More Homes Awaiting the Wrecking Ball — Another 11 homes are set to be torn down in Arlington, after applying for demolition permits in February. The group Preservation Arlington says three are located in historic districts. “The looming demolition of these houses and buildings represents an incredible loss of history, architecture, time, energy, and materials,” the group writes. “Many had the potential for renovation and additions, or, at a bare minimum, reclamation/reuse of building materials.” The group is currently seeking nominations for its annual “Most Endangered Historic Places” list. [Preservation Arlington]
Arlington Woman Turns 100 — Arlington resident Virginia Blake turned 100 last month. Blake, whose paternal grandmother lived to 111 years old, only moved out of her Military Road home and into a senior living facility last fall. [Sun Gazette]
Potomac Yard, Prior to Development — A photo from the 1990s shows the Arlington portion of Potomac Yard before apartment and office developments were built. [Twitter]
Teen Book Fest Comes to Arlington — Updated at 11:35 a.m. — The NoVaTeen Book Festival will take place at Washington-Lee High School on Saturday. NoVaTeen bills itself as “the first-ever festival celebrating Young Adult literature in the Northern Virginia/DC metro area.” [NoVaTeen Book Festival]
Flickr pool photo by BrianMKA
The construction is part of the Crystal City Potomac Yard Transitway Project, a project that, when completed, will see a bus rapid transit system connect from Crystal City and Pentagon City down to the Braddock Road Metrorail Station in Alexandria.
The project’s construction is expected to start this spring and last for 10 months. Alexandria’s portion of the Transitway is already under construction, according to county staff. In Arlington, the bus will operate in dedicated lanes near Potomac Yard, with stops on Crystal Drive, S. Bell Street, Clark Street, 15th Street, 20th Street and 26th Street.
During morning and evening rush hours, the buses — which will be a new 9X Metrobus route — will use a dedicated lane south on S. Bell and Clark Streets and north on Crystal Drive, replacing an existing traffic lane. The lane will be open to normal traffic during other times.
A little more than $1 million of the project’s funds will come from county funds and bonds, while the rest will come from state and federal transit grants, according to the county’s staff report. The project is designed to support the redevelopment of Potomac Yard and provide another transit option for commuters and residents of the Jefferson Davis Highway corridor.
Last year, Metro announced that the Transitway would be WMATA’s first BRT service. The dedicated lanes are expected to expedite travel times and keep buses running on a more reliable schedule.
Police say a man left the L.A. Fitness on the 3500 block of S. Clark Street, near Potomac Yard, just before 8:00 p.m. He was followed to his apartment by another man. Once inside the apartment lobby, the suspect exposed himself, then fled the scene on foot.
“The suspect is described as a black male in his 30s, approximately 6’1” and 230 pounds,” police said in the daily crime report. “At the time of the incident the suspect was wearing a black knit winter hat, a black hooded sweatshirt with red dots and blue jeans. The investigation is ongoing.”
A new temporary staircase and accessible path has been built near Potomac Yard.
The path leads from Potomac Avenue, behind the Eclipse condominium building, to the Four Mile Run trail.
The access way is a “long-term detour” that was installed as part of the Four Mile Run Restoration Project and a bridge demolition project, according to Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Jennifer Heilman.
The Harris Teeter store near Potomac Yard, which has been closed since May 2012 after being flooded with raw sewage, will hold its grand reopening in two weeks.
The store, at 3600 S. Glebe Road, will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 23. Events will also be held that weekend in honor of the reopening.
The store will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
From a Harris Teeter press release:
The 44,000 square foot store, part of The Eclipse luxury mixed-use development, underwent a complete renovation including: all new flooring; new drywall and paint; updated equipment; wooden display cases; new fixtures; an expanded seating area; an expanded floral department; new prepared food stations including pizza, an Asian hot bar, and a made-to-order sandwich bar; and sustainable décor elements. The Company also re-designed its pharmacy to feature an open floor plan that will allow our pharmacists to better serve their customers.
In each of its stores, including its location at Potomac Yard, Harris Teeter considered sustainable building design throughout its re-design process. The refrigerated cases will feature motion detection lighting; the company will also install doors with LED lights on the refrigerated cases as well as LED spotlighting throughout the store to reduce energy consumption. Harris Teeter originally installed both an energy management lighting system and a heat reclamation system in this store and will continue to utilize these technologies to reduce energy waste.
Harris Teeter’s insurers are currently suing Arlington County for more than $1 million to recover losses caused by the sewage backup.
Located at 3650 S. Glebe Road, Melody Tavern was a bar/restaurant that hosted live music. It closed in October 2012 after 10 months in business.
The space is now being renovated and will become the new location of the Crystal City Children’s Center. The parent-run cooperative child care center opened in 1987 and is currently located at 1900 S. Eads Street.
The new location will allow Crystal City Children’s Center to expand from 64 to 108 children, according to Luellen Matthews, director of the center. Among other features of the new center will be a state-of-the-art secure entryway, she said. Workers could be seen yesterday taking down old Melody Tavern signs and replacing them with Children’s Center signs.
“We expect to re-locate by late October,” Matthews told ARLnow.com.
The grocery store closed in May 2012 after it was flooded with raw sewage, the result of a clog at the nearby Arlington County Water Pollution Control Plant. The contents of the store were scrapped, and construction on a brand new interior has been underway since this spring, when the company announced plans to reopen later this year.
Harris Teeter is now hiring personnel for the store, according to a number of online job listings posted over the past 10 days. The store reapplied for a Virginia ABC wine and beer license and keg permit on Monday.
The store will reopen at some point in October, Harris Teeter spokeswoman Catherine Becker told ARLnow.com yesterday.
A ceremonial swinging of sledgehammers kicked off the demolition of an old bridge over Four Mile Run this morning.
The bridge, located between Potomac Avenue and Route 1 near Potomac Yard, was used by trains until the late 1980s when the railroad was decommissioned. It has since sat out of use, overgrown with vegetation.
Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), County Board Vice Chair Jay Fisette and Alexandria Mayor William Euille were at the bridge Monday morning, sledgehammers in hand, to announce the start of demolition, which will get fully underway in two weeks. The demolition is expected to be completed by April.
The bridge is being taken down to create open space above Four Mile Run, which environmental officials from both jurisdictions say will allow the stream to grow vegetation and develop a healthier ecology. Moran recalled a large flood in the 1970s, after which the local governments decided to pour in concrete. The concrete mitigated flood impacts but wound up damaging the stream’s ecosystem, Moran said.
“The vegetation serves its purpose if you allow it to grow,” Moran said, “and this does.”
The Pulte Group, which owns the Potomac Yards development adjacent to Four Mile Run, will fund the $3.5 million demolition and the stabilization of the stream banks. After the demolition, Alexandria and Arlington will jointly fund a new, urban-style park on another unused bridge, adjacent to Potomac Avenue.
The plan to transform the area started in 2006 when both jurisdictions passed the Four Mile Run Restoration Master Plan, and has been helmed by the Arlington/Alexandria Four Mile Run Redesign Task Force.
“We finally are seeing these plans come to fruition,” Moran said. “We’ve been waiting 25 years for a ribbon cutting here, and now we’ve got a sledgehammer smashing.”
In April, the Arlington County Board quietly approved a site plan amendment for the vacant National Gateway building at 3500 and 3550 S. Clark Street, along Jefferson Davis Highway near Potomac Yard. The amendment was granted to allow the office building to be used for educational purposes.
Specifically, the building was to be occupied by a new 1,300-student law school, complete with 22 classrooms, a law library, a bookstore, a moot courtroom and a cafe.
Since April, however, no construction permits have been issued for the building. InfiLaw System, a Florida-based consortium of independent law schools that was planning to open the new school, now says that plans have fallen through, at least for now.
“The InfiLaw System was exploring opening a law school in Arlington, Virginia,” confirmed Kathy Heldman, the organization’s vice president of marketing, via email last night. “We have decided to put the initiative on hold.”
No word yet on whether InfiLaw might revive the law school plans at some point in the near future. The decision is another blow to Arlington’s commercial real estate market, which is reeling from the National Science Foundation’s decision to move to Alexandria and the Fish and Wildlife Service’s expected decision to move to the Skyline area of Fairfax County.
Photo via nationalgatewayarlington.com
The store has been closed since last May, when it was flooded with raw sewage due to a clog at the nearby Arlington County Water Pollution Control Plan.
Over the weekend, residents of the Eclipse condominium building above the store delivered some 400 signed letters from residents to the Arlington County Board, calling for the county to help facilitate the store’s reopening.
Construction will begin “within the next few weeks,” according to a press release from Comstock, owner of the 465-unit Eclipse building.
In a press release, Harris Teeter says the renovated S. Glebe Road store will reopen in “late fall 2013″ — in time for this year’s holiday season. The press release made no reference to the sewage incident.
Harris Teeter is pleased to announce it will open its Potomac Yard location located at 3600 South Glebe Road in Arlington, Va. in fall 2013. The 44,000 square foot store, part of the Comstock Partners residential building, closed in May 2012 and is undergoing complete renovation. The renovation will include all new flooring; new drywall and paint; updated equipment; wooden display cases; new fixtures; an expanded seating area; an expanded floral department; new prepared food stations including pizza, an Asian hot bar, and a made-to-order sandwich bar; and sustainable décor elements. The Company also re-designed its pharmacy to feature an open floor plan that will allow our pharmacists to better serve their customers.
Harris Teeter considered sustainable building design throughout its re-design process. The refrigerated cases will feature motion detection lighting; the company will also install doors with LED lights on the refrigerated cases as well as LED spotlighting throughout the store to reduce energy consumption. Harris Teeter originally installed both an energy management lighting system and a heat reclamation system in this store and will continue to utilize these technologies to reduce energy waste.
Harris Teeter looks forward to opening its Potomac Yard store and being a part of the community once again. We appreciate our customers’ patience while the store has been closed as well as their loyalty. We will continue to post updates on harristeeter.com when new information is available.
Photo courtesy Douglas Wendt
Metro is planning to launch a new bus line, the 9X line, to run in dedicated transit lanes between parts of south Arlington and Alexandria. The Alexandria portion — to run from the Braddock Road Metro station to Potomac Yard via Route 1 — is expected to open in spring 2014. The Arlington portion — from the Pentagon City Metro station to the Crystal City Metro station to Potomac Yard — is expected to open in summer or fall 2014, according to Arlington County Senior Transit Engineer Matthew Huston.
At first, the line will travel in mixed traffic on 15th Street Pentagon City and Crystal City. Eventually it will utilize the extended and contiguous 12th Street. The line will travel south in new dedicated bus lanes along S. Clark and S. Bell Street, and north along Crystal Drive.
The bus lanes will take the place of an existing, standard travel lane. They will be reserved for buses and emergency vehicles only during the morning and evening rush hours, but will be open to mixed traffic during all other times. Street parking will not be impacted by the changes.
As part of the still-evolving plan for what’s called the Crystal City-Potomac Yard Transitway, the existing 9S bus line will be extended to Potomac Yard and will run along the new dedicated lanes. The 9X and 9S will provide frequent service — every 6 minutes — and will serve a consolidated list of stops.
There will be seven new stops built in Arlington between Crystal City and Potomac Yard. Those stops will feature electronic information displays and other enhanced features. The buses will still serve on-street stops between the Crystal City and Pentagon City Metro stations.
The dedicated bus lanes will eventually be used as the right-of-way for the new Crystal City streetcar, though so far county officials aren’t providing a timeline for its eventual construction.
Planning, design and construction of Arlington’s portion of the transitway, which will also include the construction of new dedicated lanes between 26th Street and Glebe Road, is expected to cost the county about $17.5 million. Metro will pick up the tab for 13 new BRT-style buses, at a cost of about $650,000 apiece.
Metro is currently conducting an online survey about the design and branding of the buses. Possible names for the bus service include “Metro Beat” and “Metro Way.” It also asks about possible nicknames for the bus line, with options like: Crystal to Brad Line, Power House Corridor, City to the Yard Corridor, Potomac Yard Corridor, Tower Corridor, and Jeff Davis Corridor.
In an introduction, the survey emphasized that this would be Metro’s first BRT service.
Metro, in conjunction with Arlington County and the City of Alexandria will be introducing a new unique bus service to the region. Special stops and bus-only lanes will be introduced that will allow the bus to run on a very tight schedule. This corridor will be the first such service in the Washington region. Below is a map that shows the new route. The new service (sometimes called Bus Rapid Transit) will be different than anything the Washington region has seen before.
A Harris Teeter spokeswoman said the store will not reopen until the company can be assured that measures are in place to prevent another catastrophic sewage incident.
“We are actively working with both the county and our landlord to discuss solutions to make sure that which happened does not happen again,” said company spokeswoman Danna Jones. “Once those solutions are implemented, we are ready to start work on the interior of the store, and at that point, Harris Teeter will make various public announcements to share the good news with everyone.”
An Arlington County spokeswoman would not comment on whether the county was working with Harris Teeter to reduce the risk of another sewage backup or mitigate the effects of the May incident. The county did say that, so far, no lawsuits have been filed against the county in response to last year’s sewage backup.
“I can confirm that no civil lawsuits have been filed,” said Arlington County spokeswoman Mary Curtius.
Photo courtesy Douglas Wendt
This weekend, the Arlington County Board is expected to approve an agreement with VDOT to design a trail connector from the Four Mile Run Trail to Potomac Avenue in Arlington. Potomac Avenue runs from Crystal City to the shops and new residential developments in the Potomac Yard section of Alexandria.
Currently, the Four Mile Run Trail connects with the west side of Route 1. One would then have to cross the busy thoroughfare to get to Potomac Yard. A steep, informal dirt path that connects directly from the trail to Potomac Avenue also exists, but can be difficult to climb.
County officials say the new trail connection will be accessible to those with disabilities.
“The trail connection will provide an ADA compliant multi-use trail connection between the Potomac Yard development on the north side of Four Mile Run (Arlington County) and the Four Mile Run Trail which is also on the north side of Four Mile Run (Arlington County),” wrote Shannon Whalen McDaniel, spokeswoman for the county’s Department of Environmental Services. “The new trail connection will replace a informal dirt pathway (goat path) that currently exists along the steep embankment between Potomac Yard and the Four Mile Run Trail.”
The design and engineering for the new trail connection is projected to cost $250,000. Of that, $190,000 will come from federal funds and $60,000 will come from Arlington County. The actual construction of the trail connector hasn’t been funded yet, but is expected to be complete no later than 2016. No construction date has been set.
Image via Google Maps
“This location is far more challenging than anticipated so we have decided to close the doors,” the Facebook post said. “We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause some. Thank you and God Bless.”
This is the latest in a lengthening line of business closures at the off-the-beaten-path retail cluster, located on the ground floor of the Eclipse condo building between Crystal City and Potomac Yard, just off Route 1.
Melody Tavern had replaced McGinty’s Irish Pub, which closed in December 2010. Hee Been Asian Bistro Buffet closed there in July after just 7 months in business. Harris Teeter has yet to reopen after a major sewage backup in May. (No word yet on a reopening date.) Meanwhile, across the street, a Jerry’s Subs and Pizza closed last year.
Part of the blame may be the lack of foot traffic from anyone other than residents of the two adjacent residential buildings, and the fact that the businesses are set back from the street and hard to see to people driving by. Another possible explanation: last November, we reported that Melody Tavern had to issue a press release after it was revealed that some GPS navigation systems directed people to a vacant lot several blocks away when trying to find the restaurant’s address.
The family-owned restaurant opened on the ground floor of the Eclipse condominium building, near Potomac Yard, on Christmas Day 2011. No word on why the restaurant closed, but a tipster tells us it didn’t seem to be attracting enough customers. Hee Been was closed yesterday, according to another business owner at the Eclipse, and a property manager was seen changing the locks today.
Hee Been’s original Alexandria location, at 6231 Little River Turnpike, is still open, according to an employee who answered the phone there this afternoon.
When it opened, Hee Been featured an 80-foot-long dinner buffet with some 85 different items representing three different types of cuisine: Korean, Japanese and Thai. The restaurant was an ambitious undertaking for the development, at the far southeast corner of Arlington. Though the Eclipse and the nearby Camden Potomac Yard apartment complex both have residential tenants, the large National Gateway office complex, across the street from the Eclipse, is still awaiting an office tenant.
This is the latest in a string of bad news for the area. In May the Harris Teeter grocery store at the Eclipse closed due to flooding caused by a sewage backup. It has remained closed since. An Irish bar, McGinty’s Public House, closed late in 2010.
McGinty’s was replaced by Melody Tavern last year.