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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | April 14, 2014 at 9:00 am | 2,414 views | No Comments

"Arlington Blossoms" (Flickr pool photo by J. Sonder)

Lubber Run Neighbors Rally Against Housing Proposal — Those who live around the Lubber Run Community Center showed up to the Saturday Arlington County Board meeting to rally against a proposal to use the public land around the community center for affordable housing or a new school. The residents also asked the Board to approve a renovation to the community center. [Sun Gazette]

Board Approves Expanded ‘Technology Zones’ — The County Board on Saturday approved an expansion of its program of reduced business license taxes for technology businesses in certain “technology zones.” About 5-10 businesses per year are expected to qualify for the tax incentives. [Arlington County]

Avg. Single Family Home Price Tops $900,000 — The average sale price of a single family home in Arlington hit $913,677 in March. That’s up 11.7 percent year-over-year. The average townhouse sale price, meanwhile, was $449,202 and the average condo was $515,000. [Sun Gazette]

Arlington Educators Honored — Two Arlington educators, Glebe Elementary principal Jamie Borg and Kenmore Middle School teacher Cassidy Nolen, are among the recipients of the Washington Post’s annual education awards. [Washington Post]

Air Force Research Office to Remain in Arlington — After considering a move to Dayton, Ohio, the Air Force has decided to keep its Office of Scientific Research in Arlington. The decision was made after Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, and Rep. Jim Moran, pressed the Air Force to abandon the relocation proposal. The office employs about 170 people. [PR Newswire, Dayton Business Journal]

Arlington Runner Wins Marine Corp 17.75K – Arlington’s Kelly Swain was the top female finisher at the Marine Corps 17.75K race in Prince William County over the weekend. Swain, 28, finished the 11.03 mile event in 1:14:02. The 17.75K is a precursor to the Marine Corps Marathon, which starts and ends in Arlington. The sold-out race will take place this year on Oct. 26. [Army Times]

Flickr pool photo by J. Sonderman

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | April 1, 2014 at 8:45 am | 1,160 views | No Comments

View of the Jefferson Memorial from Arlington (Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber)

False Alarm at Arlington National Cemetery — The Arlington County Fire Department responded to Arlington National Cemetery yesterday afternoon for a fire alarm. Once on scene, firefighters determined that the alarm was set off by the tomb guards steam pressing their uniforms. [Twitter]

Arlington Real Estate Market Profiled — CNBC’s “Power Lunch” program profiled the real estate market in Arlington last week. The program took a look at three properties in the county, from a $364,900 condo in Ballston to a $1,275,000 luxury townhouse in Rosslyn. [CNBC]

Arlington Dems Have Plenty of Beads — Arlington Democrats are trying to figure out what to do with more than 200 pounds of Mardi Gras beads. The party purchased the beads for the annual Clarendon Mardi Gras parade, which was rescheduled and then canceled due to snow this year. [InsideNoVa]

Doorways Fundraiser Planned — Rocklands Barbeque (3471 Washington Blvd) will open its patio for the season on Thursday, April 17, with its annual “Shed Your Coat” fundraiser. The event, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., will benefit Doorways for Women and Families. [Doorways]

Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber

County to Review Big Assessment Increases

by ARLnow.com | March 3, 2014 at 1:30 pm | 1,670 views | No Comments

Restaurants on Wilson Blvd in ClarendonArlington County will review the big jump in commercial real estate assessments in Clarendon first reported by ARLnow.com last week.

The county said Friday evening that it will take a look at “all commercial real property assessments with a 50% or greater increase from calendar year 2013.”

There are nearly 90 such properties, including Rien Tong restaurant (3131 Wilson Blvd), which saw its assessment increase 197 percent, and Spider Kelly’s (3171 Wilson Blvd), which saw its property valuation increase 83 percent.

The assessments are updated annually and used to calculate county property taxes.

“A small number of commercial property owners did see substantially increased assessments, and this review is meant to correct any mistakes that may have been made,” said county finance director Michelle Cowan, in a press release, below.

Arlington County has begun a review of all commercial real property assessments with a 50% or greater increase from calendar year 2013, including several parcels in the Clarendon area that saw significant increases.

The review will affect fewer than 90 properties, of approximately 3,300 total commercial parcels.  Both the original assessments, and the underlying data for each of the affected properties, will be re-examined to determine whether the assessment should be sustained or changed.

“A small number of commercial property owners did see substantially increased assessments, and this review is meant to correct any mistakes that may have been made,” said Dept. of Management and Finance Director Michelle Cowan. “We want to ensure fair and equitable assessments for all property owners.”

Arlington’s Real Estate Assessment office is mailing letters to property owners of all properties whose assessments increased 50% or more. Upon conclusion of the administrative review by the County, property owners will still have the ability to appeal their assessment through the Board of Equalization. It is anticipated that the County’s administrative review will take 30-45 days. 

Overall, commercial assessments, which include office buildings, apartments, hotels and retail, grew 5.4 percent over CY 2013, primarily fueled by new construction and strength in apartment properties due to rising rents. The specific parcels that were questioned in the Clarendon area fall into the general commercial category class, which includes retail and other types of properties, excluding office buildings and apartments. The general commercial assessment category increased by 12.4 percent over CY 2013.

Assessments for most commercial properties are based on an income approach and evaluate how much income a property would produce if it were rented as an apartment, store, factory, etc. This approach considers operating expenses, taxes, insurance, maintenance costs, and the profits most people would expect from the rental. The net income after operational costs, plus a capitalization rate, determines the assessment value. It is not based on the profitability of a particular business; rather the assessment value is based on the rents and expenses of the property and building in which the business is located.

Assessments for Clarendon Restaurants Skyrocket

by ARLnow.com | February 26, 2014 at 10:25 am | 5,275 views | No Comments

Rien Tong in Clarendon(Updated at 1:20 p.m.) Real estate assessments for numerous Clarendon restaurants skyrocketed this year, with little explanation as to why.

Long-time businesses, which have not been renovated or sold recently, saw their assessments increase by double digit or even triple digit percentages. The rise in assessments could mean the owners will be forced to pay tens of thousands in additional county taxes this year, barring a successful appeal.

The biggest increase spotted by ARLnow.com was that of Rien Tong Restaurant (3131 Wilson Blvd). The Asian eatery, located across from the Clarendon Metro station, saw its assessment jump from $559,900 to $1,667,600, a nearly 200 percent increase that would result in an extra $12,528 in taxes.

Restaurants on Wilson Blvd in ClarendonThe assessment for Kabob Bazaar (3133 Wilson Blvd), directly adjacent to Rien Tong in a nearly identical storefront, also increased but not as dramatically. The restaurant’s assessment increased from $635,500 to $840,700, a 32 percent rise.

The biggest tax increase as a result of higher assessments goes to Spider Kelly’s (3171 Wilson Blvd), which saw its property valuation increase 83 percent to $5.1 million. The added tax yearly bill: $26,428.

With the exception of Revolution Cycles (2727 Wilson Blvd), which had its building assessment increase 64 percent to $3.8 million, and Azure Day Spa (2420 Wilson Blvd), which increased 55 percent to $1.9 million, the businesses impacted were primarily Clarendon restaurants.

Other big increases include Eventide (39 percent), Clarendon Ballroom (50 percent), Hard Times Cafe and Delhi Club (50 percent), Boccato Gelato (71 percent), Whitlow’s (24 percent), Faccia Luna and Boulevard Woodgrill (56 percent). By comparison, the Clarendon Whole Foods store at 2700 Wilson Blvd saw no increase in its assessment.

Several restaurant owners contacted ARLnow.com about the higher assessments.

“There’s some funny business going on here,” one said, on the condition of anonymity. “This is a money grab, pure and simple.”

Arlington County Director of Communications Diana Sun says that the businesses in question are typically assessed based on a method that takes a look at the income generated by each property. That, however, can’t fully explain the increases.

“Clearly there were some that just look like an anomaly,” she said.

Sun encouraged business owners who think their assessments this year were unjust to file an administrative appeal before the March 3 deadline. Such an appeal could result in a new inspection of the property and a lower assessment. After March 3, or after an unsatisfactory result from an administrative appeal, any appeals must be filed with the county’s Board of Equalization.

The unknowns involved in filing an appeal still have some business owners on edge.

“I have to hire a lawyer now,” one told ARLnow.com “I’m pretty pissed off about it.”

UPDATED: Arlington Home Buyer Seminar (Sponsored)

by ARLnow.com | January 17, 2014 at 5:00 am | 402 views | No Comments

Editor’s Note: This post is written and sponsored by Urban Turf.

Are you considering buying a home in Arlington in 2014?

If so, attend this Arlington home buyer seminar in Clarendon next Wednesday, January 22nd. (Update: this event has been canceled due to weather.)

Three industry experts – Joe Zamoiski of 1st Portfolio Lending, George Papakostas of Long & Foster, and George Glekas of GPN Title — will give an informative talk about the process of buying a home in Arlington. Joe, George, and George have years of experience between them in the Arlington market, not to mention hundreds of successful transactions.

They’ll cover the home-buying process in detail, including:

  • Identifying a home.
  • The offer, negotiation, and closing process.
  • Financing, including loan approval and figuring out what you can afford.
  • State of the Arlington market.

In addition to the above, the purpose of the seminar is to answer your questions. Attendance is kept low to allow ample attention for all attendees. You’ll have plenty of time to ask questions during the Q&A or afterwards if you’d prefer to ask a question privately.

Click here to register

The speakers will present for 45 minutes or so, after which there will be Q&A for 30 minutes, when the seminar officially ends. But Joe, George, and George will stick around as long as necessary to answer all questions.

More details:

  • Location: In the heart of Clarendon at 3033 Wilson Boulevard, suite 700 (map).
  • Parking: Yes, free parking.
  • Metro-accessible: One block from the Clarendon station.
  • Cost: $15 per person here, $20 at the door.
  • Food: Snacks and drinks will be provided.
  • Questions: Email seminars2014@urbanturf.com or call 703-842-1391.

Click here to register

Arlington Considering Tax Incentives, Other Options to Combat High Office Vacancy

by Ethan Rothstein | January 14, 2014 at 4:20 pm | 1,992 views | No Comments

Arlington Economic Development's Alex Iams, left, speaks at the NAIOP economic development luncheonArlington is “still sorting through the mess” of the BRAC closures that have boosted office vacancy rates, an Arlington representative told hundreds of Northern Virginia commercial real estate developers today.

Arlington, like other communities in the D.C. area, is experiencing weakness in the office market. The high office vacancy rate is exacerbated by new office buildings coming on the market and certain large employers (including military offices impacted by BRAC) leaving.

To combat that, Arlington is considering options providing certain incentives to attract new businesses and hang on to existing employers.

“We’re aggressively planning for the future,” Alex Iams, a commercial development specialist with Arlington Economic Development, told members of NAIOP, an association for commercial real estate developers.

“[BRAC] is still a four-letter word in Arlington for certain,” he said. “We did an aggressive plan for Crystal City, we’ve done planning along Columbia Pike. We have done planning for BRAC in Rosslyn as well, so we’re not only doing planning for the future, but now we’re aggressively positioning ourselves to hold on to what we have.”

Iams was one-fifth of a panel with the directors of economic development from Alexandria as well as Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties. He told ARLnow.com that Arlington is considering tax incentives and other methods to try to encourage businesses to grow — and, just as importantly, stay — in Arlington.

“We’re trying to structure a policy on how to address office vacancy,” he said. “We haven’t done it yet, but you can expect to see it at the end of the season.”

The commercial real estate industry in Northern Virginia listens to economic development officials speakWith the delivery of the 35-story 1812 N. Moore Street last fall, Iams said Arlington’s office vacancy rate is now hovering around 20 percent, the highest it’s been in nearly a decade. Iams said projects like Monday Properties’ skyscraper, which is still unoccupied after being built “on spec” are “suffering the most, because it’s so much space all at once.”

Iams pointed to the success at 1776 Wilson Blvd, a five-story office building at the intersection of N. Quinn Street. It opened in winter of 2012 and is about 85 percent leased, he said.

What Arlington can do to solve its vacancy rate, Iams said, is to follow Vornado’s example in Crystal City when the first wave of BRAC closures saw the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office move to Alexandria.

“Vornado didn’t just sit on their hands,” Iams said. “There was an adaptation with rents and an increase in amenities nearby, and they transformed Crystal Drive into a retail center.”

Iams also cited Kettler Capitals Iceplex, Penrose Square and the Village at Shirlington as examples of “placemaking” the county has partnered with private businesses on to make specific areas more attractive to employees and residents.

The other economic development leaders lamented the lack of demand for office space while demand for residential units all over Northern Virginia is exploding, creating a tricky regulatory line to walk to ensure balance. Iams said Arlington, despite its vacancy rate, still sees demand for office development.

“We’re getting questions from our board and our community about approving more office space,” he said. “The office market also works in cycles, and we want different kinds of products available to be able to deploy when a certain company or tenant may be searching in our market.”

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | January 14, 2014 at 9:00 am | 925 views | No Comments

Gaslight square condominium development (Flickr pool photo by Lawrence Cheng Photography)

Real Estate ‘Bull Market’ in December — Arlington’s residential real estate market soared in December, reaching a deal volume of $134.4 million, up almost 40 percent over a year prior. The average sales price rose 12.8 percent. [Sun Gazette]

Yorktown Nominated for a GRAMMY — Yorktown High Schools is one of 123 schools nationwide selected as a semifinalist for the 2014 GRAMMY Signature Schools Award. “Created in 1998, the GRAMMY Signature Schools program recognizes top U.S. public high schools that are making an outstanding commitment to music education during an academic school year,” the school system said in a press release. [Arlington Public Schools]

MLK Weekend Metro Track Work — Track work will reduce Metro service on the Orange and Blue lines to one train every 20 minutes this weekend. The track work will not be performed on Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and Metro will instead operate on a normal Saturday schedule systemwide. [WMATA]

Flickr pool by Lawrence Cheng Photography

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | January 2, 2014 at 9:00 am | 1,374 views | No Comments

Two people talking on a Clarendon sidewalk (Flickr photo by Ddimick)

S.C. Man Arrested for Assaulting Ex-Girlfriend — A 24-year-old South Carolina man has been arrested by Arlington County police for an alleged extended, brutal assault on his ex-girlfriend. The assault took place in a car on Route 50 and again in the woman’s apartment in Courthouse, police say.  The man is charged with an array of crimes: abduction with intent to defile, felony strangulation, use of a firearm in commission of a felony, sexual battery, assault and battery, and unlawfully obstructing messages to law enforcement. [NBC Washington]

Rent Holds Steady in Arlington — The average monthly rent for a house or apartment in Arlington was $2,497 in the third quarter of 2013, down slightly from $2,501 one year prior. Rent, meanwhile, increased in Alexandria, Falls Church and Fairfax County. [Sun Gazette]

Woodmont Neighborhood Profiled — Arlington’s Woodmont neighborhood is “a calm oasis near the Potomac,” according to a profile. The neighborhood’s tranquility is despite the fact that it’s only a quarter mile from the Key Bridge and D.C. [Washington Post]

Flickr pool photo by Ddimick

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | December 23, 2013 at 9:10 am | 2,668 views | No Comments

Christmas tree in the Sheraton hotel on Columbia Pike

Free House in Arlington — The new owners of a 1926 Sears bungalow kit home in Lyon Park are offering the house for free to a caring owner. The only catch? The home’s recipient will have to have somewhere to move it. “The needs of the homeowner do not meet the constrictions of the current home,” according to the Preservation Arlington blog. “Rather than bulldoze this historic property, the homeowner is interested in giving it away for only the cost of moving the home.” [Preservation Arlington]

Big Year for OpowerUpdated at 2:20 p.m. – Courthouse-based Opower doubled the number of people who use its energy-saving software in 2013, going from 10 million users to about 20 million users. The company also increased its workforce by 50 percent, from about 300 to 460 employees. [Washington Post]

New South Arlington Elementary School? — Speaking at last week’s School Board meeting, civic activist Monique O’Grady asked the board when a proposed new elementary school for South Arlington would be built. Without one, she worried that South Arlington schools could turn into a “trailer park,” filled with relocatable classroom trailers. [Sun Gazette]

Morning Notes

by Katie Pyzyk | December 11, 2013 at 8:30 am | 1,102 views | No Comments

Cardinal in Alcova Heights (photo by Matt Henneman)

Home Prices Fall — Arlington was the only jurisdiction in the D.C. metro area to see a drop in home prices last month. The median Arlington sales price in November was $498,500, down 2.1 percent from last year. [Washington Business Journal]

Big Difference Between ‘Near’ and ‘Next To’ Metro Stations – It’s no surprise that real estate closer to Metro stations is more valuable, but what may be surprising is for how high a price such properties can be sold. Looking at the five stations along the Orange Line’s Rosslyn-Ballston corridor — which is deemed one of the hot areas for development — researchers found that properties one-twentieth of a mile from a station (264 feet) can fetch more than a 30 percent premium over those just a quarter mile away. [Washington Post]

Winter Class Registration Begins — Online registration for the Department of Parks and Recreation’s Enjoy Arlington winter classes began today at 7:00 a.m. Available class schedules can be viewed online. Call the Registration Office at 703-228-4747 between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, with any questions. [Arlington County]

Photo by Matt Henneman

Avery Row Apartments Now Leasing

by Katie Pyzyk | December 10, 2013 at 1:00 pm | 1,157 views | No Comments

Avery Row Apartments (photo via Avery Row Apartments website(Updated at 3:10 p.m.) The leasing center at the new Avery Row (1200 N. Rolfe Street) apartment complex opened for business yesterday (December 9).

Potential residents can now tour the four story, 67-unit building in the Radnor/Ft. Myer Heights neighborhood. The “boutique apartment community” features one and two bedroom apartments, balconies, rooftop terraces and an outdoor dining area.

“We give you a lot of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, a lot of outdoor areas to appreciate nature,” said Shelley Brooks, Regional Portfolio Manager for Bozzuto Management Company. “It’s a very special community. It’s modern, yet elegant. I think they’ll go very quickly.”

The complex had previously been known as “Grayson Flats” and was intended to be marketed as apartment rentals. But Reston-based Silverwood Companies announced its purchase of the property in April and repositioned it as a condominium building, while also changing the name to “The Avery.” The property was recently repositioned again as the Avery Row apartments; it is still owned by Silverwood and Bozzuto Management Company currently oversees the property.

Brooks explained that The Avery opened for condo sales in early June and interest rates increased less than three weeks later, stopping interest in the condos. Silverwood reassessed the market and determined apartments were a better option, especially given what it calls a lack of large, luxury units in the area.

The apartments are ready for immediate move-in. So far, one apartment has been leased and there are 66 others available. Monthly rental prices range from $2,345 for a one bedroom to more than $3,430 for a two bedroom with den.

UPDATED: Arlington Home Buyer Seminar (Sponsored)

by ARLnow.com | December 9, 2013 at 6:00 am | No Comments

Update at 3:50 p.m. — Due to tomorrow’s inclement weather forecast, this event has been canceled.

Earlier: Are you considering buying a home in Arlington in 2014?

If so, attend this Arlington home buyer seminar in Clarendon on Tuesday, December 10th.

Three industry experts – Joe Zamoiski of 1st Portfolio Lending, George Papakostas of Long & Foster, and George Glekas of GPN Title – will give an informative talk about the process of buying a home in Arlington. Joe, George, and George have years of experience between them in the Arlington market, not to mention hundreds of successful transactions.

They’ll cover the home-buying process in detail, including:

  • Identifying a home.
  • The offer, negotiation, and closing process.
  • Financing, including loan approval and figuring out what you can afford.
  • State of the Arlington market.

In addition to the above, the purpose of the seminar is to answer your questions. Attendance is kept low to allow ample attention for all attendees. You’ll have plenty of time to ask questions during the Q&A or afterwards if you’d prefer to ask a question privately.

The speakers will present for 45 minutes or so, after which there will be Q&A for 30 minutes, when the seminar officially ends. But Joe, George, and George will stick around as long as necessary to answer all questions.

More details:

  • Location: In the heart of Clarendon at 3033 Wilson Boulevard, suite 700 (map).
  • Parking: Yes, free parking.
  • Metro-accessible: One block from the Clarendon station.
  • Cost: $15 per person here, $20 at the door.
  • Food: Snacks and drinks will be provided.
  • Questions: Email seminars2013@urbanturf.com or call 703-842-1391.

Arlington Home Buyer Seminar (Sponsored)

by ARLnow.com | December 5, 2013 at 6:00 am | 389 views | No Comments

arlnow_header_625x236

Editor’s note: This post is written and sponsored by Urban Turf.

Are you considering buying a home in Arlington in 2014?

If so, attend this Arlington home buyer seminar in Clarendon on Tuesday, December 10th.

Three industry experts – Joe Zamoiski of 1st Portfolio Lending, George Papakostas of Long & Foster, and George Glekas of GPN Title – will give an informative talk about the process of buying a home in Arlington. Joe, George, and George have years of experience between them in the Arlington market, not to mention hundreds of successful transactions.

They’ll cover the home-buying process in detail, including:

  • Identifying a home.
  • The offer, negotiation, and closing process.
  • Financing, including loan approval and figuring out what you can afford.
  • State of the Arlington market.

In addition to the above, the purpose of the seminar is to answer your questions. Attendance is kept low to allow ample attention for all attendees. You’ll have plenty of time to ask questions during the Q&A or afterwards if you’d prefer to ask a question privately.

Click here to register

The speakers will present for 45 minutes or so, after which there will be Q&A for 30 minutes, when the seminar officially ends. But Joe, George, and George will stick around as long as necessary to answer all questions.

More details:

  • Location: In the heart of Clarendon at 3033 Wilson Boulevard, suite 700 (map).
  • Parking: Yes, free parking.
  • Metro-accessible: One block from the Clarendon station.
  • Cost: $15 per person here, $20 at the door.
  • Food: Snacks and drinks will be provided.
  • Questions: Email seminars2013@urbanturf.com or call 703-842-1391.

Click here to register

Introducing Real-Time Real Estate Stats

by ARLnow.com | December 4, 2013 at 1:00 pm | 676 views | No Comments

There’s a new addition to our Arlington real estate section.

Now, in addition to sale, rental and open house listings, we’re debuting real-time Arlington real estate statistics.

Our technology partners are still working out a couple of kinks (for instance, the 12-month view of price decreases appears to have incomplete data) but for the most part the page provides an interesting and useful look at market trends by analyzing real estate listings in the county.

According to current listings, the average price for a home in Arlington is $695,155, while the median price is $549,900. The number of listings is on a seasonal downswing, as is average price per square foot.

Among neighborhoods indexed in the listings, Rock Spring has the highest average sale price ($1,524,500) while Columbia Heights West had the lowest ($225,493).

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