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.
Fisette Promises Details on Water Bottle ‘Crusade’ — Arlington County Board member Jay Fisette says he will provide additional details about his “crusade” against single-use water bottles — first announced at the Board’s New Year’s meeting — in April. Fisette did reveal that the anti-bottled water effort would involve a 15-member steering committee. [Sun Gazette]
New Metro Station in Rosslyn? — As part of Metro’s “Momentum” plan to revamp and expand the aging transit system, the agency has proposed building a new station in Rosslyn. Greater Greater Washington expounds upon that plan and examines the possibility of splitting the Blue Line at Rosslyn, building a separate Blue Line station, and running the line separately across the Potomac and into Georgetown. [Greater Greater Washington]
Metro Cell Phone Installation Delayed — Metro’s effort to enable cell phone service in its tunnels has hit a snag: after the contractor performing the work filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It could be 2016 before riders are able to use their cell phones in Metro tunnels. [Washington Examiner]
Above-Normal Lead Levels Found in Office Building – The General Service Administration has found above-normal lead levels in an office building in Crystal City. [Washington Business Journal]
Flickr pool photo by Mark C. White.
The large-scale PenPlace development proposed for Pentagon City is now going on its 10th Site Plan Review Committee (SPRC) meeting, but the project is expected to reach the Arlington County Board for a vote as soon as May.
Developer Vornado is proposing five buildings for the project: two secure office buildings, two standard office buildings, and one 300-room hotel, on a currently vacant parcel of land along Army Navy Drive, near the Pentagon. The 9.2 acre parcel is large enough that it was once considered as a possible site for the Nationals baseball stadium.
The buildings would be between 16 and 22 stories, and in all, the project would consist of 1.8 million square feet of office space and 25,000 square feet of retail space, mostly along the future extension of 12th Street S. between Eads and Fern Streets.
It appears likely that there will be more SPRC meetings on PenPlace even beyond the 10th meeting, scheduled for Feb. 4. The SPRC will eventually make non-binding recommendations to the Planning Commission, which will then consider and vote on whether to recommend the project for County Board approval. We’re told the Board is likely to take up the matter in May or June.
While actual Pentagon City residents have been relatively quiet about PenPlace, members of the nearby Arlington Ridge Civic Association (ARCA) are among the project’s biggest critics. The project is not within the civic association’s boundaries, but residents there have circulated petitions, held meetings and posted flyers listing various objections to the project.
ARCA’s compaints include building height (nearly 300 feet); the proposed number of parking spaces (2,235) and the potential for increased traffic; a lack of public open space and insufficient community benefits; and the security measures necessary for the secure office buildings.
“Build a community not a compound,” said an ARCA presentation given on Nov. 15, 2012. Project critics say the secure office buildings will prevent full “activation” of the area for public use. They call for reducing the number of secure office buildings in the project to one, and placing that building along Army Navy Drive instead of the middle of the parcel.
ARCA has also proposed shorter buildings (<200 feet), replacing an office building with a residential building, and limiting parking. The association is also calling on Vornado to include an acre of contiguous public open space on the site, including a play area for children, recreation ares for adults and a dog park.
Molly Watson, who has been leading ARCA’s opposition to PenPlace, said jokingly at a SPRC meeting in December that she would prefer a baseball stadium to PenPlace as proposed. ARCA fought a proposal in 2003 to build the new Nationals baseball stadium on the current PenPlace parcel, which was vacant at the time and has remained so since.
“I would take the baseball stadium with only 80 games per year” over the traffic PenPlace would generate on a daily basis, she said.
The development of 5.3 million square feet of office, 836,543 square feet of retail and 7,572 residential units in Arlington has been approved by the county but is not yet under construction, according to the 2012 Arlington County Government annual report. That’s up from last year’s annual report, when 4.3 million square feet of office, 813,479 square feet of retail and 5,839 residential units were approved and awaiting construction.
As of Sept. 30, approximately 1 million square feet of office, 150,000 square feet of retail and 1,380 residential units were under construction, up about 50 percent, 70 percent and 20 percent year-over-year, respectively.
The figures are a reflection of continued developer interest in Arlington County, despite economic competition from D.C. and the new Silver Line corridor.
“The increased competition from the Silver Line construction certainly exists, and our team is working diligently to showcase the opportunity that exists in Arlington,” said Arlington Economic Development spokeswoman Cara O’Donnell. “Developers are continuing to plan new and exciting projects in Arlington, and our BizLaunch program works with as many as 3,000 entrepreneurs and small businesses every year.”
Still, some believe that the Silver Line may take some Metro-oriented development away from Arlington, particularly after the first section of the rail line — running from Reston and Tysons to Arlington and D.C. — opens in late 2013 or early 2014.
Most of the projects not yet under construction in Arlington were approved in the past 5 years, although some date back to the 1990s and one dates back to 1981. All told, there is about 40 million square feet of office space in Arlington, plus 43,000 residential units along Metro corridors and 105,000 residential units countywide, based on the county’s 2012 profile.
The developments approved but not yet under construction (as of 11/1/12) include:
- Rosslyn Gateway Phases 1 & 2 — 1901 Ft. Myer Drive — 490,056 sq ft office / 26,376 sq ft retail / 273 residential units / 148 hotel rooms
- Rosslyn Commons Townhouses — 1500 Clarendon Blvd — 25 residential units
- Central Place — 1801 N. Moore Street — 570,549 sq ft office / 44,554 sq ft retail / 374 residential units
- Wakefield Manor — 2025 Fairfax Drive — 188 residential units
- 1919 Clarendon Blvd (Hollywood Video Site) — 1919 Clarendon Blvd — 24,657 sq ft retail / 198 residential units
- The Tellus — 2009 14th Street N. — 10,674 sq ft office / 4,354 sq ft retail / 254 residential units
- Washington View – 2001 Clarendon Blvd — 32,840 sq ft retail / 154 residential units
- NTSA Office Site — 1840 Wilson Blvd — 107,920 sq ft office / 10,000 sq ft retail
- Demar Office Building — 2311 Wilson Blvd — 100,328 sq ft office / 4,906 sq ft retail
- 3001 Washington Blvd (Penzance) – 3001 Washington Blvd — 284,012 sq ft office / 22,479 sq ft retail
- Beacon at Clarendon West (formerly The Waverly) — 1200 N. Irving Street — 18,299 sq ft retail / 195 residential units
- 3901 Fairfax Drive – 3901 Fairfax Drive — 178,131 sq ft office / 3,200 sq ft retail
- Virginia Square Towers – 3440 Fairfax Drive — 12,815 sq ft retail / 540 residential units
- 3803 Fairfax Drive Expansion — 3803 Fairfax Drive — 43,045 sq ft office
- 650 N. Glebe Road (Goodyear Site) — 650 N. Glebe Road — 2,203 sq ft retail / 163 residential units
- Founder’s Square North Office — 707 N. Randolph Street — 418,810 sq ft office / 7,670 sq ft retail
- The Place (Founder’s Square North Residential) — 4000 Wilson Blvd — 9,035 sq ft retail / 256 residential units
- Peck/Staples/AHC Townhouses — 815 N. Woodrow Street — 28 residential units
- The Spire/Fairmont — 4420 Fairfax Drive — 9,200 sq ft retail / 237 residential units
- 1900 Crystal Drive — 1900 Crystal Drive — 719,704 sq ft office / 11,290 sq ft retail
- Boeing Site — 608 S. Ball Street — 453,422 sq ft office
- Potomac Yard Land Bays C & D — 3001 Jefferson Davis Hwy — 1,064,298 sq ft office / 73,696 sq ft retail / 691 residential units
- Lofts at Crystal Houses — 1900 S. Eads Street — 252 residential units
- Crystal City Retail Phase II – 2010 Crystal Drive — 84,034 sq ft office / 92,920 sq ft retail
- Airport Plaza IV — 2600 Crystal Drive — 198 residential units
- Pentagon City PDSP Parcel 3 — 501 15th Street S. — 64,231 sq ft retail / 1,172 residential units / 300 hotel rooms
- Pentagon City PDSP Parcel 1D — 1197 S. Fern Street — 930 residential units / 582 hotel rooms
- The Acadia (Three Metropolitan Park) – 1201 S. Fern Street — 16,345 sq ft retail / 411 residential units
- Pentagon Centre Phases 1-3 – 1201 S. Hayes Street – 776,982 sq ft office / 327,070 sq ft retail / 600 residential units / 250 hotel rooms
- Pike 3400 — 3400 Columbia Pike — 15,443 sq ft retail / 301 residential units
- Axumite Village – 1100 S. Highland Street — 36 residential units
- Columbia Place — 1100 S. Edgewood Street — 2,960 sq ft retail / 22 residential units
- Buckingham Townhomes Village I — 424 N. George Mason Drive — 68 residential units
- Greenbrier Village Phase II — 2251 N. Greenbrier Street — 4 residential units
- 705/707 N. Barton Street – 705 N. Barton Street — 2 residential units
Ft. Myer Daycare Investigation Widens — What started as allegations of assault against two workers at a daycare center on Ft. Myer has widened into a worldwide probe of military child care hiring practices. At least 31 daycare staffers at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall have been suspended after investigators found “disqualifying factors in their records, including history of drug use and past allegations of assault.” One official called it “a severe lapse in the background checks system.” [Washington Post]
DoD Relaxes Security Standards for Some Buildings — A loosening of the Department of Defense’s security standards for commercial office buildings may make it easier for the DoD to lease office space in Arlington (and elsewhere). Earlier this month, the Pentagon reversed a policy put in place in response to 9/11 that required that leased office space meet stringent anti-terrorism security standards, even for administrative offices within the DoD. [Washington Business Journal]
Marymount Seeking to Redevelop Ballston Property — Marymount University is pushing ahead with a plan to redevelop its 50-year-old “Blue Goose” building at the corner of N. Glebe Road and Fairfax Drive in Ballston. The university has proposed replacing the aging building with an office building and an apartment building. [Sun Gazette]
Science Focus Teacher Wins Recognition — “Arlington Science Focus School Principal Mary Begley was named Administrator of the Year by the Greater Washington Reading Council at its annual conference in Fairfax” on Wednesday, says a school press release. [Arlington Public Schools]
Flickr pool photo by Damiec