(Updated at 6:00 p.m.) The Doubletree hotel at 300 Army Navy Drive in Pentagon City was evacuated this afternoon due to a large gas leak.
The gas leak was said to be in the hotel’s parking garage. Firefighters at the scene reported strong odor of natural gas inside and outside the hotel. Guests and employees were evacuated from the hotel.
An Arlington County hazmat team and Washington Gas crews responded to the scene. Police shut down down Army Navy Drive between Eads and 12th Streets to accommodate the large emergency response.
Firefighters and gas company crews managed to shut off the gas after about an hour. Army Navy Drive reopened just after 5:30, and people are being allowed back into the hotel.
No injuries have been reported.
Update on 11/6/14 – Board consideration of this apartment building has been delayed until December.
The Arlington County Board is slated to consider a 453-unit apartment building that’s proposed to replace a vacant Pentagon City office building this month.
on Nov. 15 is scheduled to vote on a site plan for a new apartment complex at 400 Army Navy Drive. Bethesda-based developer LCOR has proposed a 20-story building with two towers on one, three-story platform, located east of the planned PenPlace development and west of the Crystal City DoubleTree hotel.
County staff have suggested a number of community benefits from the developer, in exchange for the extra zoning density needed for the project. Among them: affordable housing, public art, park and utility fund contributions; streetscape improvements; and LEED Gold certification. Also, Arlington is considering using of a county-owned parcel in front of the property for a streetcar operations and maintenance facility, but would like the developer to spruce it up in the interim.
The apartment building will replace an aging office building that was formerly home to the Department of Defense Inspector General’s office.
The man entered the store just past 8:00 p.m. and brandished a gun at the pharmacist, demanding prescription medications. The pharmacist was able to shield himself behind protective glass, foiling the robbery attempt.
The suspect took off on foot before police arrived.
“The suspect is described as a white or Hispanic male in his twenties, approximately 5’8″ tall and 160 lbs,” according to a crime report. “He was wearing a black long sleeve sweater, blue jeans and a white and orange baseball hat at the time of the incident.”
Bonefish Grill (1101 S. Joyce Street) is now open on Pentagon Row.
After a few “soft opening” days, the seafood restaurant opened to the general public Monday night. Today (Tuesday) is its first full day in business, with lunch and dinner service. While there are other Bonefish Grills in Northern Virginia and suburban Maryland, the new Pentagon City location is the only one inside the Beltway.
The restaurant has a total of 216 seats, with 16 on a sidewalk patio and 54 at the bar. In addition to a newly-revamped menu – with wood-grilled fresh fish and steak along with signature dishes like the Bang Bang Shrimp appetizer — Bonefish offers 45 wines, 15 bottled beers and four draft beers.
Founded in Florida in 2001, Bonefish Grill is now owned by Bloomin’ Brands, the owner of Outback Steakhouse and Carrabba’s Italian Grill. Most of its nearly 200 locations are in the south and eastern United States, although it has recently been expanding to the western U.S. as well.
S. Hayes Street in Pentagon City has new, protected lanes for cyclists, the first of their kind in Arlington County.
Between 15th Street S. and S. Fern Street, bike lanes are now between parking spots and the curb, giving cyclists a buffer, in the form of parked cars, from vehicular traffic on the four-lane road.
The protected lanes — on both sides of the road — are part of a pilot project that includes pedestrian and bicycle improvements along the half-mile stretch of road that runs from 15th Street to S. Eads Street, according to county Department of Environmental Services spokeswoman Jessica Baxter.
“The S. Hayes Street project is the first installation of a protected bicycle lane in Arlington County,” Baxter said in an email. “It is a part of a large effort to install connected and safe bicycle and multimodal facilities throughout the county and specifically in the Crystal City-Pentagon City area. The County continually uses opportunities in its paving program to better utilize space within the existing right of way to accommodate safer pedestrian, bicycle and vehicular activities.”
Baxter said Hayes Street was slated for re-paving, and county staff decided that the paving presented an opportunity to try the protected lane. Data has been, and will be, collected to measure usage and safety improvements between the buffered lane and the standard bike lanes in other areas of the county.
Although Hayes Street’s new bike lanes are the first in the county, more are coming, and all in Crystal City and Pentagon City. Protected bike lanes have been approved for Army Navy Drive between S. Joyce and 12th Streets and S. Clark Street between 12th and 15th Streets. The county is also in the process of community outreach for a redesigned S. Eads Street that would included some form of protected bike lanes.
The exact site for the stand has yet to be announced, but BikeArlington expects it to be near the Pentagon City Metro station.
The County installed two other stands — one near the Clarendon Metro station and one near the Ballston Metro station — in the spring. Crystal City BID installed a similar stand near the Crystal City Water Park last year.
The stands house tools allowing cyclists to make quick fixes or adjustments, like filling tires with air or tightening loose bolts. BikeArlington program manager Chris Eatough noted the stands are designed to be durable for weathering the outdoors as well as being fairly theft-proof.
“The Fixit Stands have been well received and we see lots of people using them,” said Eatough.
Although Eatough doesn’t yet have a date for the installation of the new stand in Pentagon City, he said it should be soon. The stand already has been purchased and BikeArlington just has to finish working out the installation details.
Att’y General to Consider Streetcar Referendum — Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D) will be asked by Del. Patrick Hope (D) to weigh in on whether Arlington County has the legal authority to hold an advisory referendum on the Columbia Pike streetcar project. County officials say they don’t have the authority, and without General Assembly approval can only use a referendum for a general obligation bond issue. [InsideNova]
County Fair Adds Pentagon City Shuttle — The Arlington County Fair this year is adding a new shuttle option. In addition to shuttles from the Arlington Career Center, Ballston Metro and the I-66 parking garage, a shuttle will now run every 30 minutes from the Pentagon City Metro station. The fair runs from Aug. 6-10. [Arlington County Fair]
Falls Church, Arlington Treasurers Are Friends — Carla de la Pava and Jody Acosta, the new interim treasurers of Arlington County and Falls Church, are lifelong friends who grew up together in Alexandria. [Falls Church News-Press]
Rand Paul Makes News at Arlington Event — Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) made some headlines after speaking at the Young Americans for Liberty convention in Rosslyn last night. Paul told the libertarian group that he will no longer appear on MSNBC until the network apologizes for “lousy lies” about his position on the Civil Rights Act. [CNN]
Half-Priced Cheesecake at Cheesecake Factory — The Cheesecake Factory restaurant in Clarendon (and others around the country) are offering half-priced slices of cheesecake for the second day in a row today in honor of National Cheesecake Day. The restaurant chain this week got some unwelcome attention with several “Xtreme Eating awards” for its calorie-laden meals. One slice of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake alone has 1,500 calories. [Cheesecake Factory, Fox News]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
The Arlington County Board has approved a concept for two acres of open place on the planned PenPlace development in Pentagon City.
The plan calls for three open spaces: two small parks along planned 10th and 12th Street S. connections between S. Fern and Eads Streets and a “Central Green” in the middle of the large development. The Central Green is designed to allow for events like outdoor movies and concerts, according to the space’s designer, and will include a cafe in the northeast corner.
The concept was presented to the County Board during its Thursday meeting last week after three community meetings. The PenPlace development was approved by the County Board last September, with the condition that a concept for the open space be brought back within a year.
The PenPlace development, when completed, is planned to have five buildings, each between 16 and 22 stories tall, that include 1.8 million square feet of office space and a 300-room hotel. It will be adjacent to a planned streetcar station on 12th Street.
As part of the approval, the developer, Vornado/Charles E. Smith, agreed to build about two acres of public space as a component of the community benefit package required for bonus density.
“I think the overarching goal here, that we’ve shared with the public, is to create a vibrant urban space in the heart of Pentagon City,” said Hallie Boyce, a design partner with Olin Landscape Architects, which designed the open space, “that will not only allow people to enjoy the great outdoors but also to enjoy each other’s company, and to really create a sense of community here in Pentagon City.”
In addition, Vornado plans to include up to 20,000 square feet of community-oriented space in the building at the corner of the planned 10th Street and S. Eads Street intersection. According to Vornado’s presentation to the County Board, the space could be used for educational use or a university, a business incubator, a library or community center, or large entertainment use, such as a bowling alley, movie theater or performance venue.
The concept was submitted and approved as a “base case,” which will now operate as a guiding principle for when the buildings come back before the Board for a full site plan approval. According to Vornado Senior Vice President and Director of Development Mitch Bonanno, there is still no timeline for any construction.
PenPlace was met with numerous resident objections when it first came before the County Board last year. Four speakers came to Thursday’s meeting in protest of a provision that allows Vornado additional density on the site, saying they felt they were caught unaware after the community meetings. The base case includes a provision that, if the open space costs more than the staff’s estimate of $2.65 million, Vornado is entitled to added density.
“The citizen participants were under the mistaken impression that the outdoor space improvements were part of the extremely generous deal Vornado already got,” Pentagon City resident Elizabeth Wirick said. “Those who took part in the workshops feel betrayed. This is a concept, not a plan, we don’t have any data on how much it’s going to cost other than staff estimates, and with regards to staff estimates, I’ll keep it short. Two words: aquatics center.”
(Vornado agreed to partially fund the proposed Long Bridge Park aquatics center project as part of PenPlace’s initial phased development approval. The aquatics center is now stalled after construction bids came in well above staff estimates.)
The motion passed just before midnight, 3-1, with Board member John Vihstadt dissenting and Board member Libby Garvey absent.
County Manager Barbara Donnellan is recommending the Board approves a $1.83 million contract, with a $183,000 contingency, to replace the park’s six tennis courts, two tennis practice courts and two basketball courts. The money will also fund a new, junior half basketball court, new fencing, new “dark sky” lights for the courts and accessible parking improvements.
The improvements are part of the county’s ongoing effort to completely renovate the recreation facilities at Virginia Highlands (1600 S. Hayes Street), which are some of the busiest recreation areas in the county. Within the last 10 years, the synthetic turf field, playground, restrooms, athletic field lighting and spraygrounds have all been either renovated or constructed.
In addition to new tennis courts — which will replace existing courts that were recently resurfaced — the renovations call for new covered waiting areas outside the courts, along with a drinking fountain and an “information kiosk.”
The junior basketball court will replace the tennis practice courts to the south of the six tennis courts. The court was requested during public input meetings last fall. The community lamented that there was no basketball space to be used specifically by young children.
The basketball courts will be relocated to the north of the current courts.
“Several community members expressed concerns about the proximity of the existing basketball courts relative to the playground area,” county staff said in a report, explaining the relocation.
The remaining park features — the diamond field turf, picnic shelter, gazebo, petanque courts, and front plaza area — are proposed for renovation in 2016.
File photo (top). Image (bottom) via Arlington County.
Update at 10:50 p.m. — Fewer than 1,000 Dominion customers are now in the dark in Arlington. A possible water main break has also been reported in Fairlington.
Nearly 3,000 Dominion customers were without power in Arlington Tuesday night after a line of severe storms packing gusty winds blew through the area.
Most of the power outages were concentrated in south Arlington, in the Pentagon City area. Storms appear to have caused only minor damage in most parts of Arlington, but a reported transformer fire on the 1600 block of Arlington Ridge Road has caused numerous power outages along the east end of Columbia Pike and in Pentagon City, Aurora Highlands and Arlington Ridge, according to Twitter reports.
Police closed Arlington Ridge Road near the blown transformer, while Dominion crews worked to fix it.
Despite the outages, the storms did have some upside: temperatures have cooled down significantly and residents were treated to a spectacular double rainbow at sunset as the storms passed.
Arlington County and much of the D.C. area was under a Severe Thunderstorm Warning earlier. Forecasters said a line of storms approaching the area was packing “destructive” winds, large hail and frequent lightning.
From the National Weather Service:
A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 830 PM EDT FOR THE CITY OF ALEXANDRIA… THE CITY OF FAIRFAX… THE CITY OF FALLS CHURCH… THE CITY OF MANASSAS… THE CITY OF MANASSAS PARK… PRINCE WILLIAM… FAIRFAX… CALVERT… ANNE ARUNDEL… PRINCE GEORGES… ARLINGTON… HOWARD AND MONTGOMERY COUNTIES AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA…
AT 715 PM EDT… SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS WERE DETECTED ALONG A LINE EXTENDING FROM LAUREL TO KENILWORTH TO FRANCONIA… AND WERE MOVING EAST AT 40 MPH.
THESE STORMS ARE CAPABLE OF PRODUCING DAMAGING WINDS IN EXCESS OF 60 MPH.
LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE… RIDGEWAY… SEVERN… SUITLAND… DISTRICT HEIGHTS… SOUTH GATE… PRINCE GEORGES STADIUM… GAMBRILLS… MORNINGSIDE… SEVERNA PARK… HERALD HARBOR… CROWNSVILLE… CLINTON… CAPE ARTHUR… RIVERDALE… CHELSEA BEACH… PASADENA… SILLERY BAY… LAKE SHORE… BODKIN POINT… NAVY-MARINE CORPS MEMORIAL STADIUM…
THIS IS A DANGEROUS LINE OF STORMS. IF YOU ARE IN ITS PATH… MOVE INDOORS TO A STURDY BUILDING AND STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS. WHEN IT IS SAFE TO DO SO… REPORT SEVERE WEATHER TO LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OR TO THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE.
THIS LINE OF STORMS HAS A HISTORY OF PRODUCING WIDESPREAD WIND DAMAGE. SEEK SHELTER INSIDE A STURDY STRUCTURE AND STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS.
Clinton Signs Books at Pentagon City Costco — Former Secretary of State and likely 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton signed books at the Pentagon City Costco store on Saturday. One group of Clinton supporters who lined up outside the store Saturday morning told ARLnow.com that they were in line for more than 4 hours before getting their books signed. The signature: a simple, cursive “Hillary.” Also dropping by on Saturday was Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who was shopping and stumbled upon the event. [Huffington Post, Washington Post]
Board Approves Waycroft-Woodlawn Plan — The County Board on Saturday unanimously approved an updated Neighborhood Conservation Plan for the Waycroft-Woodlawn community, located northwest of Ballston. The plan calls for funding “to address speeding and cut-through traffic, improve pedestrian safety, enhance street conditions and make park improvements.” Waycroft-Woodlawn has 1,600 residents, mostly in single-family homes. [Arlington County]
Healthy Vending Machine Installation Complete — Arlington Public Schools has completed installation of 115 new “FitArlington Healthy Vending Machines” in all 40 APS-owned buildings. The machines offer “bottled water and 100% fruit juice beverages, and a variety of healthy snacks, such as dried fruit, baked chips, and granola bars.” [Arlington Public Schools]
The 17-story building at 901 15th Street S. is now Instrata Pentagon City, a part of the Instrata Lifestyle Residences chain that casts itself as “a lifestyle concept of high-end luxury rental apartments,” according to a press release.
The pet-friendly building will be managed by D.C.-area property manager Bozzuto and, according to Bozzuto spokeswoman Lauren Neuvel, will lease one-bedroom apartments for between $1,969 and $2,519 a month; two-bedrooms for between $3,035 and $6,205; and three-bedrooms from $6,306 to $6,458.
“Instrata Pentagon City apartments feature kitchens with ceramic flooring, custom-crafted cabinetry, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and gas cooking; premium bathrooms with soaking tubs and ceramic tiling… private balconies or sunrooms, and stunning views of Washington, D.C.” according to the press release.
The building’s amenities include jacuzzis and marble fireplaces in penthouse apartments, a yoga room, massage room, personal trainers and a complimentary membership to ClubCorp, which, according to the press release, provides “access to private golf and country clubs, business, sports and alumni clubs throughout North America.”
The apartments were recently renovated as tenants have moved out, Neuvel said. Instrata launched in New York City earlier this year, and Instrata Pentagon City is the company’s first venture outside Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Photo (top) via Google Maps, photo (bottom) via Instrata Pentagon City
A source tells ARLnow.com that the woman was intoxicated and within a restricted portion of the building’s rooftop when she fell through an old incinerator chute to her death. Police investigated the incident but no foul play is suspected and investigators believe it to be a “tragic accident,” we’re told.
No additional information is available about the accident at this time. An Arlington County Police spokesman declined comment.
Hard Choices will go on sale on Tuesday. The book chronicles Clinton’s four years as Secretary of State and the “crises, choices, and challenges she faced.”
Clinton will be signing copies of the book at the Pentagon City Costco store from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on June 14.
Following Hillary to the signing will be a large tour bus paid for by Ready for Hillary, the Arlington-based political action committee that’s supporting Clinton in her expected 2016 presidential run.
Dump Truck Driver Found Guilty in Woman’s Death — The driver of a dump truck that struck and killed a 39-year-old mother of three in February has been found guilty of “failing to pay full time and attention.” Marvin Valladares, 33, was sentenced to 10 days in jail with four suspended. [WTOP, WJLA]
Pentagon Centre Redevelopment Plans Change – A plan to redevelop the Pentagon Centre shopping center is being changed. Owner Kimco Realty Corp. now wants to build two residential buildings on the site before building two office buildings and a hotel. Pentagon Centre is currently home to Best Buy, Costco and other big box retailers. If the plan is approved, it and other Pentagon City development projects could result in “a deluge of roughly 4,000 new residential units in a decade.” [Washington Business Journal]
Lane Closures Planned for Parade — A number of lanes will be closed in the area of Four Mile Run on Saturday for the Corso de Santa Cruz Parade. [Arlington County]