, Arlington Public Library is out with some suggested reading and viewing on the topic of “mummies.” [Arlington Public Library]
Flickr pool photo by J.D. Moore
The Washington City Paper reports that Post publisher Katharine Weymouth told a real estate conference this morning that the struggling company would like the new office to be “cheap, and near the Capitol, near the courthouses,” in a building “that’s a little bit lighter, a little more air.”
The ideal option for the paper might be right here in Arlington. Thanks to easy access to I-395, Crystal City and Rosslyn are about 10 minutes from the Capitol via cab or personal vehicle, except during rush hour.
Both locations are also Metro accessible. Crystal City is 5 Metro stops away from Capitol South station via the Yellow and Orange/Blue lines, and Rosslyn is 9 stops away, without a transfer, via the Orange/Blue lines. Both are 6 stops away from Judiciary Square, with a transfer to the Red Line.
Office rent in Crystal City and Rosslyn is inexpensive compared to D.C.’s Central Business District (CBD), where the Post is currently located (in an aging, monolithic building at 1150 15th Street NW). The average asking rate for office space in Crystal City is $39.43 per square foot, compared to $50.97 in the Washington CBD. The average asking rate in Rosslyn, which hasn’t been hit as hard by BRAC closures as Crystal City, is $42.32.
Outside of D.C.’s CBD, the NoMa and Capitol Riverfront submarkets might be desirable for the Post, but both are more expensive than Arlington, with average asking rates of $45.27 and $43.15 respectively.
Thanks to a vacancy rate of 21.8 percent in Crystal City and 16.4 percent in Rosslyn, the Post should have plenty of light and airy offices to choose from. Plus, offices that are currently under construction could be customized to the paper’s needs. Such buildings include 1812 N. Moore Street in Rosslyn, soon to be the tallest building in the D.C. area, or the renovated 1400 Crystal Drive in Crystal City.
Construction could begin on Arlington’s largest office building by floor space, 1900 Crystal Drive in Crystal City, should it secure an anchor tenant like the Post.
A spokeswoman for the Rossyln Business Improvement District says the organization does not know if the Post is looking at potential offices in Rosslyn, but says the neighborhood would be a good fit for the 135-year-old institution.
“Rosslyn would a perfect location for The Washington Post, given its close location to Washington, D.C,” said Lisa Rabasca, the BID’s Director of Communications and herself a former newspaper reporter. “It is a quick cab or metro ride to Capitol Hill, the White House, and other major D.C. locations.”
“Rosslyn is already a media hub with three other large media companies — POLITICO, Washington Business Journal, and WJLA/ABC 7 and NewsChannel 8,” Rabasca continued. “We would welcome the addition of The Washington Post.”
“They’re obviously an institution that’s finding ways to reinvent themselves and look at their business… we would love to be a strategic element in such a reinvention,” she said. “They’re really thoughtful about their costs and the environment their employees work in, and Crystal City would have a lot to offer in that regard.”
Fox said she also has not heard anything about the Post looking at Crystal City. A Washington Post spokeswoman declined to comment on the company’s headquarters search.
If the Post were to move to Arlington, it wouldn’t be the paper’s first office here. For about a decade starting in 2000, the company’s internet staff — responsible for washingtonpost.com and other websites — was based in a 80,000 square foot office at 1515 N. Courthouse Road in Courthouse. The staff was later merged into the Post‘s D.C. office.
Disclosure: The Crystal City and Rosslyn BIDs are ARLnow.com advertisers.
On Friday, 1812 N. Moore Street, a new skyscraper in Rosslyn that will be the tallest building in the D.C. metro area, hosted a ceremony to mark the construction of the structure’s top floor.
Executives and employees from developer Monday Properties, builder Clark Construction and designer Davis Carter Scott donned hard hats and vests to celebrate on an upper floor of the building, which is still under construction. Construction workers joined the guests in enjoying a catered buffet and speeches from company officials.
At 35 stories and 390 feet, the building will be the tallest in the D.C. area. Prefabricated pieces of the decorative “top” of the building are still under construction in Maryland and are expected to be hoisted into place in May.
The gleaming glass-and-steel tower, with 580,000 square feet of total floor space, is being built to LEED Platinum sustainability specifications. It will have a 480-space parking garage and on-site access to the Rosslyn Metro station.
In a statement to ARLnow.com, Monday Properties CEO Anthony Westreich called the topping out a “significant milestone.”
“We have reached a significant milestone in our vision to build the tallest and most efficient building in the region,” Westreich said. “1812 North Moore Street will set the new standard for office development. I thank Arlington County for encouraging the development of Rosslyn into a highly competitive submarket and offer my congratulations to the more than 250 workers from Clark Construction who have given their all to this project.”
Architect Douglas Carter, of Davis Carter Scott, says his firm set out to design the most ”the most iconic building that we could create.” He said he hopes the building proves to have a ”timeless design,” like that of the main terminal of Dulles International Airport.
So far, no tenants have been announced for the $345 million building, though Monday Properties says they’re in talks with potential “anchor tenants.” Built on “spec,” the building represents a huge bet on Rosslyn as a location for high-end office space.
At least one other company is now getting in on the bet. Monday announced earlier this month that it had closed on a $200 million construction loan from Pacific Life Insurance Company.
Construction is expected to wrap up in September. The building had its groundbreaking ceremony in October 2010.
(Updated at 12:15 p.m.) BRAC and federal cuts are a drag on Arlington’s real estate market, but Tysons Corner will not be as competitive as some in the county fear, according to Arlington Economic Development (AED).
The county agency gave its annual real estate market review and forecast to a group of developers, property owners and local leaders on Monday. This year’s presentation was titled “Silver Line-ings,” after the new Metro line that is expected to open within a year and bring increased economic development to Tysons.
“I’m not freaked by Tysons Corner,” said AED Director Terry Holzheimer, adopting a bit of youth lingo.
“I don’t think we’re going to see a big negative from Tysons,” he continued. “Arlington will continue to be a better place. Arlington will continue to have better product. Arlington will continue to be highly competitive to Tysons Corner.”
Holzheimer said Tysons will “never catch up” with the kind of walkable, high-density, high-amenity urban corridors Arlington enjoys, and will continue to suffer from traffic problems. Plus, Holzheimer pointed out that commercial property taxes in Tysons are higher than Arlington. He said there’s “not a chance” of Tysons becoming the region’s “new downtown” — as proclaimed by some — in the next 20 years.
Still, Arlington is facing challenges.
Office vacancies are up as the federal government makes cuts, plays hardball with office rental rates, and as BRAC continues to pull military offices out of Arlington. While BRAC was supposed to end last year, Holzheimer said Department of Defense office moves are expected to continue for the next three years, on top of the 17,000 employees that have already moved out of Arlington due to BRAC.
“It’s not even close to being done,” he said. Another 65 office leases in 25 Arlington buildings are expected to be impacted by BRAC in the next few years.
As a result of BRAC and federal cuts — “this malaise we’re in” region-wide — Holzheimer said office vacancy in Arlington has increased to 16.1 percent. Whereas Arlington usually has a lower-than-average vacancy rate for large central business districts (we’re between Boston and Houston in terms of office square footage), he described the county’s current vacancy rate as “middle of the pack” for the first time in a long time.
Interestingly, office rent in Arlington has remained high. The average per-square-foot “asking rate” is $41.13 in Arlington, compared to $18.93 in Dallas, $26.10 in Philadelphia, $31.54 in Chicago and $48.52 in the District of Columbia.